Saturday, January 17, 2015

LOOKING FOR GROUP: Popular web comic gets monthly series

from the official press release . . . . . .

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January 12, 2015, Mt. Laurel, NJ: Dynamite Entertainment is proud to announce that Looking For Group, the hilarious fantasy-themed web comic with a readership of millions, will be released as an ongoing comic book series, representing all strips from the very beginning.  Written by Ryan Sohmer and illustrated by Lar deSouza, Hawk, Ryan Dunlavey, and Ed Ryzowski, the upcoming Looking For Group series includes bonus stories from the Non-Playable Character and Tiny Dick Adventures spin-off series.  The debut issue will be released in April 2015, featuring brand new cover editions by industry veteran Ty Templeton (Batman '66 Meets The Green Hornet) and Becky Dreisdadt.

          Looking For Group follows the adventures of Cale'Anon the elf and Richard the undead warlock, as well as their companions, through Fantasy, Pop Culture, and Gaming tropes, set in a reality and time unlike our own.  It's a place where the eating of small children is not necessarily frowned upon; where beings of extraordinary power can destroy entire villages with only "because I could" as an excuse; where magic and adventure are as commonplace as setting fire to, and then reanimating, a chipmunk into a skeletal minion (it happens more than you'd think); and an epic journey can begin by an accident of fate.

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          Ryan Sohmer, the writer and co-creator of Looking For Group, says, "We are really excited to present Looking For Group in a new format to a whole new audience in comic shops across North America, right from the start.  Putting it all together, it's been great to go back and re-live our particular brand of hilarious immolation.  Everyone at Dynamite has been great to work with, especially once they stopped screaming!"

          "Bringing LFG to print in comic stores is really exciting for me," says Lar deSouza, the artist and co-creator.  "Ever since I was a kid and rode my triceratops to the stone pharmacy to buy comic books for three bones and a rock apiece, I've dreamed of having my work on that stand too!  The point is, I'm old, but loveable.  And I'm really excited to bring LFG to comic stores.  Did I say that already?"

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          Since its launch on November 26, 2006, Looking For Group has garnered significant media and industry attention and won the 2008 Shuster Award for "Outstanding Canadian Web Comics Creators."  The web comic is read by millions online every week, along with its two spinoff comics Non-Playable Character and Tiny Dick Adventures, both of which launched to rave reviews in 2014.

          Looking For Group #1 will be solicited in Diamond Comic Distributors' February 2015 Previews catalog, the premiere source of merchandise for the comic book specialty market, and slated for release in April.   Comic book fans are encouraged to reserve copies of Looking For Group #1 with their local comic book retailers.  Looking For Group will also be available for individual customer purchase through digital platforms courtesy of Comixology, Dynamite Digital, iVerse, and Dark Horse Digital.

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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Recommended website article: History of Valiant Comics

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:  There is a very well researched and documented article on the history of Valiant Comics on entertainment website Vulture.Com.  Anyone with an interest in the 2012 revival of this company and their mission to become the third largest publisher in the industry needs to read this piece.  I’m rooting for Valiant to take over the comics shelves.  Bravo!

 

http://www.vulture.com/2014/12/valiant-comics-dinesh-shamdasani.html#comments

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Friday, January 2, 2015

The Cabin in the Woods Movie Review *No Spoilers*


 Shortly before a better known Joss Whedon movie came out, there was The Cabin in the Woods.  Written in three days along with Drew Goddard, who also directed the film, the movie is a satire of slasher flicks.  

The movie opens when five friends, including characters portrayed by Chris Hemsworth and Dollhouse alum Fran Kranz, head into a remote cabin in the woods for vacation.  Eventually ending up in the basement, they find an old diary and read an incantation aloud summoning up the zombified corpses of a family of hillbillies who supposedly once resided in the cabin.  So far, you could be forgiven for thinking this is merely another cheesy horror movie.  However, you know from the beginning that the entire affair is being orchestrated from an underground government bunker that has wired the house with cameras. 

The movie is fairly gory but the juxtaposition between the horrors happening above ground with the humorous antics of the government workers, inured to the suffering that is just part of their jobs, nudges it, at times, into the comedic genre.  The standard Whedon sense of humor permeates the movie as one by one, the campers meet their doom.  Halfway through the movie, a twist (which is too good to spoil) sends the proceedings spiraling madly out of control.

The Cabin in the Woods received a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes with many reviewers saying it easily took best in genre for 2012.  Borrowing heavily from many other horror movies, this film could easily be mistaken for a Scary Movie ripoff from the previews which also, dare not give away the twist.  But make no mistake, Whedon’s melding of genres while mocking and reinventing them is far more clever than the slapstick schlock that the Scary Movie franchise traffics in. 

Now streaming on Netflix, this film is absolutely not to be missed.

Final rating (out of 5):

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Season’s Greetings!

 

Happy Holidays! to all the BC Refugees readers.

Hope it’s a warm and relaxing break for you and family!

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Nostalgic return to B-movie greatness: Escape from New York

 

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ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK #1  (Boom! Studios, December 2014)  Writer: Christopher Sebela.  Artist: Diego Barreto.  Colorist: Marissa Louise.  Letterer: Ed Dukeshire.

     Reading Boom!’s ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK brought back fond B-movie memories and made me want to watch John Carpenter’s classic film one more time.  Alas,  my only copy was a VHS tape that I sold many years ago! 

     What made Carpenter’s film so memorable was iconic character Snake Plissken, so aptly portrayed by actor Kurt Russell.  That signature eye patch, swagger, and take-no-shit attitude made a real impression, just like a writhing snake tattoo might.  The film had style in capital letters.

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          ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK the comic has that same style stamped all over it.  Writer Christopher Sebela seems to have studied the film very closely.  You will believe this is Snake Plissken. He talks and acts exactly the same.  Fans of the classic film will love this book.  Those who have heard of the legend of Snake Plissken, but perhaps are too young to have experienced it,  can read this book and find out what all the fuss is about.

      The setting is near-future America, where the island of Manhattan has been fenced off and turned into a prison colony.  The film ended with Snake being pardoned by the President of the United States and then playing an embarrassing prank on the chief executive.  Issue #1 opens up with this same cassette-tape scenario.  However, in this version the action has real consequences.  It’s spoiled any chance of the USA brokering a peace and may lead to World War III.  The President immediately revokes the pardon, and brands Plissken a traitor.

   True to the boom efny01_coverbtitle, Plissken escapes and joins up with a team of rebels on their way to the separatist state of Florida, where individuals must enter and survive the Crucible to become a member. The story ends on a cliff-hanger.

    Snake wise-cracks, talks back, and fights his way through the issue in his trademark style. Artist Barreto is not going to supplant any upper-tier stylists as your new favorite artist, but he is to comics art what B-movies are to entertainment. Very functional. He moves the action along and gets his moments to show what he’s capable of. The more you study the art the more satisfying it becomes.  One of my favorite panels occurs early in the story when Snake takes over a seat  formerly occupied by  a helicopter pilot.  Turn the page to find out what happens to the pilot.  There’s a lot of ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK in that panel.  There’s a lot of Snake Plissken’s imprint on that panel.  That panel has swagger. 

     This is a fun book.  So, have some fun. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Prestige Format redefined for new Valiant books

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Back in the 1980’s when the comics industry first began to experiment with different papers, DC Comic debuted the “prestige format”.  Prior to this, all comics were printed on cheap, pulpy, or composition paper (made of various grades of paper).  The DC prestige format printed its copies on a 1) heavier stock of paper, making it more durable and also 2) on paper that was whiter and less grainy than traditional, which made the colors more bright and vibrant.  DC only printed a select number of titles in their prestige format, usually charging a $1.00 more per copy than the standard comic. Now in the 21st Century, Valiant puts a new spin on the format with theier Valiant Prestige books.

from the official press release . . . . . .

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As VALIANT NEXT readies for the launch of six epic new ongoing series and prestige format projects beginning with the release of THE VALIANT #1 (of 4) on December 10th, Valiant is proud to reveal the first look inside the all-new VALIANT PRESTIGE format – a new form of deluxe packaging for Valiant's most important standalone limited series and events! 
Beginning with the release of THE VALIANT #1 (of 4) – the first issue of the four-issue epic from New York Times best-selling writers Jeff Lemire (Green Arrow, Animal Man) & Matt Kindt (RAI, Mind MGMT) and Eisner Award-winning artist Paolo Rivera (Daredevil) – next week, fans and retailers can look forward to a high-end presentation unlike anything else in comics today with each and every issue. Features for THE VALIANT #1 (of 4), the very first release to feature the VALIANT PRESTIGE format, will include:

  • Deluxe matte laminate card stock covers
  • Custom-designed heavyweight end sheets
  • An oversized, 25-page first chapter
  • An exclusive guide to THE VALIANT, detailing the backstory and origins of the series' principal players
  • Never-before-seen commentary and back matter, curated by Eisner Award winner Paolo Rivera
  • All complete with no advertisements and a standard $3.99 cover price!

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Each subsequent issue of THE VALIANT by Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, and Paolo Rivera will feature the same deluxe presentation, as will DIVINITY #1 (of 4) – the VALIANT NEXT prestige format limited series debuting in February from New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (RAI, Mind MGMT) and blockbuster artist Trevor Hairsine (X-Men: Deadly Genesis). Featuring the landmark debut of Valiant's first major new character, each issue of DIVINITY will feature covers by Jelena Kevic-Djurdjevic (Thor) and designer Tom Muller (Zero) in addition to an array specially crafted special features and behind-the-scenes insights into the development and design of Valiant's next pivotal hero.
"The thinking behind the VALIANT PRESTIGE format is simple – match the scale, scope, and dynamism of our most unique, most epic stories with an equally compelling presentation that practically leaps off the shelf," said Valiant Publisher Fred Pierce. "By design, the first two titles to receive this treatment – THE VALIANT and DIVINITY – are stories that couldn't be told in an ongoing book, or even as standard limited series. They truly are can't-miss excursions into the Valiant Universe, telling stories unlike anything Valiant has undertaken before. The presentation of our VALIANT PRESTIGE offerings – no ads, exclusive content, upgraded covers, end sheets, and more – designates these titles as special books within the Valiant line, and will give fans an extra-added layer of depth to the storytelling experience."

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"Over the past three years, Valiant has introduced several new innovations to great success – subscription-only Pullbox variants, expanded Plus Edition issues, QR code-enabled talking covers, and many more," said Valiant CEO & Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani. "VALIANT PRESTIGE is a central new addition that list. It's both a tribute to the great standalone, prestige format tales that helped inform our love of the medium, like Kingdom Come and Marvels, while, at the same time, a chance to break new ground by revitalizing and refining the concept of what prestige format can be for a whole new generation of readers. We have some truly special stuff in the offing for these titles, and we can't wait to see them on the shelf."
Look for more developments soon on each VALIANT PRESTIGE release, and visit your local retailer today to pre-order each epic VALIANT NEXT series. Beginning with THE VALIANT #1 (of 4) on December 10th, VALIANT NEXT continues with five blockbuster new series in 2015, starring Valiant’s biggest, most-demanded heroes alongside all-new, never before seen characters:

  • IVAR, TIMEWALKER #1 by Fred Van Lente and Clayton Henry in January
  • DIVINITY #1 (of 4) by Matt Kindt and Trevor Hairsine in February
  • IMPERIUM #1 by Joshua Dysart and Doug Braithwaite in February
  • NINJAK #1 by Matt Kindt and Clay Mann in March
  • BLOODSHOT REBORN #1 by Jeff Lemire and Mico Suayan in April
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Friday, December 19, 2014

Dynamite properties to get alternate spin in March 2015

EDITOR’S NOTES: I guess it was just a matter of time before some second tier publisher (after Marvel and DC) takes a cue from the Big Two and sets up their characters in alternate realities a la Elseworlds, What If, Next, New 52, etc.  I don’t know why it bothers me a bit - - as long as a good story is told it shouldn’t matter. Still, I’m hoping the other publishers don’t jump on the idea and start up their own imitations of regular characters from Dark Horse, Image, Boom, IDW, etc . . . . .

     from the official press release . . . . . .

Dynamite Takes Familiar Characters To Altered States In Upcoming One-Shot Comics
Red Sonja, The Shadow, and More enter all-new adventures in Altered States

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December 19th - Mt. Laurel, NJ - Dynamite Entertainment is excited to announce the first wave of its all-new Altered States line where familiar characters from Dynamite's comics will appear in brand-new adventures unlike anything fans have seen before. Vampirella, Red Sonja, The Shadow, and Doc Savage will each star in their own story set in a parallel reality in the vein of DC's classic Elseworlds and Marvel's What If! where anything can - and will - happen to them.

The publisher has brought on an array of the industry's top talent to help tell these unique tales:

· Writer Brandon Jerwa teams up with artist Juanan Ramirez for Altered States: Red Sonja, a story about a red headed museum worker in New York City who soon finds herself fighting for survival in a dystopian-inspired Hyborian wasteland.

· In Altered States: Vampirella, veteran Vampirella scribe Nancy A. Collins and artist Francesco Manna turn the tables on Ella Normandy after she survives a crash landing to become the sole human on a planet full of Vampires.

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· Writer David Avallone pulls double duty in this special event, teaming up with artist Ivan Rodriguez for Altered States: The Shadow, and a tale that proves once and more that there are worse things in the world than the evil that lurks within the hearts of men. Then in Altered States: Doc Savage, David and artist Dave Acosta explore what happens when the world's most powerful man is turned into a rampaging beast whose very humanity may be lost forever.

Each issue will feature a cover by Billy Tan.AlteredSavage-Cov-A-Tan

"What If? and Elseworld stories have been a part of comics for 40 years," said Dynamite Publisher and CEO Nick Barrucci. "There's always that "Would that be cool" or "what if we had him or her do that" story that doesn't fit in to continuity. Now we can pick some of the best stories and create "Altered States" for our branded characters. These 4 books stand on their own yet will be the foundation for this universe of characters."

Each Altered States story will unfold in a 32 page full-color comic. With a new issue planned for release every Wednesday in March. Fans eager for more info on Altered States should follow Dynamite on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram for the latest updates as they come in.

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Altered States will be solicited in Diamond Comic Distributors' January Previews catalog, the premiere source of merchandise for the comic book specialty market, and slated for release March 2015. Comic book fans are encouraged to reserve copies of Altered States with their local comic book retailers. Altered States will also be available for individual customer purchase through digital platforms courtesy of Comixology, iVerse, and Dark Horse Digital.

Fifteen Dollar Donation equals 143 digital comics!

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Dynamite just added more titles to their generous Humble Bundle package just in time for Christmas.  A mere fifteen dollars (or more to get even more) donation to a worthy cause rewards you with a total value up to $600 in comics.

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from the official press release . . . . . . . .

December 17, 2014 - Mt. Laurel, NJ - Following the launch of last week's Humble Dynamite MEGA Bundle with over ten thousand redemptions in the first twenty-four hours. Dynamite Entertainment is excited to announce the latest additions to its massive year-end promotion over on humblebundle.com/books.

In addition to an array of comics ranging from Gail Simone's Red Sonja, Shaft #1 from David F. Walker, Uncanny by Andy Diggle and Aaron Campbell, and the hit debut issue of Bob's Burgers, fans can now read all six issues of The New York Time Bestselling series Jim Butcher's Dresden Files: War Cry, the complete Mercy Thompson Moon Called Vol. 2, the original Doodle Jump comic inspired by the best-selling video game and more!

The full list of additional books include:

Mercy Thompson: Moon Called Vol. 2

Doodle Jump #3

Doodle Jump #4

Uncanny #2

Red Sonja Vol.2 #9

Red Sonja Vol.2 #10

Jim Butchers: Dresden Files War Cry #4

Jim Butchers: Dresden Files War Cry #5

These new additions push the total value of the bundle to just over six hundred dollars. However Dynamite fans who donate fifteen dollars or more will access to all 143 comics to read on the digital device of their choice. Fans who beat the average with their donations will now receive 116 comics including all five issues of the recent New York Times Bestselling series Jim Butcher's Dresden Files: War Cry.

"The out pouring of support for us so far has been amazing," said Dynamite CEO and Publisher Nick Barrucci. "We're blow away by the donations are fans have made, and are truly humbled by the opportunity to help raised funds for some wonderful causes."

The Humble Dynamite MEGA Holidays Bundle will continue to support Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières, Make-A-Wish, as well as the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund which defends first amendment rights of comic book professionals nationwide.To date Humble Bundle has raised over 50 million dollars for charities around the world. With Dynamite's help last summer they were able to give over $100,000.00 during The Humble Dynamite 10th Anniversary Bundle in July. 

The Humble Dynamite MEGA Holidays Bundle runs for two weeks and ends Wednesday, December 24, 2014 at 11 a.m. Pacific time. Fans should follow on Dynamite on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram for the latest updates as new offerings become available. 

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About Humble Bundle

Humble Bundle organizes pay-what-you-want plus charity promotions for awesome digital content and puts the power directly in the hands of the consumers, offering them fully-featured titles at prices they set themselves. Consumers pay what they want and decide how to allocate their money between content creators, charity and a humble tip. Humble Bundle also offers the Humble Store, a digital storefront that features great games at great prices with a portion of sales going to select charities. Since the company's launch in 2010, Humble Bundle has helped empower its community to allocate more than $48 million toward charity to date. For more information, please visit https://www.humblebundle.com

About Dynamite Entertainment

Dynamite was founded in 2004 and is home to several best-selling comic book titles and properties, including  The Boys, The Shadow,  Vampirella, War lord of Mars,  Bionic Man,  A Game of Thrones, and more. Dynamite owns and controls an extensive library with over 3,000 characters (which includes the Harris Comics and Chaos Comics properties), such as  Vampirella,  Pantha,  Evil Ernie,  Smiley the Psychotic Button,  Chastity,  Purgatori, and  Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt. In addition to their critically-acclaimed titles and bestselling comics, Dynamite works with some of the most high profile creators in comics and entertainment, including Kevin Smith, Alex Ross, Neil Gaiman, Andy Diggle, John Cassaday, Garth Ennis, Jae Lee, Marc Guggenheim, Mike Carey, Jim Krueger, Greg Pak, Brett Matthews, Matt Wagner, Gail Simone, Steve Niles, James Robinson, and a host of up-and-coming new talent. Dynamite is consistently ranked in the upper tiers of comic book publishers and several of their titles - including Alex Ross and Jim Krueger's  Project Superpowers - have debuted in the Top Ten lists produced by Diamond Comics Distributors. In 2005, Diamond awarded the company a GEM award for Best New Publisher and another GEM in 2006 for Comics Publisher of the Year (under 5%) and again in 2011. The company has also been nominated for and won several industry awards, including the prestigious Harvey and Eisner Awards.  www.dynamite.com