Nerd Bytes is all the news nerds love to hear about from comic book, movie, television, video game and other nerdy industries. We know you can’t catch it all in your fast-paced lives, so we catch it for you and post it here in easy to read Nerd Bytes. One stop shopping for the Nerd Brain! Enjoy!
DARK HORSE BYTE: Never let it be said that Dark Horse Comics doesn’t give back to the community. The popular comic book company, founded by Mike Richardson in 1986, has announced that they are working with the Children’s Cancer Association (C.C.A.) to bring their digital comics to seriously ill children FOR FREE. The entire Dark Horse Digital library, which includes over three thousand comics, will all be made available for the C.C.A.. Dark Horse Comics will also be donating four Apple iPads to the charity for CCA’s use. These iPads will be loaded with Dark Horse content and will feature an age gate for kids twelve and under. The Children’s Cancer Association partners with six Portland-area health care providers, including Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel, Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and others, to offer programs and services free of charge to seriously ill children, teens and their families. CCA’s programs and resources can now also be found in thirty-three pediatric hospitals across the nation. Well done Dark Horse Comics, well done!
IMAGE BYTE: Writer James Robinson and artist Greg Hinkle have decided to bring Golden Age character Airboy back from a long absence from the comic world. But if you think their version of the character will be the same as the Hillman Periodical original, you are sadly mistaken. The Robinson and Hinkle version will not be your father’s, or grandfather’s Airboy. They intend their Airboy “to be an experiment in excessive behavior blurring the lines between our world and Airboy’s”. In a recent interview with Comic Book Resources Robinson elaborated on some of the key points. When asked about the themes of the book the writer answered, “That [drink, drugs, and sex] will definitely be a theme that runs through the book, the monumental excesses that Greg and I get up to while we are attempting to come up with ideas for this character that we, at first, have no affinity for. We do enough drink, enough drugs and enough sex that we begin to enter Airboy’s dimension and talk with him and experience life from his perspective.” CBR also asked him what Airboy has been up to since we last saw him. Robinson replied, “He’s just been in his world, fighting Nazis and thinking everything is fine. We take him on a drinking tour of San Francisco; the gays in the Castro think he’s adorable. You know, he’s got to experience all of [our world] before it drives him crazy and he has to go back to his world — and we go with him”. It sounds like an interesting take on a character who had toiled in obscurity, and the public domain for quite a few years. Watch for an all-new Airboy from Image Comics later in 2014.
UNDERWEAR BYTE: A couple of weeks ago I posted a video [courtesy of Today I Found Out | Via Neatorama] that endeavored to explain why underwear on the outside may actually be the way to go. You can read it at Nerd Bytes – Rock at DC, Deadpool Weds & More. In all the video was well thought out and presented some great arguments. Now, weeks later I see the argument that would have ended the debate, and it was courtesy of Groupon. The best arguments are the ones that require no words.
DAYS OF FUTURE BYTE: Did you see the latest costume design for Quicksilver, who will be appearing in the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past? Ok, now that you’re back from finding a bucket to deposit your last three meals in, lets discuss the look. It really, really sucks. I do understand why Hollywood has an aversion to colorful spandex costumes. They want the movies to appeal to an older group of movie-goers. You know, the ones with actual money to spend. That being said, this is just ridiculous. His power is super speed! So explain to me how a loose-fitting open leather jacket is, in any way functional. How about the goggle/headphones? Sure, the eyes and ears require covering for safety, but this headgear is neither aerodynamic nor attached to anything to prevent its immediate loss at speed. Lastly, the Batman style utility belt is sure to cause some devastating bruising around the abdomen and kidney areas, not to mention a ridiculous amount of chafing. Get it together, 20th Century Fox! You’ve done enough damage to the lore of the X-Men.
DARK HORSE BYTE: Later this month Dark Horse Comics is releasing a new series called Furious. Before you decide that this is just another superhero comic in a vast world of superhero comics, think again. This particular, creator-owned series from writer Bryan J.L. Glass (Mice Templar, Ship of Fools) and artist Victor Santos (Mice Templar, Polar) will feature a female lead character and offers a refreshing combination of familiar aspects of superhero comics mixed with current challenges. Glass’ lead character first appeared in Dark Horse Presents #31. He had this to say about the response to her, “As FURIOUS: Role Model was but a single 8-page story in an anthology with nine other amazing stories, including Hellboy and Mind Mgmt., we didn’t receive many critical reviews, yet fan response was outstanding! The series has been cloaked in a bit of mystery since its announcement last September, and that is due to how much of the series is about our lead heroine, the woman dubbed FURIOUS by the local media, trying to keep her true identity a secret even more so than your average masked adventurer. For her, the past she keeps so desperately secret is also what drives her to be a hero. The DHP short story couldn’t explore any of this yet, so the challenge was developing a tale that would give readers a taste of what was to come without actually revealing anything. Response, however, was particularly strong and positive after the short was offered online for free. It definitely appears we succeeded in our goal to entice without revealing.”. The rest of us can find out what is next for Furious when it releases on January 29th.
TRANSFORMER BYTE: For those of you who have been in hibernation for the winter, and who could blame you with all this “Global Warming” going on [I see you Al Gore], you may have missed the story that the Dinobots, an offshoot of the Transformer family, and listed among the top-selling toys in 1985, will be joining the cast for the upcoming Transformers: Age of Extinction. As you can imagine they transform into various dinosaurs for battle and travel. Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura recently said in an interview, “I cannot disclose the specifics, but you can be sure that the joining of the Dinobots will give the audience new excitement. In addition to Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, the appearance of these classic roles changed, today the world’s coolest, most exciting cars will appear in the film, including China’s vehicles, whether you are a car enthusiast, you will feast your eyes and be shocked by them.” So, now you’re up to speed and I’m sure even the nerdiest among you saw this trailer during the big game last night, but just in case there was a King of the Nerds marathon on, here is the trailer…enjoy! Check out Transformers: Age of Extinction Super Bowl Trailer for a more detailed look at the teaser.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zv6fVuvcHis]
INDEPENDENT BYTE: I love comics, this is no great revelation to anyone who knows me even slightly. I started reading them in the early 1970s and have experienced some major ups and downs in the industry over the years. What I have missed mostly is the passion and heart-felt love for the medium that creators in the golden age of comics breathed into their creations. I read books and watch movies too. But there is something about the relationship between writer and artist, the collaboration of ideas and execution that makes a great comic book. Probably the greatest example of this symbiotic relationship is Stan “The Man” Lee and Jack “King” Kirby. They spent the 1960s creating such timeless characters as the Fantastic Four, Hulk and the X-Men. At times that passion is hard to find in an industry that has become so mainstream these days. There is so much ego in the writing, so little time and passion in the art and, realistically speaking, the history of the comic book characters has much less influence on the movie versions than it should. It has almost an opposite effect where the movies are influencing the directions of the characters in the comics (cough) Nick Fury (cough), and that is just tragic. I personally search for creators with some of that passion that brings me back to the four-color world that I grew up in. If? Commix created by Andrez Bergen (Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?) and Matt Kyme (That Bulletproof Kid) has been that time machine that takes me back to a better time. Oddly enough I met Andrez when I previewed his novel Heropa, which I loved (read my article Preview: Who Is Killing The Great Capes Of Heropa? or better yet just go get the book, you won’t be disappointed. The pair have created the first two issues of a noir anthology called Tales to Admonish and they are what I have been missing. Described as, “a comic that myth and legend envy, a comic cloned from the DNA of Gandhi, Jack Black, Bruce Lee, Genghis Khan, Normie Roe, Kim Clijsters and Jack Kirby. A comic that was printed with ink from an Architeuthis and printed on paper pulped from General Sherman. A comic that made angels weep and demons flee. A comic that shames all that came before and after.” you can be sure that this pair of creators are in it for the passion of creating, the love of comics, and the desire to illicit a reaction from each reader. Do yourselves a favor head over to the If? Commix website where you can get digital copies of Tales to Admonish #1 and #2 for just $1 each. The price alone hearkens to a better day in comics. Support creativity!
NERDITORIAL: Last week I mused on what the heck DC Comics was doing. This week I’m in 20th Century Fox’s grill. Why, you might say? Last week a plot synopsis was released for the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot, to be directed by Josh Trank (Chronicle). It read like this;
“The Fantastic Four will tell the tale of two very young friends, Reed Richards and Ben Grimm. After an event transforms the boys, they find themselves empowered with bizarre new abilities. Reed becomes a scientific genius who can stretch, twist and re-shape his body to inhuman proportions. Ben becomes a monstrous, craggy humanoid with orange, rock-like skin and super-strength. However, the two end up being owned by the government and used as weapons. But after they mature, two others with powers come into the picture – Sue Storm ‘The Invisible Girl’ and Johnny Storm ‘The Human Torch’.”
Trank quickly disavowed the leaked plot on twitter stating, “That synopsis is definitely not the synopsis or anything close to the synopsis, he wrote on Twitter. I don’t know who put that out.” Ok, good, so crisis averted right. Well, not so much. It seems that the 2015 version of the Fantastic Four may still be quite far off the mark from the comic book characters that you know and love. It is being widely reported that Michael B. Jordan (Friday Night Lights, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox) is a virtual lock to play Johnny Storm. Now before you start calling me a racist or accusing me of stereotyping or some other such nonsense, I have only two problems with this casting and neither of them are Jordan’s racial makeup. Johnny Storm and Sue Storm are siblings, hence the last name. That’s a pretty huge change for no apparent reason than for change’s sake. If you know me, you know I despise changing decades of history and lore for no better reason than because you can. If the other rumored actors in consideration are accurate and Kate Mara (House of Cards) is in consideration for Susan Storm, it raises questions. I suppose in today’s day and age it is not uncommon to have a mixed marriage, so is this even a story? Only if you care about the decades of stories that are The Fantastic Four. Here comes my second reason for having a problem with this. I’ll never understand the level of ego that it takes to make unnecessary changes to established characters. You do not need to change everything about the characters to make a good movie, you just have to write a good story. If you are so much smarter than Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (and you’re not) then make a great movie about original characters that is so scary-good that we all say “Fantastic Who?” at the end. This kind of behavior is why all rights to Marvel Comics characters need to revert back to Marvel/Disney as soon as possible. Wake me when the next reboot is underway.