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DRAGON*CON BYTE: You might remember the whole ordeal that happened prior to Dragon*Con this year when a group calling for a boycott of the event took their fight a few steps too far. The group had the best intentions wanting Ed Kramer removed from the convention’s board. Kramer was arrested in 2000 on charges of child molestation. In January of this year the group, led by a horror novelist, began calling for the boycott. I have not named the boycott group or its leader purposely to avoid starting the rhetoric and attacks that ensued following Jessi Roman’s report on this subject in July (read it here The Newest Twist in the DragonCon Boycott Saga). I did not bring up this subject to open old wounds. Just before jury selection in the case that has been pending since 2000, Kramer finally pled guilty to three of the six counts he was charged with.
“Kramer entered guilty pleas to three of six counts of child molestation on the original indictment — one for each alleged victim — with the state offering not to prosecute the other three,” reports The Gwinnett Daily Post. “Under the nine-condition agreement, District Attorney Danny Porter recommended a sentence of 20 years to serve five for each count, to run concurrently. Because of 26 months previously served in the Gwinnett County jail and while incarcerated in Connecticut, Kramer will actually serve 34 months.”
Though he finally admitted to some of his crimes, Kramer’s sentence will not be served in jail, but in his home. The judge likely placed him under house arrest due to his health but the article wasn’t specific in that regard. Also according to the GDP, “Kramer was also ordered to pay $100,000 restitution to each of the three victims in the case, due to be paid by July 31, 2014. He will be a sex offender for life and forbidden to interact with any person under the age of 16.”
Thirty-four months of house arrest and $300,000 seems like too light a price to pay for such egregious offenses. This man committed the crimes, by his own admission. He also dragged out the proceedings for fourteen years, claiming health concerns as a reason for not being able to face his crimes. He has also forced his victims to relive his crimes repeatedly over the years as news of it would circulate, as it did in July prior to Dragon*Con. It’s not the justice his victims deserve, but it’s the justice we have to live with. I only hope that prosecutors didn’t let him off the hook due to his health. Kramer didn’t have any problem preying on those weaker than him, he should serve the time consecutively regardless of his condition. For a more in-depth take on this news check out Dragon Con Co-Founder Edward Kramer Pleads Guilty To Child Molestation by Tim Piland!
MARVEL BYTE: The Mighty Marvel Marketing Machine is at it again. They have been dropping one word teasers for the last month. These teasers are meant to be previews of new titles launching in 2014 with their All-New Marvel Now relaunch. The latest is “Future”. Jason Latour (Punisher MAX, A+X) and Mahmud Asrar (Indestructible Hulk) will be your creative team. Let the speculation begin. I have heard some theories, one of which is some sort of 2099 reboot, which could be possible given Spider-Man 2099’s recent jaunt back to our time. The color scheme is also often significant, in this case it is purple and yellow, which doesn’t help me much. The other title being bandied about is The Future Foundation, founded by Reed Richards as a philanthropic organization. I suppose we will find out soon enough.
BEATLES BYTE: It’s not often we get to say this but a graphic novel has made an appearance on the New York Times Best Seller list. As of today The Fifth Beatle has reached the #5 slot on the illustrious list. Written by Tony Award–winning producer Vivek J. Tiwary (Green Day’s American Idiot, The Addams Family, Mel Brooks’ The Producers) and painted by Andrew C. Robinson (Dusty Star, King Conan, Starman, Superman) and Kyle Baker (The Shadow, Plastic Man) The Fifth Beatle tells the tragic tale of the man who discovered, managed and nurtured the Beatles from a garage band to international acclaim, Brian Epstein. Dark Horse Comics describes the work as, “an uplifting, tragic, and ultimately inspirational human story about the struggle to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. Brian Epstein was homosexual when it was a felony to be so in the United Kingdom, Jewish during a period of pervasive anti-Semitism, and from Liverpool when it was considered just a dingy port town. He helped spread the Beatles’ message of love to the entire world, yet died painfully lonely at the young age of thirty-two, consumed by staggering ambition and the endless struggles that came with it.” The New York Times says this one is worth a read, what are you waiting for?
SCUMBAGS BYTE: Action Lab created their mature imprint Danger Zone with just this kind of edgy, over-the-top work in mind. Scumbags is a mini-series, from writer Mark Bertolini and artist Rob Croonenborghs, that definitely lives up to its name. If you don’t believe me look at what the creators had to say. Bertolini described the main characters as, “Total scumbags, thrill-killers, out to get their kicks by causing a ton of chaos on the back roads of the South. Like Bonnie and Clyde but with less empathy, if that’s even possible. Sometimes you dictate what characters do, and sometimes they make up their own minds. Laura and True are most definitely in the latter column, and what they do isn’t particularly nice”. Croonenborghs added “I’d like to say they’ll get theirs…but that would be telling…” A pair of homicidal rednecks on a grindhouse-like road trip that has been described as a mix of Natural Born Killers and The Predator. Issues #1 and #2 are available now from comiXology.com!
BATFLECK BYTE: Deadline’s Mike Fleming recently did an interview with Ben Affleck, on assignment for Playboy Magazine. He asked some pretty pointed questions about the backlash against his casting as Batman, the differences between his and Bale’s characters, and his greatest acting regret. Affleck was surprisingly humble and honest in his answers. Check it out, it may change your mind about the guy. For the record, I was on board from the start. I saw The Town and Argo, he’s not the same guy that played Daredevil, he learned from it and is better for having done it.
PLAYBOY: When Warner Bros. named you Batman, the internet exploded with hostility. After climbing back from career adversity to win the best picture Oscar for Argo, was your initial reaction more “Not Again” or “Screw You”?
AFFLECK: It wasn’t either, really. I expected that reaction. Warner Bros. told me, “You should know what you’re getting into.” They showed me the reactions to other folks who had been cast in these roles. They said this is how it tends to play out initially.
PLAYBOY: What convinced you?
AFFLECK: When they asked if I would be Batman, I told them I don’t see myself in the role and I was going to have to beg off. They said I’d fit well into how they were going to approach the character and asked me to look at what the writer-director, Zack Snyder, was doing. The stuff was incredible.
AFFLECK: It was a unique take on Batman that was still consistent with the mythology. It made me excited. All of a sudden I had a reading of the character. When people see it, it will make more sense than it does now or even than it did to me initially.
And now Fleming asks Affleck the money question…
PLAYBOY: How will your Batman differ from the others, particularly the one played by Christian Bale?
AFFLECK: I don’t want to give away too much, but the idea for the new Batman is to redefine him in a way that doesn’t compete with the Bale and Chris Nolan Batman but still exists within the Batman canon. It will be an older and wiser version, particularly as he relates to Henry Cavill’s Superman character.
In terms of the backlash, Affleck had this to say…
PLAYBOY: How much did the hostile fan reaction bother you?
AFFLECK: I understand I’m at a disadvantage with the internet. If I thought the result would be another Daredevil, I’d be out there picketing myself. [laughs] Why would I make the movie if I didn’t think it was going to be good and that I can be good in it?
Speaking of Daredevil, Affleck had this to say about Community Board 4′s caped crusader…
PLAYBOY: George Clooney kept a photo of himself as Batman on his office wall as a reminder of what can happen when you take a role for money and fame. If you had such a photo in your office, which movie would you go with?
AFFLECK: I’d probably have two or three. [laughs] It’d be tough to choose. The only movie I actually regret is Daredevil. It just kills me. I love that story, that character, and the fact that it got f****d up the way it did stays with me. Maybe that’s part of the motivation to do Batman.
MOVIE ROUNDUP: You may find Michael Bay as annoying as I do, especially where the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (notice I said NINJA, not ALIEN) are concerned, but he does have a niche in the movie industry. That niche is great special effects movies with huge explosions. That being said Bay recently announced that the trailer for his upcoming movie Transformers: Age of Extinction will debut during the Super Bowl in February. Can you see the budget exploding in a fashion suitable for Michael Bay? Bay himself said, “So that brings me to letting Transformers fans know that we have completed our five and half month shoot. We got back from a month-long shoot in China. My crew and I had a fantastic time shooting in Hong Kong and Mainland China. It was an amazing experience, and I love the country. My cast was absolutely fantastic, and a very fun group to work with. We are working hard cutting the movie right now. I think the first piece comes out for the Super Bowl and a teaser right after that.” Also from the Transformers: Age of Extinction camp comes news of a technological breakthrough. Michael Bay’s movie will be the first to be filmed in true 3D IMAX.
“Up until now, every feature film shot in full IMAX (of which there have been only a handful – The Dark Knight, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, The Dark Knight Rises, Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, Star Trek Into Darkness and now The Hunger Games Catching Fire) has filmed with a 65mm 2D IMAX film camera. IMAX has a 3D film camera available, but most filmmakers find it too big and loud to actually use. (Star Trek Into Darkness is the only of those films to be exhibited in IMAX 3D, but it was post-converted.) It wasn’t until recently that IMAX created a 3D digital camera, which will allow 3D capture in full IMAX. The first filmmaker to use that is Michael Bay on Transformers: Age of Extinction. That camera is much smaller and lighter than the other IMAX 3D cameras and will be used quite a bit in the future. There is no 2D digital IMAX camera, but one is being developed.”
More from the sequel to Man of Steel, which is still as yet unnamed. Gal Gadot (Fast Five, Fast and the Furious 6) has been tapped to play Wonder Woman! So, the good news is Wonder Woman will be in a feature film, finally. The bad news is the nerd-o-sphere is up in arms again over a casting decision. Come on nerds, settle down, celebrate the victory and assume that the people making these decision have a little more insight that people who can’t even pronounce the actress’ name. Steven DaCorta went a little deeper with the story in Gal Gadot Cast as Wonder Woman in Man of Steel Sequel. Check it out for yourself! Creator/director Rob Thomas has announced that Veronica Mars will be released in the US on March 14, 2014. The cool thing about this announcement is that the movie was funded by a Kickstarter campaign that ended almost a year ago to the day of this announcement. Kristen Bell will reprise her role as the title character in a story that has her returning to Neptune, CA after a ten-year absence.
NERDITORIAL: There are great things happening in the nerd world these days. Marvel Studios and Disney seem to have the formula for movie making success and are leveraging it into a lot of great movies. DC Comics and Warner Bros. seem to be following suit with some great Batman movies, a good Superman film, finally, and news of the Justice League movie drawing ever closer. The main players for the long anticipated team film will be pulled together in the 2015 sequel to Man of Steel, thus far referred to as Batman vs Superman (I hope that’s not the final title). Comic book related television has been exploding as well. Netflix has announced up to four original series based on Marvel Comics characters including Daredevil and Jessica Jones. DC Comics has toyed with the idea of a possible show for John Constantine. Realistically though none of this television onslaught would be happening if it weren’t for two very successful shows that paved the way. Smallville changed the landscape of the comic book based superhero shows, by making it less of a special effects fest and more of a character study. Clark struggled through life as a teen alien with awesome powers in a world that would likely exploit those powers if they knew. The more recent example is Arrow from the CW. If you are a nerd, admitted or still on the down low, you should be watching this show. The writers have taken the Smallville formula of less spandex and more great characters, and ratcheted it up a few notches. The creators of Arrow have done something that the creators of Smallville only did in the later seasons. They use the popularity of the show to introduce other DC Universe characters, which in turn makes the show even more popular. Arrow has already introduced Black Canary, ARGUS, Barry Allen, and more just in this season alone. All I have to say is WELL DONE and keep it up. I’d certainly love to see more of this type of show rather than another Real Housewives, or terribly conceived movies like Grudge Match. Both of which are further proof that Hollywood is out of ideas. It’s a good thing that Marvel, DC, Image, Dynamite, IDW, Dark Horse and so many more have plenty of great ideas to fill the gaps!