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    The core Superman values of "truth, justice, and tolerance" are reinforced in a restored version of a vintage poster.

    News Mike Cecchini
    Aug 26, 2017

    In recent years, a vintage Superman poster from the late 1940s or early 1950s featuring the Man of Steel preaching the values of tolerance and diversity has made the rounds on the internet. It surfaces whenever we need to be reminded of these values, which is quite often, unfortunately.

    The poster itself was dated 1950, but DC Comics has revealed that the art, and its timeless message, date back to 1949, where it appeared on paper textbook covers "distributed to schools by the Institute for American Democracy, an offshoot of the Anti-Defamation League." This was the same year that pages created "in conjunction with the National Social Welfare Assembly" started appearing in DC Comics featuring Superman and Batman taking on similar issues, including this famous one of Batman encouraging kids to stand up to racist bullies.

    But Superman's fight for equality for everyone was made explicit in plenty of his adventures even before all of this. Superman, an immigrant himself, was was the hopeful embodiment of an America made strong by the influx of immigrants of the early 20th Century, and rose in popularity during the battle against Nazis in World War II. The 1948 Superman movie serial had kindly Pa Kent advise young Clark to fight, not for "truth, justice, and the American Way," but for "truth, justice, and tolerance."

    Going back to 1946, The Adventures of Superman radio show had the "Champion of the Oppressed" (as Supes was often billed at the time) take on "The Clan of the Fiery Cross" in a story intended to expose and discredit actual Ku Klux Klan operations on the rise in the country. Remember all this the next time someone suggests that superhero stories shouldn't be political. There are countless other examples from throughout his history, but the key here is that Superman in particular, and superheroes in general, are meant to stand for diversity, inclusivity, and empathy. 

    DC Comics has digitally restored the Superman poster. Please continue to share it.

    Thanks to DC Comics for restoring this and providing the new information about its origins.


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    On what would have been his 100th birthday, we take a moment for Jack Kirby, an undisputed titan of comics and culture.

    FeatureRand Hoppe
    Aug 28, 2017

     How is it that the work of Jack Kirby, which contains some of the most colorful characters and influential mythology of the last century, still manages to feel so personal? Comic books are now known at least as much as source material for exciting movies as they are for being currently published graphic stories. Kirby’s work has been adapted into roughly a dozen of the most successful feature films of recent years, with more on the way all the time.

    Jack Kirby may primarily be known as a great and influential comic book creator, but above all else, he was a storyteller. He understood the powerful impact that stories, any stories, could have. His mother and other elders told stories that enraptured him as a boy. The stories in the newspaper comics and in the movie theaters did the same.

    Jack drew as a child, he drew as a teen, he drew as a young man, and he drew well into his old age. Kirby learned that he, his pencil, and a piece of paper could engage the mind and emotion of the audience as much as his own mind had been engaged. He learned that science fiction could serve the same function in the present as mythology had in the past. He knew, from his time spent with his gang of buddies in New York City’s toughest ghetto, the Lower East Side, his fellow soldiers on the battlefields of Europe during World War Two, and the life-long love he shared with his wife Roz, how we all used drama and myth to help cope with the best and the worst of times.

    Early on, Kirby’s drawings became more than just lines on a page, they became the raw material for stories. Jack Kirby was there at the beginning of the comic book as it is known in America.

    Comics were the perfect place for his distinctive stories, and through his career he drew literally thousands of pages of them, often at the almost superhuman rate of four pages a day. He helped shape what was initially considered disposable entertainment into the enduring art form we know today. Jack, along with his one-time boss, Will Eisner, his partner Joe Simon, and Jack “Plastic Man” Cole, learned the new creature of the comic book was a unique, valid narrative art form. They took comic books seriously, and it showed. It was no surprise that Jack would later put that seriousness to work in epic tales like “Mother Delilah” in the pages of Boys’ Ranch, “The Galactus Trilogy” in The Fantastic Four, or “The Glory Boat” in The New Gods.

    Between the comic book boom of the early ‘40s (where, in addition to superhero work like Captain America, the Simon & Kirby team developed the Young Allies, the Boy Commandos, and the Newsboy Legion, setting the stage for other, better known bickering teams of adventure comics characters), his distinguished service in combat during World War II, and the superhero renaissance of the jet age, the S&K team invented the incredibly successful genre of romance comics during the late 1940s.

    And that was only the beginning.

    In case you’re one of the uninitiated, let me give you an idea of the sheer scope of Kirby’s work as a comic book writer and artist over his fifty year career. Get ready, because this reads like a greatest hits collection of some of the most recognizable characters in popular fiction...

    Jack was there at the birth of Marvel Comics as we know it and helped bring Captain America into existence. He created or co-created (with Stan Lee) future box-office sensations like The Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, The Avengers, Nick Fury, and the X-Men. Groot began life as a Kirby-drawn short story long before he became a beloved supporting character in Guardians of the Galaxy, and if you look closely, you can even spot one of Kirby’s cosmic Eternals in an easter egg in that film. You’ll be seeing Black Panther and The Inhumans on the silver screen soon enough. There’s more, but you get the idea.

    Before detailed credits in comics became the norm, many young readers would still recognize Kirby’s stories. The art pulled them in like no other. Readers recognized the eyes, the hands, the staging, the action. When creator credits proliferated in the 1960s, Kirby’s name became associated with dynamic action, compelling drama, and mind-blowing concepts. No one did comics at the level Kirby did.

    When DC lured Jack away from Marvel, which seemed like an unthinkable creative coup, the cover of his first issue of Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen (which had previously been a rather milquetoast tertiary Superman title before Jack imbued it with a psychedelic energy and dynamic storytelling that the normally staid DC wasn’t known for at the time) proudly proclaimed that “Kirby is here!” In 1970, comics companies didn’t engage in that kind of promotion, but such was the power and influence of Kirby’s work at the time.

    At DC, an entirely new mythology sprang from his pencil. His Fourth World comics brought a host of characters and concepts that DC Comics and Warner Bros. continue to use to this day. These concepts became a cornerstone of DC’s own cosmic mythology, an element that had been sorely lacking in their books until that time. Perhaps his most memorable contribution to DC lore was cosmic warlord Darkseid, a character with power-levels that could match Superman, but whose motivations were far more layered than merely using his strength to cause destruction.

    Darkseid and the New Gods made their way into action figure lines and animated series, and their influence can be seen reflected in pop culture titans from Star Wars to Masters of the Universe. The villainous Steppenwolf will face off against the Justice League in their big screen debut this November. Darkseid and The New Gods probably won’t be far behind.

    So, yes… Jack Kirby helped bring many of your favorite superheroes to life, and they are the current lifeblood of blockbuster cinema. But decades before dystopian futures were a sub-genre of their own in Hollywood, Jack produced OMAC and Kamandi for DC Comics. He explored themes of ancient aliens back at Marvel in The Eternals. Even his lesser known latter-day creations like Captain Victory are brimming with the kind of mythic interpersonal sci-fi dynamism Kirby brought to all his work.

    Jack Kirby was a storyteller above all else. Science-fiction, action-adventure, mythology, romance...he put himself into all of those stories. It just so happened that when he told his stories, many of these characters became the superheroes we know and love.

    ***

    The Jack Kirby Museum & Research Center currently has a special, limited engagement event celebrating the 100th birthday of Jack Kirby at One Art Space in New York City. Please come out and celebrate the King of Comics!

    Visit kirbymuseum.org for information on how you can support our future efforts. 

    In honor of Jack Kirby's 100th birthday, please make a donation to The Hero Initiative, dedicated to helping comic book creators in need.

    This article was first published in the October 2015 issue of Den of Geek Magazine.


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    How can you honor the King of Comics on his 100th birthday? There are plenty of ways to pay tribute to Jack Kirby.

    NewsMike Cecchini
    Aug 28, 2017

    There shouldn’t be any need to remind anyone who reads comics, watches superhero movies and TV shows, or attends conventions about Jack Kirby’s towering accomplishments. But somehow, despite the fact that he’s one of the pillars (arguably the pillar) that Marvel’s entire empire was built on, Kirby’s name isn’t as ubiquitous as you’d expect. When you think of pop culture in the 20th century, the name Jack Kirby should occupy the same stratosphere as George Lucas, Jimi Hendrix, and Bruce Lee: innovators who made indelible impressions on the collective consciousness. Unlike those men, Kirby was almost impossibly prolific, producing tens of thousands of pages of story and art over a career that spanned five decades.

    With partner Joe Simon, he brought Captain America into the world in 1941. When the public lost interest in superheroes after World War II, Simon and Kirby branched out into war, crime, and romance comics, the latter of which they virtually invented. Kirby’s collaborations with Stan Lee brought forth characters that are now the bedrock of nearly every Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, from titans like Thor, Iron Man, and the Hulk to the more offbeat Ant-Man, Groot, and Ego. Kirby’s work for DC produced characters and concepts that have become cornerstones of their line, and they’re bound to make their way to the big screen sooner rather than later (the villains of the upcoming Justice League movie are Kirby creations, for example).

    When I was a kid, Jack Kirby was one of the first comic book creators whose work I recognized. The acrobatic fight scenes that seemed to move on the page, the ornate technology that looked like nothing I had ever seen in sci-fi movies, and the mythic, cosmically-powered heroes and villains that were immediately recognizable. As an adult, I was drawn to Kirby, the impossibly hard working man, who went from brawling in the streets of New York City’s Lower East Side to fighting Nazis in World War II, to the artist who produced consciousness-expanding works when he was far older than the “flower children” of the ‘60s and ‘70s, and finally to the elder statesman who patiently dispensed advice to every aspiring writer and artist who approached him in the early days of San Diego Comic-Con (where he was a guest of honor every year until his death in 1994) or tracked him down at his California home.

    Jack Kirby is the reason I get to do what I do for a living. My fascination with “the King of Comics” led me to an internship with the Jack Kirby Museum and Research Center in college, and it was while working their booth at a comic con that I met the people who eventually hired me at Den of Geek. I’m now a trustee of the Kirby Museum; I’m proud to assist in their efforts to keep Kirby’s name in the public eye and aid them in their ongoing quest to build a permanent museum in honor of this towering figure.

    Today marks the 100th anniversary of Jack Kirby's birth. Spend some time with one of your favorite works of his. Discover a new one. Donate to one of the causes that do good work in his name.

    Here are a few that we think are pretty cool...

    Kirby 4 Heroes, The Hero Initiative, and #WakeUpAndDraw

    Jillian Kirby, Jack Kirby's granddaughter, has a tradition of raising money for The Hero Initiative in Jack's name on his birthday this year. The Hero Initiative, in case you aren't already familiar with them, raises money to help comic book creators in need. You can donate right here, and be sure to put Kirby4Heroes under "special instructions" so they can keep track of the donation for their goal!

    And then there's #WakeUpAndDraw, where comic artists spend the day creating art that will then be auctioned off to benefit The Hero Initiative. A highlight of this year's #WakeUpAndDraw is Phil Hester and his quest for 100 drawings in honor of Kirby's 100th birthday, and those will also be used to raise funds for Kirby4Heroes. Follow him on Twitter to see what's up. 

    Follow the #WakeUpAndDraw hashtag on Twitter and Instagram to see what everyone comes up with!.

    The Jack Kirby Museum and Research Center

    Maybe you've visited the Kirby Museum's website, or spent some time at their booth at NYCC, SDCC, or MoCCA Fest, but they've got more to offer. The Kirby Museum has a special event open in New York City through August 30, Jack Kirby - 100 Years. The event takes place at One Art Space at 23 Warren Street. If you're in the area, please come out!

    Disclosure: I am a Kirby Museum trustee.

    What Else?

    Most importantly, take some time to enjoy some of Jack Kirby's incredible work. I'll probably kick back with the Captain America solo story from Tales of Suspense #59 (see the above panel), which first opened my eyes to just how dynamic a fight scene could look on a page, or with OMAC, a comic that still feels years ahead of its time 40 years after its initial publication.

    Or better yet, create something of your own. That's probably what Jack would have wanted you to do, anyway.

    Long live the King.


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    Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea will produce This Above All, true story of Westboro Baptist Church Convert Megan Phelps-Roper

    News Tony Sokol
    Aug 28, 2017

    The Westboro Baptist Church refines Christian concepts like brotherly love and turning cheeks. They promise “eternal retribution or the everlasting punishment of most of mankind in Hell forever.” The hate mongering tenets crave legitimacy like dogs eat their own vomit. The upcoming feature film, This Above All, will tell the true-life story of Megan Phelps-Roper, former member of the Westboro Baptist Church. The film will be directed by Marc Webb, from a script by Nick Hornby. The film will be produced by Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea, along with Dawn Ostroff and Jeremy Steckler of Condé Nast Entertainment Webb, and River Road Entertainment’s Bill Pohlad.

    “As the granddaughter of the famous founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, Phelps-Roper grew up espousing the teachings of her family, preaching God’s power and damning those who sinned,” reads the official statement.

    “She became one of the most powerful voices on social media for Westboro, where she used both a picket sign and her Twitter handle to doggedly protest everything from cultural events to funerals, until her ongoing conversations with opponents over Twitter led her to question her belief system. With her mind open to a different way of seeing the world, she and her younger sister made the difficult decision to leave the Church—and be disowned by their family—in order to find a life governed by love.

    This Above All is being adapted from both an article written by Adrian Chen for Condé Nast’s The New Yorker and from Phelps-Roper’s soon-to-be-published memoir.

    “When we read The New Yorker article about Megan’s incredible journey, we knew that it was the perfect fit for CNÉ’s film group, which focuses on compelling and timely stories from Condé Nast’s vast library of publications,” Ostroff, president of CNÉ, and Steckler, CNÉ’s executive vice president of feature films, said in a statement. “Marc and Nick both have a powerful vision of how to tell Megan’s story and we are very happy to be partnered with Reese, Bruna and Bill, who understand the importance of bringing this project to the big screen.”

    Based in Topeka, Kansas, the Westboro Baptist Church is one of the nation’s most recognized hate groups, best known its anti-gay rhetoric.

    “Megan’s extraordinary story says so much about so many things in contemporary America, and I’m really excited about this project,” Hornby said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to working with the brilliant Marc Webb, CNÉ and with my friends Reese Witherspoon, Bruna Papandrea and River Road, with whom I enjoyed such a good relationship during the making of ‘Wild.’"

     


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    Everything we know about the Locke & Key TV show coming to Hulu.

    News Kayti BurtJoseph Baxter
    Aug 29, 2017

    The Locke & Key TV series has a home! Back in July, THR revealed that Hulu has given the show adaptation of IDW's horror comic book series a pilot order, with Carlton Cuse (Lost) set to serve as showrunner. Andy Muschietti (It, Mama) will be directing the pilot after Doctor Strange's Scott Derrickson had to withdraw, due to his commitment to the Snowpiercer TV series.

    Third time's the charm? After two previous attempts to bring fan-favorite comic Locke & Key to the screen (once for TV, and once for film), IDW Comics finally seems committed to make a Locke & Key TV show happen. With Hulu on board now and Cuse involved in the project, odds seem better than ever that this beloved comic will be done justice.

    Locke & Key TV Show Cast

    Frances O’Connor has joined Locke & Key as its leading lady to play Nina Locke. The story will center on Nina, who, after her husband’s gruesome murder, takes her three children to move into their ancestral home in Maine, the Keyhouse. However, the Keyhouse has centuries of connection to the supernatural, serving as a dimensional portal through which malevolent demons wish to cross. Moreover, the magical keys connected to the house – forged from the metallic remains of demons who’ve tried to cross the portal – contain powers beyond comprehension.

    O’Connor, an English actress, is known from roles in films such as The Conjuring 2, The Hunter, Bedazzled and, notably, in Steven Spielberg's A.I. Artificial Intelligence as the mother figure to Haley Joel Osment’s proverbial Pinocchio. She’s also fielded numerous TV runs, most recently on Cleverman, as well as The Missing, Mr. Selfridge and Cashmere Mafia.

    Regarding O’Connor’s starring role in Locke & Key, IDW Publishing's David Ozer expresses in a statement:

    "We are thrilled to have the multidimensional talents of Frances O’Connor to breath color and life into this pivotal character in our series, and along with a stellar production team in place, we have no doubt that we will be able to bring Joe Hill’s creative vision to the small screen."

    Locke & Key has also cast Jackson Robert Scott (It) as one of its child leads. According to Deadline, Scott will play Bode Locke, the youngest member of the Locke family. Bode is an optimistic, imaginative eight-year-old who is especially tuned into and vulnerable to the supernatural possibilities of the Keyhouse.

    Read and download the full Den of Geek Special Edition magazine here!

    Locke & Key Details

    Last year, IDW Entertainment released news that Locke & Key writer Joe Hill (he wrote the story for the comics, with art by Gabriel Rodriguez) was on board to write the pilot and executive produce the TV show adaptation as a straight-to-series project. It's unclear how Hulu and Cuse's involvement might change that plan, but Hill had previously said in a statement:

    I love this story. The seven years I spent working on Locke & Key was the happiest creative experience of my life, and there still isn’t a day when I don’t think about those characters and miss visiting with them. The six books of the series are very like six seasons of a cable TV series, and so it feels only natural to bring that world to the little screen and to see if we can’t scare the pants off viewers everywhere.

    Locke & Key begins with the story of three siblings returning to their family's ancestral home following the brutal and mysterious murder of their father. As they explore the house and its surroundings, it becomes clear that there are wonderful and terrible things lurking on the grounds. It is a comic book horror classic.

    Previously, a TV show adaptation made it all the way to the pilot stage, but never garnered a pick-up. The episode was screened at Comic Con in 2011 and, as someone who was there for said screening, I can vouch for its awesomeness — a character-driven exercise in horror that deserved to continue its story.

    The TV adaptation had Josh Friedman as a showrunner (The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Avatar 2) and an all-star cast that included Miranda Otto, Sarah Bolger, and Ksenia Solo. Check out the trailer...

    Sadly, this version of Locke & Key never made it past a pilot, but the pop culture world seems better poised to embrace an on-screen version of this horror comic now. Not only are there way more comic book adaptations on TV and film, but Joe Hill has become more of a household name, especially with the recent film adaptaion of Horns. Hopefully, this adaptation is good and garners enough of an audience to ensure its continuation. Universe, you owe us this.


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    We're calling all artists, digital and traditional, to submit their Harry Potter fanart for a chance to win one Harry Potter themed jacket!

    The RestBrian Berman
    Aug 29, 2017

    We just got this awesome Harry Potter denim jacket sent to our office, but unfortunately we can't keep it for ourselves. So, we're turning this into an opportunity for the hardcore-est of hardcore Potter fans to not only show off their their Harry Potter fanart, but also win the jacket for themselves!

    Entry is simple, and there are five ways to enter (please choose just one entry method):

    1) Submit your own, original Harry Potter fanart on this article page (comments below) and use the hashtag #DenOfFanart, OR --

    2) Post your own, original Harry Potter fanart on our Facebook page (be sure to tag our page and use the hashtag #DenOfFanart), OR

    3) Tweet your own, original Harry Potter fanart and tag our Twitter handle, @DenOfGeekUS, and use the hashtag #DenOfFanart, OR

    4) Post your own, original Harry Potter fanart on Instagram and tag our handle, @denofgeek, and use the hashtag #DenOfFanart, OR

    5) Post your own, original Harry Potter fanart to Tumblr and tag our page, @denofgeek, and use the tag #DenOfFanart.

    In ALL cases, please try to include a link to your online art gallery (DeviantArt, Instagram, custom web page, etc.). 

    Keep in mind: We'll be accepting entries until 6:00PM (ET) on August 31st, 2017! Also, the jacket is a men's Large (sorry, that's what we were sent)!

    Entries will be judged at our sole discretion on originality, creativity, and technical skill (no Sanic-style drawings, please). The chosen winner will be requested to verify their identity as the fanart's artist prior to being eligible to receive the prize. Failure to verify will lead to a new winner being drawn. Non-winners may have their art featured on this article, though we will honor requests not to do so.

    Good luck!!!

    NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, or TUMBLR ACCOUNT & INTERNET CONNECTION REQUIRED TO ENTER. Void where prohibited by law. Contest starts 6:00pm ET on 8/29/17 and ends 12:00 noon ET on 8/31/17. Open only to legal residents of 50 United States & DC. 1 prizes available. Possibility of Fan Art to be featured on DenOfGeek.com. Art skill required. Subject to full Official Rules.


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    The Punch Escrow is about a man in 2147 who is accidentally duplicated while being teleported.

    News
    Aug 30, 2017

    Beauty and the Beast producers David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman of Mandeville Films/TV have joined the team behind The Punch Escrow, the film adaptation of Tal M. Klein's science fiction novel, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

    Hoberman and Lierberman join James Bobin — the man behind the camera for Alice Through the Looking Glassand Disney's The Muppets who is already signed on to direct The Punch Escrow.

    The Hollywood Reporter previously announced that Bobin (who also, it should be noted, is one of the creators of the excellent Flight of the Concords) will be directing the Lionsgate's movie. The film rights to The Punch Escrow, which was released on July 25th by Inkshares/Geek & Sundry, were heated, with multiple studios bidding. Lionsgate eventually won.

    What is The Punch Escrow about? Set in the year 2147, the book follows Joel Byram, a man who spends his days training artifical intelligence engines how to act more human. Joel's life is forever changed one day when he is accidentally duplicated while teleporting. (Which, coincidentally, is one of my favorite Star Trek episode concepts.) #FutureProblems

    Following the duplication, Joel must work to outsmart the shadowy organization the controls teleportation and get back to the woman he loves. And, you know, there's two of him.

    The Punch Escrow was published by Inkshares, a tech company and reader-driven publisher that has an interesting business model: Authors post samples and/or pitches of their books on Inkshares. If the work gets 250 pre-orders, it gets a "light" publishing. If it gets 750 pre-orders, it gets a "fully-funded" publishing, which includes editing, design, printing, distribution, and marketing.

    The Punch Escrow is currently available for order through Inkshares and Amazon.


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    We talked to author Tal M. Klein about his new book The Punch Escrow, which is already being adapted into a feature film.

    FeatureKayti Burt
    Aug 30, 2017

    Tal M. Klein came up with the idea for his new book, The Punch Escrow, while having a conversation with his friend Gabe about the J.J. Abrams Star Trek movies. Klein was complaining about lens flare, as you do, but his friend had bigger science fiction fish to fry.

    "'It’s bullshit,'" Klein told Den of Geek at San Diego Comic Con, recounting what Gabe said to him during that fateful conversation. "'What, the lens flare?'" Klein asked back. "'No, nobody would ever step foot inside a transporter ... It's all bullshit science because they turn into kids, sometimes they go back in the past, how does it even work?'"

    Gabe has a point. But rather than just move onto the next item of contention on the nerd night-out agenda, as most people would do, Klein decided to write a book about the origin story of teleportation: how the technology could feasibly develop and, perhaps more interesting, how people could be convinced to put their faith in it.

    "Teleportation is such a popular trope in scifi," said Klein, "but we don't have a story about how it become commercialized. What was it that made people comfortable stepping into a teleport for the first time?"

    Thus, The Punch Escrow was born.

    Teleportation: an origin story.

    The Punch Escrow tells the story of Joel, a regular dude living in the year 2147. Joel spends his days training computer programs to be more human and half-heartedly trying to fix things with his workholic wife Sylvia, who has a mysterious, time-consuming job at International Transport, the corportation responsible for operating teleportation hubs around the world.

    Joel's life is thrown into peril when, during a run-of-the-mill teleportation to Costa Rica to meet Sylvia for their second honeymoon, he is accidentally replicated. The Punch Escrow follows both Joels as they struggle to come to terms with what has happened to them, and try to outrun International Transport, the corporation desperate to keep the true secret of teleportation technology away from the public.

    While the near-future Klein has imagined has its perils, especially for the Joels, Klein aims to provide a counter for the dystopian trend ubiquitous in pop culture right now. "[The inception of The Punch Escrow] starts with me hating dystopian scifi," said Klein, "especially these days when we need something positive to look forward to."

    I wanted to write a story that showed ... that life as we know it continues to exist on its current trajectory, even in an age that's automated and artificially-intelligent and where all the jobs as we know them go away. But people still find work and they're still gainfully employed and they’re still able to play games and have fun and have relationships and have love.

    Relationships and love play an unexpectedly vital role in The Punch Escrow. Ultimately, the events that lead to Joel's replication are not a technological error; they are a human one.

    "Love is this glitchy thing that makes us unique, that perseveres throughout time," said Klein of the very human story that accompanies the hard science fiction narrative in The Punch Escrow. For an author who did extensive research into the technological aspects of his world-building, Klein waxes as poetically about the future of love as he does about the future of laser weapons and interstellar technology.

    One of these things that's been a constant is this notion of love. Throughout humanity, that's the one thing that really hasn’t changed: what it means to love someone. We’ve changed what it means to date, to be married, all of these things, but love transcends all of those, and I wanted to still show that in the future.

    The Inkshares model.

    Now, Klein may have a finished, published novel and a feature film adaptation in development with James Bobin attached as director, but writing a book doesn't just happen. And, in order to talk about the development of The Punch Escrow as a story, we need to talk about Inkshares, the reader-driven publisher that published the novel.

    In the Inkshares model, authors post samples and/or pitches of their books on the Inkshares website. If the work gets 250 pre-orders, it gets a "light" publishing. If it gets 750 pre-orders, it gets a "fully-funded" publishing, which includes editing, design, printing, distribution, and marketing.

    The Punch Escrow won Inkshares'Geek & Sundry Hard Science Contest, granting it a place in Geek & Sundry's Collection, as well as the editorial, production, distribution, and marketing support all Inkshares projects get. 

    "There's more data sources," said Klein of the Inkshares model. "Even after you win, you submit a pitch and you get assigned a developmental editor and assigned creative directors.

    On the science side, Klein had a panel of five scientists who helped him develop the worldbuilding for The Punch Escrow. On the creative marketing side, Klein had several of Hollywood's top creative executives, like Legendary's Alex Hedlund and former Warner Bros. president Greg Silverman, giving him development notes about the expectations of the target audience of the book.

    The various support systems didn't always see eye to eye.

    "When we did all the math of what it would take to actually make teleportation feasible, using technologies we have today, [the panel of scientists said] it's gonna take 500 years' time because this would need to happen and this would need to happen," said Klein, explaining that the book was originally set in the 25th century.

    "Then, my developmental editor came and said, 'Look, you’re going to run into a huge suspension of disbelief because this book reads like a near future book and, if you're telling people it's that far in the future, they're gonna miss the things that they're used to in far out future things, so you need to bring it a lot closer, like 100 years.'"

    On the film tone scale, Klein's developmental editors put it this way: It's the difference between Arrival and The Fifth Element.

    They were like, 'They're both really interesting… but one feels tangible, and the other is fantastic ... You need to decide, are you going to go fantastic or tangible? You can't get away with both.'

    Klein chose the tangible, so he went back to his panel of scientists and said, "Guys, I need this to remain a hard science fiction book, but we need to move it up 300 years." Their answer? Do a war. "War is the greatest accelerant of technology because there's a tangible benefit," said Klein. "We're a very short-minded species."

    In The Punch Escrow, this became The Last War, a global conflict that led to the disolution of the publicly-governed nation-state model and the formation of a new geopolitical reality: a world run by corporate nation-states. This history informs one of The Punch Escrow's most topical and, at least for this reader, interesting themes: corporate culpability.

    "People will get disenfranchised with government and want to trust their fellow man and corporations will seem very easy to audit. More so than the religion," said Klein of his corporate worldbuilding. "Corporations provide us with a very tangible metric for measuring whether they're doing a good job or not. So that's how we can make people believe in corporations because they're people and not deities."

    This distinction between religions and corporations becomes much more muddled in The Punch Escrow when people, or at least the Joels, find out that corporations have been playing God.

    Researching the future.

    Much (though definitely not all) of The Punch Escrow's hardest science comes not in its main story, but in the footnotes that pepper its pages, proof of just how much research went into building the world for this book.

    "[In its first draft], it was super, super hard scifi," said Klein. "In fact, it was the reverse of the book because it was a textbook from the future that explained about the inception of teleportation as a thing, and then this Joel Byram guy in the footnotes was being an asshole, like, 'That’s not really what happened.' But, then, my developmental editor was like, 'The interesting part is the footnotes.'"

    Now, the bulk of the book is Joel's snarky, yet serious post-replication journey, with the footnotes explaining in greater detail the science that informs the world, giving mini-lessons on everything from quantum entanglement to genetic engineering.

    Klein suggests treating the footnotes like a "choose your own adventure." If you want to learn more about the science, read the footnotes. If you're too caught up in the plot and characters of the book to divert your attention, you can always check them out later. Or, if you're like me, you can do a little bit of both.

    "There's nothing in the footnotes that's essential to the plot," said Klein. "You can read the book without the footnotes. In fact, the Kindle version, the footnotes are actually like pop-ups."

    Does Klein suggest reading the footnotes?

    The selfish answer is: I've done three years of research into the science and just to throw it out is not something I was willing to do, so it's a selfish response.

    The marketing answer is: at the end of the day, I insert a lot of Joel's voice into the footnotes, so even though they're super heavy, there's still Joel built into them because it's Joel telling me things.

    Ultimately, Klein is excited about the depth of knowledge the footnotes represent. "I'm cognizant that there's a good chance this book will live or die based on the footnotes," said Klein, "and I’m comfortable with that."

    Footnotes or not, The Punch Escrow is worth your time — perhaps especially if you've ever fondly rolled your eyes at one of Star Trek's transporter-themed episodes.

    The Punch Escrow is currently available for order through Inkshares and Amazon.

    Read and download the full Den of Geek SDCC Special Edition magazine here!


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    Professor Marston & the Wonder Women, a biopic about Wonder Woman's creators, stars Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall and Bella Heathcote.

    News Joseph Baxter
    Aug 30, 2017

    Coming off a dominant $103 million opening weekend, Wonder Woman has wrapped her Golden Lasso of Truth around pop culture in a big way.

    However, soon set to ride the Wonder Woman movie momentum is Annapurna Pictures'Professor Marston & the Wonder Women, a biopic telling the fascinating tale of the trio who created the character back in 1941.

    The latest news? Check out these sweet posters for the new film.

    Here's everything else we know about Professor Marston & the Wonder Women...

    Professor Marston & the Wonder Women Release Date

    In other recent news, the Professor Marston & the Wonder Women release date has changed from October 27 to October 13.

    Professor Marston & the Wonder Women Trailer

    Now, the full trailer for this most intriguing of real-life comic book industry stories is here, heralding its October release.

    The full Professor Marston & the Wonder Women trailer has arrived. While this past June's teaser clip (which appropriately debuted with Wonder Woman,) only hinted the intrigue that this biopic centering on the superheroine's creators, the full trailer spells it out rather clear...

    Starting with the formation of the polyamorous relationship between Dr. William Marston, his wife Elizabeth and his student Olive Byrne (clearly the muse for the character's look), we start to see how the character of Wonder Woman is an extension of their gender-norm-redefining reality, manifesting as heroic comic book exploits that came across to laypeople as "violence, torture and sadomasochism."

    The film seems to parallel the double-life of Wonder Woman herself with that of Dr. Marston, who initially published the comic under the pseudonym "Charles Moulton."

    Professor Marston & the Wonder Women's first teaser trailer debuted with the June 2 release of Wonder Woman. While short on substance, some dialogue can be heard, hinting at the historical (gender-norm-centric) societal implications that the trio of Dr. William Marston, his wife Elizabeth and his student Olive Byrne will face upon their 1941 collaborative creation of the most important female superhero of all time in Wonder Woman. This aspect is compounded by the fact that William, Elizabeth and Olive secretly maintain a polyamorous relationship.

    Additionally, the teaser sends you to the URL professorm.movie, which, for now, is a bare-bones viral promotion site for the film, showcasing an intriguing comic-book-style portrait of the cast and clickable word bubbles that play lines from the film.

    Professor Marston & the Wonder Women Cast

    Professor Marston & the Wonder Women, centers on the life of Dr. William Moulton Marston, a Harvard psychologist, lawyer and inventor who also went on the create one of the world’s most famous and venerable comic book superheroes in Wonder Woman (under the nom de plume Charles Moulton). The film's primary trio consists of Luke Evans as Marston, Rebecca Hall as his wife and professional peer Elizabeth and Bella Heathcote as Marston’s former student Olive Byrne, who attains a unique connection to the couple.

    Indeed, the focus of Professor Marston on the creative process in which Wonder Woman was conceived will manifest through William’s relationship with wife Elizabeth and Olive, with whom the couple engages in a polyamorous relationship; one that would ultimately prove enduring. Moreover, William drew inspiration from Elizabeth and Olive during the process of creating Wonder Woman, imbuing the character with confident and autonomous attributes that would be considered feminist at a time (the early 1940’s) before such a concept was even widespread.

    However, the crux of the film seems to be the societal predicament that William’s comic creation placed upon the threesome. While publicly having to defend Wonder Woman from contemporaneously alarmist accusations of sinister gender-identity influences that would lead girls on a path to sexual confusion, the Marstons and Olive had to maintain a tight balance to keep their polyamorous relationship a secret, lest it be made public and validate the homophobic seeds that were already sowing from the mere concept of a female comic book superhero.

    Connie Britton, Maggie Castle, Christopher Paul Richards, Allie Gallerani, Chris Conroy and JJ Feild also co-star in the film.

    Professor Marston & the Wonder Women Crew

    The intriguing Wonder-Woman-related film project will be the directorial and written brainchild of Angela Robinson. Her body of work includes films such as the 2004 action comedy D.E.B.S., 2005 Lindsay Lohan-starring Disney reboot vehicle Herbie Fully Loaded, a television run with The L Word and individual episodes of Charlie’s Angels (2011 reboot) and True Blood.


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    Superman will face off against Doctor Manhattan in the new DC event, Doomsday Clock. Check out the covers for the first issue!

    NewsMike Cecchini
    Aug 30, 2017

    One year on from the launch of DC's Rebirth initiative, which has fairly successfully cleaned up the detritus of the ill-advised New 52 relaunch of 2011, DC is getting ready to answer the big questions posed from the start. There was a ton of Watchmen imagery in that initial Rebirth special, and more sprinkled through the background of assorted ongoing DC Comics titles since then, with the implication being that Watchmen's Dr. Manhattan was the mysterious force responsible for the damaged, cynical tone of the New 52.

    Which brings us to Doomsday Clock, the natural culmination of all of this. DC Entertainment CCO Geoff Johns has been absent from comics since last year's Rebirth special, but he's returning, along with artist Gary Frank, to answer some questions with Doomsday Clock this November. Johns and Frank are responsible for some of my favorite DC work of the last decade or so, having worked wonders on Superman with stories focusing on Brainiac and the Legion of Super-Heroes, so if anyone is going to take on a seemingly impossible task, I feel a little better knowing it's them.

    “It's time. Last year, the DC Universe confronted the legacy of Watchmen in Rebirth the way Watchmen confronted the legacy of superhero comics three decades ago,” explains writer Geoff Johns in a statement when the project was first announced back in May. “Thematically, and metaphorically, there was no better choice than to use Dr. Manhattan. If you’re going to have a conflict between optimism and pessimism, a battle between the very forces of hope and despair, you need to have someone who personifies the cynicism that has leaked into our hearts and also has the ability to affect the entire DCU.”

    Doomsday Clock is a story for fans who love the DC Universe and Watchmen and want to see what a master of this genre creates when he puts them together,” says Gary Frank. “As for my artistic approach to the series, each panel is extremely detailed and I am constantly thinking through the position of every single element.” 

    DC has just revealed the Frank's covers for Doomsday Clock #1. Check 'em out...

    The first is Frank's extraordinarily Gibbons-esque Watchmen-themed cover.

    Then there's the Superman variant, which is a fine reminder that Gary Frank is probably the best Superman artist of the 21st Century, and nobody makes Supes' new costume look better.

    And finally there's this lenticular/Rorschach variant...

    DC has gone back to the Watchmenwell within recent memory with their Before Watchmen titles, none of which were particularly inspiring. Still, Johns is careful to point out that this isn't a Watchmen sequel. "It is something else," Mr. Johns said in an interview with Syfy Wire back in May. "It is Watchmen colliding with the DC Universe. It is the most personal and most epic, utterly mind-bending project I have ever worked on in my career."

    Perhaps even more encouraging, this isn't going to be a typical superhero comic crossover event, and instead, Doomsday Clock will be entirely self contained. "We had no interest in doing a crossover with this," Johns told Syfy Wire. "There will be DC characters throughout this, but this focuses in on only a handful. There is a lot of focus on Superman, and Doctor Manhattan. Doctor Manhattan is a huge focus, and his reasons for being here, and doing what he does, ultimately have to do with Superman. And there are many, many more characters to be involved, but it is a bit early to discuss."

    The focus on Superman is intriguing. Superman was a character who felt particularly directionless for much of the New 52 era (although that has recently been fixed), and of course Dr. Manhattan is the only super-powered being in the Watchmen universe. Johns and Frank will be exploring how these two characters affect each other. Superman, of course, is the epitome of the hope and optimism of the DC Universe while Dr. Manhattan is...not that.

    Even the title, Doomsday Clock, has significance for both Superman and the broader Watchmen theme. The "doomsday clock" was a visual and thematic point throughout Watchmen, and, of course, the presence of the word "Doomsday" in that title should have significance for Superman fans, as that's the name of the monster who killed the Man of Steel.

     As someone who has been rather against the prospect of bringing Watchmen concepts into the DC Universe (so much so that I wrote an entire article, which turned out to be very wrong, explaining how those Watchmen references in Rebirth weren't meant to be taken literally), I have to confess that "The Button" which ran through the pages of Batman and The Flash and dealt directly with some of the fallout from both Flashpoint and the Rebirth special, was an excellent read. I've even warmed to elements of Flashpoint I previously had little time for. If Doomsday Clock is as careful with this tricky concept as DC has been with all of this so far, it might just work. 

    We'll find out when Doomsday Clock is released on November 22nd.

    Read and download the full Den of Geek Special Edition magazine here!


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    Den of Geek visited the Hawaiian set of The Inhumans TV show. Here's what we learned...

    Feature Kayti Burt
    Aug 30, 2017

    Lost may have been the TV show that made filming in Hawaii cool, but the island state has become a popular filming location in the years since. Hawaii Five-0 films there. The upcoming Jumanji reboot movie used the exotic exteriors as the backdrop for the video game its young characters get pulled into. And now The Inhumans calls the beautiful locale home, the show's main characters forced there after a miltary coup has them thrown out of their Moon-based city of Attilan.

    That set-up alone might seem to make Inhumans a hard narrative sell. It's hard to muster up too much sympathy for the Moon's one-percenters forced to live on an island paradise. But the Royal Family's chief struggle comes in another, more relatable form: the challenge of keeping their family together amidst betrayal, exodus, and the responsibility that comes with wielding extreme power.

    An exploration of the responsibilities of power.

    Black Bolt (played in the TV show by Hell on Wheel's Anson Mount) is one of the most powerful superhumans in the comic book world, but his power comes at great personal cost. The sound of his voice can destroy entire cities. An escaped whisper could kill the people around him, including the people he loves. His power is a blunt, indiscriminate instrument.

    "[Black Bolt] can't lose control or bad shit happens," Mount says. "So, I think that the character's immediately endearing to us because he's a leader who is aware of the power of his own voice, and that's what makes the role work."

    Read our full interview with Anson Mount

    If The Inhumans leans into it, this theme of the responsibility of power could be a defining and compelling characteristic for the show. In a time when some of the world’s most powerful people seem to have so little appreciation for the potentially destructive consequences of their decisions, Black Bolt is a leader who would rather stay silent than risk hurting the innocent. He does not revel in his power, and that makes him something of an anomaly within the fictional superhero worlds and in the real world alike.

    Will we ever hear Black Bolt speak? It seems inevitable (and we have some clues in the trailer), but Mount would not give anything away, instead saying: "I think it would be a boring show if suddenly my character started talking regularly. They can't. I mean, he sneezes, he blows half the world away, it's that powerful.”

    For Mount, he doesn't mind keeping quiet as Black Bolt. The challenge of playing a show’s lead who doesn’t speak is one of the elements that drew him to the role. “When else am I going to get that opportunity?” Mount said.

    A family drama first and foremost.

    While much of the reaction to the first Inhumans trailer centered around how the individual characters of the show measure up against their comic book counterparts, it quickly became apparent during our set visit that this show is as interested in the complicated relationships between the members of this family as it is in the struggle of individual superheroes.

    Serinda Swan's Medusa — a woman with the psychokinetic ability to animate and control her hair — stands poised to be one of the breakout characters of this show. We were lucky enough to see an early rendering of Medusa's hair in action during our set visit, as well as to hear Swan speak about what draws her to the character.

    I love her because she's very powerful. She’s very independent. She doesn't get lost. Even though she's speaking for the king [Black Bolt], she doesn't get lost within his thoughts.

    Married to Black Bolt, Medusa is as much a leader as her husband. He relies on her voice, judgment, and perspective to help lead their people.

    "There's a duality between her and Black Bolt that I don't think has necessarily been seen before,” Swan says, who notes that the story of their "super-marriage" is relatively unique within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. "There's an immense codependence between the two between two very independent people."

    This "codependence" is developed at an early age. The Inhumans aren't born with their powers. They go through a process called Terrigenesis at the age of 14. When they are exposed to the Terrigen Mist, their innate powers are revealed. (A similar plot was undertaken on Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, but, unlike that show, Terrigenesis is a normal part of the Royal Family's culture.)

    Read our full interview with Serinda Swan

    "When Black Bolt goes through his Terrigenesis at 14 and loses the use of his voice, there's that acceptance that he's never gonna be able to speak again," explains Swan. "There's massive loss with his parents, there's everything. And so there's this isolation and one of the reasons I love Medusa is that she doesn't care that he can kill her with a whisper and she walks right into his chamber and starts a friendship."

    Black Bolt must create his own sign language to communicate what he is thinking and feeling. He does this with Medusa by his side. Swan elaborates:

    They have this symbiosis that keeps them intertwined, which I love. And so, obviously, through childhood, they create this language together. Then, they get married. She becomes the queen and he becomes the king and, through her, he can rule. Because, without her, he can’t. There’s nobody to talk to. I mean, he could, but then it gets really lonely after he talks.

    Another day, another game of thrones.

    The main trifecta of the Royal Family is rounded out by Black Bolt's power-hungry brother Maximus (played here by an actor who has experience playing power-hungry — Game of Thrones' Iwan Rheon).

    Maximus is an antagonist in the Inhumans comics, often betraying his brother and the rest of the Royal Family in attempts to rule Attilan. From the mention of a "military coup" dropped in the official Inhumans TV show synopsis and the story beats teased in the trailer, it seems that Inhumans is poised to follow this common comic story beat.

    Read our full interview with Iwan Rheon

    Past that, Rheon teased that Maximus will be the "runt" of the Inhumans Royal Family, his relative lack of power resulting in a chip on his shoulder he's had since he was young.

    Everyone kind of looks down on Maximus because he's a human so he's not really got any power, he's kind of looks on as a bit of a runt of the family which is kind of hard for him.

    Without his brother he'd be working down the mines, it's just that his brother, because he's the King's brother, he got pity, basically. His function in society has come to him through pity and what his family name is rather his own self-worth and what his Terrigenesis made him. It's a very difficult thing for him to deal with and he's had to live with his own life

    In the comic, Maximus hides his superhuman psychic powers. It's unclear, as of yet, if this will be the case in the TV show. If Maximus is hiding his powers, he's playing it very close to the vest.

    Maximus' potential villainy is further influenced by his unrequited love for Medusa, another story beat seen in the comics.

    I think the relationship between [Maximus] and Medusa is very interesting as well because, in this story, they were very good friends when they were younger and I think Maximus always had a bit of a thing for her, thinking that, you know, one day maybe they'd be together and maybe even be on the throne together.

    Then for her to go off with Black Bolt is kind of always kind of been a bit of an issue for him as it's obviously hurt so that's going to be a very interesting relationship to develop, but they're amicable. 

    Rheon, too, played up the family dynamics of this cast of characters, saying: "There's plenty of action in this but what's wonderful about it is very much a family drama as well, it's about the family and their relationships and how they all respond to each other and there are wonderful moments of humor as well as drama and action so it's kind of go to everything."

    Meet the rest of the Inhumans family.

    While Black Bolt, Medusa, and Maximus lead the Royal Family in various ways, the Attilan gang extends beyond the three leaders.

    Australian actress Isabelle Cornish plays Crystal, Medusa's sister and an Inhuman with the ability to control the weather. (Maybe that's why Hawaii is always so pleasant.) Cornish said of her character:

    Being the youngest member, [Crystal]'s really coming of age and the journey of really coming into her adulthood and discovering more of her powers and things like that. And she has a 2,000-pound, teleporting, transporting dog.

    That would be Lockjaw, a giant dog with the ability to teleport himself and others across vast distances. In making our way through the Inhumans TV show set, it was interesting to note the ways in which the already large sets needed to be made larger to accomodate a 2,000-pound dog. (The show has a scale model of the dog. Giant and blue, it stands in for Lockjaw on set so the director can know how the CGI dog will affect the shot.)

    Lost alum Ken Leung plays Karnak, one of the cousins of the Royal Family. Leung explained his character's power to us as it manifests in the TV show:

    Karnak has the ability to see the flaw in everything and everyone. Whether it be a person that he’s fighting, he can analyze the situation and figure out the most effective way to take him down. Whether it be a wall, what is the flaw in a physical structure, if I wanted to do something with that.

    It could be in an argument, if we're debating, you can see the flaw in your defense. So, it makes him the perfect strategist and advisor to the king, so that's his position in addition to being part of the family in the kingdom.

    Apparently, Karnak's power does not prevent the Royal Family from becoming refugees in Hawaii follwing a military coup. (Sorrynotsorry, Karnak.)

    On the other end of the cautious-decisive spectrum is Gorgon, another one of Black Bolt's cousins (how many cousins does this guy have?) and the leader of the Attilan miltary. With super strong legs and hooves, Gorgon can generate seismic waves with a single stomp.

    Eme Ikwuakor (Extant) described the character past his superhuman strength:

    I’m actually the head of the Attilan military. Basically, I’m the guy who kind of acts before he thinks. Lot of fun. He gets to push the boundaries, which is amazing.

    Triton (Mike Moh), pictured above, is one of the Inhumans characters who is probably going to have the most trouble keeping a low profile on Earth. Another cousin of Black Bolt, Triton has a "fish-like ability to live underwater." He also keeps his cool under pressure and is very athletic. 

    Sonya Balmores plays Auran. She described her character like this:

    I’m the head of the Royal Guard. I work really closely with the Royal Family and I’m fiercely loyal to the King of Attilan. Yeah, I’m one of the soldiers. I’m tough. I’m no nonsense. I get the job done, whatever the job might be.

    In the comics, Auran has parabolic hearing, which means she can listen in for specific words on Earth, zero-ing in on their location if they are spoken. On one occasion, this is how she finds a missing Black Bolt, by searching of the word "Maximus." (I guess there weren't a lot of people watching Ridley Scott's Gladiator when she was listening.)

    There's been no mention of Auran having any superpower in the TV show, and Balmores made no mention of it, but I am desperately pulling for this to make an appearance on-screen. I'll be sure to keep my ear to the ground.

    To be continued...

    Stay tuned to Den of Geek for more details from our Inhumans set visit — including information about the mysterious character Ellen Woglom will be playing and insight into the IMAX-led filming of the first two episodes.

    A version of the first two episodes of The Inhumans premieres exclusively in IMAX theaters for a two-week engagement starting September 1st. After that, the show will have its official ABC two-hour premiere on September 29th starting at 8 p.m. ET.

     


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    Lily Collins joins Nicholas Hoult in a biopic on J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

    News Joseph Baxter
    Aug 30, 2017

    While the major works of John Ronald Reuel (J.R.R.) Tolkien were adapted in an epic manner in contemporary film by director Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy and decidedly less thrilling The Hobbit trilogy, there is now in development a film that will cover another story connected to the influential author: his own life story. While the biopic titled Tolkien has been in the pipeline for a few years, things are now moving rapidly, with not only the appointment of director Dome Karukoski, but its stars which includes Nicholas Hoult and now Lily Collins

    Tolkien Biopic Cast

    Lily Collins has been cast opposite Nicholas Hoult in Tolkien, the J.R.R. Tolkien biopic. The news was broken by Variety, which revealed Collins will play Edith Bratt, the love of Tolkien's life. She was a central figure in his life during the horrors of the First World War and would eventually become his wife, who in turn inspired Tolkien to create the graceful elvin characters of Middle-earth, including Arwen. The latter of whom was played by Liv Tyler in Peter Jackson's adaptation of Lord of the Rings.

    She joins Hoult, who has already been cast in the title role of one of the 20th century's most celebrated authors.

    While Hoult has become a perennial blockbuster actor, playing Hank McCoy/Beast in the current X-Men films and was a catchphrase-coining standout in 2015’s apocalyptic franchise revival Mad Max: Fury Road, this prospective role in Tolkien won’t even be his first experience playing a famous author, having played the role of the reclusive J.D. Salinger in this fall’s Rebel in the Rye. Hoult’s historical role run will also manifest with December’s The Current War in which he plays Nikola Tesla opposite Benedict Cumberbatch’s Thomas Edison. Another reprisal of Marvel's Beast in X-Men: Dark Phoenix arrives in fall 2018.

    Read and download the full Den of Geek SDCC Special Edition magazine here!

    Tolkien Biopic Crew

    Dome Karukoski will direct Tolkien, working off a script by David Gleeson (The Front Line, Cowboys & Angels) and actor-turned-writer Stephen Beresford (Pride). The Finnish director Karukoski is known for films from his home country such as 2017’s Tom of Finland, 2014’s The Grump and 2010’s Lapland Odyssey. With that creative crew set into place, casting for Tolkien is reportedly starting under the auspices of production company Chernin Entertainment at the behest of Fox Searchlight.

    This, coupled with the rumblings about prospective star Nicholas Hoult was the first major movement on the J.R.R. Tolkien biopic endeavor since last fall, when the same trade reported that the project – then-titled Middle Earth– had tapped James Strong (Broadchurch, Downton Abbey) to direct, working off a script by a burgeoning screenwriter Angus Fletcher. However, the premise of the project in its current form as Tolkien seems to be the same, chronicling the author’s youthful experiences in which friendships, love, and an outcast status at school all lead to the horrors of the trenches in the First World War.

    Tolkien Biopic Story

    Tolkien explores the circumstances that shaped Tolkien into becoming the author of the world's most famous fantasy novels. The film will show how the marriage of young Tolkien to Edith Bratt was interrupted in 1914 by World War I. After deliberation, Tolkien enlisted, experiencing four years of the world-altering global conflagration. The experiences would become the inspiration for Tolkien’s conception of 1937’s The Hobbit; a mythology he would expand exponentially with 1954-1955’s The Lord of the Rings novel trilogy, along with several supplemental Middle-earth-based stories, many of which would be published posthumously under the editorial stewardship of his son Christopher.

    Tolkien certainly has compelling source material to utilize in telling the iconic author's story, which was wrought in not only war, but a quirky romance. Moreover, it will be interesting for fans both casual and passionate to witness the events that drove a certain young second lieutenant in the British Army to conjure the magical, ethereal, quasi-medieval world of Middle-earth and weave the intricate details of its sprawling mythology.

    The Tolkien production has yet to lock down any significant dates on the calendar.


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    Everything we know about the second season of The Shannara Chronicles...

    News Kayti Burt
    Aug 24, 2017

    The Shannara Chronicles will be moving from MTV to Spike for Season 2. Here's everything we know about the upcoming season...

    Shannara Chronicles Season 2 Trailer

    The Shannara Chronicles Season 2 trailer is here! We're getting some serious The 100 vibes from this thing, which includes glimpses at some important new characters and a very intriguing shot of Amberle falling through the ether (or, you know, Ellcrys). Check it out...

    Entertainment Weekly also has some photos from the new season...

    Shanara Chronicles Season 2 Release Date

    The Shannara Chronicles Season 2 will premiere on Spike on October 11th at 10 p.m. ET. 

    Shannara Chronicles Season 2 Cast

    In the first season, The Shannara Chronicles starred Arrow's Manu Bennett, Pan's Labyrinth's Ivana Basquero, The Carrie Diaries' Austin Butler (also know as Thea Queen's DJ assassin boyfriend), and relative newcomer Poppy Drayton. Of course, the fate of Drayton's Amberle was very much in-the-air come the season one finale.

    Returning for Season 2 from the original Season 1 cast will be: Austin Butler (Wil), Ivana Baquero (Eretria), Manu Bennett (Allanon), Aaron Jakubenko (Ander) and Marcus Vanco (Bandon).

    Speaking to Hypable about her character's arc in Season 2, Baquero said: "I think for Eretria this season is mainly about discovering where she comes from, who she is, who her parents really were, what the tattoo means… There’s a lot of that in this new season."

    The Shannara Chronicles Season 2 will pick up a year after the events of Season 1, and finds The Four Lands in chaos, with an organization called The Crimson is intent on hunting down magic users.

    Amidst the unrest, Will, still mourning the loss of Amberle and his separation from Eretria, has turned his back on his magical healer destiny. Meanwhile, Bandon has turned super evil and is on a mission to resurrect The Warlock Lord. (No, The Warlock Lord is not a nice guy.)  

    Hypable caught up with Ivana Baquero (aka Eretria) recently to talk Shannara Chronicles Season 2. Baquero teased: "I can say that Wil is indeed looking for Eretria. So that’s still happening. And we will discover who the person is that she sees down in the tunnels with the Trolls."

    More generally, Baquero said of Season 2's structure: "There’s a lot of new evil and new elements coming up. So rather than being one quest and one story, now there’s a lot of storylines trying to contain this evil that’s trying to take over the world. It’s going to be very interesting."

    There's a whole host of new characters this season. As Baquero described it: "We've got new girls, new boys… We got Gentry [White,] Malese [Jow,] Vanessa [Morgan]… Obviously, they're great additions. And it;s great to have new people now that we've lost others. So I don’t necessarily feel like I’m the only female lead. There’s a lot of people involved." 

    Here are all of the new characters to look forward to...

    According to MTV News, Malese Jow (The Flash, The Vampire Diaries) has joined the Shannara Chronicles Season 2 cast as Mareth, a "volatile and unpredictable" young woman with magical powers who will help Wil find his way back to his friends and escape The Crimson. "Sharp, brash, and independent to a fault," Mareth knows how to get what she wants.

    Also joining the cast is Vanessa Morgan (Finding Carter) as Lyria, a young woman romatically linked to Eretria. Nice to see Eretria getting some love, especially amongst all of the danger and mayhem it sounds like we're in for in Season 2.

    Speaking to Hypable about the same sex relationship between Erertia and Lyria, Baquero said:

    What I love about the show is that [sexuality] is so natural. It's not even a thing. It's normalized and it's great. I think if anything there would be more of an issue if she were to go out with an Elf, because of the elitism and the difference in class ...

    It's not something that is frowned upon by anyone. It's what it is. It's been normalized. I think that's great and I hope it reflects the future in a way. Crossed fingers.

    Gentry White (UnReal) will play Garet, the "wise-cracking Weapons Master of the Four Lands." Garet is a bounty hunter, "skilled, sly, and charismatic," it sounds like Garet could add some comedic elements to Season 2.

    Caaroline Chikezie (Everly) will play Queen Tamlin, "the powerful and cunning ruler of Leah," and the only human kingdom in The Four Lands. Queen Tamlin is a ruthless weapons manufacturer who uses her royal clout to make a political alliance with the elves. Ambitious lady.

    Desmond Chiam (Bones) has been added to the Shannara Chronicles cast as General Riga, the leader of the extremist soldier group The Crimson. On a mission to wipe out all magic in the Four Lands, Rigam used to be a top dog in Eventine's army, but has had a major change of heart after watching his people slaughtered in the War of the Races and fighting the Dagda Mor in the War of the Forbidding. This guy does not like magic.

    Will Amberle Be Back in Shannara Chronicles Season 2?

    You may have noticed that Drayton's Amberle isn't on that cast list, but we're not ready to give up hope on her character's non-tree-form return just yet... especially because there is a sneak peek of the character in the new trailer.

    Speaking to SciFiNow about the possible return of Amberle, Brooks teased:

    Yeah, actually, although you might wonder how, and I won’t tell you, but we gave some serious thought to that, and there was a lot of talk about bringing her back out of the tree and so forth, but I said 'No, she’s a tree [laughs], you can’t bring her back, that’s terrible storytelling, you have to find a different way.' So then I told them how they could do it, so we’ll see.

    But yeah, I think she’s signed on for another season or so, and she’ll back for that. I know that she probably wishes she’d gotten a different role, because she really liked the series, but her life was finite in that particular storyline.

    More recently, Brooks told Just Jared Jr. about a possible Amberle (or at least Poppy Drayton) return:

    I will say that once a chosen becomes the ellcrys tree, they are always the tree. You’ll just have to wait and see what happens... 

    Brooks also spoke about what season 2 might look like, particularly if the season will pick up where season 1 ends versus jumping ahead to the events of The Wishsong of Shannara...

    This is an interesting debate that’s ongoing. When I first saw this I thought, 'Well, we should just move on and do a whole new season that involves the next book and forget about this season.' But of course MTV said, 'Are you crazy? We’re building fan support for these actors, we can’t boot them out of there and bring all-new people in!' And I said, 'Well, they could be the same characters, just the children or whatever…' that didn’t work.

    It became clear that they were going to build the story around the actors they have right now, and that was going to be the thrust of the story no matter what. But they are free to remove elements from other books, and I think they will do that. They’ve already been talking about Wishsong and using bits and pieces or large chunks of that storyline and building around the characters they already have, which isn’t too difficult to do. So that’s what they will do. What shows tend to do when adapting books is do the first season and then go off in different directions, so I forsee my duty as being to help them get there in the best way possible.

    Shannara Chronicles Season 2 Synopsis

    MTV also released an official synopsis for the new season of The Shannara Chronicles...

    A year after the events of last season, The Four Lands is in chaos. The re-emergence of magic has the populace terrified, and an organization called The Crimson is hunting down magic users, using fear and intimidation to sow discord among the races.

    Wil, scarred by the loss of Amberle and his separation from Eretria, has turned his back on his magical destiny to become a healer. But when a mysterious woman named Mareth saves Wil from a Crimson attack, he is forced to rejoin the fight.

    After reuniting with Eretria, Wil and Mareth seek out Allanon, only to learn that the Druid’s former protégé, Bandon, is on a mission to resurrect a creature of darkest evil: The Warlock Lord. Together, our heroes must band together to take down The Crimson and prevent Bandon from unleashing an even greater threat upon the Four Lands, before it’s too late.

    Though we'll have to wait until October to see the new episodes on their new home, the show has officially finished filming it second season in New Zealand...


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  • 08/31/17--16:07: The Best Batmobiles Ever
  • Batman's wheels are almost as iconic as he is. But which of his Batmobiles is the finest?

    Feature Dan Cooper
    Aug 31, 2017

    Robin:“I want a car. Chicks dig the car.”

    Batman:“This is why Superman works alone.”

    Man, how we marvelled at the Dark Knight as he responded to Robin’s whining about wanting wheels of his own in 1997’s Batman & Robin. Yes it was the opening scene of the movie and true, we’d already experienced a higher latex-clad buttocks to screen time ratio than in your average imported specialist German exotica but still, that line… it hinted at the beginnings of a shared universe where Batman and Superman might one day occupy the same screen, sending us into raptures of possibility-flavored wonderment.

    Looking back at the garish daftness that followed, that first minute of the film was probably the best bit. We’d wait another 19 years, of course, for Batman and Superman to finally unite on screen and like Batman & Robin, that was a bit of an anti-climax as well. That said, almost 20 years later, the Boy Wonder’s point still stands: chicks do dig the car. It isn’t just baby hens and comic book geeks that enjoy the stylings of Batman’s most recognizable mode of transport either; since its first appearance in the 1940s, the Caped Crusader’s ride has become the most iconic vehicle in all of popular culture.

    Unlike Back To The Future’s DeLorean which was purposefully designed to be at least a little bit unsightly, or K.I.T.T., Knight Rider’s robot car that wouldn’t last five minutes in this hack-filled Mr. Robotworld, the Batmobile has always represented the perfect blend of vehicular form and function.

    Well, mostly perfect anyway. Batman hasn’t always got it right down the years, the Batmobile in the aforementioned Batman & Robin being an example. With its unshielded, open cockpit, Bats’ ride not only left his head horribly exposed to snipers, debris and terrible Arnold Schwarzenegger jokes, but the fuselage vents exposing the neon-shaded engine components made it look like the kind of car that Ozzy Osbourne might roll up in if he was making an appearance on a Fast And The Furious-themed episode of WackyRaces.

    Let's give Batman a break though. After all, he's a busy guy. Let's stick to the positives and examine the six greatest Batmobiles to have graced both page and screen.

    6. The BatQuitely

    So it was inevitable, right? This list had to feature at least one flying Batmobile. I can already hear the howls of indignation that the Batman Beyond iteration isn’t featured here instead but honestly, that flying car was so advanced (Mach Three, anyone?) that it wasn’t really a car anymore. This one however (in spite of its flight capability), very much is. It also features on here as it’s also the only Batmobile on this list to be built by a child (and yet it isn’t colored like a rainbow, festooned with unicorn horns and made entirely out of chocolate).

    In Bruce Wayne’s absence from Gotham following the events of Batman R.I.P. - the mantle of the Bat is taken up by Dick Grayson with Bruce’s son, Damian as the Boy Wonder. Damian uses his father’s plans to construct a Batmobile that reflects the uneven nature of the new Dynamic Duo: it lacked the muscular, aggressive styling of previous incarnations but proved itself more than able in the heat of battle on several occasions. It also raised the question of why Chris O’Donnell didn’t just build a car for himself in Batman & Robin if he was so enamoured by Batman’s wheels.

    O’Donnell was 27 when he played the ‘Boy’ Wonder; the character of Damian Wayne was around ten when he built his first Batmobile. And it could fly. Frankly, if O’Donnell represented the calibre of sidekick in Schumacher’s Bat-verse, it was little wonder that Superman chose to work alone.

    Scoring extra points for its Bat-shaped cockpit and for continuing a cool comic book tradition of red internal cockpit lighting, this was a unique aesthetic take on the Batmobile for what proved to be a very unique partnership. Boasting homing missiles and transforming fins that locked into flight position (like something out of M.A.S.K.) this car was certainly an different spin on the classic design. Did I mention it was built by a ten year old?

    5. The BatBreyfogle

    The '90s were a strange time in comics. The boom/bust period hit its peak as Marvel and DC killed off and resurrected their A-list heroes in a market-destroying cycle of rampant commercialism. Mullets were cool (even Superman had one for a while) and there were pouches… endless amounts of pouches. Of course you couldn’t really stick pouches and a ridiculous haircut on a Batmobile, and yet this comic book incarnation was still very much a product of its era.

    With its ultra-sleek design, accentuated by the canopy’s seamless integration into the dynamic lines of the hood, the vehicle was somewhat reminiscent of the Lamborghini Countach, a design aesthetic further emphasised by the boxy, side-mounted air intakes at the cockpit’s rear. Looks aside, from a practical standpoint, this was an excellent vehicle to fight crime with too: the fully-housed wheels meant nobody was shooting out your tires whilst the wraparound cockpit offered excellent visibility. Also, this Batmobile’s relatively compact styling meant that parking in a multi-stories wouldn't be an issue, although generally, in spite of what it must have added to his insurance premium, Batman tended to stick with moodily-lit alleys because of his unhealthy obsession with all things shadowy.

    The eye-shaped headlights and rear fins made the whole ensemble look like a demonic bat had mated with a vehicle from Tron. As designs go, it was pretty much flawless, as evidenced by the fact that when Jean Paul Valley took the Mantle of the Bat from Bruce Wayne in the epic Knightfall saga, he developed virtually every aspect of the Batsuit, but Breyogle’s Batmobile? He didn’t touch a single wheel nut.

    4. The BatBarris

    The Batmobile has always been emblematic of the time of its construction. If 1986’s The Dark Knight Returns’ tank was a symbol of a paranoid America bunkering itself away against a possible nuclear conflict with the then-USSR, then the iconic ’66 Batmobile, a born cruiser with its open roof and fetching looks was a car for a simpler, sunnier time. Designed by John Barris on just a few week’s notice for the hit TV show, this car was more than just a looker too: with its on-board phone and integrated computer, dash-mounted screen and rear-facing camera the vehicle was actually a pretty accurate approximation of what cars would look like fifty years in the future… apart from the atomic engine of course, which pretty much made the car a mobile-nuke-in-waiting.

    Despite being a continent-wide extinction-level event on wheels, everyone seemed pretty pleased when the Batmobile rolled by, in part due to what a great looking ride it was. Like any car from Batman’s fleet, the Barrismobile was also capable of a trick or two: quick-turning mechanisms, anti-pursuit measures, a battering ram, the list goes on. While not quite the Tumbler in the aggression stakes, this car was certainly no slouch and more than a match for the foes of its day. If looks alone were the sole arbiter of this list then the ’66 Batmobile would finish first by a clear nose. However, with the atomic engine being something of a danger to the entire Western seaboard and another example of the clearly-irresponsible open cockpit design, one of Bats’ best looking rides can only race home in fourth.

    3. The BatTimm

    If we were giving out awards for style then this Batmobile from The Animated Series would surely be top of the heap. In the wake of Batman’s success on the silver screen (thanks to Tim Burton and his early '90s gothic reimagining of the Dark Knight), Bruce Timm, Paul Dino and the rest of the creative team behind this much beloved show were awarded creative license to give Batman a makeover. While The Animated Series retained some of the gothic stylings of the movies and the anachronistic period dress, in came a grand, sweeping art deco style, reflected in the architecture, the aesthetic… and the Batmobile.

    Like other elements of the series (such as Catwoman having blonde hair in a little nod to Michelle Pfieffer’s Selina Kyle), the show took cues from the movies before adding its own dash of inimitable style. The Batmobile was no exception either. It was long, lean and built around a turbine engine much like the car from Burton’s movies; with a sleek, streamlined hood that seemed to go on forever and the front axle placed even closer to the car’s grille than its cinematic counterpart, this Batmobile’s wheelbase was absurdly long.

    And yet it worked beautifully. Owning the road like no other car on this list, The Animated Series' Batmobile looked like the kind of wheels a head of state should be cruising the roads of his city in, if that head of state had a fixation on bats and vigilante justice, which of course, Batman does. This Batmobile had it going on underneath that long, long hood as well. Not having to worry too much about real-world physics, the car’s designers crammed it full of cool Bat-technology: reversible jet exhausts, missile launchers, grappling hooks and all sorts of anti-pursuit toys made this iteration of Bats’ ride a force to be reckoned with. It even got an episode centered around it too: The Mechanic explored how the Batmobile came to be, answering that age old question: Where does he get those wonderful toys?

    2. The Tumbler

    No Batmobile in the title here because as you’re no doubt aware, this beast of a vehicle was never actually christened with such a title. Avoiding anything even remotely hokey from this vehicle’s design (including the name ‘Batmobile’), the Tumbler is the one entry this list that sacrifices eye-pleasing form in the sole pursuit of function.

    Ironically enough, it was this focused design principle that has made the vehicle so popular to Batmobile buffs. Lacking rear fins, grille-mounted bat heads or any of the other aesthetic accoutrements that we’ve become used to down the years, the Tumbler was all mean: a 5.7 litre Chevy engine boasting over 400 bhp; a propane-fuelled jet engine that allowed it to make rampless jumps and enough armor plating to cruise this old jalopy through South Central L.A. draped in gang colors and not even sweat it. Black was the order of the day here though, (the only real concession to the Batmobiles of Batman’s past) although it did come in a nifty camouflage flavour too as we saw in Rises when Bane commandeered one for himself.

    And what of gadgets? No self-respecting Batmobile could hope to feature so high on this list without holding a few aces up its sleeve and the Tumbler didn’t disappoint: auto cannons, rocket launcher, the aforementioned rampless jump system, a super-cool ‘stealth’ mode that Batman used to great effect to evade the police in Begins and of course a concealed getaway vehicle in the case of catastrophic damage as we saw in The Dark Knight. It’s been said before that Nolan’s films are a post-9/11 reimagining of the Caped Crusader, and the no-frills Tumbler was the clearest representation of a Batman that was all about getting business done in a world without rules.

    It wasn’t the first time that the World’s Greatest Detective had modified a tank for his purposes: Arkham Knight is a key example as is 1986’s The Dark Knight Returns (although he kind of negated its purpose by getting out to fight the mutant leader face to face,) although the Tumbler was certainly the best in-class when it came to armoured transport. As such, this iconic ride wins the award for best repurposed military technology and places high on this list.

    1. The BatFurst

    The only Batmobile on the list to have won an Oscar races home in pole position, winning by a beautifully-sculpted nose. The long, sleek lines on this gothic hellhound were designed by Anton Furst, who scooped the Academy Award for his art production on Tim Burton’s dark and fantastical Batman. He sadly passed away in 1991 but prior to that he was unable to work on the series’ second instalment due to contractual obligations. It’s pretty telling that despite something of a redesign for the city itself (at the request of the studio, Gotham was subtly altered in Batman Returns to make it seem less oppressive), Bo Welch, the lead designer on the sequel left the Batmobile well alone. Yes, a redesign might have sold more toys (as evidenced by stylistic decisions in the subsequent movies) but toys do not a good Batmobile make. Go look at Batman Forever and Batman & Robin if you doubt the truthfulness of that statement.

    Furst described his Batmobile as "a knight in armor", and as a crime-fighting ‘war machine’ it made for one hell of a steed. Practical it wasn’t, but when you have a car which is essentially bodywork housed atop an aviation jet turbine, who really cares? "Pure expressionism" was another way in which Furst described his creation and with its impractical length, ridiculously lowered suspension and insane propulsion system he was right. This Batmobile was as much a part of the gothic hellscape, whose streets it snarled along as the Batman himself. With Browning machine guns, plastic explosive, grappling-hook turn systems and a tamper-proof cocoon system, it had the necessary gadgets to survive the mean streets of Gotham. As such, it represents the prefect blend of form and function and takes its place atop the podium as the greatest Batmobile of all time.

    I just wish I could find one on Auto Trader.

    The Best of the Rest:

    So, with the champagne sufficiently sprayed and the garlanded winners herded off to a media suite to face a series of banal questions, which of Bats’ legendary rides were left to sob, alone in the abandoned pit lane, and more importantly, why?

    Truth be told, I flipped-flopped on Synder’s Batmobile so many times throughout the writing of this article that taking it out once more makes me feel like I’m in some Ouspenky-style time loop like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. It’s a cool amalgamation of past Batmobiles while being something new entirely: put it on the list! It’s a mobile murder machine that undermines everything that the Batman character is supposed to be: take it off the list! It looks kind of cool, if not in a slightly try-hard way: put it back on the list! The Batmobile from the Arkham games is way better: take it off the list!

    Ultimately, I took it off the list permanently for similar reasons to the Arkham Batmobile. Although I might be in the minority at Den of Geek on this one, the car-to-tank conversion in that game felt just a little bit too much like a Transformers game and the wanton death and destruction that Snyder and Rocksteady dealt out with their Batmobiles strayed too far from the character’s core. In the case of Arkham Knight, the rock ‘em, sock ‘em Batmobile also created an imbalance in the game, negating the stealth and wits approach of the first two Arkham titles and ultimately hurting the game’s character as well as the gameplay balance too.

    Others that almost made the grade were the aforementioned Batman Beyond iteration of the Batmobile, The Brave And The Bold’s sleek, multi-era hybrid and the New 52 ride from Court Of Owls which is a beautiful-looking car. Finally, Neal Adam’s understated design deserves an honorable mention. The plainest-looking Batmobile of the bunch still had it where it counted but allowed the Dark Knight to operate without fanfare in the grittier, more realistic climes of seventies-era Gotham. Beyond the sparse, concealed gadgets though, the car looked like a fairly stock Corvette. Which of course, begs the question: Why didn't Chris O’Donnell just build himself one of those?


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    The long in development Titans live action TV series will premiere in 2018, and Brenton Thwaites will play Dick Grayon aka Robin..

    News Mike Cecchini
    Aug 31, 2017

    A few years back, word got around of a Nightwing and the Teen Titans TV series, known simply as Titans, that Warner Bros. Pictures was developing for cable network TNT. Akiva Goldsman wrote a pilot script (we have some details on that here), and things were moving along before the plug was pulled. We figured this project was dead. It turns, out, Warner Bros. was just biding their time. Instead, Titanswill be one of the centerpieces (along with Young Justice Season 3) of a new, subscription digital TV service that will launch in 2018.

    Here's the official synopsis for Titans:

    Titans follows a group of young soon-to-be Super Heroes recruited from every corner of the DC Universe. In this action-packed series, Dick Grayson emerges from the shadows to become the leader of a fearless band of new heroes, including Starfire, Raven, and many others. Titans is a dramatic, live-action adventure series that will explore and celebrate one of the most popular comic book teams ever.

    Akiva Goldsman (Underground, the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery, and, of course, Batman and Robin) is back as writer, which makes us wonder how much of that original pilot script remains, along with DC President and CCO Geoff Johns, and DC TV guru Greg Berlanti. Goldsman, Johns, Berlanti will be joined by Sarah Schechter (ArrowLegends of Tomorrow, The Flash, Supergirl) as executive producers of the series from Weed Road Pictures and Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.

    No word yet on whether this takes place in the same universe as the other DC superhero TV shows, but given the "multiverse" approach we've seen so far, it's a safe bet.

    Titans Cast

    According to Deadline, Brenton Thwaites (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) has been cast as Dick Grayson, the first and most famous Robin the Boy Wonder. Grayson is the leader of the Teen Titans in the comics and so it will be on the show, which has also cast Starfire and Raven.

    “Dick Grayson is one of the most important and iconic heroes in the DC universe, and it wasn’t easy to find him but we have,” said DC president Geoff Johns. “Brenton has the emotional depth, heart, danger and physical presence of Batman’s former protege and the Titans’ future leader. We’re extremely lucky he’s chosen to bring his talents to this project and this character.”

    Anna Diop (24: Legacy) has been cast as Starfire (via Deadline). The TV version of Starfire is "an alien princess from a warrior planet who seeks asylum on Earth. A no-nonsense, take-no-prisoners stranger on our world, Starfire has the ability to shoot energy bolts and fly. Searching for her place on Earth, she’ll come into contact with the Titans." 

    We think this earlier casting breakdown (see below for details) is also about Starfire...

    Casey is a tall, stunning woman, her beauty so magnificent it’s almost inhuman. Elegant, refined and mysterious, she is on the hunt to discover who is trying to kill her and why. And those after her are in for a surprise because she’s more deadly than anyone they’ve ever encountered…

    Raven, "the daughter of a demon, is a powerful empath who must keep her emotions in check or risk unleashing her demonic side," is the first member of the team to be cast. Deadline broke the news that 13-year-old Teagan Croft has scored the role.

    Here's an earlier casting breakdown for Raven (see below for details) that sheds some more light on what to expect...

    Troubled, bullied, often scared but unwilling to show it, Sarah is a loner more comfortable hiding in her hoodie than making friends. Haunted by a dark force inside her, Sarah experiences violent episodes that she cannot understand or control. She is also plagued by recurring nightmares that lead her across the country in search of help.

    As far as the roster goes, the "and many others" from that synopsis is worth noting. Goldsman's previous Titans pilot script also included Barbara Gordon and Hawk and Dove. Geoff Johns tweeted that we can expect Beast Boy in the lineup this time, as well, and now there's some evidence for that.

    The folks at That Hashtag Show have scored casting breakdowns for the series, which gives us an idea of who will be coming to the party.

    The first is "John Crossland" which is totally code for Dick Grayson...

    Male, late 20s-early 30s, Caucasian. Equal parts charm and impenetrability, John is a cop. He has a nice smile, tired eyes and a cool, distant manner. However, when provoked, his eyes are so lethal “they drain a man of every last bit of spleen.” John is haunted by the murder of his family. Unbeknownst to those around him, he is also a vigilante. In the shadows, he fights with the commitment and conviction of an artist, the brutal grace of a dancer. Mentally and physically, he is covered in a map of scars. And though he fights to escape his past, it is often a losing battle…SERIES LEAD

    And then there's "Jax" who sounds like Beast Boy to us...

    Male, Mid-late teens, Open Ethnicity, Asian preferred. Funny and charming, this amateur thief’s humor hides his insecurities and past pain. Not the toughest kid on the streets, he’s learned to survive in the world with his wit and quick-thinking…SERIES REGULAR

    We'll update this with more information as it becomes available, but this is very exciting news!

    Titans Release Date

    All we know is that this is coming in 2018!


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    We take a look back at how Universal promoted one of the first Marvel movies...Howard the Duck.

    Feature Chris Cummins
    Sep 1, 2017

    One might say that Howard the Duck is one of the most (unfairly) maligned films of the 1980s. As something of a Duckologist myself, I'd like to point out that the film is definitely stranger and funnier than you probably remember.

    So why was it such a bomb?

    Well, its flirtation with beastiality aside, I think one of the main reasons Howard the Duck flopped when it was released back on August 1, 1986, was that the marketing campaign was terrible.

    Let's take a look...

    The first look audiences were given of the film is this bizarre teaser in which Lea Thompson's Beverly Switzler character coos about wanting to fornicate with a waterfowl. By judging the movie on this footage alone, you'd be forgiven if you thought that Howard the Duck was an especially kinky teen comedy. As they proved with their previous script for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, director Williard Hyuck and producer Gloria Katz were huge fans of wild tonal shifts in their work. For the second Indy adventure, the levity worked given that the film featured hearts being forcibly extracted from chests.

    Watch Howard the Duck on Amazon

    But seeing how Howard the Duck is, above all else, a comedy, it is especially jarring when things get bleak (i.e. the Dark Overlord brutally executes a state trooper). Couple this with the almost sex scene between Beverly and Howard, and you've got a marketing nightmare on your hands. And so Universal tried to pitch the flick as a wild comedic adventure for the whole family with the full trailer:

     

    Wauuuugh! Okay, so it shouldn't have to be said, but if the star of your movie is a 3-foot-tall duck, maybe don't introduce him to the world by sleazily stating that his primary interests are "cigars and sex." (Unless your film is actively courting the fetish/furry subculture).

    As a hodgepodge of so many genres, Howard the Duck was a tough sell to say the least. Making matters worse is the appearance of Howard himself. During the production of the film, many ulcers were spawned by fears that audiences wouldn't pay money to see a film whose lead was a person in a duck suit. Therefore, the decision was made to hold back the appearance of Howard as long as possible.

    So now the marketing team had another issue to contend with: figuring out how to sell the film without being able to show Howard. Their solution to this dilemma? By focusing on his attitude instead of his appearance. Thus, the Duck Calls phone line was born.

    During the summer of 1986, you could dial 1-900-410-DUCK and listen to Howard tell you about the movie, its characters and his adventures on Earth. Some of these calls featured "conversations" between Howard and his co-stars that had the duck interacting with movie dialogue a la the novelty songs of Dickie Goodman. The puns featured in these ads are beyond painful, and Chip Zien, the voice of Howard, seems outwardly hostile to callers. Every day leading up to the film's release a new recording was featured on the hotline...all of them equally terrible.

    Being a Howard the Duck superfan back in 1986, I would have lost my mind had I known I could call Howard and have him berate me for for $1.99 a minute. Alas, I didn't even know the phoneline existed until a few years ago when someone was nice/demented enough to upload all of the calls to YouTube.

    Believe it or not, this wasn't the oddest way Universal tried to market the film. That dubious honor goes to a promotional tie-in with Budweiser in which the King of Beers was named as Howard's drink of choice on a special movie poster that was apparently a big hit with beer distributors and second run movie theaters on Skid Row. Sheesh.

    See?

    Then there was the soundtrack. A huge part of Howard the Duck's enduring appeal is Thomas Dolby's soundtrack to the film. From the great new wave of "Hunger City" to the low-rent Prince stylings of "Don't Turn Away" and the genuine earworm that is the title track, the music of the movie has earned its own cult following over the years.

    But did you realize there was actually a music video made for the "Howard the Duck" theme song?

    Once again, Universal's hesitance to show off their lead is on display. Oddly enough, this clip was released around the same time that the film hit theaters, making their unwillingness to spotlight Howard even more confusing. By this time, the duck was out of the bag as it were, so why not just embrace his goofiness? Howard's loss was Tim Robbins' gain, as the future Oscar winner gets some valuable mugging time in front of the cameras here.

    Universal's lack of confidence in Howard the Duck also resulted in there not being much merchandise based on the film. Other than the aforementioned soundtrack, a line of Topps trading cards, a candy dispenser, and some books -- including Ellis Weiner's smart novelization of the flick -- there wasn't much for Howard's few fans to puchase in the summer of 1986. Even from Marvel Comics, who crapped out an awful adaptation of the flick and a new, Steve Gerber-less, issue in which, irony alert, Howard finds himself coping with his new fame. (Note to Funko/Super 7: Can you right a wrong and please do a Howard the Duck Re-Action Figures line?)

    So here we are, 30 years later and Howard the Duck is suddenly a viable property again. Whether his appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy is just some quick fan service or a harbinger of a redemption that is yet to come, it is most welcome to have him back. Hopefully the powers that be will treat him better this time around...

    This article orginally appeared in June of 2015.


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    Getting confused about all the new additions to the Harry Potter universe? Here's a guide to help...

    Feature Kayti Burt
    Sep 1, 2017

    Recently, it seems like the Harry Potter canon universe is expanding faster than an occamy in a Quidditch stadium. Every time you turn your head, there's a new movie, story, or digital adventure from J.K. Rowling that expands her wizarding world. Frankly, it can be hard to keep track, so we've created this handy guide to explain all the different directions the Harry Potter universe is currently heading in... 

    The Movie Prequels

    Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

    You're probably already well aware of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise and its place in the Harry Potter universe. The Fantastic Beasts franchise will include five films (as of right now) and will tell the story of Gellert Grindelwald's slow, scary rise to power between 1926 and 1945.

    With Dumbledore coming in as a character, Fantastic Beasts is firmly situated as a prequel/spinoff within the Harry Potter universe. And as the first film is set 70 years prior to the events of Harry Potter, it presumably won't catch up with the boy wizard, but still informs the world he is born into.

    On Stage

    Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

    This past summer, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child premiered on the West End stage to rave reviews. The story, written by Jack Thorne, is set 19 years following Harry's seventh year at Hogwarts, and tells the story of adult Harry Potter and his school-age son, Albus Potter. 

    The Cursed Child is very much a sequel to the Harry Potter books, catching up with most of the characters we know and love from the orignal series (but, seriously, where is Neville?). It was released in script form for worldwide audiences, and will be making its Broadway debut in New York with much of the original West End cast in April.

    Digital Content

    Pottermore Articles

    Though many of the items on this list are newer additions to Harry Potter canon, Pottermore articles have been a thing since 2011 when the website was first launched. Though the site is perhaps best known for its fun digital experiences like Discover Your Patronus and the Sorting Hat, the self-described "digitial heart of the Wizarding World" also publishes previously unreleased details about the Potter-verse from J.K. Rowling herself. These have included: "The Original Forty," "History of Magic in North America," and "Dumbledore's Army Reunites at Quidditch World Cup Final."

    Pottermore Presents

    Pottermore recently released three ebooks called Pottermore Presents that give a glimpse into the "dark side" of the wizarding world: Power, Politics, and Pesky Poltergeists; Heroism, Hardship, and Dangerous Hobbies; and Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide. The ebooks are ostensibly a compilation of articles that are already on the Pottermore site, but in a perhaps easier-to-access, more manageable form. Topics discussed include the history of Azkaban, McGonagall's role in the second wizarding war, and Hogwarts ghosts.

    Harry Potter In-Universe Books

    Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (the book)

    The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them book was originally published in 2001 as an in-universe guide to magical creatures written by famed magizoologist Newt Scamander. Fantastic Beasts is actually one of Harry Potter's schoolbooks for his first year at Hogwarts and the published version is meant to be Harry's own copy, with notes from Harry and Ron included in the margins.

    Quidditch Through the Ages

    Qudditch Through the Ages was released at the same time as Fantastic Beasts as part of a fundraiser for the British charity Comic Relief. The book is a history of the wizarding game and is first mentioned as a Hogwarts library book in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. It is written by Quidditch expert Kennilworthy Whisp (but, really, by Rownling).

    The Tales of Beedle the Bard

    The Tales of Beedle Bard is another in-universe Potter book that plays a notable role in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when Dumbledore leaves it for Hermione in his will. A collection of wizarding children's stories, The Tales of Beedle the Bard included "The Wizard and the Hopping Pot,""Babbity Rabbity and Her Cackling Stump," and "The Tale of the Three Brothers." It's that last one, and its connection to the deathly hallows, that is so important. The book was originally handwritten by Rowling in only seven copies. After Amazon purchased it for $3 million in auction in 2007, it was released to the general public in 2008.

    What's next?

    Well, we know that we will be getting four more prequel films in the Fantastic Beasts series and Pottermore doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. The most pertinent piece of information when it comes to the future of the Harry Potter universe might not be J.K. Rowling herself (though she still does wield a huge amount of power over the Potterverse), but the relatively new Harry Potter Global Franchise Development Team.

    Warner Bros has appointed Polly Cochrane as Chief Marketing Officer for the Harry Potter Global Franchise Development Team. The corporate group seems to be marketing focused, but will cover future films, the Warner Bros Studio Tour in London, theme parks, and "Harry Potter digital products" such as the Pottermore website, working on "strategy, marketing and business development for the franchises." That phrase really takes the magic out of it, doesn't it?

    Does the appointment of a Harry Potter Global Franchise Development Team symbolize a continued turn away from the single-vision mode of the original series? Or is it simply in place to pester Rowling to create more stuff and promote anything that does come out of the author's mind? We'll have to wait and see.

    For many, the extension of the Fantastic Beasts franchise to five versus the originally-planned three films, as well as the recent explosion in new content within the Potterverse, is a money grab. Personally, I don't think a longer story is inherently a weaker story— though of course this decision has to do with money. Whether because Warner Bros. finally wore Rowling down or the author herself is simply interested in returning to the Potterverse, we do seem to be heading into a canon-extending period (and a period that may test our definition of the word "canon") for the Harry Potter universe. Whether that is a good or a bad thing, remains to be seen. 


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    Looking for the coolest and most essential Star Wars merch to buy on Force Friday II? Our guide is here to help!

    The Lists Den of Geek Staff
    Sep 1, 2017

    Happy Force Friday! If you're like us, you've been waiting for this very special Star Wars day for quite some time. With so many new books, toys, Lego sets, and cool apparel headed our way from a galaxy far, far away, Christmas has definitely come early for Star Wars fans. 

    Den of Geek has gone through the catalogs and found the essential merch you need to nab on this Force Friday. Check out our picks below and make sure to click on the ORANGE links to go directly to the stores!

    Here we go:

    Books

    Leia, Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray

    The never-before-told story of how young Leia Organa comes to join the rebellion against the evil Empire, from best-selling author Claudia Gray, who wrote the fantastic Lost Stars and Bloodline novels. 

    The Legends of Luke Skywalker by Ken Liu

    As a cargo ship rockets across thegalaxy to Canto Bight, the deckhands on board trade stories about legendary JediKnight Luke Skywalker. But are the stories of iconic and mysterious Luke Skywalker true, or merely tall tales passed from one corner of the galaxy toanother? Is Skywalker really a famous Jedi hero, an elaborate charlatan,or even part droid? The deckhands will have to decide for themselves when they hear The Legends of Luke Skywalker.

    Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson

    One of the most cunning and merciless officers of the First Order, Captain Phasma commands the favor of her superiors, the respect of her peers, and the terror of her enemies. But for all her renown, Phasma remains as virtually unknown as the impassive expression on her gleaming chrome helmet. Now, an adversary is bent on unearthing her mysterious origins—and exposing a secret she guards as zealously and ruthlessly as she serves her masters.

    Deep inside the Battlecruiser Absolution, a captured Resistance spy endures brutal interrogation at the hands of a crimson-armored stormtrooper—Cardinal. But the information he desires has nothing to do with the Resistance or its covert operations against the First Order.

    What the mysterious stormtrooper wants is Phasma’s past—and with it whatever long-buried scandal, treachery, or private demons he can wield against the hated rival who threatens his own power and privilege in the ranks of the First Order. His prisoner has what Cardinal so desperately seeks, but she won’t surrender it easily. As she wages a painstaking war of wills with her captor, bargaining for her life in exchange for every precious revelation, the spellbinding chronicle of the inscrutable Phasma unfolds. But this knowledge may prove more than just dangerous once Cardinal possesses it—and once his adversary unleashes the full measure of her fury.

    Toys

    Hasbro BB-8 2-in-1 Mega Playset

    This BB-8 playset sort of reminds us of Kenner's good old Darth Vader Action Figure Collector's Case from the 80s. 

    Itty Bitty Plush Toys

    We put this on the list because why wouldn't you want the creepiest plush toy ever brought to the market? The Snoke Itty Bitty Plush Toy is the stuff of nightmares. 

    Black Series Rey

    You probably have Force Awakens Rey already. It's probably a good idea to get the new Black Series Rey featuring her getup from The Last Jedi

    Black Series Grand Admiral Thrawn

    Grand Admiral Thrawn has made a big comeback into the official continuity of Star Wars since his introduction in the Rebels animated series. Now you can have this awesome Black Series figure of the ruthless Chiss Imperial officer. 

    Black Series Supreme Leader Snoke

    Again, Supreme Leader Snoke is super creepy, and we're going to finally see him in the flesh in The Last Jedi. Black Series has given us a bit of a preview with this combo set that comes with Snoke's throne. 

    Black Series Rose Tico

    Rose Tico is one of the new characters featured in The Last Jedi. That alone should make you want to get this action figure. 


    Praetorian Guard Action Figure

    The Sequel Trilogy's version of the menacing red armor-clad warriors from Return of the Jedi. The design is very cool. Time to buy this action figure. 

    Star Wars C-3PO and R2-D2 with Bb-8 Artfx+

    Your favorite droids are here in this awesome trio! Have them on your desk so they can watch you work for eternity.

    Get 'em at the Fandango Fanshop!

    Star Wars Forces of Destiny Rey of Jakku Extendable Staff

    Twirl this staff like the brave and true Rey herself!

    Scoop it up here!

     


    Star Wars Funko Pop! Figures

    Is it really a collection of fan merch if these vinyls aren't involved?

    There are over a dozen to choose from here.

    Lego

    Kylo Ren's TIE Fighter 

    In The Last Jedi, Kylo Ren is going to fly a TIE fighter like his uncle and grandfather before him. This TIE fighter takes a cue from his personal transport ship. 

    Resistance Bomber 

    The beloved B-Wing was missing from The Force Awakens. But don't worry! The Resistance Bomber looks like the closest thing to the classic fighter. Rumor has it that the A-Wing will also return in The Last Jedi

    First Order Heavy Assault Walker

    A new type of AT-AT. Do we have to say more?

    First Order Star Destroyer

    Everyone loves a Star Destroyer. Well, except if you're a Rebel or a Resistance fighter, of course. Regardless, how about you take a stab at building this First Order ship?

    Millennium Falcon

    The Falcon! 'Nuff said.

    Tech

    Plox Levitating Death Star Bluetooth Speaker

    Not bound by the laws of gravity, the Levitating Death Star Speaker is the ideal size for anyone hoping to bring a touch of the dark side to their lives. The gravity-defying orb hovers and rotates over a magnetic base, all while providing 360 degrees of uncompromising sound!

    Key features of the Levitating Death Star Bluetooth Speaker include:

    · Gravity-defying orb rotates above a magnetic base to truly levitate
    · 360-degree uncompromising sound quality
    · Up to 5 hours of continuous playback on Bluetooth
    · Can be used as a portable speaker without the base

    Sphero BB-9E

    There’s a new disturbance in the Force. BB-9E is a menacing astromech droid of the First Order. Control your BB-9E App-Enabled Droid with your smart device or watch it patrol on its own. BB-9E houses sophisticated tech, allowing it to roll and move his dome just like on-screen, and its strong exterior allows the First Order droid to weather any battle. This vigilant and intimidating droid is always on high alert.

    BB-9E specializes in keeping starships and machinery fully operational with its many features. Keep BB-9E sharp with the augmented reality Droid Trainer and explore holographic simulations from the Star Wars galaxy. Watch BB-9E interact with other Star Wars App-Enabled Droids by Sphero, and view films from the Star Wars saga with BB-9E reacting by your side. This is NOT the droid you’re looking for… it’s the droid that’s looking for you.

    Jedi Challenges AR Experience

    Duel with Kylo Ren from the comfort of your living room! Lenovo has created a new AR headset that allows you to live out some of the greatest moments from the saga. You can even play Holochess!

    Apparel

    Fifth Sun 

    EVERYONE NEEDS THAT PORG SHIRT!


    Star Wars x Loungefly Darth Vader Cosplay Mini Faux Leather Backpack

    Go to class, work, or intergalactic missions in style with this awesome lil' backpack!

    Grab it here.


    Star Wars 8-bit Character Black Hat

    Reveal that you're someone's father figure, but in a retro, '90s kind of way.

    Swipe this pixelated goodness here!

    GAP

    Chewie hoodie, anyone?

    Her Universe

    Her Universe has a cold shoulder raglan style tee with The Last Jedi artwork on the front and a “tour” style list of each Star Wars film in chronological order on the back. Pretty rad.

    Spencer's Darth Vader and Boba Fett Hats

    If you can't get your hands on a Boba Fett helmet this weekend, you may at least get a hat with Boba on it!

    Note: if you click the links in this article, our site gets a bit of support. It's totally up to you, though! 

    Read and download the full Den of Geek Special Edition magazine here!


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    From crime novels to non-fiction, J.K. Rowling has found some time to write outside of the Potterverse.

    FeatureKayti Burt
    Sep 1, 2017

    J.K. Rowling will always be best known for her stories about a boy wizard and the world he inhabits, but she has written several works outside of the Harry Potter universe. If you'd like to see what Rowling's writing is like when she is not telling a story about wizards, check out one of these books...

    The Casual Vacancy

    The Casual Vacancy is a contemporary novel that touches on many of the issues Rowling couldn't easily put in Harry Potter: drugs, prostitution, rape, the list goes on. This is not a novel for those looking for a Potter-like escape, but it is a deftly told story that addresses some of the biggest social issues of modern Britain in bleak, insightful ways.

    The premise? When a well-known local politician dies suddenly, the town of Pagford is thrown into an unexpected politic struggle over the question of who will fill his council seat, exposing the social fractures of the seemingly sleepy English town. The plot is told in seven parts (one for each Horcrux), and is definitely a slow burn, but it actually works as an interesting companion to Harry Potter.

    Buy The Casual Vacancy on Amazon

    I have heard several people mention The Casual Vacancy's interpretation of modern Britain as the Muggle world Dudley Dursley inherits, the one Harry doesn't have to live in because of his magical escape, and I think that is a fascinating framework. Don't go into this novel if you're looking for something like Harry Potter, though. There is no magic here. Only the unflinching mundane.

    The Casual Vacancy was made into a BBC/HBO miniseries starring Rory Kinnear, Emily Bevan (Amy from the wonderful In the Flesh), and Michael Gambon last year, if that's more your speed. You can check out the for The Casual Vacancy trailer here.

    The Cormoran Strike Detective Series

    Written under the pen name Robert Galbraith, the Cormoran Strike series follow the adventures of London-based private detective Cormoran Strike, a surly war veteran and illegitimate son of a famous rock star. Injured both physically and psychologically in the warm, Strike uses the skills he developed as a Special investigation Branch officer in the military to crack cases the police are unable to solve.

    The crime series has three installments so far: The Cuckoo's Calling, The Silkworm, and Career of Evil. Rowling is currently working on the fourth book in the series, which will hopefully be out sometime in 2017.

    Buy The Cuckoo's Calling on Amazon

    The Cormoran Strike series is not doing anything new in the crime genre, but it does include two interesting main characters and some clever cases, using an old-fashioned structure to explore contemporary issues, like celebrity culture, privacy, and a boundary-crossing press. The series is currently being made into a seven-part series by BBC and HBO. More on that here.

    Very Good Lives (and other non-fiction)

    In addition to her novels and screenwriting, Rowling has written many non-fiction essays, book introductions, and op-eds. Her arguably most well-known pieces of non-fiction actually started as a speech. In 2008, Rowling delivered the Harvard Commencement address, a 24-minute speech on the "fringe benefits of failure" and the "importance of imagination." Here's a short excerpt: 

    Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared ...

    The power of human empathy, leading to collective action, saves lives, and frees prisoners. Ordinary people, whose personal well-being and security are assured, join together in huge numbers to save people they do not know, and will never meet. My small participation in that process was one of the most humbling and inspiring experiences of my life.

    In the time since, the speech has been published as a book called Very Good Lives, complete with illustrations to accompany the words.

    Buy Very Good Lives on Amazon

    Elsewhere in the non-fiction world, Rowling has written about children's rights and modern-day "orphanages" for The Guardian, reviewed Decca: The Letters of Jessica Mitford for the Telegraph, and wrote a profile on Gordon Brown for Time Magazine.

    Her Twitter account

    If this seems like a weak ploy to add another item to this list, then you've obviously never stopped by Rowling's Twitter handle. The woman was born to snark, criticize, and empower in 140 characters. If you are a Harry Potter fan, then you already know how witty and insightful Rowling can be, but if you need a quick example, just read a sample of her tweets...

    Have you read any of Rowling's non-Potterverse work? Do you have a favorite? Sound off in the comments below...


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    The Inhumans, Marvel's Royal Family, will soon make their TV debut. These comics will help expand their world.

    The Lists Marc Buxton
    Sep 4, 2017

    After decades of being a fascinating but minor part of the Marvel Universe, the Inhumans have stepped up in a big way. Originally created as supporting characters to the Fantastic Four, the Inhumans were an early attempt to expand the length and breadth of the Marvel Universe, and allowed the great mind of Jack Kirby to stretch his imagination by building a lost civilization, a motif he would return to in the pages of New Gods, The Eternals, and Kamandi.

    During the Inhumans' rich history, some of comic’s greatest creators have taken their shots at the lost tribe, and recently Marvel Comics have shined a spotlight on the greatness of the Inhumans with new Inhuman characters  that have become part of the foundation of the modern day MCU. See for yourself!

    A Star Crossed Romance in the Fantastic Four

    Fantastic Four #45-48 (1965) Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

    The Inhumans arguably appeared during the most creative time in Marvel history. Right before Lee and Kirby sprung Galactus and Silver Surfer on their unsuspecting fan base, they introduced another team that spoke to the boundless creativity of both creators during the pinnacle of the Silver Age. The introduction of the Inhumans was not just another Silver Age story. It was a tale that expanded the Marvel Universe and was fraught with unexpected characters and a fateful love affair that would change the course of two races.

    When an emotional Johnny Storm meets a mysterious redhead, he follows her and meets her family. Revealed as a girl named Crystal, the redhead was part of a race of super-powered beings hidden in the Himalayas.

    The Inhumans, as they called themselves, were forbidden to interact with humans, and as Johnny met each member of the Royal Family, the story grew exponentially. One by one, Lee and Kirby revealed Karnak, a martial arts master, Gorgon, a cloven hoofed powerhouse, Black Bolt, the brooding and silent king of the Inhumans Triton, an aquatic adventurer, and most unexpected of all, Crystal’s sister Medusa, a former member of the Frightful Four, a team of villains that had previously plagued the FF.

    By adding Medusa, Lee and Kirby added an air of foreboding uncertainty to the Royal Family. Were they heroes or villains, and why would they accept a member of the Frightful Four into their midst? By the time it was all over, Marvel had a new team of super-powered anti-heroes granted amazing gifts by the constantly revving story device, the Terrigen Mists, and a mysterious new locale.

    The Inhumans looked like heroes, but there was a mood of danger around them. What kinds of heroes were led by a man who could destroy cities with his voice and harbored known villains? This was the Inhumans, a daring new team of superhumans whose origin would define the cosmic confines of the growing Marvel Universe.

    Buy the original Inhumans stories on Amazon

    The Thor Back Ups

    Thor #146-153 (1967-1968) Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

    The backstory of the Inhumans was certainly mythic in scope. So much so that Lee and Kirby used the characters as a backup feature in Thor. The Inhumans archetypes would be used again by Kirby in other books as his all too brief run on solo Inhumans stories became an unscratched itch for a lost civilization legend.

    Aspects of the noble but tragic ruler of the Inhumans, Black Bolt would later appear in Orion of the New Gods and Icarus of the Eternals. The loyal and regal queen, Medusa, would be mirrored in the Eternals’ Thena. Karnak, the cold and masterful strategist would be reflected in Metron, while aspects of Gorgon, his rage and primal fury, would also be seen in Orion. Even the Shakespearean familial conflict between Black Bolt and his insane brother Maximus the Mad would be thematically explored again in the New Gods’ core conflict between brothers Orion and Kaliback.

    This was one of the first times Lee and Kirby explored the beginnings of the Marvel Universe, a pre-history that expanded the core universe and blurred the edges of its origins. Kirby introduced the concept that the Inhumans were Kree experiments, something that would become key to the Royal Family’s history. Black Bolt and Maximus’s background early tragic relationship was explored and rivals the Thor/Loki dynamic for sheer drama.

    Amazing Adventures #1-10 (1970-1972)

    Jack Kirby, Roy Thomas, Neal Adams, Gerry Conway, Mike Sekowsky

    Spinning directly out of the Thor back-ups, Jack Kirby got to continue his tale in the pages of the anthology title, Amazing Adventures. Reportedly, Jack had been working on an Inhumans title for two years, only to have the it shunted to the back of Thor, which displeased the artist. Be that as it may, the craftsmanship on the Thor back-ups was frenetic, and Kirby’s work on Amazing Adventures was no different.

    Like any anthology of the time, the title sold less than any solo feature, which was a shame, as a Kirby Inhumans book at the dawn of the '70s could have ushered in an era of creative concepts that built off his Fantastic Four and Thor work. Instead, Inhumans became an afterthought in a low-selling anthology.

    That’s not to say the book wasn’t spectacular, as Kirby was at his best. The concept reinvigorated Jack and it was more than clear he wanted the characters to be a major part of Marvel’s past, present, and future. The Inhumans were cast in an eerie light...anti-heroes who did not trust or appreciate the outside world.

    It was a step beyond Marvel’s then recently (and ironically) canceled X-Men because with the Inhumans, the prejudice between their race and humans was completely mutual. Fans didn't know if they could fully trust the Royal Family, and in the first issue, Black Bolt is tricked into believing that the Fantastic Four had shot missiles at their refuge. Readers knew it was Maximus the Mad, Bolt’s insane brother, who committed the act, but casting the Inhumans in the role of hostile other set the tone for the series and many Inhumans appearances to follow. The conflict is resolved by the second issue but it was clear that the Inhumans were ready to go to war with humanity at the slightest provocation...a war they would not have to wait to long for as the next issue saw the Inhumans go up against the Mandarin.

    With the end of the war with the Mandarin, Kirby departed the book with Amazing Adventures #4 and Marvel altogether. As for Amazing Adventures, things were in fantastic creative hands as the future X-Men team of Neal Adams and Roy Thomas took over and cut their teeth on their first group of Marvel outcasts. Adams and Thomas only stuck around for a couple of truly Amazing Adventures (boom), Thomas was replaced by Gerry Conway and Adams was replaced by co-creator of the Justice League Mike Sekowsky.

    All the creators before and after Kirby tried to give readers the sense that the Inhumans were part of the Marvel Universe, co-starring such characters as Thor and Magneto, but fans didn't support the anthology. Not even a title change for the final two issues (to Black Bolt and The Inhumans) could save it.

    Buy Beware The Inhumans on Amazon

    Inhumans (1975-1977)

    Doug Moench, George Perez, Gil Kane, Jack Kirby, Keith Pollard

    Fans didn't have to wait long for another go at an Inhumans solo feature, and this time Marvel dove into the Terrigen Mists feet first and finally gave the Inhumans their own book. The book, written by the steady hand of Doug Moench, also continued the tradition of A-list artists on the Inhumans. First George Perez and then Gil Kane drew the adventures of the Royal Family.

    There was still a tone of mistrust between the Inhumans and the outside world and Moench understood the character dynamics. Maximus continued to be the main villain and the title delved deeper in the Inhuman’s connection to the Kree. Sadly, the Inhumans were still major supporting players in the Fantastic Four so Moench couldn't make any seismic changes to any member of the family. His adventures were entertaining, and always beautifully drawn, but they had no real consequence and hence no drama.  


    Marvel Knights Inhumans (1998-1999)

    Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee

    When the Inhumans did return to their own series, they did so with a bang. Part of the four original Marvel Knights series, the imprint that ushered in the Joe Quesada era, The Inhumans was a groundbreaking series that redefined the look and tone of the Inhumans for a new generation of readers.

    Paul Jenkins returned the Royal Family to their alien roots, focusing on their Kree origins and their interfamily struggles as well as their place in a world filled with aliens, mutants, gods, and superhumans. Jae Lee’s pencils portrayed the Inhumans as regal outsiders, eerie and gorgeous. The series was a true work of art and arguably the best book Marvel produced in the late '90s.

    Moving forward, in comics, television, or film, other than Kirby, this series is where other media will draw from the most.

    Buy Marvel Knights Inhumans on Amazon

    Son of M and The Silent War (2007)

    David Hine and Frazier Irving

    Starting with Paul Jenkins series and continuing into McKeever’s work, Quicksilver was not part of the Inhuman narrative. He was divorced from Crystal in the pages of Avengers and continued his discontent into X-Factor, but after the events of House of M, where Quicksilver was directly responsible for the destruction of the mutant race, Pietro was left lost and considered a race traitor. 

    The Silent War returned the character to his Inhuman roots as Quicksilver steals the Terrigen Mists hoping to use them to rekindle the spark of mutantkind. The Inhumans were once again cast in the role of threat, as the Royal Family comes to the human to find who stole the Mists and end up going to war against humanity.

    By the time the series was over, the Inhumans were seen as aggressive antagonists to the human race. The series features the Inhumans going one-on-one against the Avengers, reminding modern fans just how badass the Royal Family can be. The series also sees the USA invade the Inhuman homeland of Attilan.

    Buy The Silent War on Amazon

    Realm of Kings (2010)

    Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Pablo Raimondi

    After successfully ushering in the new Cosmic Age for Marvel with Annihilation, the power writing duo of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning turned their sights on the Inhumans. This is where the Inhuman connection to the Kree really came to a head as Ronan the Accuser planned to use the Inhumans as the ultimate weapon against their enemies the Shi’ar.

    At this time, Crystal was forced to marry Ronan to foster a peace between Kree and Inhumans, and remained loyal to him. This brought Crystal into conflict with the Royal Family, specifically Medusa. It’s like Game of Thrones, in space, with a woman who has living, killer hair. 

    Abnett and Lanning are the writers that brought future movie superstars, the Guardians of the Galaxy into prominence and their take on the Inhumans should be experienced by fans eagerly awaiting the next step in the evolution of Marvel’s strangest heroes.

    Buy Realm of Kings on Amazon

    Infinity

    Jonathan Hickman, Jim Cheung, Jerome Opeña, and Dustin Weaver

    Infinity was an event crossover that saw Thanos lead an invasion of Earth and go fist to fist with a huge gaggle of Avengers. You can bet the Avengers: Infinity War film will borrow from this story as a number of Thanos’ minions introduced in this event will play a major role in his cinematic machinations. However, we are here for the Inhumans, and in this epic event, Black Bolt was forced to expose the entirety of the Earth to the Terrigen mist to defeat Thanos. The resulting spread of the mists caused countless Inhumans to be created.

    Before Infinity, Marvel’s Earth was made up of humans and mutants for the most part, but this event allowed Marvel to introduce many new characters and the spread of the mists was somewhat mirrored on Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. After the battle with Thanos, Black Bolt and his people stepped up to be major players.

    Buy Infinity on Amazon

    Inhumanity

    Matt Fraction, Olivier Coipel, Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, Dustin Weaver. Nick Bradshaw, and Todd Nauck

    What began in Infinity continues in Inhumanity. This series is told through the point of view of Karnak, an Inhuman who can see all the flaws in a world made up of countless new Inhumans. Throughout Inhumanity, writer Matt Fraction introduces many new Inhumans that have played major roles in both the comics and on Agents of SHIELD.

    Inhumanity was the beginning of the new Inhumans status quo and its impact is still being felt in all Inhuman focused Marvel titles. Plus, it created brave new directions for Black Bolt, Medusa, Karnak, and the rest of the iconic Inhumans created by Kirby and Lee so long ago.

    Buy Inhumanity on Amazon

    Inhuman

    By Matt Fraction, Charles Soule, Ryan Stegman, and Joe Madureira

    Inhumanity continues in Inhuman, a deep look into the new world where Inhumans are becoming more prominent in the affairs of Earth. New characters like Reader, Flint, and Inferno all play major roles in this series as Fraction and Soule really play up the Game of Thrones like political machinations of Black Bolt, Medusa, and Maximus as this series is a deep dive into the current state of Inhumanity and the new characters that are appearing thanks to Black Bolt’s actions in Infinity

    Buy Inhuman on Amazon

    Uncanny Inhumans 

    By Charles Soule, Steve McNiven, Brandon Peterson, RB Silva, and more

    Uncanny Inhumans is the series where the Inhumans played major roles in some truly seismic Marvel events. In addition to introducing concepts like Black Bolt’s karaoke bar, the Inhumans were important players in both Civil War II and Inhumans Versus X-Men. In fact, Civil War II was focused on an Inhuman named Ulysses, a young precog that could predict crimes and attacks before they happened. The heroes of the Marvel Universe were split in deciding how to handle evil before it was committed as the creation of more and more Inhumans began to impact the firmament of the Marvel Universe.

    The saga of Ulysses, the war between Inhumanity and mutantkind, and the continuing power struggles between the major Inhuman players make Uncanny Inhumans a must read series for all readers hungry for more Inhumans action. Of all the Inhumans series (and there’s been a lot these past five years), Uncanny Inhumans is the series where the Inhumans and the major events of Marvel are inseparable.

    Buy Uncanny Inhumans on Amazon

    Karnak

    By Warren Ellis, Roland Boschi, and Jorge Zaffino

    During Inhumanity, Karnak underwent some major changes. When Kirby and Lee created Karnak, the master martial artist was always a somber, cold character that always got the job done. Karnak has the Inhuman ability to find the weakness in anything. So, basically Karnak can bring down a building with a quick tap of his hand. But in Inhumanity and beyond, Karnak became even more driven and intense.

    When Warren Ellis got a hold of Karnak, fans of the Inhuman fighting machine learned just how terrifying this warrior can be. Karnak the series is filled with awesome and chilling moments of Karnak utilizing his powers to save a young Inhuman boy. Karnak may be a short series, but it is a perfect spotlight for this unique and at times, downright freighting royal Inhuman. Karnak looks like he can be a stand out character on TV, and with this series, Ellis and company created a perfect primer on what makes this kickass force of fury so awesome.

    Buy Karnak on Amazon

    All-New Inhumans

    By Charles Soule, James Asmus, and Stefano Caselli

    Did you know that the Inhuman known as Crystal was once married to Ronan the Accuser? Crystal once tied to knot with the hammer wielding big bad from Guardians of the Galaxy.

    All-New Inhumans takes place after that marriage went south, so this series is really your one stop shop to get to know the classic royal Inhuman named Crystal. Crystal and her team’s mission is to find and help save any new Inhuman created by the Terrigen outbreak. But for old fans, it is a chance to spend some quality time with Crystal, a former member of the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, and a woman that remains an underutilized and remarkable part of the MU. Hopefully the TV series does Crystal justice as she is often overlooked during the Inhumans saga, but not in All-New Inhumans.

    Buy All-New Inhumans on Amazon

    IVX

    By Charles Soule, Jeff Lemire, and Leinil Francis Yu

    When Black Bolt unleashed the Terrigen cloud on the world, he turned his Inhuman people from a little known hidden race to another super powered minority. This led to the inevitable conflicts with Marvel’s mutants, a conflict that came to a head in IVX. Thing were made much worse when it was discovered that the Terrigen cloud has rendered the mutant race infertile, meaning that the Inhumans became a dire threat to mutantkind. The war between Black Bolt’s people and the mutant heroes and villains of the Marvel U led to great changes for many X and Inhuman characters.

    In this age of endless crossovers and hero versus hero events, IVX stood out as an intense and tragic drama where both groups were in the right. As the X-Men tried to destroy all Terrigen on Earth, the Inhumans fought for their right to exist and the mutants for their right to survive.

    Buy Inhumans vs. X-Men on Amazon

    Royals

    By Al Ewing and Jonboy Meyers

    Go ahead, read this Inhumans focused comic without getting that Lorde song stuck in your head, we dare you. After the devastating impact of IVX, Royals examines the fallout of the conflict to the original Inhumans Royal family created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. This title focuses on Medusa and her kin as they now try to survive and thrive in a world where they are suddenly major players on the world stage. Royals is a grand, sweeping epic series that is not afraid to dissect decades old characters. These days, Royals is the core Inhumans title and it’s pretty darn potent in our humble opinion.

    Buy Royals on Amazon

    Black Bolt

    By Saladin Ahmed and Christian Ward

    Where Royals is a grand and sweeping tapestry of Inhuman action, Black Bolt is refreshingly personal. After six decades of existence, Black Bolt, the silent king of the Inhumans, finally has his own title.

    In this series, Black Bolt is imprisoned and replaced by his brother Maximus the Mad. The series focuses on Black Bolt stripped of his powers and able to speak attempting to bust out of a cosmic prison with the unlikely assistance of some of Earth’s super villains. Yes folks, for some reason, the Black Bolt solo series also features the best damn Absorbing Man story you will ever read. We are not kidding. This series gives Marvel a chance to examine the usual silent and stoic king of the Inhumans. Black Bolt is a fun and improbable series that is floating under the radar these days, but check it out for some awesome character work on one of Marvel’s most intense and unknowable monarchs.

    Buy Black Bolt on Amazon

    Inhumans: Once and Future Kings

    By Christopher Priest and Phil Noto

    Christopher Priest is a writer who knows his way around politics. Priest penned countless unforgettable Black Panther tales back in the early 2000s and now the writer has turned his Machiavellian sensibilities to the history of the Inhumans. Inhumans: Once and Future Kings is a deep dive into Inhumans political history. Again, I’m going to do the obvious and compare the complex machinations of Inhuman royalty to the world of Game of Thrones, but the comparison is apt as Priest focuses on the intrigues and betrayals that have defined Inhuman royal history. Who doesn’t love a good historical flashback?

    As the Royal Family moves forward as major players in the Marvel universe, it is only a matter of time till new legions of fans find out what Lee and Kirby introduced back in 1965. The Inhumans may not be the flashiest players in the Marvel Universe, but they very well might be the most dangerous.


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