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Articles on this Page
- 10/01/18--16:11: _For V.E. Schwab, Ve...
- 10/01/18--17:39: _So Say We All: Excl...
- 10/02/18--10:59: _Judge Dredd Co-Crea...
- 10/02/18--12:51: _Blood Communion Rev...
- 10/02/18--13:21: _Wheel of Time TV Se...
- 10/02/18--15:42: _Zero Sum Game by S....
- 10/03/18--11:36: _Batman: Mask of the...
- 10/03/18--12:13: _Netflix To Adapt Th...
- 10/03/18--13:11: _Writing in the Nega...
- 10/04/18--01:31: _Silverwood: The Doo...
- 10/04/18--01:38: _Aquaman: Up From th...
- 10/04/18--01:38: _Silverwood: The Doo...
- 10/04/18--01:41: _Your (Geeky) Fall B...
- 10/04/18--14:54: _Blade Runner 2049 C...
- 10/04/18--15:57: _Jamie Parker on How...
- 10/05/18--00:06: _Venom: Complete Mar...
- 10/05/18--14:30: _Nightflyers Release...
- 10/05/18--21:10: _The Umbrella Academ...
- 10/05/18--21:42: _Imagine: The Ultima...
- 10/06/18--01:40: _New Spider-Man Seri...
- 10/01/18--16:11: For V.E. Schwab, Vengeful Was a Struggle Worth the Effort
- 10/01/18--17:39: So Say We All: Exclusive Battlestar Galactica Giveaway!
- 10/02/18--10:59: Judge Dredd Co-Creator Carlos Ezquerra Dies, aged 70
- 10/02/18--13:21: Wheel of Time TV Series Ordered by Amazon
- 10/02/18--15:42: Zero Sum Game by S.L. Huang Review
- 10/03/18--12:13: Netflix To Adapt The Chronicles of Narnia Books
- 10/03/18--13:11: Writing in the Negative Spaces: An Interview with Author S. L. Huang
- 10/04/18--01:31: Silverwood: The Door — Exclusive Excerpt
- 10/04/18--01:38: Aquaman: Up From the Depths
- 10/04/18--01:38: Silverwood: The Door — Writers Roundtable Interview
- 10/04/18--01:41: Your (Geeky) Fall Book Guide
- 10/04/18--14:54: Blade Runner 2049 Comic Series Will Continue the Movie Story
- 10/05/18--00:06: Venom: Complete Marvel Easter Eggs and References
- 10/05/18--14:30: Nightflyers Release Date, Trailer, Cast, News, and More
- 10/05/18--21:10: The Umbrella Academy Release Date, Cast, & Everything Else We Know
- 10/06/18--01:40: New Spider-Man Series Coming From Marvel
V.E. Schwab talks to us about how the past five years of personal and professional growth, and how it contributed to Vengeful.
When V.E. Schwab published Vicious in 2013, the world was in a very different place, as was its author. Five years later, its sequel Vengeful brings some major female villains into the world of the Villainsseries. It couldn't have come at a more necessary time.
"Vengeful is a 2018 reaction to a 2013 novel," Schwab tells us. "Vicious is a highly masculine book about toxic masculinity, about identity and obsession, love and hate and friendship and rivalry. Vengeful is a book about all of that and about the ways that women are stripped of, and re-take power in the world."
The sequel continues the story of friends-turned-archenemies Victor Vale and Eli Ever, but it adds some new villains to the mix: Marcella Riggins, an ex-mob wife who becomes an ExtraOrdinary person (EO) when her husband tries to burn down the house with her inside of it. And June, a more mysterious EO who can wear other people like voodoo dolls.
"Marcella has a line in Vengeful where she essentially says, 'How many men do I have to turn to ash before one takes me seriously?'" Schwab says. "She literally turns people to ash and they still look at her and are like, 'Oh, it's just a woman,' you know?'"
Vengeful came out last week, the same week the women of America were bombarded with what New Yorker writer Doreen St. Félix described as "the patriarchy testing how far its politics of resentment can go," aka the Ford-Kavanaugh hearing. There couldn't have been a better time to get a new book that offers emotional catharsis in the form of women wielding power in great and terrible ways, not to mention an example of what it looks like when the misuse of power has real consequences for its perpetrators.
Schwab obviously knows what it is like to be a woman in this country and world.Vicious was her first adult novel following her success in the young adult fantasy market with series such as Shades of Magic and Monsters of Verity. The author put a lot of the feelings surrounding her experiences and observations making the transition from the young adult genre to adult genre fiction worlds into the writing of Vengeful.
"The sexism and ageism and all 'isms' I have seen in the genre industry over the five years between the release of Viciousand this, are definitely in there," says Schwab. "Writers don't write in a void. We write within the context of society and the time that we're writing in. In those five years [since Vicious], I became an international best-selling author. I came out as gay. I found my footing in the world in a way I never had and in a way I hadn't when I was writing Victor [in Vicious]."
Schwab considers Vengeful in conversation with Vicious, adding that she doesn't recommend reading Vengeful without having first read Vicious: "I think the two halves of that quotation mark, the two halves of that conversation are really important." It was a conversation that Schwab sometimes struggled to have with herself, at one point rewriting the entire book from scratch.
"I had originally written a continuation of Vicious," Schwab says. "That's all it was. It was a sequel to Vicious. It was all still about Victor. But what Victor's facing in Vengeful is a little bit of a static problem. It's not super interesting as a plot, and it's really great as a subplot and my editor [Tor's Miriam Weinberg] was like, 'You have three of the most powerful women I've ever seen, why is this not their book?'"
The editorial note forced Schwab to confront her own internalized misogny and the problematic tropes she was still at least partially buying into.
"You can be a woman in this industry and still have a lot of internalized misogyny," she says. "So it was really great that [Miriam] pushed me really hard. She's like, 'I'm not going to tell you to rewrite this book.' She's like, 'I don't think the version that you turned in will be something that in five years from now you will be as proud of as you are Vicious.' She's like, 'I think you have the opportunity to write something extraordinary here.'"
Vengefulis extraordinary—a tale of great empathy and tragedy that also holds its anti-hero and antagonist characters to account. It's clear to anyone who reads Schwab's work that, while the author has learned, grown, and changed in the last five years, she hasn't lost any of the wonder at what she does for a living.
"Sometimes I stop and I look around and I look around and I think, I write books," said Schwab. "Like I make shit up for a living? How cool is that?"
It's a responsibility that Schwab takes very seriously, even when she probably could afford to slack off a little bit.
"I have put my heart and soul into this book, and a lot of my sanity," she says. "I rewrote it from scratch. I turned it in on December 29th of last year and I spoke to my editor on January 2nd and she was like, 'This is a really great book, and if you had turned it in to me two years ago I would have basically taken it to print as is. But you've grown so much in those two years.'"
Schwab says she writes for herself first and foremost, which allows her to write with "pretty much absolute conviction."
"These books are really difficult for me to think of objectively. I usually try to distance myself from my works because I know that they can't appeal to everyone so I try to make them appeal to me. But these two books are so tied up in my own identity and I think it's going to be really interesting to see how people feel about them in conversation."
And how does Schwab's first, most important reader feel about Vengeful?
"I rewrote the entire book from scratch. All 110,000 words, and [Miriam] is absolutely right: It is something that I am so intensely proud of."
Five lucky geeks can win a copy of So Say We All: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Battlestar Galactica!
Frak yes! Our friends at Tor Books have given us five copies of So Say We All: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Battlestar Galactica to give away to a few lucky readers. Cylons need not apply.
From Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross, the bestselling authors of the definitive two-volume Star Trek oral history, The Fifty-Year Mission, and the oral history of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Slayers & Vampires, comes So Say We All.
Four decades after its groundbreaking debut, Battlestar Galactica―both the 1978 original and its 2004 reimagining—have captured the hearts of two generations of fans. Featuring never-before-seen interviews with series creators Ronald D. Moore and Glen Larson, Edward James Olmos, Katee Sackhoff, Dirk Benedict, and many, many more, this is the story of 40 years of Battlestar Galactica as told by the teams that created a television legend. Can't wait to read it? Enter below!
Entries will be accepted until 11:59 PM ET on October 12. Winners will be drawn randomly and notified via email. Good luck!
The legendary 2000AD artist has passed away.
Carlos Ezquerra, the Spanish artist who co-created Judge Dredd for 2000AD, has died at the age of 70.
The sad news was confirmed on the 2000AD website, who posted a photo of Ezquerra at his drawing desk.
“One of the all-time greatest comic book artists, the Spanish illustrator was one of the titans of 2000AD,” read the tribute.
“Modest and unassuming, Carlos was nonetheless a legend whose contribution to the global comic book industry cannot be understated. His distinctive style - characterised by breathtakingly dynamic, high-energy storytelling and the distinctive ridged thick inking that outlined so many key moments - was instantly recognizable.
“Despite a brush with lung cancer in 2010, he continued to work and, although the cancer returned this year it was believed he was recovering well. His sudden death is a profound loss not just to 2000AD but to the comic book medium.
A statement on behalf of the staff at 2000AD said that they had lost someone who was “the heart and soul” of the magazine, and that “his name deserves to be uttered alongside Kirby, Ditko, Miller, Moebius, and Eisner.”
Ezquerra grew up in Zaragoza, beginning his career drawing westerns and war stories for Spanish publishers before heading to Britain to work on IPC’s Battle PictureWeekly. Joining 2000AD in 1976, he worked with John Wagner to develop Judge Dredd – a character that would go on to become synonymous with the magazine and one of the most recognizable names and faces in comics.
“Carlos was without a doubt 2000AD’s greatest artist, and, indeed the premier artist of British comics,” original 2000AD editor Pat Mills told The Guardian. “He was also a great guy to hang out with and he had a fabulous dark sense of humour. We will all miss him hugely.”
Anne Rice lets the Brat Prince, Lestat de Lioncourt, off without even a simple spanking.
Lestat, is there nothing he can't do? The age old vampire has been around forever and, while he didn't write the first song, he did front a metal band in during the hair band heyday. He could probably act, although he burnt that bridge a long time ago along with many bloodsuckers far older than he. In Anne Rice's latest installment of the vampire chronicles, Blood Communion, old age is having a go at relative youth.
Over the course of eleven books, we've become quite accustomed to the chronicled vampire. He began as a secondary character in the first book Interview with a Vampire, the midnight hunter who turned Louis into an immortal bloodsucker. Lestat quickly became the favorite of the writer and the readers. Coarse yet refined, ruthless yet sentimental, he played with his food and sometimes became enamored of his playthings. He sired his own mother, a big no-no in sanguine circles, and proceeded to break every rule made by man, woman or former men and women. Given godlike powers, he came to see himself as a god. Soon, others saw him similarly, not the least of all, the author herself.
Anne Rice is more than in love with her creation. Lestat de Lioncourt is a masturbatory fantasy who can do no wrong for the author, even at his most erroneous. Lestat is a narcissist and Rice is his biggest enabler. He has the power of life and death in his hands, which he wrings in anguish over their responsibility. And when he decides to kill, or not to kill, imprison or enslave, free or charge for past grievances, Rice accepts any answer he gives. The book is told in first person, by de Lioncourt, and no justification he makes for himself comes anywhere close to a gavel.
Blood Communion is a romance novel told in treacherous waters. Not the same waters Lestat circumnavigated to follow the Atalantaya spirit and the self-cloning Replimoids in Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis (2016), though he does fly over them. In Blood Communion, after positively gorging himself on the blood of Rhoshamandes, Lestat flies over oceans to get home. He has conquered ancient vampires, Atlanteans, humans, demons and spectral intruders. He has given and taken life on sheer whim. But his flight over the Pacific, those few paragraphs describing how he occasionally falls asleep and is held aloft by forces greater than himself, is where he is at his most celestial. He reminds this reviewer of another literary spiritual deliverer, Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
Richard Bach's 1973 novel, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, is as responsible for the New Age movement as Autobiography of a Yogi. The hero of the book is a young rebellious seagull who is banished from his flock for flying too high and diving too deep. He finds the tastiest morsels further under the surface of the ocean than his feathered friends. When he is kicked out of the community he flies and flies, awake and asleep, faster and faster, until he comes to the realization that thinking is the best way to travel, to paraphrase the Moody Blues. He comes back to the flock a guru, leading them higher into the atmosphere.
So it is with Lestat. His rebellion began long before he set fire to the Théâtre des Vampires or turned poor young Claudia into an eternal porcelain doll. He went into a final sleep, but like The Who or Cher, no retirement tour will ever be his last. He came back a savior to the plasma-challenged crowd, giving them hope, and throwing marvelous parties in his Court. Lestat is now The Brat Prince, as every vampire calls him to his face and hides telepathically, but some older members of the blood community still remember his youthful tantrums. Most have forgiven him and celebrate the enthusiasm he brings to the Elders Court but some are unmoved. Like the stones they will become as they finally age.
Lestat declared himself godlike a few books ago and he is a loving god. He falls in love every few pages. Whether he is moved by flesh, wardrobe, intellect or architecture, Lestat tumbles head over heels at the slightest provocation. Even when provoked by the flaming breath of vampire executioners, he still marvels at the technique. It's part of the problem according to his bodyguard Cyril, who prefers wrapping hot vamps in iron. Lestat admires beauty more than strength. Vampires have a habit of only turning the most attractive prospects undead and Lestat takes this very seriously. In the early part of the book, he is very impressed by Dmitri Fontayne, who prefers to be called Mitka, the part Russian, part French blood drinker made in Russia in the time of Great Catherine. But like many pretty things, Mitka is soon put on a shelf to collect dust or, in his case, ash, as he is quickly relegated to the corners of the action.
Some of the most interesting characters are dispatched too quickly. Baudwin's torch goes out pretty quick, snuffed by his maker, the legendary Gundesanth, who insists the vampires just call him Santh. Santh hangs around to be one of the hangers-on in the court, his history told in whispers out of Lestat's hearing range. To be fair, with so many vampires sticking around from earlier books, and all of hovering around the Court, Rice would be hard-pressed to give them all page time.
Armand is at his passive aggressive best in the book. An actor through and through, he punctures ever line of a poignant harangue against Lestat with gushes of admiration and undying love. But then, everyone loves Lestat. He is told that over and over. It's a good thing he is so charmingly self-effacing that it doesn't go to his head.
Rice isn't stingy with the violence. Lestat surprises Rhosh with a tacky impromptu head butt but he has the follow through to take the head off, and even vomits up his flame-broiled brain and eyes. The beloved Benedict makes a grand and gory exit. No sun-gazing for him. He prefers to take his eyes out to the throbbing beat of kettledrums.
For a sociopathic serial killer, Lestat has a lot of nerve passing judgment on which human criminals he keeps in his dungeon, although it does doubles as a walk-in pantry as they are only kept around for dinners. The ancients might have a point about the civility of Lestat's Blood Communion. The children of the court he envisions for the future may turn out to produce lazy vampires who can't fend for themselves.
Rice has always played fast and loose with the undead nature of vampires. At one point, Lestat and some fellow vampires hear the heartbeats of his mother Gabrielle, Marius and Louis. They have been kidnapped, had their necks broken and were entombed in iron-based steel plates. Vampires are dead. Their lifeblood is taken by their maker, who replaces it with their own, and they die. He also hears the heartbeats of all the visiting vampires dancing at his communal castle. The undead give up the right to a heartbeat after death. They also give up the right to smoke, because they don't have working lungs.
Lestat is pretty talky in the book, which has a lot more dialogue than Rice's previous works. The novel works as a travelogue as Lestat nips back and forth between his ancestral castle in the mountains of France and the troubling landscape of Rice's Louisiana, with descriptive stops in 18th-Century St. Petersburg.
Blood Communion is short for Rice, at 257 pages, and it begins and ends slow. Lestat is now in charge of all the vampires and he makes his decisions like he has all the time in the world, an occupational hazard for immortal beings. The first two chapters rehash the earlier books in The Vampire Chronicles, and Lestat, whose story was supposed to end in Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches novel franchise, always stays for the last dance at the winter ball.
Anne Rice's Blood Communion was published Oct. 2, 2018.
Culture Editor Tony Sokol cut his teeth on the wire services and also wrote and produced New York City's Vampyr Theatre and the rock opera AssassiNation: We Killed JFK. Read more of his work here or find him on Twitter @tsokol.
The Wheel of Time, the sprawling fantasy novel mythology by Robert Jordan, is heading to Amazon Prime as a series.
One of the most popular fantasy franchises of the literary world, The Wheel of Time, is getting a live-action television adaptation. Originally authored by Robert Jordan, the 80 million-selling 1990-2013 book series depicts a sprawling mythology, amalgamating feudal and magical tropes with elements of Eastern mysticism. While the project was first brought to the table by Sony, the latest development has procured its home.
Amazon has given a series order to The Wheel of Time, setting the project as an hour-long series that will stream on Amazon Prime Video, as reported Deadline and confirmed by an APV retweet. The move serves as the culmination of what has been a year-and-a-half process, which commenced back in April 2017, when it was first reported that Sony Pictures Television was moving forward with the TV project.
The Wheel of Time follows Moiraine, a member of an all-female secret society of magic users called, Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah. She embarks on a dangerous journey with five young people who she comes to mentor, one of whom she believes could be the reincarnation of an individual who is prophesized to either save or destroy humanity. The books bear philosophical influences from European and Asian culture, notably Buddhism and Hinduism, centered in the idea of a time being cyclical in nature.
Of course, The Wheel of Time should be a large-scale endeavor, since the novels of Robert Jordan (nom de plume of James O. Rigney Jr.), three of which were completed by Brandon Sanderson after Jordan passed away in 2007, build an intricate mythology governed by the titular seven-spoke Wheel of Time powered by an incorporeal celestial source of power. Like the Force in Star Wars, it is a binary power utilized by gifted people called “channelers.” The story is spread across epochs in the continuing battle against Shai’tan (or, the Dark One,) who, upon breaking free of imprisonment from the Creator, exerts influence on the malleable to lead the Source toward evil.
The Wheel of Time will be run by Rafe Judkins, who assumes duties as writer, executive producer and showrunner. Judkins is no stranger to genre television, serving as a producer and writer on ABC’s Marvel series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Netflix horror series Hemlock Grove. He was also a story editor for NBC’s beloved geek-wish-fulfillment spy series Chuck. Judkins will be joined by executive producers Rick Selvage and Larry Mondragon of Red Eagle and producers Ted Field and Mike Weber of Radar Pictures. Additionally, the property’s authorial legacy is in place with Jordan’s widow Harriet McDougal onboard as a consulting producer.
As Sharon Tal Yguado, Head of Event Series, Amazon Originals states:
“Developing and producing Robert Jordan’s beloved fourteen-books-series for TV is a big undertaking, and we don’t take it lightly. We believe that Rafe’s personal connection to the material and soulful writing will resonate with the book’s passionate fans.”
Amazon's series order for The Wheel of Time arrives after several years of starts and stops, going back to 2000 when author Jordan was still alive. A pilot called Winter Dragon, starring Billy Zane and Max Ryan, aired on FXX on February 8, 2015 (at 1:30 a.m.) to no fanfare or fruition (it was essentially a move by Red Eagle to prevent the rights from expiring). However, McDougal herself made media ripples in April 2016 when she announced “exciting news” about the property; something that required the clearing of some legal issues before moving forward. With her latest update indicating the resolution of the legal issues, McDougal speculates that The Wheel of Time will become a “cutting edge TV series.”
We’ll keep you updated on Amazon’s The Wheel of Time as things develop.
What do you get when you add one math genius combatant, an ex-cop seeking the truth, and a shady organization?
Zero Sum Game protagonist Cas Russell is what you might call a specialist in retrieval, among other things. She’s really good at what she does, quick with a firearm and has enough moral gray to knock people out left and right. But what really sets her apart from other action anti-heroes is her brain.
Cas can make incredible, complicated mathematical calculations in her head, enough to figure the trajectory of a rock thrown to bounce off something and incapacitate an enemy, or to—most impressively—navigate the L.A. traffic. Jokes aside, her math-based skills make her a deadly foe to anyone who stands in the way of her latest job: rescuing a girl held by the Mexican cartel.
Debut author S. L. Huang wrote a story that resonates with her own education and skills. She is a weapons expert, professional stuntwoman (on Battlestar Galactica no less), and earned a math degree from MIT, so you know her skills are pretty legit. The author did assure me in an interview that she’s not as morally deficient as her main character, though I think she appreciated being called a real life badass.
What should have been an easy gig for Cas turns into a multi-faceted conspiracy filled with enough twists and turns to throw you for a loop. Cas becomes unwillingly embroiled in a complicated plot that involves mind control! Or something so close as to be indistinguishable from it. A shady organization catches Cas’s attention, especially after they actively target her, and she has to do more than just fetch something for a paying client. The job now requires intel and her own survival.
In Zero Sum Game, we have a selection of main characters who are not easily defined as “good” or “bad.” In fact, that’s why they are so interesting. Cas makes decisions based on self preservation and getting out of bad situations that often end in collateral damage.
She’s also a fun character to follow. Her quips, mostly internal, are humorous. “I had far more bullets than I had patience,” Cas narrates as she is temporality slowed on her progress by looters in the city. And you know she’s not just saying that.
Cas often works alongside a man named Rio who has infiltrated the cartel and does a lot of shady side jobs similar to Cas. There’s one major difference between them: Rio is an actual psychopath. He doesn’t feel or have sympathy for anyone, and his alliance with Cas is mainly for practicality. Rio is very scary, and will fillet a person to get information for his cause. But he doesn’t go full serial killer because he’s also, get this, Christian, which adds a fascinating layer to what could have been a flat character.
We’ve also got our obvious bad guy with not-such-bad-guy intentions. I can’t give a name because that would give too much away, but the antagonist in the story is truly chilling. This person can manipulate anyone just by talking to them, and is the voice behind the organization Cas actively resists. The antagonist has supposedly good intentions behind what they do, and its scary that you as the reader can come away from this book wondering if the antagonist was right all along.
This isn’t a straightforward good vs evil story, and there isn’t a standard ending to it all either. You are left with the same moral quandaries as the characters. The most complicated math equation in this book has nothing to do with numbers. It’s basically “what equals the right choice?”
Zero Sum Game is an accessible read, but it doesn’t dumb it down for the reader, either. You can have a Google search bar open and start researching what NP-hard and EXPTIME algorithms are, or you can soldier through and follow the flow of the prose without missing a beat. You don’t have to be a math genius to read about one.
The back of the book hails it as a “blockbuster thriller debut.” I had my doubts when I started, but after reading through Cas’s high-energy, pulse-pounding adventures, I became a believer. Zero Sum Game delivers a smart, calculated action thriller that keeps the reader guessing. It also sets itself up beautifully for a sequel—so grab this book, available now.
You can follow author S. L. Huang and all her Twitter doings @sl_huang. Stay tuned for our interview with S.L. Huang.
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is coming back to theaters for one night only in celebration of its 25th anniversary!
One of the most beloved superhero movies ever made, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, is coming back to theaters for one night only in celebration of the film's 25th anniversary. The film will screen in select theaters on Monday, Nov. 12 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. (local times). You can purchase tickets here.
Inspired by (although not as nutty as) the "Batman: Year Two" comic book storyline (Detective Comics #575-578), Mask of the Phantasm tells the story of Batman's first confrontation with the Phantasm, an anti-hero who isn't as restricted by a code of conduct as the Dark Knight. In fact, the Phantasm is more than happy to murder mob bosses to get them off the streets. When the Phantasm arrives in Gotham and unleashes his merciless brand of justice on the city, it's up to Batman to stop him while also coming to terms with a past relationship that sparked his transformation into the Caped Crusader. Add the maniacal Joker into the mix and you have a recipe for disaster.
There's an impressive amount of story packed into Mask of the Phantasm's 76-minute runtime. The movie has mystery, romance, tragedy, and even this universe's very own version of the Batman origin story. If you've never seen this animated movie, it's really worth your time.
Batman: Mask of the Phantasmfirst hit theaters on Christmas Day 1993 after the first season of the seminal Batman: The Animated Series. Originally planned as a direct-to-video continuation of the successful animated series, Warner Bros. Animation decided to make Mask of the Phantasmits first theatrical release. The film went on to make a little over $5 million at the box office but had a much more successful run on home video. Today, the film is regarded as one of the greatest Batman movies ever made.
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm stars the voices of Kevin Conroy as Batman, Stacy Keach as Phantasm, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as Alfred, Dana Delaney as Andrea Beaumont, and Mark Hamill as The Joker. The film was directed by Eric Radomski and Bruce W. Timm from a screenplay by regular Batman: The Animated Series writers Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Martin Pasko, and Michael Reaves.
The deal between Netflix and The C.S. Lewis Company marks the first time the rights to all seven Narnia books will be held by one company.
Netflix is going to Narnia. The streaming giant just announced they have struck a multi-year deal with The C.S. Lewis Company to develop new series and film projects based on Lewis' beloved Chronicles of Narnia series.
Netflix will be making the series and films in-house, with Entertainment One's Mark Gordon, C.S. Lewis' stepson Douglas Gresham, and The C.S. Lewis Company director Vincent Sieber serving as executive producers on the projects.
"C.S. Lewis' beloved Chronicles of Narnia stories have resonated with generations of readers around the world," said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer of Netflix in a press release (via Variety). "Families have fallen in love with characters like Aslan and the entire world of Narnia, and we’re thrilled to be their home for years to come."
Yeah, we've fallen in love with Aslan and co. When I was a kid, the BBC serial adaptation of The Chronicles of Narnia was my go-to media. The book properties later found on-screen success in the naughts with big-screen adaptations of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader—three of the seven books in the Narnia series. (The others are: The Silver Chair, The Horse and His Boy, The Magician’s Nephew, and The Last Battle.) Collectively, the Disney adaptations made more than $1 billion.
In total, the Chronicles of Narnia book series has sold more than 100 million copies and been translated in more than 47 languages worldwide since the installments' original releases in the 1950s. The Netflix deal will mark the first time the rights to all seven books have been held by one company.
More news on Netflix's Narnia adaptations as we hear it.
We talked to debut author S.L. Huang about her speculative fiction thriller Zero Sum Game.
Warning: This inteview contains spoilers for Zero Sum Game.
Zero Sum Game by S. L. Huang follows mercenary Cas Russell who has incredible math and combative skills. She can calculate how and where to punch someone for maximum efficacy, or she can do a sweet 360 slide into parallel parking with a stolen car. The possibilities are just about endless... Until, of course, she faces up against a terrifyingly effective psychic and a secret organization.
Den of Geek had the chance to chat with real-life mathematician and badass S.L. Huang about crafting the world for Zero Sum Game.
Den of Geek: I was checking out your bio and I saw that you’re basically a badass in real life. I just think it’s really amazing that you’re a weapons expert, a professional stuntwoman and you have a math degree. I think it’s safe to assume these experiences inspired the whole story and the fact that your action hero character is just really, really good at math?
S.L. Huang: I definitely could not have written the book without all of these experiences in aggregate. I sort of had the seeds for this story since I was probably in middle school or high school. I always loved math and I’ve always been a writer, was always writing stories, and I just kept having this recurring thought... I’d be out there playing softball or something and I’d be like “Oh man, why can’t I calculate how I can swing the bat and how to hit the ball so I can get a home run? I can do all the equations but I can’t actually do it!” It always fascinated me, this idea of somebody who could do the calculations and then translate that to real life. What type of superpower that would be.
I was kicking around this idea and then I went to L.A. and did stunts and guns for like ten years. L.A.’s sort of this Wild West -- it’s really a crazy place to live and work. All of that together I think helped formed the texture of the other half of it and I was finally able to write the story.
Oh that’s fantastic. And I’m secretly happy that you didn’t write this in middle school because I’m sure some counselors would have been involved. I mean, you do have a fair amount of murder and mayhem, which I highly enjoy.
Good point! Some people have asked me if Cas is based on me or if I’m like Cas and I say “I certainly hope not. I hope I kill far fewer people than she has.”
Would you say your math-based anti-hero is a challenge for people who are not really into math to perhaps find some love for the subject?
I’m such a math geek and I love math so much. I totally get that math is not for everyone. That’s totally fine. I want this book to be accessible to non-math people, for non-math people to love it too. I’ve worked very hard to make sure that’s true. I think I would say for non-math people, I don’t necessarily hope they come out of it with a love for math, it’s fine if they don’t, but that they can vicariously enjoy that adoration for numbers that I have and the unbridled fun of mathematics.
One character I have to mention is Rio -- the Christian psychopath. I thought maybe it had to be intentional to have these two very diametrically opposed ways of life in this one person and it can’t just be because he can’t be mind controlled. Is there another reason you have this character in there?
I’ve always been fascinated by the character archetype that has some sort of difficulty with emotion. For example, in Star Trek we have Spock and Data, who are my absolutely favorite characters. I’ve written a lot of novels and stories where … I keep returning to this character archetype. I knew I needed somebody like that in these books. This is the first time I’ve done it in a non-sci-fi way. He’s actually a human person. He has a complete lack of empathy. He is what he is. He is fine with that. I really like where it ended up going.
It’s not meant to be like a bad commentary on religion at all. I grew up Catholic. I’m not anymore but that’s still very much a part of me. Many of the people close to me are very religious. Since that has been such a big part of my life, I wanted to explore aspects of that as well and explore how that can interact with these other elements. That was personal for me but in a way that I feel religion is personal to me, I respect religion and find value in it. [I was] sort of working that out through writing this character.
Literally everybody who’s interviewed me or read the book says, “He’s my favorite character.” (laughs) Which makes me a little concerned to be honest.
A recurring theme in your book is a balance between right and wrong, moral quandaries and what constitutes acceptable losses on both our protagonist's side and on Pithica’s side. What would you like readers to walk away with on this matter? I feel like you have something to say here and I don’t want to put words in your mouth.
I had one reader tell me -- and I love this, this is one of my favorite things -- one reader told me they disagreed with what the protagonist did at the climax and that they think she was wrong. I love that there are going to be readers who will come away with that. I hope they can understand why [the characters] made that choice but I love that they can disagree and see all sides of the situation.
There’s so much nuance in the world. There’s so many things that aren’t black and white and have these really messy, gnarly areas in between. I like to put my characters in those situations where they have to consider them. By proxy, then my readers have to look at that and be like “What would I do in this situation...what is the right choice here?”
It feels almost too easy to me when things are very black and white “Okay I’m gonna be the hero and make this choice and be completely shining and ethical and unreproachable.” I love watching those stories but it feels a little like a cheat to me. Some of it’s escapism. But our world isn’t like that. Personally I like digging into those messy areas and asking those questions. I think I would like readers to enjoy that nuance with me and dig into those uncomfortable places with me. Maybe that’s a journey we could take together.
It felt like that was a recurring theme. The protagonist is obviously our protagonist -- we want to root for her -- but she also does some shady stuff! And I’m like, “It’s just her job. Whatever -- she knocked this guy out again, it’s fine. Oh she killed someone, it’s fine.” You find yourself making excuses.
I would definitely call her an anti-heroine. She’s definitely criminal. She’s not a great person in so many respects but for me that’s what makes her so fun and one of the reasons I really love writing her.
It was very unsettling for the reader, reading everything coming from [the antagonist]. The logic she put forth, the reason they do what they do, it kinda made sense.
I hope it would! I just kinda wanted to live in that place between a little. Let’s ask these questions, we won’t necessarily know the answers but let’s ask those questions.
At the end, the antagonist has Cas completely under their influence and Cas has these flashback scenes. We see flashes of different characters and places, doctors, etc. It looks like a hint at Cas’s origin story -- why she has the mental capacity she has. Can we expect to get more of her backstory in a further novel?
Yes. Those are all pieces of an arc that exists already in my head and on my harddrive, so there’s pieces and hints of that.
What has influenced you in your writing?
I grew up nerd as I like to say, consuming all the geek media. My first stunt job was on Battlestar Galactica which was so trippy because I walked onto the set, and this was a job I’d been following every week all through college, and there’s Edward James Olmos.
Definitely I feel like...all of that, it influences me in a lot of ways. There’s also pushing back. Writing this violent anti-hero -- but making her a woman. It’s a little pushback against say, the Doctor Who archetype, a character who has been male up until this point.
Those negative places are places I definitely wanted to fill in. I always like subverting tropes, for instance the idea of playing with people’s minds. There’s a lot of sci-fi/fantasy that treats mind control really cavalierly. Harry Potter does this. They have a spell that’s considered a very minor spell that they use against Muggles all the time that wipes their memory. To me, that’s so horrible.
I think there were a lot of things that I sort of not necessarily saw in media growing up but that I didn’t see or I saw in ways that bothered me a little. I wanted to dig into those through my own writing -- through writing into those negative spaces -- what I really wanted to see and wanted to read.
Would you like to do any shameless self promotions?
As you know, Zero Sum Game releases October 2. I’m very excited and also very anxious. Tor is billing it as the “geek’s Jack Reacher.” It is an action sci-fi thriller about a heroine who can do math really really fast and uses it to kill a lot of people.
I’m also involved in a production for Serial Box that’s coming out in 2019. I’m really excited about this. It’s with fellow authors Yoon Ha Lee, Rivers Solomon and Becky Chambers. So that will be in 2019. I’m so excited about what we’re doing together.
You can follow author S. L. Huang and all her Twitter doings @sl_huang. Read S.L. Huang's Den of Geek guest post about the mathematicians who have inspired her.
Read an exclusive excerpt from Serial Box's continuation of the Silverwood YouTube series.
Get ready for your spine to tingle. Today, Serial Box is launching Silverwood: The Door, a project that blends the horror anthology feel of The Twilight Zone with the weird supernatural flare of The X-Files and Twin Peaks.
Continuing the saga of the small town of Silverwood, California from YouTube series Silverwood, Silverwood: The Door launches readers into a world of hauntings, horrors, and surreal nightmares. Den of Geek has been given this exclusive excerpt from the series for our readers to enjoy. For more on the series, check out our round table interview with the writing team.
Silverwood: The Door — Exclusive Excerpt
Having dropped the employees of Hirsch Capital off at the site of their corporate retreat, Willie was halfway back down the mountain when he realized he’d forgotten to take advantage of the bathroom. The pressure on his bladder grew urgent.
“Damn it.” His voice sounded very small inside the empty bus. “Ain’t no way I’ll make it to the bottom.”
He downshifted as the bus approached a steep grade in the road. He spotted a long gravel-filled lane up ahead—an emergency ramp for trucks whose brakes had failed. Pinching his crotch with one hand, Willie squirmed in the seat and changed lanes. Checking behind him, he saw the road was deserted, so he swerved into the breakdown lane. Gravel crunched beneath the bus’s tires as he slowed to a stop.
Leaving the engine running, Willie flung open the doors, clambered down, and hurried, bow-legged, toward the greenery. He pushed his way through a tangle of undergrowth. Vines and thorns tugged at his pant legs, and thin branches whipped his arms and chest. Curiously, there were no tall trees to stand behind and conceal himself from the road while he pissed. As he pressed farther into the brush, he saw why. He emerged into a stand of blackened, splintered tree trunks—a scarred, blasted heath left over from the wildfires that had scoured Silverwood a few years before. He looked down at his feet and realized that he was walking across a layer of ash. Grayish-black particles floated upward with every step. Farther ahead, Willie spotted pine trees, untouched by the blaze. They seemed to loom over the area, as if standing guard.
He glanced behind him. Although he could hear the bus’s engine running, he could no longer see the road. Satisfied that no passerby would see him either, Willie unzipped his fly and urinated into the ash. He sighed with relief, trembling. A hawk screeched overhead. Willie watched it circle. Then, finished, he shook himself, zipped back up, and turned to leave.
The first sneeze, violent and racking, took him by surprise. A bubble of snot dribbled from his nose. Willie reached up and wiped it away with the back of his hand. The mucus had miniscule black grit in it. Frowning, he touched his face. His fingertips came away coated with more black dust. It felt slightly tacky and had an odd, though not unpleasant, odor, similar to chocolate—sweet and somehow warm.
Pollen, he thought, or maybe ash? Either way, I don’t want to be breathing this shit in for too long.
He sneezed again and decided it was probably pollen, given his body’s reaction. But pollen wasn’t black—was it? And it didn’t smell sugary, like cotton candy melting in the sun.
Willie was halfway back to the bus when the trees began whispering to him.
He cried out in alarm and spun around in a circle, expecting to see someone hiding in the brush, but he quickly confirmed that he was alone. He slowly plodded back to where he’d been, and then past it, right to the edge of the forest. The whispering grew louder.
When he was a child, Willie’s mother had told him that the sound of the wind rustling through the trees was the sound of the trees talking. That sound and that memory had brought him comfort throughout his life. But this sound wasn’t like that. These were actual voices—harsh and ragged, quiet but powerful.
And there was no wind.
Willie stood there, helpless, and listened to what they had to say.
YOU CAN SEE YOUR WIFE AGAIN, the trees promised.
“But when?” Willie asked. “How?”
AFTER THE DOOR IS OPENED. AFTER THE DEPARTURE. BUT TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN, WE MUST FEED, AND YOU MUST HELP.
Willie nodded. “I can do that.”
Then, smiling, he made his way back to the bus and rooted around under the driver’s seat until he found his knife. Company policy forbade the drivers from carrying weapons, but most of Willie’s coworkers ignored that rule, keeping tear gas, pepper spray, baseball bats, or knives concealed but within reach in case of trouble. In today’s world, you couldn’t take any chances. Bad things could happen anywhere, anytime.
He hefted the knife in his hand, testing its weight. It would suffice until he found something better.
Still smiling, Willie stalked off into the woods.
Alana Joli Abbott writes about books for Den of Geek. Read more of her work here.
Kelly Sue DeConnick previews her upcoming turn as writer on Aquaman.
Aquaman is having a moment. The character will make his solo movie debut in December, Dan Abnett’s recent tenure as writer has been politically prescient, and interest in the character is at an all-time high. This makes the arrival of writer Kelly Sue DeConnick (Captain Marvel, Bitch Planet) and artist Robson Rocha (Green Lanterns) all the more exciting.
To be clear, DeConnick's run is not a reboot. “Unspoken Water” will pick up with Aquaman #43 in December, launching out of Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV's “Drowned Earth” Justice League/Aquaman crossover.
“80 percent of life on Earth is in the ocean,” DeConnick says. “He is the ocean's protector. If the ocean dies, everything else dies.” But before you start picturing Arthur Curry in Al Gore’s khakis, DeConnick thinks of each of her books in terms of music, and Aquaman is Led Zeppelin, "big, mythic, and the kind of thing you'd have on the side of a van."
Speaking of art, DeConnick is excited about working with Robson Rocha. “The art that's coming in is phenomenal,” she says. “It's mystic and huge.”
The story begins as Aquaman and water gods from other cultures wash ashore for reasons unknown. This move toward land means the typical mixed-heritage-outsider model doesn't work as well to motivate the story. As DeConnick points out, "there's no real cost to him for being half-Atlantean on dry land. He's a handsome member of the Justice League who's literally bulletproof."
DeConnick looked to the character’s history for inspiration. In Geoff Johns’ run, Arthur’s Atlantean mother made the difficult decision to leave her human husband and their child to fulfill her royal duties in Atlantis. This trauma is distilled in the daily trips father and son took to the water in search of his mother, something DeConnick refers to as,“about as foundational a pain as I can come up with. That is extraordinarily traumatic.”
From there, the important point for DeConnick is how to connect Aquaman’s pain to his power. “He has the power to pull every creature in the ocean back to him, except his mom,” she says.
DeConnick posits that people who have been abandoned are often overachievers, because they're trying to prove to the parents who left them that they made a mistake. But since Arthur’s mother left out of a sense of duty, it instills in him a similar sense of responsibility and stewardship. So she’s not actually doing stories about, “Aquaman wanting his mommy,” but rather looking at how the foundational pain in his life influenced his character traits.
Lest you think Aquaman is about to become all doom and gloom or high-minded meditation, DeConnick assures us otherwise. “Superheroes, when they work best, bring us hope,” she says. “That's ultimately what we're trying to do. A big, cool story about saving the ocean and overcoming challenges.”
Kelly Sue DeConnick will appear as part of the “DC World’s Finest” panel on Saturday at 12:15 in Room 1A24.
Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!
Den of Geek talked to the Silverwood team about crafting the speculative fiction serial...
In 2012, Silverwood debuted on Black Box TV, the most subscribed and most watched sci-fi/horror channel on YouTube. Part science fiction, part horror, and all entertaining, Silverwood is an anthology series of a small California town where strange and supernatural things happen.
Called "unique, chilling" on The 7th Matrix and "spine-tingling" by the New York Post, the series is making the move from streaming-screen to serial prose in Serial Box’s Silverwood: The Door, the first episode of which launches on October 4, 2018.
Like other Serial Box titles, Silverwood: The Door is the result of a collaboration of a writing team; in addition to creative guidance from creator and director Tony E. Valenzuela, the team is led by novelist and comic writer Brian Keene (also the brain behind The Horror Show with Brian Keene podcast), joined by Richard Chizmar, Stephen Kozeniewski, and the Sisters of Slaughter, Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason.
"When the series ended in 2013, I felt like I had only barely scratched the surface of what made Silverwood a place, ‘where dreams come true and nightmares begin,’” Tony told Den of Geek.“It’s been both exciting and intimidating to return to Silverwood in 2018 with a single goal in mind, namely give Silverwood the story it deserves.”
Silverwood: The Door takes place after the YouTube series, which ended with the town being nearly wiped off the map. The prose series, Tony describes, is “thematically more about what remains years after the familiar has fallen away and darkness has taken root—kinda like that scene from Twin Peaks where Laura Palmer is attacked by her father in that cozy, pink bedroom of hers—minus the cozy, pink bedroom.”
The rebirth of the series in the prose format has allowed the team to bring back some of the screen characters, exploring their characters in greater depth, and expand on the original setting.
“Because Silverwood has its own inherent mythos, we wanted to stay true to continuity, so the events from the YouTube series and the graphic novel tie in to our prose series,” Brian elaborated. “But at the same time, we wanted to make it one hundred percent accessible to readers who have never watched Silverwood or read the comic book.” Readers can expect a return to some of the original themes, as well as the promise of “some Lovecraftian monstrosities lurking in the forests,” according to Stephen.
Serial Box producer Lydia Shamah originally approached Brian to become the showrunner for the series, and together they created a list of writers they wanted to work with.
“When I caught wind from various hints on social media that Brian was putting together a team for a major upcoming project.... I thought to myself, ‘Please, please, please, pick me, pick me, pick me’ but also, ‘Nah, Brian knows everybody worth their salt in this industry, there's no way he'll pick a neophyte like me.’” Stephen described. “So I was just shocked and pleased when I got the call from Serial Box that they wanted to invite me aboard.”
The Sisters of Slaughter were also nervous about working on a team of best-sellers. “When we sat down at the writing table that fear was dashed away because Brian is not only a great writer and super nice guy, he’s also a great teacher,” they described.
Richard was a bit wary of the team aspect of the writing, but ended up really enjoying working with the other writers. “I learned a lot and ended up feeling a real sense of renewal when it came to my own writing,” he explained. “Working with Brian, Tony, Lydia, Stephen, Michelle, and Melissa was a treat. They brought so much good energy to the table, not to mention wonderful ideas, fine writing, and a complete lack of ego.”
In honor of both the launch of the new serial and the coming Halloween season, the creative team sat down with Den of Geek to answer some questions and talk shop about what readers can expect, and the types of surprises they should prepare for...
Den of Geek: Were any of you fans of the original Silverwood YouTube series right from the start?
Richard: I was not, but as the others involved with Silverwood: The Door can attest to—remember the Siri incident, guys?—I’m not very up to date when it comes to modern technology (if YouTube can even be considered that). Anyway, I wish I had been a fan from the start. I missed a very cool show and the work of an immensely talented writer/director… until recently, that is.
Brian: My oldest son was, and it was one of those things I meant to watch when I got time—but my list of movies to watch and books to read when I get time pretty much has its own zip code at this point. So, it wasn't until Serial Box approached me about showrunning the series that I finally watched it. I don't know why the hell I waited so long!
Stephen: Being notably younger than Brian, I was, of course, familiar with Tony's work.
Brian: Watch your mouth kid, or you'll find yourself floating home.
Stephen: That's a quote from some old movie, right? Anyway, highest marks go to "The Hunger" from the original Silverwood for me. When we got to the writer's retreat one of the first things I asked was whether I could do the "red meat" episode.
Sisters of Slaughter: We had seen a few of the Silverwood episodes but hadn’t watched them all until we were asked to be a part of the writing team. We were so excited by the material that we almost couldn’t believe our luck to get to continue the storyline. It had such a Twilight Zone feel to it that it was as if we were making one of our dreams come true to work on such a project.
Speaking of The Twilight Zone, Silverwood has been described as the heir of shows like The Twilight Zone, Tales from the Crypt, and Tales from the Dark Side. Silverwood: The Door has added inspirations like X-Files and Twin Peaks to the mix. How much will readers feel the impact of those screen-told stories?
Tony: All the shows you mentioned place most of their stories within towns or settings that appear, at first, to be populated mostly by friendly, familiar tropes. The 50s pin-up beauty, the FBI agent, the scenic country road forever leading to a quaint wish-I-lived-here-town. What gave these show their bite was their ability to deftly switch focus to things happening outside their well-lit edges and deeper within their twilight zones.
Richard: I think the oddball storytelling, plotting, and characterizations of Twin Peaks and the small town setting with huge implications set against a worldwide government conspiracy of The X-Files all play a significant role in Silverwood: The Door. That’s the cool thing about it: it’s a mash-up of a lot of different genres, but a really cohesive and (hopefully) addictive story.
Brian: The beauty of every one of those shows is how it utilized all aspects of the horror genre. Cosmic horror, splatterpunk, quiet horror, supernatural, slashers, science-fiction horror, weird fantasy... everything. We've strived to do the same thing with this new series. It explores all corners of the horror genre, weaving them into one tale.
As we’re approaching both the launch of Silverwood: The Door and Halloween... what are your favorite things about this time of year?
Richard: Pretty much everything. The cooling weather and the changing of the trees and the different scents in the autumn air. I feel invigorated during the fall, more alive in spirit, and it puts me in a wonderful frame of mind when it comes to creating new stories.
Brian: Taking my ten-year old trick or treating.
Stephen: Ooh, so much. Dressing up as a ten-year old so I can hold hands with Brian comes to mind. But Autumn also brings thoughts of apple picking, haunted hayrides, going to the Renaissance Faire, and, of course, watching Rocky Horror.
Tony: I’ve been a huge Ray Bradbury fan since the age of eleven, and this time of year always reminds me of The October Game and Something Wicked This Way Comes. I’m hoping one day I might see Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show roll into Echo Park. Fingers crossed.
What are your scariest Halloween memories from your childhood?
Richard: Watching horror movies on television with my friends. Walking around in the dark taking turns telling stories and scaring each other. Trick or treating at the Myer’s House, our local neighborhood haunted house. The simple pleasures of being a kid on the spookiest night of the year.
Tony: I’ve always loved Halloween. It’s a time when people publicly get to show the thing they privately want to be. It’s wonderful.
Sisters of Slaughter: Our Halloween memories weren’t super scary, except maybe for the time our uncle took us out to go trick-or-treating and he wasn’t cool with the amount of people who turned their lights off and refused to hand out candy so he went beating on people’s doors demanding they toss treats into our pillow cases. We weren’t concerned with monsters attacking us or anything supernatural, more that we were going to get shot. Hahaha. That was the last Halloween he was allowed to take us collecting candy.
Stephen: There was always that one guy that had to dress as a scarecrow and sit stock still on his front porch in a rocking chair. Then he'd leap at you and your parents would laugh at you and the guy would laugh at you and you'd die a little bit inside.
Brian: No scary Halloween memories for me. Just happy ones.
Alana Joli Abbott writes about books for Den of Geek. Read more of her work here.
From Mecha Samurai Empire to The Monster Baru Cormorant, we've got you covered with these nerdy book recommendations.
It's fall! Which means it's time to curl up with a good book. Need some recommendations? We've got you covered with these geeky titles.
From Hank Green's debut novel about a bunch of mysterious alien statues that show up in every city across the planet to Mackenzi Lee's much-anticipated follow-up to The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, there's something for every kind of nerdy fiction lover.
(And be sure to read through to the end for special features/interviews with Vengeful author V.E. Schwab and debut author W.L. Goodwater!)
Mecha Samurai Empire by Peter Tieryas, OUT NOW — Ace
Mecha Samurai Empire, set in the same world as The United States of Japan, follows Makoto “Mac” Fujimoto, a young man raised in Japanese-occupied California in a world where Germany and Japan won World War II. Mac dreams of becoming a mecha pilot, but his terrible grades and a botched plan to game the military test stand in the way of entrance into the mecha pilot training program. With tensions rising between the United States of Japan and Nazi Germany, Mac enters the civilian pilot program. What could possibly go wrong?
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green, OUT NOW — Dutton
Hank Green’s debut novel, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, is the story of 23-year-old April May, who becomes an overnight celebrity when she stumbles upon a giant sculpture one night and makes a YouTube video with it. It turns out the ten-foot-tall statue wearing samurai armor is one of dozens of its kind, dubbed The Carls, which have mysteriously appeared in cities around the globe. When the video April made goes viral, she is thrown into internet fame and her life and relationships unpredictably change because of it, as she works to understand The Carls and what they want from us.
The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee, OUT NOW — Katherine Tegan Books
Set a year after Felicity’s madcap adventure as a supporting character in The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy finds Felicity back in England, dodging marriage proposals and trying desperately to enroll in medical school. Felicity sets off across the continent once again, accompanied by a mysterious young woman named Sim, an Algerian Muslim who offers to pay Felicity’s way in exchange for pretending to be her maid. As you might imagine, Sim has her own perilous quest, one Felicity is pulled into as the two make their way across the European countryside.
The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson, Oct. 30th — Tor Books
The Monster Baru Cormorant follows Baru Cormorant’s continuing journey to destroy the Empire of Masks, the colonizing force that destroyed her home and left her an orphan, from within. Now, Baru Cormorant is the cryptarch Agonist, leading her enemies on a quest for the secret of immortality. When given the power to trigger a war that could spell the end of the Masquerade, Baru Cormorant has some serious choices to make. Will Baru Cormorant use her power to change the system or destroy it?
A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney, OUT NOW — Imprint
Blood Communion: A Tale of Prince Lestat by Anne Rice, OUT NOW — Knopf
Poor Relations by Jo Walton, OUT NOW — Tor Books
An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris, OUT NOW — Saga Press
Wildcard by Marie Lu, OUT NOW — Penguin
A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna, OUT NOW — Sky Pony Press
Exit Strategy: The Murderbot Diariesby Martha Wells, OUT NOW — Tor.com
The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition by Ursula K. Leguin, October 23rd — Saga Press
Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch, November 13 — DAW
The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty, Jan 22, 2019 — HarperVoyager
W.L. Goodwater on Breach
The Cold War-era spy genre is enjoying a cultural resurgence, and W.L. Goodwater’s alternate history magical spy novel, Breach, is a delightfully supernatural addition.
“Not just in the [Cold War spy] genre, but in reality, we seem to be inching back towards the Cold War,” Goodwater tells Den of Geek. “I don't know how quickly fiction is following behind that. Certainly, when I started writing this, with my villains being Nazis and Communist Russia, I didn't realize that it was going to be so modern at the time. But I just think it's a time period that has always drawn people's imagination. The conflicts that come out of there have never really gone away.”
Set in an alternate history in which the Berlin Wall was built by Soviet magicians, Breach follows Karen, a young magician with the American Office of Magical Research and Deployment in the 1950s, tasked with investigating a mysterious fracture in the wall.
“[In the real world], the Berlin Wall doesn't appear until the ‘60s in its full form,” says Goodwater of the ‘50s setting. “There were blockades and stuff like that, but the concrete wall doesn't come until the ‘60s, but in the world of Breach, there are other reasons for the Berlin Wall to exist that are directly tied to the war. So I wanted to set it in a time where the wounds of the war are a little bit more fresh because it directly ties into why the wall is there and what it's really about.”
V.E. Schwab On Vengeful
When V.E. Schwab published Vicious five years ago, the story of two friends-turned-archenemies who discover the key to creating superhuman abilities lies in death, the world was in a very different place. Vengeful, Vicious’ sequel, is “a 2018 reaction to a 2013 novel,” says the author.
“Vicious is a highly masculine book about toxic masculinity, about identity and obsession, love and hate and friendship and rivalry,” Schwab says. “Vengeful is a book about all of that and about the ways that women are stripped of, and re-take power in the world.”
Those themes most obviously manifest in new character Marcella Riggins, an ex-mob wife who becomes an ExtraOrdinary person (EO) when her husband tries to burn down the house with her inside of it.
“Obviously she doesn't die,” says Schwab, “and she comes back with the ability to ruin anything she touches.”
Marcella is the leader of a new villain troupe that also includes June, an EO who has the power to act as a “living voodoo doll,” says Schwab. June can avoid injury by “wearing other people.” If she is hurt while “wearing” someone else, it is that other person who endures the pain.
Marcella and June face off against Vicious protagonist Victor Vale, who, five years on, is
dealing with the increasingly-damaging repercussions of the second, longer death he endured at the end of Vicious. As Victor looks for a cure for his condition and works to keep his found family together, Marcella plots to use Victor’s greatest weakness against him: Eli Ever.
“Victor in Vicious is an exercise in taking control,” Schwab says. “The whole book is essentially him executing a plan for revenge on Eli. Vengeful is about him losing control.”
Join the Den of Geek Book Club for speculative fiction discussion, book giveaways, and exclusive author interviews.
Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!
Titan Comics will continue the story of Blade Runner 2049, set to satiate fans who were left wanting more.
Blade Runner 2049 will continue to tell its story… in illustrated form, thanks to the multimedia partnership of Titan Comics and Alcon Media Group.
A Blade Runner comic book series is officially in the works, set to arrive as a written collaboration between Blade Runner 2049 screenwriter Michael Green (who earned a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar nod for Logan, having also worked on genre offerings like Alien: Covenant, and TV’s American Gods,) and comic book writer Mike Johnson (of the recent Supergirl revival, Superman/Batman and the Star Trek franchise).
The comic series will continue to unravel the future-set continuity of the Blade Runner universe, picking things up after the events of the long-awaited 2017 movie sequel, director Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049, which followed the exploits of replicant blade runner K (Ryan Gosling), whose circuitous existential crisis leads him into the crosshairs of a radical group of replicant revolutionaries, steering him on a path that pairs him with original movie protagonist Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford). The events of the sequel saw a major evolution in the duality between humans and replicants, leaving things on an intriguing cliffhanger.
Consequently, the comic should be a boon for fans of Blade Runner 2049, since the exorbitantly-budgeted movie did not put in the kind of box office-breaking performance that justifies a follow-up film. Indeed, the mythology established by director Ridley Scott’s uber-influential original Blade Runner back in 1982 will be allowed to flourish on pages and panels.
As writer Michael Green explains in a statement:
“Every iteration of the Blade Runner world throws the window open a little wider. Mike [Johnson] and I can’t wait to see what we find outside.”
As Alcon Media founders Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove also laud:
“Michael Green and Mike Johnson’s clear grasp of the tone and nuance that defines the Blade Runner universe makes them ideal partners on this exciting new comic book venture with Titan Comics. We are eager to continue to expand and explore this fascinating world with such a qualified and talented team.”
The details don't stop there. Titan and Alcon’s collaboration on the Blade Runner comic series will serve as the launch pad for a new line of comics and graphic novels. Interestingly, lest anyone think that these stories will be negated in pre-Disney Star Wars Expanded Universe style, the companies have confirmed that the comics will be part of the official canon of the films.
We will keep you updated on the Blade Runner comic book series as the news arrives!
Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!
Harry Potter himself explains why The Cursed Child is vital watching for any Potter fan at this year's NYCC.
The original West End and current Broadway cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child doesn't do a ton of press, but the seven main actors were on stage at today's New York Comic Con to talk about the next chapter in the Harry Potter story.
"I was just sort of taking the next job, to be honest," said Jamie Parker (Harry Potter himself) of his relationship to the story when he got the role. Parker only read the books after getting the part, but is now on his seventh re-read. The Cursed Child show schedule keeps Parker from being home for his son's bedtime, so Parker takes 20 minutes every day to recording himself reading aloud from the books for his son.
"[I] fell in love with it and now I've gone sort of native," said Parker of his relationship to the story now. For the actor and fan, the Harry Potter story truly isn't complete without the exploration of Harry's character as a 40-year-old parent forced to face his own painful childhood as he struggles to connect with his son Albus.
"The big question for me is whether he ever did get past his childhood," said Parker. "He's still running to save Sirius, to save Hermione, to save Tonks and the rest of the Fallen Fifty. I think it's never left him. I remember finishing the books for the first time and getting to that last line 'All is well,' and being very suspicious of it. Because it leaves an awful lot of question marks and that, for me, is the need for this play. I think the loop isn't complete until the last two lines of this play and, without it, you haven't got a full myth."
The focus of The Cursed Child is very much split between the adult characters—Harry, Ron, Ginny, Draco, and Hermione—and the kids—Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy.
"It's about parenting, it's about childhood, it's about growing up," said Noma Dumezweni (Hermione). "It's about how you see yourself and your identity in relation to all those around you ... [These kids] have to go through a journey because these grown-ups here are still going through their own journey."
That parallel between kids and adults, and the realization that adulthood comes with its own set of difficulties that aren't entirely unrelated to our childhoods and adolescenes is at the heart of The Cursed Child.
Poppy Miller, who plays Ginny, echoed Parker's comments on how The Cursed Child works in conversation with the Harry Potter book series.
"[We're] portraying this marriage of two people who were idealized, to an extent, in the books in the way that we can look back at those glorious days of teenage and go, 'They're magnificent. They're heroic,'" said Miller. "And then life is actually a little bit harder than a literal battle. And we are struggling with the very ordinary things. Like: I fundamentally love you, but do I still want to be in the same room as you?"
"People will identity with that," continued Miller, "people who have gone on that quest—not necessarily to be parents, but dealing with being an adult."
Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!
He may not have the white spider symbol on his chest, but Venom happens to have a lot of Spider-Man comic references tossed in there.
This article is full of nothing but Venom spoilers.
The new Venom movie is here! 11 years after being in a movie with too much Spider-Man stuff in it, Venom gets another attempt, this time in a movie with no Spider-Man stuff in it. Ruben Fleischer directs Tom Hardy as he chews both brains and scenery. We have a review of the flick right here.
Of course, the connective status of the movie is interesting. It isn’t part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it is based on the background makeup of Spider-Man, a character who is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Having to rely on his own mythology a lot of the time, Venom ends up being a film based on stories and characters from the early-to-mid-90s. Hell, the villain is a character who hasn’t shown up in a comic since 1994!
There are a good chunk of Easter eggs and references to be found in this overly-ridiculous antihero movie. As always, major spoilers.
- The movie takes place in San Francisco. Back in 1993, when Venom got his own series, he left New York City and spent about two years fighting crime in San Francisco. While the movie goes in a slightly less outlandish direction, Eddie mainly protected and stood up for the homeless during this time. I’m actually kind of surprised Maria and Isaac aren’t based on anyone from those stories.
- They’re vague about it, but before Eddie moved to San Francisco, there was some kind of incident in New York City with the Daily Globe. In the comics, Eddie wrote for the Daily Globe until an incident involving a serial killer named the Sin-Eater. A man confessed to being the killer to Eddie and the Globe ended up running the story. Unfortunately for Eddie, that man was a liar and the real Sin-Eater was apprehended by Spider-Man. Eddie was fired in disgrace.
- The comics and cartoon always showed Eddie preparing for his war on Spider-Man by lifting weights in his rundown apartment, so it made all the sense in the world that he’d just have random dumbbells lying on the floor.
THE VENOM SYMBIOTE
- At one point, Drake’s experiments with the symbiotes were mentioned as a possible cure for cancer. Interesting line, that. In the Ultimate Universe, Venom was not an alien organism, but a man-made attempt to cure cancer that ran amok. Also, in regular continuity, Eddie was dying from cancer and the symbiote was keeping him alive for years.
- At the classy restaurant, Eddie went on a bit of a feeding frenzy rampage and was disgusted that whatever he tried to eat wasn’t good enough for him. He ended up eating a live lobster, which barely satiated him. This is a lot like the beginning of the story Venom: The Hunger, where Eddie found that no matter what he ate (ie. movie popcorn or junk food), it all tasted like garbage, driving him to subtle desire to actually eat people’s brains.
- Venom possessed a dog when escaping captivity. The symbiote (well, its clone) pulled the same trick in the mid-00s Venomseries by latching onto a snow dog in order to escape the arctic where it originated.
- The symbiote admitted to Eddie that it was considered a loser and outcast on its home planet. This lines up with the origin story David Michelinie came up with in Planet of the Symbiotes where all the symbiotes were about being pure parasites and sucking their hosts dry. While they wanted conquest and full control, Venom wanted true symbiosis with its host. It was deemed insane and was thrown in a prison.
- Venom admitted to having a soft spot for chocolate. During Venom’s antihero days in the 90s, there was a whole plot point about how eating chocolate would rein in the monster’s brain-eating tendencies. The symbiote naturally hungers for the chemical phenethylamine, which is found in both the human brain and chocolate.
Ann Weying first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #375, created by David Michelinie and Mark Bagley. Rather than being Eddie’s former fiancée, she was his ex-wife. Different comics muddy up whether or not they were divorced before or after the Sin-Eater incident. As in the movie, she was a lawyer, albeit with no connection to the Life Foundation.
Ann wearing the symbiote was a pretty big part of her history. In the storyline Venom: Sinner Takes All, she was badly wounded by a new Sin-Eater and Eddie had to use the symbiote to heal her. As She-Venom, she mercilessly slaughtered some vagrants who attacked Eddie. Upon being freed from the alien’s influence, she took her actions a lot harder and it haunted her enough that she eventually took her own life.
CARLTON DRAKE AND THE LIFE FOUNDATION
- The Life Foundation was created by David Michelinie and Todd MacFarlane, first showing up in Amazing Spider-Man #298, coincidentally right before Venom made his first true appearance. They appeared sporadically for several years as a threat to Spider-Man, the New Warriors, and eventually Venom. Their MO was that they believed the world will eventually destroy itself, so they would experiment with human biology to find ways to survive the apocalypse.
- Carlton Drake was the leader of the shadow organization and mainly used the Life Foundation as a means to cure his cancer. His most well-known appearance came in Venom: Lethal Protector, where he had Venom captured and forced the symbiote to birth five children. Those five soldiers were eventually defeated by Venom and Spider-Man, but Drake escaped. He later gained powers due to injecting himself with Spider-Man’s blood, but had not appeared since.
- I have far more to say about who Riot is here, but instead of being the leader of the symbiote race, Riot was an offspring of the Venom symbiote, brought to life by the Life Foundation. Life Foundation volunteer Trevor Cole bonded to it, but Cole was later killed by teammate Scream and the symbiote moved on to other hosts over time, including even Deadpool.
Oddly enough, Riot was the least descript of all the different symbiote children.
- In the film, Riot went hot potato with its hosts before ending with Carlton Drake. The Life Foundation woman seen walking off and devouring a live eel is identified in the credits as Donna Diego. In the comics, Donna was one of the Life Foundation test subjects and the one who got the most amount of promotion (she’s the one who shows up in the Universal Islands of Adventure Spider-Man ride). Although she didn’t become Scream, the yellow, black, and red Scream symbiote was definitely one of the creatures in Drake’s collection.
- Riot intended to lead an army of millions of symbiotes to Earth to take it over. This was essentially the plot of Planet of the Symbiotes, a Spider-Man/Scarlet Spider/Venom team-up where the Venom symbiote betrayed its own kind in order to protect Earth.
- Riot’s fighting style was exactly like Carnage’s. Not only could it alter its limbs into weapons, but Riot could also fire projectile spikes from its hide.
- At one point, Riot tore the mask off of Venom, causing extreme pain to Eddie. This looked an awful lot like the cover of Venom: Carnage Unleashed #3.
- The comic version of Roland Treece was yet another corrupt rich guy heading an evil organization. He was the main villain of Venom: Lethal Protector, where he acted like a Scooby Doo villain, trying to scare everyone away from hidden gold. Treece ran afoul of Venom twice, but each time ended up in police custody.
The only similarity between the comics and movie versions are that they both worked under Carlton Drake. It was just that instead of being head of security, Treece from the comics served on the board of directors for the Life Foundation. If anything, the movie version was closer to Mr. Crane, who acted as Treece’s right-hand man.
In the intro scene, we get a mention of astronaut John Jameson, including his untimely death. In the comics, Jameson never had much to do with Venom outside of serving with Eddie Brock in a task force put together to stop Carnage. His inclusion here has more to do with the ninth episode of the Spider-Man cartoon from 1994. In “The Alien Costume, Part 1,” Jameson went on a space mission that unexpectedly brought back the Venom symbiote and he ended up crashing back to Earth.
Spider-Man rescued him in that animated incident, based on an event in Amazing Spider-Man #1. Fitting that in a world with no mention of Spider-Man, John Jameson is doomed.
- When job hunting, Eddie brought up how he could write under a pen name and pretend to be a woman like Tootsie. The 1982 film was about Dustin Hoffman playing a blacklisted actor who pretended to be a woman in order to land a soap opera role.
- Ann’s cat is named Mr. Belvedere, named after the literary character Lynn Belvedere from the Gwen Davenport novel Belvedere. The character was adapted into several movies in the late-40s/early-50s, but is mostly remembered for a sitcom adaptation that lasted five years in the 80s.
Oh, and once during a table reading, the actor who played Mr. Belvedere – Christopher Hewett – once sat down on his balls so hard by accident that he had to be hospitalized and they shut down production for a week. This part has nothing to do with Venom, but I thought it might brighten your day.
- Ann mentioned sonics as being Venom’s “kryptonite.” Kind of weird that Superman is a fictional entity in that world. I wonder what Eddie thought of Dark Knight Rises.
- It wouldn’t be a Marvel movie without a Stan Lee cameo, even if he never actually wrote anything directly Venom-involved. The symbiote’s indignant, “Who is that guy?!” was one of the bigger laughs.
- In the final scene, there’s a sign for “Ron Lim Herbal.” Ron Lim was one of the artists on Venom: Lethal Protector.
Got any more Easter eggs? Let us know in the comments!
Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!
Syfy is adapting George R.R. Martin’s novella and 1987 movie, Nightflyers, as a TV series. And it's getting an ambitious release strategy.
"Nightflyers is a haunted house story on a starship. It's Psycho in space." - George R.R. Martin
Nightflyers stands as one of George R.R. Martin’s more intriguing pre-Game of Thrones space science-fiction offerings, starting as a 1980 novella, eventually inspiring a schlocky limited-release 1987 film adaptation. However, it appears that the Literary God of Death’s old property is about to be reincarnated as a television series over at Syfy.
Last year, the genre-aimed NBCU cable outlet ordered a pilot for Nightflyers, which has since expanded into a series pickup (Netflix has first run rights outside the U.S.). Additionally, Nightflyers recently received a bountiful boon of €850,000 ($1.1 million,) from the Irish Film Board and will soon begin filming at Limerick’s Troy Studios.
Nightflyers Release Date
Syfy took its time to announce a release date for Nightflyersand now it's clear why. The network is embarking on a rather ambitious release strategy for the horror/sci-fi series. Nightflyers will debut all 10 of its episodes in a particularly-timed rollout across all of Syfy's mutlimedia platforms starting on Sunday, December 2, per a Syfy release. These platforms include Syfy channel, SYFY On Demand, Syfy.com and the Syfy app.
The schedule of the rollout will be as follows. Nightflyers episodes 1-5 will air every night from Sunday, December 2 through Thursday, December 6 at 10 p.m. with limited commercials. Then episodes 6-10 will air during the same time slots from December 9 through Decemer 13. The show will also air marathon-style on the two weekends following its scheduled release times.
The new trailer for Nightflyers has arrived! Check it out:
Previously, Syfy also released three short teasers (via Collider) that give a great sense of both the production value of Nightflyers, as well as the tone. Check out these glimpses into this creepy science fiction series...
And here's a longer trailer...
Per the official synopsis:
NIGHTFLYERS follows eight maverick scientists and a powerful telepath who embark on an expedition to the edge of our solar system aboard The Nightflyer – a ship with a small tightknit crew and a reclusive captain – in the hope of making contact with alien life. But when terrifying and violent events begin to take place they start to question each other – and surviving the journey proves harder than anyone thought.
A bit of recent Nightflyers news saw a new occupant ascend to the proverbial Iron Throne of the George R.R. Martin adaptation series. That’s because its appointed showrunner, Daniel Cerone, dropped out of the series, reportedly over creative differences, says THR.
Jeff Buhler, will step in as showrunner, likely signaling a smooth transition, since he’s been with the project since the very beginning as its writer and executive producer. Buhler wrote the 2008 Bradley Cooper-starring horror film The Midnight Meat Train, with movie projects in the pipeline such as Descendant, Black River and horror thriller remake film Jacob’s Ladder, as well as a revival of horror film franchise The Grudge.
Moreover, to ensure said smooth series transition, Syfy is reportedly bringing onboard (as a consultant,) Terry Matalas, writer and co-creator of the cable channel’s imminently-ending series, 12 Monkeys, who also brings experience from his time on Nikita, Terra Nova, Star Trek: Enterprise and Star Trek: Voyager.
Phillip Rhys is the latest addition to the Nightflyers cast, reports Deadline. Rhys will recur on the series as Murphy, who is described as “a top systems tech engineer” who become inconsolably disturbed upon learning that “an L-1 telepath” is amongst the Nightflyer’s complement.
Rhys, an English actor, appeared in the 2015 Doctor Who Christmas special as Ramone, one of the episode’s titular “Husbands of River Song.” He’s also fielded TV runs on 24, Nip/Tuck and Survivors, along with guest spots on Rosewood, Glee, CSI, Bones and Warehouse 13.
With Syfy's early-January announcement of Nightflyers’ full series order came the reveal of the show’s cast.
Gretchen Mol will headline the series, playing Dr. Agatha Matheson.
Mol, who burst on the scene as a late-1990s it-girl from roles in Donnie Brasco, Rounders and The Thirteenth Floor, and steamed up the small screen in the 2005 HBO biopic, The Notorious Bettie Page, has made her presence known with recent television runs on Chance, Mozart in the Jungle and Boardwalk Empire. She notably appeared in last year’s Oscars-accruing drama, Manchester by the Sea. She's also booked to appear in the upcoming USA drama series Yellowstone.
And here’s the supporting cast:
Eoin Macken (The Night Shift) as Karl D’Branin
David Ajala (Fast & Furious 6) as Roy Eris
Sam Strike (EastEnders) as Thale
Maya Eshet (Teen Wolf) as Lommie
Angus Sampson (Fargo) as Rowan
Jodie Turner-Smith (The Last Ship) as Melantha Jhirl
Brían F. O'Byrne (Million Dollar Baby) as Auggie
Jeff Buhler, of The Midnight Meat Train and the upcoming horror thriller remake Jacob’s Ladder is the showrunner; a position to which he was promoted, after Daniel Cerone (The Blacklist, The Mentalist) dropped out.
Mike Cahill (I Origin) will direct the pilot.
Onboard as executive producers are Gene Klein, David Bartis and Edge of Tomorrow and The Bourne Identity franchise blockbuster director Doug Liman, all of whom are representing production company Hypnotic, which Liman co-owns with Bartis. Alison Rosenzweig and Michael Gaeta of Gaeta Rosenzweig Films along with Lloyd Ivan Miller and Alice P. Neuhauser of Lloyd Ivan Miller Productions are also onboard.
Netflix is also a co-producer on the Syfy project; a privilege that will yield the streaming giant first-run rights outside the U.S.
Additionally, George R.R. Martin himself will be a credited executive producer on the series.
“We are looking forward to diving deeper into George R. R. Martin’s chilling world of Nightflyers,” Bill McGoldrick, executive vice president of scripted development for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, said in a July statement. “The script that Jeff delivered encapsulates this classic sci-fi horror story and adapts it to a platform where we can truly explore the depths of madness.”
Robert Jaffe, who wrote the screenplay for the 1987 Nightflyers film, is onboard the series as a producer. It doesn't look like Martin will be involved with the series, at least for now.
The story of the George R.R. Martin-conceived supernatural space thriller is set on the eve of Earth’s destruction, depicting the travails of the crew of the most advanced ship in the galaxy in the titular spacecraft the Nightflyer. Adrift in space without a planet to call home, the goal of the surviving humans is to intercept a mysterious alien ship which is believed to hold the key for their survival. However, as the ship closes in on its destination, it becomes apparent that the Nightflyer’s onboard AI and its elusive captain – with mysterious motivations – may be leading the crew on a primrose path ending in the hopeless, horrific darkness of deep space.
The genesis of Nightflyers occurred with George R.R. Martin’s original 1980 novella of the same name, for which he received Japan’s Seiun Award in 1983 for Best Foreign Language Short Story of the Year. The story was subsequently collected as the title entry in Martin’s 1985 Nightflyers collection. The 1987 film adaptation, directed by Robert Collector (Jungle Warriors), starred perennial 1980s movie love interest Catherine Mary Stewart and Dynasty’s Michael Praed, manifesting with a limited release that grossed a paltry $1.145 million dollars at the box office (and sent Martin back to television to write for Beauty and the Beast).
What you need to know about Netflix's The Umbrella Academy, including latest news, release date, trailer, and much more!
Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba's The Umbrella Academy is coming to Netflix as a live action series. The comic book series, which debuted in 2007, was first optioned as a movie before Dark Horse signed a deal with Universal Cable Productions to adapt the comic as a TV series.
The live action series follows the estranged members of a dysfunctional family of superheroes -- The Monocle, Spaceboy, The Kraken, The Rumor, The Séance, Number Five, The Horror, and the seemingly powerless Vanya -- as they work together to solve their father’s mysterious death while coming apart at the seams due to their divergent personalities and abilities.
Way began writing The Umbrella Academy just a year after the release of My Chemical Romance's magnum opus, The Black Parade. The series is 15 issues of Eisner Award-winning goodness that has continued to inform Way's career as a comic book writer, especially with his current run on Doom Patrol and his Young Animal line at DC. Artist Gabriel Ba has also done some of his best work on the series. (If you want something really great by Ba, check out Daytripper, which he created with his twin brother, artist Fabio Moon.)
The Umbrella Academy has been on a bit of a hiatus since 2009. Only two volumes, The Apocalypse Suite and Dallas, have been released thus far, although Way and Ba plan at least two more volumes. The third volume is called Hotel Oblivion, and it's been in the works since at least 2013 when Way tweeted out an update with some sketches of new characters. Way and Ba had agreed to begin work on Hotel Oblivion in 2014, but a lot's happened since then. Besides his music projects, Way has his own line of comics and two comic book series to write.
While it's not likely the Umbrella Academy will return on the page any time soon, fans will at least gave the show to look forward to. – Here's everything else we know:
The Umbrella Academy Release Date
Netflix has officially announced that all 10 one-hour episodes of The Umbrella Academy will premiere will premiere on February 15, 2019. Best Valentine ever.
The Umbrella Academy Photos
Here is our first look of actual production stills from The Umbrella Academy. Looks like we've got everything but the trailer now.
Netflix, via the verified (and relatively new) Twitter account @UmbrellaAcad, has revealed the very first look of the show's cast all in character. Sort of. They're faces are a bit obscured but the gang is definitely all here.
— Umbrella Academy (@UmbrellaAcad) July 19, 2018
Here we have: #1 Luther Hargreeves a.k.a. Spaceboy (Tom Hooper), #2 Diego Hargreeves a.k.a. The Kraken (David Castañeda), #3 Allison Hargreeves a.k.a. The Rumor (Emmy Raver-Lampman), #4 Klaus Hargreeves a.k.a. The Séance (Robert Sheehan) #5 a.k.a. The Boy (Aidan Gallagher), and #7 Vanya Hargreeves a.k.a. The White Violin (Ellen Page).
This is the first look we've received of the actors in costume and hopefully more teaser-y goodness is on the way.
The Umbrella Academy Character Posters
Fresh from New York Comic Con 2018, The Umbrella Academy has some nifty new character posters. We'd explain who everyone was but the posters pretty much have that covered.
The Umbrella Academy News
Kate Walsh is the latest addition to The Umbrella Academy cast. She will play a recurring character called The Handler, officially described as “a composed and confident leader of a mysterious, bureaucratic company who is always ready to manage any situation — though it's best not to get on her bad side. Her charm is her greatest strength and she uses it to her advantage to complete the business of her organization.”
Walsh is currently fielding a run on the imminently-returning hit Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why. She’s best known from her run on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, which was parlayed to the spinoff series, Private Practice. She also starred in shows such as Bad Judge, Fargo, The Drew Carey Show and films such as Girls Trip, The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Legion.
The Umbrella Academy Cast
Netflix has revealed the core cast of the show. Here are the actors who will portray the members of the Umbrella Academy:
Ellen Page (X-Men: Days of Future Past) will star as Vanya, who is estranged from the rest of the family because of her lack of powers. Vanya is a very important character in the first arc of the comics, as she goes through a bit of self-discovery that puts her at odds with the superheroes she once called a family.
Tom Hopper (Game of Thrones) plays Luther, aka Spaceboy. He has super-strength, and after a terrible accident during an expedition to Mars, his head had to be transplanted onto the body of a gorilla. Ehem...
Emmy Raver-Lampman (Hamilton) will play Allison, aka The Rumor, who can alter reality by lying.
David Castaneda (El Chicano) is Diego, codenamed The Kraken. He is sort of a fuse between Aquaman and Batman. He can hold his breath indefinitely, which gives him an advantage when in water, and is an expert knife thrower.
Robert Sheehan (Misfits) is perfectly cast as Klaus aka The Seance, the most morbid character of the group. His powers, which manifest only when he's barefoot, include levitation, telekinesis, and the ability to contant the dead. In the comics, Klaus is killed at one point but rejected from both Heaven and Hell.
Aidan Gallagher (Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn) is Number Five, simply codenamed The Boy. He can effortlessly travel in time and does not age due to a temporal condition.
Colm Feore (House of Cards) will play Sir Reginald Hargreeves, the leader of the Umbrella Academy. He is the billionaire who adopted all of the strange children that made up the superhero team. Hargreeves was known to be manipulative and cold towards the kids, something that has scarred the heroes later in life.
Adam Godley (Breaking Bad) will play Pogo, a genetically-engineered and talking chimpanzee. Pogo is a point of comfort for the Umbrella Academy, acting in much more of a fatherly and nurturing role than Hargreeves ever did.
Ashley Madekwe (Revenge) plays Detective Patch, who is at odds with the vigilantes that protect her city. She prefers to play things by the book.
Mary J. Blige has joined the cast as well. She will play the role of Cha-Cha, the insane time-traveling assassin first introduced in the second arc of the comic, "Dallas," which reimagines the Kennedy assassination. Cha-Cha, along with her partner Hazel, believes in using the most violent method possible to dispatch her prey.
Hazel will be played by Cameron Britton (Mindhunter). According to the official character description, Hazel will become at odds with Cha-Cha at some point after their time-traveling blood-soaked adventures begin to wear on him.
John Magaro (The Big Short) will be a series regular, playing Leonard Peabody, described as “a sweet Average Joe,” who, while dismissed as being somewhat of a milquetoast, strikes up an unlikely romance with Vanya (Ellen Page) that plays out against the backdrop of the larger events of the series.
The Umbrella Academy Poster
Here's the first promo poster for The Umbrella Academy:
The Umbrella Academy Details
The Umbrella Academy will be produced by Universal Cable Productions. Steve Blackman (Fargo, Altered Carbon) will serve as executive producer and showrunner, with additional executive producers Bluegrass Television and Mike Richardson and Keith Goldberg from Dark Horse Entertainment. Gerard Way will serve as co-executive producer. The pilot script was adapted from the comic book series by Jeremy Slater (The Exorcist).
In 2016, Slater talked to Collider about his script:
I definitely wrote the pilot for The Umbrella Academy. I think it’s really exciting. I think it’s really surprising and funny. I took the job because I’m such an immense fan of what Gerard [Way] and Gabriel [Ba, the artist] did with that book. It’s one of those things where I would rather be the guy to screw it up than sit back and let someone else come in and do the bad adaptation. So, I was really adamant about taking the job, but the only way I was going to do it was if I could make it weird and make it true to the spirit of the book. There’s a lot of weird shit in The Umbrella Academy, and it would be very easy to sand down some of those weird edges and make it more familiar to American audiences. I’m fighting very hard to not let that happen. We’re shopping around the pilot, at the moment. We’re trying to find the right home for it and trying to find someone as excited as we are.
Rawson Marshal Thurber (Dodgeball) was originally tied to the project when it was still being considered for the big screen. He told CBR in 2016 that the series would be too difficult to adapt as a film, citing the weirdness of the book as something that could be lost in translation at a big studio.
Slater echoed Thurber's thoughts in his interview with Collider:
I think the relationships and the dynamics are so rich in that book that, if you tried to distill it down to 90 minutes, everyone gets reduced to a cartoon and a caricature. It really is The Royal Tenenbaums with superpowers. In order to do justice to that premise, you need time to unpack those characters, and dig into what makes them tick and the different relationships that they have with each other. There is so much fertile material there to tell really interesting, really funny, really unique stories that to compress it all into an hour and a half and throw in a bunch of giant action sequences, you’re going to wind up with some total mish-mash. It’s going to be Mystery Men. It’s going to be yet another wacky comedic superhero movie that no one really wants to see. It has its own unique DNA, and I think people should respect that DNA, or they should not do the project.
John Lennon's dreams mix with personal nightmares as Imagine: The Ultimate Collection bares its tracks.
John Lennon's Imagine, which just saw the release of an Ultimate Collection spread across four CDs and two Blu-ray discs, is best known for its title song. "Imagine" envisioned an anti-authoritarian nutopia, without the need of heaven, hell, countries or border walls. Critics blasted Lennon's soft anthem as soft politics and the singer an armchair liberal who sent his protests via limousine. Elvis Costello chided "was it a millionaire who said imagine no possessions?" on his song "The Other Side of Summer."
Most of this is true. Lennon practically invented armchair liberalism, possibly inspired by Elvis Presley's Pink Cadillac tour of England, where the rock and roll legend sent only his prized automobile in lieu of personal appearances. The Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger went to the student protests. Lennon sent his MBE, the coveted piece of leather with a cardboard string given to The Beatles for their million dollar exports, back to Buckingham Palace via limo in protest of Britain's support of Vietnam, involvement in Biafra and his heroin withdrawal pang "Cold Turkey" slipping down the charts. Ineffective, in the long run, but funny, in that patented "witty Beatle" way. Sometimes Lennon wasn't even an armchair protester, he and Yoko Ono barely got out of bed for their wedding anniversary hotel peace tour.
Lennon himself called "Imagine""'Working Class Hero' for conservatives," referencing his autobiographically acoustic take on the social divide that included the word "fuck" twice for working class emphasis. But the Imagine album itself cuts much deeper than the peaceful dreams of an artist wanting to make a difference. Lennon takes aim at government in "Gimme Some Truth," with blaring, sneering slide guitars by George Harrison, who also aims his strings at Paul McCartney in the bitter rant "How Do You Sleep." He mocks the conscience-afflicted wealthy class in "Crippled Inside," and fuels the fear and anger behind righteous rage with propulsive and massive drums in "I Don't Want to Be a Soldier Mama I don't Want to Die." He also goes out on a limb in some of his most personal love songs and revealing snatches of self-consciousness. Lennon is as hard on himself as he is on the body politic in songs like "Jealous Guy."
Imagine was released in September 1971. Lennon recorded three solo experimental noise and spoken word albums with Yoko Ono while Beatle were still together: Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins, Wedding Album and Unfinished Music No. 2: Life With the Lions, which all came out in 1969. None of them reached the artistic heights of "Revolution 9" off The Beatles album, better known as The White Album. The biggest controversy coming from a nude cover that record stores had to hide under a brown paper bag. John Lennon and the original Plastic Ono Band, which included Klaus Voorman, who drew the cover of The Beatles'Revolver album, on bass, Alan White on drums, and slow hand guitar master Eric Clapton on guitar, also released the moldy oldie set they performed live at the Toronto Peace Festival. Lennon recorded his Plastic Ono Band album in its purest form, which must have driven producer Phil Spector, renowned for his Wall of Sound, to distraction. But Lennon was in the throes of Primal Therapy and was undeterred in letting it all hang out.
Spector put strings on the Plastic Ono Band sentiment to make Imagine Lennon's first solo record to hit number one. The album is seen as the rhythm guitar and mouth organ player’s return to conventional pop. To fans of the Fab Four, Imagine almost sounded like a Beatles album.
Phil Spector was known for his reverberating over-saturation which he also employed for George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass album. The live studio performances are stripped as raw as most of Lennon's vocals. The raw takes show a band with a purpose, the studio chatter, caught in the fourth CD, finds playful ways to inspire serious playing. The Raw Studio mixes are presented in 5.1 surround sound with Lennon in front and the band playing all around and behind. Highlights are the extended renditions of "I Don't Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don't Wanna Die,""How Do You Sleep?" and "Oh Yoko!"“It’s So Hard” features a beautiful sax track by the legendary King Curtis, who also blasts “I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die” into another dimension.
The new expanded edition of the album brings the intimacy to the forefront, especially in the Raw Studio Mixes disk that captures Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band bashing through their performances live without overdub, echo or other studio affects. The album proper has been cleaned up for the Ultimate Mixes to allow for deeper definition and clarity, and the Quadrasonic Album Mix gives four speakers equal time for the first time in nearly fifty years.
Imagine - The Ultimate Collection also collects the singles which propelled the album to the top slot. They include "Power to the People," which opens with the line "You say you want a revolution," harking back to The Beatles' non-committal protest song "Revolution," and "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)." The now-holiday staple began as an anti-war song, recorded at the Record Plant in New York with session musicians and the Harlem Community Choir.
Also putting in an official appearance is the little-known single "Do the Oz," which was written to support the underground Oz magazine which had been hit with an obscenity charge, and the hitherto unknown "God Save us," two versions, one with a guest vocalist. The accompanying book is informative, and nicely packaged. It almost makes up for the missing postcard and poster which came with the original release.
The disc In The Studio and Deeper Listening features both surround sound and stereo mixes, along with Elliot Mintz's 29-minute compilation os interviews with John and Yoko. The Elements Mixes includes strings-only versions of "Imagine" and "How?,""Oh My Love" stripped of everything but the voice, and the piano, bass, and drums instrumentation for "Jealous Guy." The Evolution Documentary tells the full story of each song, presenting a fly-on-the wall take from the first writing and demo sessions to the final co-production with Spector. We hear tidbits like how Spector experimented with having Hopkins play the same lines on the same piano as Lennon, but on a higher octave.
Lennon began work on Imagine in February 1971, gathering Voormann, White, George Harrison and pianist Nicky Hopkins to house with him and Spector at Lennon's Georgian country home, Tittenhurst Park, in Berkshire, England, long enough to create a unified audio experience. The songs are diverse, as are the instrumentations. “Crippled Inside,” which has a wonderful dobro performance by Harrison, is a mocking retro-country stomp that could almost be a Skiffle song.
“Oh My Love” is such a straightforward romantic outpouring of devotional love, it is a wonder it isn't played at more weddings. Lennon is at his naturalistic best, lyrically appreciating the trees and skies for the first time through his lover's eyes. He is so lost in the newness of love, several years after meeting Yoko, he also includes the monogamously celebratory "Oh Yoko!" which closes on a positively giddly Bob Dylan style harmonica. But Lennon gives in to existential doubts for the song “How,” where he asks “How can I go forward when I don’t know which way I’m facing?”
Lennon's personal blues usually start with a shade of green. "Jealous Guy” is a somber wake up call to the guy who sang "I'd rather see you dead, little girl, than to be with another man" on the Rubber Soul album song “Run for Your Life.” "Jealous Guy" began life as the song "Child of Nature," which he wrote when the Beatles went to India in 1968. For such an emotional confession Lennon brought in extra support from friendly musicians, like Mike Pinder from The Moody Blues who he'd known since the Hamburg days. Pinder came in to do a Mellotron part, but the instrument acted up and he banged on a tambourine instead. Lennon also called on Joey Molland and Tom Evans of the Apple band Badfinger. They would also provide soft acoustic backing for Harrison, both on records and in the Concert for Banga Desh. The strings were done by members of the New York Philharmonic, who Lennon dubbed "the Flux Fiddlers." The song was famously, or infamously, covered by Roxy Music, but it doesn't touch Lennon's tortured vocals or baleful, though tuneful, whistling.
The term rock and roll began as a euphemism for sex and "It's So Hard" is pure rock and roll. It's got the I-IV-V twelve bar blues structure of the classics that drew Lennon to the genre, and it's got the sweaty beats to drive it against the wall. Lennon told Rolling Stone magazine that the Beatles first number one hit in England, "Please, Please Me," was about oral sex. The BBC banned the song “Happiness is a Warm Gun” from airplay in the United Kingdom because the singer was "going down." Lennon would at one point be busted for displaying erotic artwork of his lingual enjoyment of Yoko. Here he proclaims whether it's good, whether he's worried, or when things get really hard, sometimes he just feels like going down. He doesn't mince words.
Lennon's wordplay comes to the forefront when he takes on the hypocrisy of the Nixon administration in “Gimme Some Truth.” Tricky Dick hated the song so much he had his people try to deport Lennon and Ono in 1972. Lennon takes down everyone from tight-lipped, condescending, mama’s little chauvinists to schizophrenic-egocentric-paranoic-prima donnas in a proto-punk protest classic backed by the band at full-throttle and Harrison's slide set on incisive insinuation. The two guitarists paired again to pile on another inside threat.
McCartney's second solo album Ram, which came out earlier in 1971, opened with the song “Too Many People” which included the line "Too many people preaching practices." Lennon caught the subtle dig and responded by posing while holding a pig by the ears in the postcard insert, and a blistering moment of classic rock for the needle. “How Do You Sleep” begins with an orchestra tuning up like Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Clubs Band before Lennon, the dreamer of the song "Imagine" shatters that illusion with how the album took the melodic bassist by surprise. Lennon sets his lyrics on pun for lines like “the only thing you done was yesterday.” He references McCartney's more recent single "Another Day," by alluding to Harrison's charge that McCartney overplayed the bass part on "Something" and mocks the cute Beatle for his pretty face. “How Do You Sleep” is supposedly a character assassination of Paul McCartney, but Lennon also admits he was writing about himself. He knows he would also "jump when your mama tell you anything.”
This brings us to the title song. John Lennon composed the song in one session, sitting at the iconic white grand piano featured in a poster that came with the original album. The new collection includes a sparse home recording of Lennon on piano and vocal. Lennon revels in the naiveté of the dreamer as he imagined something that seemed unimaginable in a world made bitter after incidents like the Ohio National Guard troops killing four protesting students at Kent State University. The lyrics were inspired by Ono's "event scores" in her 1964 book Grapefruit. Lennon later admitted to writer David Sheff the song should have been credited to Lennon-Ono. “Imagine" has been labeled communist, anti-American, anti-British, anti-establishment and atheistic. But Lennon also cited a Christian prayer book given to him by comedian and activist Dick Gregory as inspiration.
The song has gone on to be a universal anthem that touches all generations and has been transcribed to all genres. David Bowie, Liza Minnelli, Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, Lady Gaga, Willie Nelson, Pearl Jam, Elton John, Ray Charles, Madonna, Diana Ross, Herbie Hancock, Joan Baez, Avril Lavigne and Chris Cornell have performed it.
The John Lennon/Plastic One Band album is considered Lennon's most naked and raw. His lyrics are direct, without the psychedelic wordplay of his Beatles works. His solutions as primal as the therapy he was shouting. Imagine isn't as spontaneous as Plastic Ono Band, but it is equally revealing. The new discs reveal even more. Imagine - The Ultimate Collection is available now.
Culture Editor Tony Sokol cut his teeth on the wire services and also wrote and produced New York City's Vampyr Theatre and the rock opera AssassiNation: We Killed JFK. Read more of his work here or find him on Twitter @tsokol.
Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!
Tom Taylor and Juan Cabal will bring you tales of the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.
Big changes are in store for the world of Spider-Man thanks to the Spider-Geddon event. One such change will occur when Spectacular Spider-Man comes to a close in December and is replaced by a brand spanking new Spidey title in January 2019.
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man is a brand new series from writer Tom Taylor (X-Men: Red, All-New Wolverine) and artist Juan Cabal will focus on, as the title suggests, Spidey and his neighborhood.
At New York Comic Con, Spider-Man group editor Nick Lowe announced the title to a group of Spidey-philes. “Nick Lowe contacted me in a period where I was weighing up a lot of exciting writing offers, but as soon as I saw Spider-Man in the email, there was nothing else in my mind," Taylor said in a statement. "Spidey was my first Marvel hero and a character I've always wanted an opportunity to write. As a fan, this is a bit of a dream come true. I was already writing X-Men and Star Wars comics for Marvel, and to add Spider-Man to that is, frankly, a little ridiculous."
As for the series itself, Taylor said, that Peter Parker is, “… a guy who saves the world, but he's still struggling to pay his bills with his housemates. That's the heart of this series. We're going to tell some big stories here, and introduce an all-new hero, but it's all about the micro. This is Peter finding adventure in his apartment building, a few doors down."
It sounds like this new Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man series will serve as a contrast to the multiverse spanning Spider-Geddon event, but even the small scale Spidey tales have a huge heart.
Here's the official synopsis:
"The new series tells the tale of the power and responsibility that the wallcrawler bears as both a Super Hero and as the guy who lives next door!
And guess what? Spider-Man is the worst neighbor ever!
There’s always crazy villains and property damage and drama and he catches the villains and he tries to fix the damage and he helps carry your groceries and actually that property damage helps keep the rent down? You know what? Spider-Man is the best neighbor ever and this book will give you a closer look at Spider-Man’s neighborhood than any book ever before."
The Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man title should sound rather familiar to Spidey fans as it is a relaunch of a Peter David penned series that ran from 2005-2007. Taylor has been doing some great work on the X-Men titles as of late so his addition should be very welcome to Spidey fans in 2019.
Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!