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- 10/15/18--13:54: _Bullet Catcher: An ...
- 10/15/18--16:54: _The Rift Uprising T...
- 10/15/18--18:24: _American Gods Seaso...
- 10/16/18--09:13: _Venom: Who is Carnage?
- 10/16/18--09:16: _The Flash Season 5 ...
- 10/16/18--10:25: _Dracula vs. The Mar...
- 10/16/18--17:42: _Batman Faces His Wo...
- 10/17/18--12:13: _Stranger Things Com...
- 10/17/18--15:53: _Justice League: Dro...
- 10/17/18--16:52: _The Distinctive Dir...
- 10/17/18--18:22: _Dorian Gray TV Show...
- 10/18/18--11:09: _Daredevil: Who is B...
- 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...
- 10/06/18--01:40: _New Spider-Man Seri...
- 10/06/18--02:00: _New Batman: Three J...
- 10/06/18--23:34: _The Pretenders' Chr...
- 10/07/18--12:35: _The Walking Dead Se...
- 10/15/18--13:54: Bullet Catcher: An Interview with Author Joaquin Lowe
- 10/15/18--16:54: The Rift Uprising Trilogy by Amy S. Foster Review
- 10/15/18--18:24: American Gods Season 2 Hopes to Move Past Behind-The-Scenes Drama
- 10/16/18--09:13: Venom: Who is Carnage?
- 10/16/18--09:16: The Flash Season 5 Villain: Who is Cicada?
- 10/16/18--17:42: Batman Faces His Worst Fears in The Batman Who Laughs
- 10/17/18--12:13: Stranger Things Comic: Jody Houser’s Upside Down Survival Tale
- 10/17/18--15:53: Justice League: Drowned Earth, Batman, and The Sixth Dimension
- 10/17/18--16:52: The Distinctive Direction of the Good Omens TV Show
- 10/17/18--18:22: Dorian Gray TV Show in Development
- 10/18/18--11:09: Daredevil: Who is Bullseye?
- 10/05/18--00:06: Venom: Complete Marvel Easter Eggs and References Guide
- 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
- 10/06/18--02:00: New Batman: Three Jokers Details Revealed
- 10/06/18--23:34: The Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde Issues Art Book
- 10/07/18--12:35: The Walking Dead Season 9: A Spoiler-Filled Guide to A New Beginning
We talked to Bullet Catcher writer Joaquin Lowe about the supernatural western about to launch on Serial Box.
A girl without a future. A stranger hiding his past. And the remarkable, supernatural ability to turn bullets away from their targets—walking through a gunfight unscathed. In Joaquin Lowe’s Bullet Catcher, launching as a serial from Serial Box on October 18, elements of coming of age play against a mythological background that questions whether anything is really as simple as good and evil.
And the gun fu? There’s some serious fantasy martial arts going on here as well! Taking the best elements of weird westerns, throwing in some of the mentor-trainee relationship in Old Man Logan, and adding to that some Avatar: The Last Airbender-like stylized combat, Lowe throws readers into the story of Imma, a young woman raised on the fairy tales that pitched the good bullet catchers against the evil gunslingers.
In the stories, the bullet catchers are gone, killed off by the gunslingers. But when a real bullet catcher comes to her town, where Imma is working in a nowhere job that will never take her anywhere, she decides to follow him, taking control of her own destiny.
We chatted with Lowe about the story, and about its transformation into a serial. Like Serial Box’s originals, Bullet Catcher is releasing on a weekly schedule in both prose and audio, with each episode priced at 99 cents. But unlike most Serial Box serials, Lowe’s project didn’t start in a team writers’ room.
In 2016, Bullet Catcher was originally released as a novel in the UK, and it was selected as one of the Telegraph’s best YA novels of the year. “I knew that Serial Box had a format that would require me not only to overhaul the structure of the original chapters, but also to do extensive rewrites and new writing for the new edition,” Lowe explained.
Going back to the original novel and translating it into a new format gave him a chance to reexamine the work, to fix things that he hadn’t liked the first time around. He worked with Serial Box editor Lydia Shamah (also a producer on Silverwood: The Door), who brought some new ideas to the project. “It was such a fantastic experience getting to work with her and I think the best parts of the book are the parts that came out of our collaboration,” Lowe said.
In both its incarnations, as the story begins, Imma is alone in the world with the certain knowledge that her parents are dead, and that the brother who promised to come back for her is dead as well. “In many ways, the story is a classic Hero’s Journey,” Lowe said, comparing her at the start of her quest to Luke Skywalker—or, more appropriately, to Rey, who hadn’t come to the screen yet when Bullet Catcher was first written. “By being orphaned, Imma has been propelled into a world she doesn’t think she’s prepared for, but through bravery, smarts, and fool-heartedness gains wisdom, which she must then bring back to the world.”
Some of that wisdom is hard earned. Imma’s brother, before he left, told her stories of the legendary bullet catchers and gun slingers, giving the world a duality of good and evil. “When I set off to write the story I wanted it to have an anti-gun sub-theme,” Lowe explained about the origins of the mythology.
"But, of course, things aren’t ever as simple as ‘good’ vs. ‘evil.’ What we find as the story progresses is that the lines aren’t drawn between gunslingers and bullet catchers, but between individuals, and by the actions of individuals. And even then, many of these characters aren’t ‘good’ or ‘evil,’ but maybe, misguided, or naïve, or in pain, or in love!"
Imma in particularly learns that things she’d always accepted as true turn out vastly different than she expected, including her understanding of the brother she idolizes. That doesn’t mean the anti-gun theme has vanished, because it’s an issue that’s extremely important to Lowe, but “it’s messy, because the relationships in the book are messy.”
The mythology of the gunslingers and the bullet catchers draws on samurai tales—as well as stories of the Jedi, and Avatar: The Last Airbender.
“I was fascinated with the idea of there once being a very large sect of people that is suddenly reduced to a single person, and what that would do to that person and their beliefs,” Lowe said, likening the bullet catcher Imma apprentices to Avatar’s Aang. The story is also inspired by the Japanese film series and comic Lone Wolf and Cub, in which an aged ronin travels through the countryside, bringing his infant son with him. Of course, Imma has an agency that the child in Lone Wolf and Cub, an infant, never develops.
“What I liked is that the younger partner essentially represented the old man’s heart,” Lowe describes. “Without him, he’d have no ties and would be heartless, he’d act heartlessly. That’s where the Bullet Catcher is before Imma comes into his life.”
While Lowe laughs at the idea that an “inside-kid” like him might also be a martial artist, he does admit that he’d rather be a bullet catcher than a gunslinger. The best and most challenging part of a project like this, for Lowe, is the world building.
“It’s so much fun... but it’s also extremely time intensive,” he said. “You have to think about so many things that don’t even have a presence in the book, because those things impact the things that do make it in. The little inconsistencies are really hard to find when you’re building from the ground up because of how easy it is to get lazy in your thinking.”
Luckily, Lowe had a fantastic team to work with: he praised Lydia and the amazing copyediting team for keeping all his internal details consistent. “It adds up to a big difference, because when the world building has been done well readers stop questioning it and let themselves get taken away by the story.”
To experience the world of the bullet catchers first hand, and to follow Imma’s hero’s journey, you can buy the full season or subscribe at Serial Box.
Alana Joli Abbott writes about books for Den of Geek. Read more of her work here.
Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!
The Rift Uprising series offsets its somewhat tired love triangle with enough action-y sci-fi thrills to make this an enjoyable ride.
Warning: This Rift Uprising series review contains spoilers for the series.
Genetically-enhanced teenaged super soldiers, forbidden love, and a conspiracy spanning multiple worlds form the framework of Amy S. Foster's Rift Uprising series. The latest in the series, Rift Coda has just been published, so maybe you'd like to know what you're getting into before taking the plunge.
Keep in mind: this will be spoilery (though I'll try to avoid the worst so you can still enjoy some revelations). The first book will be heavily spoiled since I can't discuss the other two without mentioning those plot developments.
In Rift Uprising, we are introduced to Ryn Whittaker and her squad of teenage soldiers called Citadels. They are part of ARC, a program that has secretly made genetically enhanced children to be super fast and strong in order to protect the world from the many potentially dangerous Immigrants who unwittingly come to our Earth through a rift in space-time.
These Citadels are given their incredible power thanks to the technology of the Roones, a species who came through the rift and warn the humans that they need special foot soldiers to protect the Earth from dangerous beings.
A major point of tension within this fictional world is the Blood Lust, a compulsory violent reaction the Citadels experience whenever they feel anything resembling love or lust. It's a failsafe built into them to supposedly keep them on mission at all times, but what it does is make a lot of teenagers really pissed off about what they can't do. They can't share an intimate touch or so much as a hug without nearly ripping someone's head off. It's a really inhumane way to keep the Citadels in line, and they soldiers actively fight against these brainwashed instincts throughout the series.
By the end of Rift Uprising, we find that the Roones are not the kindly helpers they appear to be. Creating the Citadels was something they had planned all along, and they have orchestrated an elaborate web of lies to keep their soldiers in line, fighting a battle where enemy lines are sometimes hard to dilineate.
It is here that Ryn meets Ezra, a handsome guy who comes through the rift. Ryn promises him she will make sure he's okay after he's escorted to where Immigrants are held. It's that promise that lands Ryn solidly on the path to discover all of what ARC and the Roones have hidden from her and her fellows, and into a war that spans the Multiverse.
Of course, she falls in love with Ezra.
In this first book, we get to see how much of a trained badass Ryn really is, as she and her team make quick work of the more violent visitors to our world. The action scenes are well written and the conversational tone that Ryn uses throughout her adventures never let us forget that she could have been a normal teenager had ARC never taken her for their program.
Our eyes are also opened to the horrors of this secret battle they have been fighting. Ryn finds out where the Immigrants go and how ARC has been subtly controlling the Citadels to follow protocol. The Immigrants that aren't killed are placed in The Villages, a simulated combination of towns that is really just a fancy prison. They can't return home and are forced to speak English and humanize. There's a lot to unpack there. Suffice to say it's good for scifi and a great mirror to hold up when society deems something “other” as bad.
There are layers here – how far is Ryn willing to go to uncover the truth? Who is the real enemy and what have they been planning? Ryn's visit to the Villages opens her eyes and expands her heart.
Ryn and fellow Citadel Levi travel the Multiverse, hopping from alternate Earth to alternate Earth, gaining intel and learning more about the scope of the Roone's betrayal. Citadels of all different species exist on multiple Earths. Some are willing to join in the fight.
In Ryn's travels, we see all different types of peoples, from the winged Faida to the impish Daithi and the bear-like Orsalines. Most of the character designs aren't the most original we've seen. Most seem to be a mashup of fantasy tropes. We even saw vampires and a unicorn in the previous book. For the most part, the series keeps to a sci-fi angle, though fantasy influences can be seen throughout.
A favorite world is that of the SenMachs. These robot people are a relic of a world that has seen normal flesh-and-blood humans go extinct. The SenMachs supply Ryn with tools that will make the journey easier. It's a bit of a literal deus ex machina situation. The tech that Ryn aquires is a little too good, but I let it go for coolness points.
Unfortunately, this is the book where we're introduced to a love triangle. Ryn is torn between deprogramming Levi from his Blood Lust (so they can travel together without him violently attacking her) and Ezra, who has become a jealous boyfriend. The inclusion of the love triangle is my biggest complaint about the series. Levi and Ryn have no chemistry and Levi is a bit of a jerk for being annoyed at Ryn having a boyfriend. I'm tired of this trope and would like to see it reframed in a fresh light.
Rift Coda is the “assemble the troops” book until it leads to the final climactic fight for power. Ryn has allied with the Faida, and they need some other species on the same page in order to fight the insurmountable armies the Roones control. It's a numbers game, and the math is not in their favor.
Ryn also has to deal with matters of the heart as – surprise, surprise – it's a big angsty struggle between her potential feelings for Levi and her feelings for Ezra. Will they? Won't they? Don't you guys have a Multiverse spanning war to fight? Well who cares about that because we're going to waste way too much time on Ryn's love life, a romantic life I might add she's only had for a short time.
What this book does well is show the reality and horror of war. Ryn gets enough experience from her travels and all the secrets she's uncovered about ARC and the Roones to realize they have to be stopped from doing this again. There are some brutal moments, both what happens to the good guys and what Ryn does with her own hands. It's bloody and visceral and it makes you sit upright as you read each word in anticipation. Our protagonists are not infallible. There will be casualties and hard choices.
“No child wakes up and imagines themselves to be anything other than the hero of his or her own story,” Ryn narrates as she spies some of the human cost of the final battle. She's right.
Oh and all that “will they, won't they” love triangle nonsense is resolved in a lackluster way, in my humble opinion. One of the characters in question is written off about thirty pages from the end with not so much as a how-do-you-do. I actually had to turn back the pages after finishing the book to figure out where he disappeared.
The Rift Uprising series is chock full of super-soldier battles and otherworldly creatures, but keeps itself grounded with enough human drama and pop culture references to land on The CW. Although I had some problems with the plot here and there, namely the tired love triangle, these books kept up a good pace and delivered on enough change of scenery and bone-jarring hits to keep you going for the action alone.
Ryn is a protagonist we can root for. She feels like a real person thrust between a rock and a hard place. The Roones are diabolical and you really want to see the Citadels enact their brand of justice on them. There are moments of brilliance, and there are moments where you will likely get frustrated with our character's choices. The Rift Uprisingis fun, but it's not treading new ground.
For action-y sci-fi thrills you might want to hitch your wagon to this rift and just enjoy the ride.
Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!
Neil Gaiman and the cast open up about the many changes the American Gods Season 2 production has faced during NYCC.
While executive producer Neil Gaiman may have grandiose plans for three more seasons of American Gods at Starz, the television adaptation of his 2001 fantasy novel has endured a great deal of seemingly divine intervention since airing its first season last year.
Showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green exited the show after the pair had reportedly completed about half of the season two scripts. Cast members Gillian Anderson and Kristin Chenoweth subsequently left, and after stepping in as the new showrunner for a time, Jesse Alexander was asked to leave the series. Gaiman, who was already spearheading Amazon’s adaptation of his and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens, stepped in to salvage things.
Despite all of this, American Gods showed up at the 2018 New York Comic Con with Gaiman and the cast to promote its return in 2019. (Ian McShane was not in attendance because, as Gaiman explained, he was busy “zapping kidney stones that he will be pissing out.”) They debuted the first trailer for the new season and, among other things, confirmed which sections of the book would be adapted for its current storyline.
Aside from an allusive comment Gaiman made about the cast’s “not compromising” during the second season’s production, however, very little was said about the showrunner shuffle at the American Gods panel.
Pablo Schreiber, who plays fan-favorite Mad Sweeney, mentioned Fuller’s name, which elicited a small cheer from the audience, but that was it. Speaking to the press afterward, Gaiman and the cast were slightly more forthcoming (and optimistic) about what had happened, and where American Gods would be going next season.
“My metaphor for season two is basically we're back at the same school but we're in a different classroom,” Yetide Badaki, who plays Bilquis, tells Den of Geek. “We have some different teachers, but we still have mostly the same schoolmates, as well as a few new people who came in from out of town.”
Emily Browning, who plays the once-dead Laura Moon, speaks with far less metaphor, though not before joking about being monitored by drones operated by Starz executives.
“If you had have spoken to me about it a few months ago, I would have been in a very different place with it. To be totally honest, I think we were all nervous about it in the beginning. We all loved Michael and Bryan, and this was their vision, so losing them was terrifying,” she tells us.
Gaiman himself spoke about the behind-the-scenes drama, though largely from the perspective of simultaneously running two different shows whose productions were taking place in wildly different time zones. He also explained his process working with Alexander early on in season two, but didn’t dwell on the nature of his dismissal from the series.
“Everybody knew I was going to be the showrunner on Good Omens, which meant that I wasn’t left a lot of time for American Gods,” he says. “Jesse came out to New Orleans, where I was at the time, and I spent two days briefing him on exactly what American Gods means. Not just what it is and what the plot is, but where we could take it in season two and what parts of the book we would be doing.”
While Gaiman’s comments help make more sense of the timeline (he was able to spend more time on American Gods after San Diego Comic-Con in July, and Alexander was asked to leave the show in September), they don’t necessarily explain what had happened. He did call the initial reports of Alexander’s being sidelined “bullshit,” but that was the extent of any explicit remarks about it.
Instead, Gaiman praises the show’s cast who, as he frames it, succeeded in defending their characters as initially contrived in season one despite apparent issues with new writers trying to change things up.
“We have a fantastic cast. They know who they are and they know who their characters are. They care about them. They've researched them. This is especially helpful when you’re getting new writers coming in, who might be a little wobbly on things that characters would do or say. The cast absolutely saw it and said, ‘No mate, the character wouldn't do that because of this, this and this.’ So things would get rewritten and stuff would be fixed, thanks to them.”
Interestingly, Gaiman may have been referencing one of the more fantastic aspects of the initial report about Alexander’s removal, which claimed he and McShane would partake in “screaming matches” over the quality of the season two scripts. The finale was even totally scrapped. Talking about it now, Gaiman admits that he was more involved in the scripts for the final three episodes, but leaves it there.
Even so, the American Gods cast now seems quite confident in the work they’ve put into the new season. They’re also just as confident in Gaiman’s ability to steer the show out of its troubled water and into the much wider (and hopefully less dramatic) seas ahead.
“These characters were created by Bryan and Michael, so they're based on Neil’s characters, but they’re different,” says Orlando Jones, who plays the African trickster god, Mr. Nancy. “I'm a lot like Nancy in the book in many ways, and I’m also not like Nancy in the book at all. Shadow Moon never got lynched in the books. He's living in a different America today.”
“I think there's a nuance there, and Neil really is the person that comes in and goes, ‘Stay on the theme, guys. The theme is here. Stay focused here.’ He's a master storyteller, so why do anything differently?”
Browning is also quick to note that the loss of Fuller and Green after season one, and Alexander toward the end of season two, never really meant the end of the series. After all, so many other people were helping to make American Gods a reality.
“All of that went away after we saw a bunch of footage. We grew less worried after we saw a few rough cuts from the first few episodes, especially the stuff that Chris Byrne showed us,” she says. Chris Byrne, who served as the first season’s second unit director, is now the show’s producing director. He’s also, as Browning puts it, “the fucking hero of American Gods” and partially responsible for how amazing season two looks.
“He is the vision of the show. The way the show looks has always been thanks to him, and it's still him. He is an angel, he's our savior and he's incredible. Seeing the stuff that he showed me, I was like, ‘Oh wow, we did it! This is our show and it actually looks kind of incredible.' It was scary. We obviously had a huge road bump to get over, but I feel like we're going to give you guys something really cool in the end.”
American Gods Season 2 premieres sometime in 2019 on Starz.
Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!
OK, Venom fans, break out your Green Jelly tapes, because it's time to learn all about Carnage, Spider-Man's evil double's evil double.
All right, so, a few months ago, when Deadpool 2came out, we did an article called Deadpool 2: Who is Juggernaut? People were pretty annoyed because Juggernaut’s role in that movie as a major antagonist wasn’t advertised and they cried spoiler. And that’s a fair call. Apologies.
That said, if you think it’s a spoiler that Carnage is in any way alluded to in Venom, I don’t know what to tell you. It’s Carnage. Of COURSE he’s going to be at least referenced in a Venom movie. The movie just used Carlton Drake and Riot. Venom doesn’t exactly have a Batman-level rogues gallery to play with and only one of his bad guys is important enough to get a red SNES cartridge.
So yeah, Carnage. He’s teased at the end of Venom. Read more on that in this look at the Venom post-credit sequences.
The only real surprise is that it’s taken this long for Carnage to be in a movie. With so many comic book movies out there, we’re running out of iconic villains who haven’t been featured. We’re down to Darkseid, Kang, and...I don’t know, Arcade?
Much like in the movies, Carnage’s first appearance in the comics was a quick teaser. While Spider-Man was busy dealing with Cardiac in Amazing Spider-Man #360 (by Davie Michelinie and Chris Marrinan), we got to see a one-page scene of a man named Gunny Stein returning home, only to be smothered by an attacker who admitted to killing him merely because he was looking through the phone book and found a suitably stupid name.
While he would appear in full in the following issue (Mark Bagley on art), the wheels towards Carnage’s creation came far earlier. When trying to kill Spider-Man, Venom ran afoul of Styx and Stone, a villain duo only really remembered for this very story. Styx, who has a death touch, touched the Venom symbiote and seemingly killed it. Eddie Brock was thrown in a regular prison and I would make a Bronsonjoke if I had actually gotten around to seeing that movie.
Venom returned to mess with Spider-Man again, only this time on an abandoned island. Spider-Man pretended to die in an explosion and Venom was all, “Sweet! Our to-do list is done! Let’s just squat on this island, where there are no TVs or newspapers to let us know that Spider-Man’s alive!”
That worked out great for everyone, but then the Carnage storyline kicked in and after a single fight against the new villain, Spider-Man decided that he neededVenom to fight with him. I enjoy a good hero/villain vs. bigger villain story as much as the next guy, but the intent to make it a Venom team-up was laughably blatant. How blatant?
Knowing that Venom was going to go into a violent frenzy, Spider-Man confronted him with Human Torch as backup. After all, fire is one of Venom’s weaknesses. Makes sense. Only, like, WHY DO YOU NOT JUST CUT OUT THE MIDDLE MAN AND JUST BRING HUMAN TORCH WITH YOU TO FIGHT CARNAGE? Hell, the dude has three friends who would be extremely helpful in catching the loud and obnoxious serial killer. He can’t be THAT hard to find.
There’s a quick line in the end about how bringing them in would make things more dangerous, but I have trouble accepting that truth when their replacement is an irrational mass murderer who will kill Spider-Man the first chance he gets.
But anyway, Spider-Man and Venom teamed up against Carnage a few times, got beat up despite the odds, then beat him by exploiting his sonics weakness. Then Spider-Man and Venom went back to fighting. A solid enough story, but not really all that memorable.
No, Carnage’s more memorable story would come a year later with Maximum Carnage. Actually, even that story wasn't all that memorable. I read it several times and I can barely give you the gist of what happened. Just that Carnage got himself his own personal Harley Quinn in Shriek, then created a short-lived supervillain team alongside Doppelganger, Demogoblin, and Carrion. Spider-Man and Venom teamed up again, only this time with a bunch of Marvel randos on their side like Morbius, Iron Fist, and Night Watch.
Stuff happened, Captain America being there was treated like a huge deal, and...man, whatever. All I know is that there was a seriously sweet panel where Venom was tearing off Carnage’s eyes.
The real reason anyone remembered the storyline was because of LJN’s video game Maximum Carnage for SNES and Genesis. Considered “good for an LJN game,” it allowed you to play as Spider-Man or Venom as you beat up extremely 90s street thugs and Carnage’s crew over and over again. Even being the final boss, you end up fighting Carnage a handful of times throughout.
The game had a red cartridge and featured a soundtrack by Green Jelly (including their song “Carnage Rules”), so it had that going for it.
There was a sequel (technically a prequel) called Separation Anxiety, which was based on Venom: Lethal Protector. Since the arc didn’t have any major end boss threats, they just threw in Carnage as the final challenge because what the hell. They had the assets. Even the ending was just a picture of Carnage with zero epilogue. Again, Carnage had absolutely nothing to do with the story.
And so, Carnage continued to make comic appearances throughout the 90s. Inspired by the Maximum Carnage game, there was a silly Venom comic called Carnage Unleashedwhere Venom and Carnage fought inside the internet and it was somehow broadcast on the big screen in Times Square. Planet of the Symbioteshad Carnage become a giant after devouring and absorbing an untold amount of invading symbiotes. There was even a Spider-Man/Batman crossover where Carnage teamed up with Joker and then got punked out and made fun of for being a one-dimensional Joker knockoff.
Oh, and Batman beat him down with just his fists.
Speaking of DC crossovers, when they did the Amalgam Comics gimmick, Carnage was merged with Bizarro to become Bizarnage. The albino symbiote wanted to kill and replace Spider-Boy. Hey, at least he got representation. Nobody merged with Venom during that entire event.
Carnage even got a couple animated appearances during this time. He showed up on Spider-Man: The Animated Seriesas a henchman of Dormammu where he wasn’t allowed to do anything remotely serial killer-y. He was fine, all things considered, but then things got real stupid once the show spun off into Spider-Man Unlimited.
Instead of that, I’ll talk about his appearance in the Spider-Manvideo game for the PlayStation, Nintendo 64, and Dreamcast. In the plot, Carnage and Doctor Octopus teamed up in hopes of taking over the world with a symbiote army. This led to the pants-shittingly terrifying final level where Spider-Man is chased out of a huge tower by Monster Ock – the Carnage symbiote on Ock’s body. He wasn’t really even a boss because even if you were wearing the Captain Universe costume that made you invincible, you couldn’t damage Monster Ock and if he caught up to you, you’d instantly die. You just had to swing away until you were saved by a cutscene.
The 90s ended and so began the era of being embarrassed by things that happened in the 90s. While we did get a Venom vs. Carnage miniseries that mainly acted as a launch pad for the Carnage symbiote’s spawn Toxin (it didn’t take), Carnage was soon taken off the board. In the pages of New Avengers, Brian Michael Bendis had the Sentry show off how OP he was by grabbing Carnage, slamming him through several prison ceilings, flying him into space, and tearing him in half.
Mac Gargan Venom was a thing around that time anyway, so we already had a 100% evil symbiote guy creeping around.
After 5-6 years, Carnage finally came back in a miniseries simply called Carnageby Zeb Wells and Clayton Crane. It was originally going to be called Astonishing Spider-Man and Iron Man, but marketing realized that putting Carnage front and center would probably sell better. It revealed that Carnage survived the Sentry’s stunt and Cletus was kept alive by a corrupt prosthetics developer who gave him metal legs in exchange for using his symbiote to enhance his prosthetics technology.
It all went horribly wrong and created another Carnage offspring in Scorn. She also did not take.
There was a sequel called Carnage USA by the same creative team and I absolutely recommend it. Seemingly building up to some symbiote-related event comic that never came to be (Rick Remender’s Venomwas also guilty of this), the comic had to do with Carnage expanding to the point that he was able to take over an entire town in Colorado, along with Captain America, Wolverine, Thing, and Hawkeye.
This led to a lot of cool shit, including a Venom gorilla being chased by a Carnage-controlled stampede of escaped zoo animals, Venom’s Life Foundation children being used as military weapons, and a legless fight between Flash Thompson and Cletus Kasady. Oh, and the hilarious revelation that Hawkeye fucking HATES Ben Grimm and thinks all of his shtick is old and tired.
Starting with the ho-hum yet cleverly named Minimum Carnage, Carnage started showing up in more stories with different creative teams forgetting that he was supposed to be missing his bottom half. He ended up in a really fun miniseries called Deadpool vs. Carnage where Deadpool was able to defeat Carnage in a way Spider-Man and Venom could not by shattering his confidence and breaking his spirit.
This led to Carnage’s extremely fun turn in Axis, otherwise known as that event Marvel did where the good guys became bad guys and vice versa. Through magic mixed with psychic suggestion, Carnage was briefly driven to become a hero, but he didn’t exactly have a full grasp on what that meant. Him trying to punch a woman in the face just hard enough to knock her out but not crack her head, followed by boasting about a job well done was entertaining as hell.
Carnage then had a short-lived ongoing written by Gerry Conway with a story about a cult worshipping Carnage because he’d unleash some kind of Lovecraftian god or whatnot. All the while, a task force was put together to stop him. This was partially an exercise in removing the Toxin and Scorn symbiotes while setting up Eddie Brock’s return to being Venom.
Over the years, the Carnage symbiote has possessed many hosts other than Cletus. There was Ben Reilly, Silver Surfer, an alternate universe Spider-Man, the Wizard, and so on. Its most high-profile instance was Norman Osborn, making him the final end boss of Dan Slott’s very lengthy run on Amazing Spider-Man. As the Red Goblin, Osborn was powerful enough that Spider-Man reluctantly took up Eddie Brock’s offer to borrow the Venom symbiote.
As for Cletus, he’s back floating in space in pieces thanks to the events of Venomized. Long story.
Even though Carnage only made a quick film appearance just recently, he’s reached one height that not even the likes of Thanos have ever hit: Carnage was on Broadway. Back in 2011, the butt of jokes everywhere was Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, known for its immense budget, laundry list of performer injuries, and iffy take on the source material. So iffy that there are two versions of the show that existed. There’s Julie Taymor’s fever dream original and the more coherent second attempt.
I was lucky enough to see the former in all of its ridiculous glory.
Carnage appeared as a member of the Green Goblin’s Sinister Six alongside Kraven the Hunter, the Lizard, Electro, Swarm, and original character Swiss Miss. Yes, that’s seven characters. Just let it go. Carnage ended up being the best looking of the villains, since most others came off as looking like goofy sports mascots. He didn’t really do anything, but he was immortalized in this cringeworthy David Letterman performance.
...did Osborn suggest Kraven is into bestiality?
Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!
Who is The Flash Season 5 villain? We dig in to the DC Comics history of the Cicada, played by Chris Klein.
This article contains The Flash spoilers.
His arrival has been teased since the first bit of footage for The Flash Season 5 arrived, but the Cicada (played by Chris Klein) has remained a mystery. Even The Flash season 5 premiere, the excellent "Nora," waited until quite literally the last minute of the episode to introduce him. And when they did, it was to dispatch that episode's disposable villain, Gridlock, who won't be missed.
But even that minute or so of footage reveals a fair amount about what to expect from how The Flash season 5 will handle Cicada. He's already fairly different from the comic character he's based on, and like Savitar and The Thinker, he continues the show's tradition of elevating otherwise obscure villains to the prestige role of season big bad. It makes some sense. After all, once you've done Thawne and Zoom, and since Captain Cold had a brilliant arc of his own to handle (across multiple shows, no less!), most Flash villains (as great as they are) aren't quite up to the challenge of sustaining an entire season of their own. A character like Cicada is practically a blank slate.
For starters, he even looks pretty different from the character from the comics. See for yourself...
A fondness for overcoats aside, you'd be hard pressed to even identify these as the same character if you saw them next to each other. Unless, of course, the TV Cicada is hiding a crazy evil Santa beard underneath that Sub-Zero mask. Anyway, for characters like this, looks are the least important thing. Just consider how much cooler Savitar looked than his comic book counterpart!
Cicada first appeared in The Flash #170 (2001) by Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins (it's collected in The Flash by Geoff Johns: Book One). That story kicked of "Blood Will Run" and it was actually a Wally West tale. This was early in Johns' tenure as writer on The Flash, long before he brought Barry Allen back to life. It was also an early appearance of Officer Fred Chyre, who you may remember was played by Al Sapienza in the first episode of this series...where he was also killed off. Damn shame, as Chyre was a fun character. Anyway...
A rash of killings was taking place in Keystone City, and the common thread among the victims was that they had all been rescued by Flash at some point. The victims were being killed by a cult, accumulating their life-force via special lightning bolt shaped knives (we saw this at the end of "Nora" as well). Cicada (real name: David Hersch) was over 100 years old, having been struck by lightning shortly after the death of his wife (hint: she didn't die of natural causes). That lightning bolt gave him the ability to absorb life force and become essentially immortal.
Thanks to the lightning bolt connection, Cicada's cult believed that Flash had been saving people specifically to help them accomplish their goal, which was not only to extend Cicada's life, but also to bring his wife back from the dead. If we get a creepy, half-preserved wife mummy this season that Chris Klein is weeping over, I'm going to be pretty darn pleased. Anyway, as you can probably guess, Wally didn't take kindly to the cult's thinking (particularly when it was time to have his own life force drained), and Cicada was put away, and has more or less languished in obscurity ever since.
What was interesting about this story was how it was so specifically tailored to Wally at the time. This wasn't just a villain for Wally to stop, it was a villain that made Wally confront some of his own indiscretions. Specifically, Wally had spent a chunk of his early career as Flash as something of a womanizer, and one of the Cicada's victims was an ex-lover of his. Oh, and an ex-girlfriend he did wrong (remember Magenta from season three?) was a Cicada cultist, as well.
As we've seen on the show, though, TV Cicada doesn't seem interested in people Flash has saved. Instead, he has it in for metas in general. I think the most likely scenario is that he and/or his wife were victims of the particle accelerator explosion, and he is looking to bring her back to life via the accumulated life force of the one-and-done clowns Team Flash puts away each week, perhaps with Barry as the ultimate prize. Will he have a collection of cultists, too? My guess is probably not, since that angle was already played with back in the Alchemy and Savitar days, but I'll update this article with more info about the TV version of Cicada and how he lines up with (or doesn't) with his DC Comics history as I can.
Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!
Hey, remember that time Dracula fought the Hulk? Or the X-Men? Or Spider-Man? No? Well, you're in luck, because we do!
Dracula. The very name conjures images of sexuality, corruption, and decadence. From the original novel written by Bram Stoker in 1897 to the moment Bela Lugosi donned the famed opera cloak in 1931, the character of Dracula has been an iconic horror staple.
In fact, Dracula has been the subject of 217 films, second only to the number of films starring Sherlock Holmes. But films, novels, and television aren't the only genres that have contained Dracula’s bloodlust. Comic books have been a compelling source for new Dracula material. Marvel Comics in particular have been a happy hunting ground for the Lord of the Vampires.
After the easing of Comic Code restrictions in the early seventies, Stan Lee and Marvel were eager to explore classic monsters in the pages of their books. When the code loosened its grip, Lee and company were able to resurrect the four color boogiemen that lay forgotten for so long. In 1972, writer Gerry Conway and artist Gene Colan introduced Tomb of Dracula and a legend was born. Now there was a version of Dracula that borrowed from Stoker and Lugosi stalking the same fictional universe as Spider-Man and the Avengers.
Soon, writer Marv Wolfman would take over the writing chores on Tomb of Dracula and create one of the greatest continuing horror sagas in comic book history. Within the pages of Tomb of Dracula, Wolfman introduced the vampiric detective Hannibal King, Lilith (Dracula’s Daughter), and most importantly, Blade, the Vampire Hunter, who later helped kick off the current superhero movie boom.
Dracula existed within the Marvel Universe, but other than rare occasions not many Marvel heroes appeared in Dracula’s book, giving the title a sense of isolation from the rest of the Marvel Universe. That is not to say that Dracula has not stalked the titles of the mainstream Marvel heroes. Oh no, dear reader, the Prince of Darkness has cast his shadow on many Marvel heroes, making him one of the greatest, if often overlooked villains in Marvel history. Here is a look at times Dracula, the greatest monster of them all, has stalked the Marvel Universe.
Dracula Meets Spider-Man
Giant Sized Spider-Man #1 (1974)
In this tale, Aunt May is suffering from a rare blood disease because she’s Aunt May. Spidey learns that the only man that has the cure is an eccentric doctor that refuses to travel by plane. Spider-Man learns from Reed Richards that the scientist is traveling by ship, so Spidey gets his webbed ass to the ship to find the doctor.
Also on board the ship are members of the Maggia who want the formula, and of course, Dracula himself who is also after it. Hilarity ensues as Dracula dispatches the crooks one by one, and throws the Maggia leader overboard.
The book is a send up of the classic death at sea sequence of Stoker’s Dracula, as Dracula feeds off the Maggia onboard. While never featuring a direct confrontation between hero and vampire, this issue served as a warning...Dracula is out there.
Allied with the Avengers (1973)
Ironically, one of the first times Dracula was drawn into the events of the Marvel Universe, he did so to defend humanity! In the Avengers/Defenders war, often considered to be the first true crossover in comics history, the Dread Dormammu opened a dimensional gateway to Earth. The Avengers and Defenders were stuck in Dormammu’s dimension so could not defend the Earth from an incursion by the savage Mindless Ones, headless beings that thrive on destruction. A group of super-powered champions on Earth, not knowing where the Mindless Ones were pouring on from, took up arms to protect their home.
One of these beings was none other than Dracula, who along with such heroes as Power Man, the Fantastic Four, and Ka-Zar, fought back against the Mindless Ones. But don’t think Dracula was acting magnanimously true believers; imagine if a horde of beasts was smashing your favorite eatery. That’s what Earth is to Dracula, a theme restaurant with an all you can eat buffet of jugulars.
Yes, Dracula fought the Mindless Ones, but in doing so he made sure his food supply remained strong and proved to Marvel readers just how badass he was by taking on the Mindless Ones...creatures capable of going toe to toe with the Hulk!
The Creation of Baron Blood (1976)
One of Captain America’s most enduring foes was created by none other than Dracula. What’s more evil than a Nazi vampire? Pretty much nothing, which makes Baron Blood one of the most vile creatures in the Marvel Universe. In the dark days of World War II, John Farnsworth was an English aristocrat obsessed with vampire lore. When he travels to Transylvania, he encounters Dracula, who transforms Farnsworth into the living dead.
Dracula sends blood to England to punish the country for the actions of Dracula’s nemesis Jonathon Harker. As Baron Blood, Farnsworth fought the Invaders, Captain America, and even his own brother who adopted the heroic persona of the first Union Jack.
Blood’s days of fighting for the Axis were cut short when the Sub-Mariner staked the bejesus out of him. Blood was resurrected in the modern day by a minion of Dracula and fought a legendary battle with his old foe, Captain America. Now, a Nazi vampire is pretty badass, but a Nazi vampire created by Dracula himself? That’s some legendary bloodsucker right there!
Dracula vs. Doctor Strange (1976)
Tomb of Dracula #44
The Lord of Darkness fed off Doctor Strange (he probably tasted like sage, cinnamon, and quickly forgotten dreams), in the pages of Tomb of Dracula #44. In Strange’s own book, Dracula locks the Sorcerer Supreme in a dungeon so he can watch the embraced Doctor arise as a vampire. That’s quite a sense of irony Marvel’s Dracula possesses, huh?
Little did Dracula know that Strange astral projected out of his body before Dracula could finish the fateful bite. Strange uses his astral form to mess with Dracula who furiously arrives at the dungeon after days of being mocked and prodded by the wizard.
An awesome fight ensues between a vampiric Doctor Strange and Dracula which Strange wins by conjuring a blazing crucifix. The edge in the battle went to Strange who seemed to be one step ahead of Dracula, but let us not forget that during their first encounter Dracula easily dispatched Strange with one bite. Dracula’s mistake was letting Strange have time to plot, but the first struggle would foreshadow a climatic future encounter between the magician and vampire.
Dracula vs. Howard the Duck? (1980)
Howard the Duck Magazine #5
Not all Dracula appearances in the Marvel Universe are legendary but that doesn’t make them any less cool. The following is a treatise on why comics are awesome.
While visiting Cleveland, Dracula spots Howard the Duck. Thinking Howard to be a midget in a duck suit, the Lord of the Undead bites Howard (did I just type that?) but is disgusted by the non-human blood flowing in Howard’s veins. However, Howard is transformed into Drakula (not Duckula or Quakula?) and preys on other ducks.
Howard is restored to his normal self and is actually able to stake Dracula before the vampire can feed off Howard’s hottie girlfriend, Beverly Switzer.
Dracula Joins The Defenders (1981)
Ah, the Defenders. Long before they were edgy TV stars, they were the parking place for awesomely odd Bronze Age characters.
In one of the non-team’s most memorable storylines, the Defenders were being beleaguered by the Six Fingered Hand. With newer members Hellcat, Gargoyle, and Son of Satan in tow, the Defenders arrive back to Doctor Strange’s mansion only to be attacked by a possessed Dracula. It seems the Six Fingered Hand had gained control over all vampires.
Proving his awesomeness, the Son of Satan breaks the Hand’s control of Dracula, and agrees to help the Vampire Lord take back Transylvania from the Hand. The team with powerhouses like Strange and the Asgardian Valkyrie are just window dressing as the Son of Satan kicks the Hands' collective butts, destroys a metric ton of vampires by summoning sunlight, and saves Dracula’s undead bacon.
This was the first time Marvel used Dracula as an anti-hero in a super-hero title, an honorable villain who was as comfortable in the role of defender of his people as he was bloodsucking fiend. It was a brief union, but among his many roles in the Marvel Universe, Dracula will always be recognized as a Defender.
Dracula vs. The X-Men (1982)
Uncanny X-Men #159
Monster mash-ups are a staple of the genre. While not traditional monsters at all, mutants meeting Dracula have the same cache as Dracula versus Frankenstein or the Wolfman, it’s just a match made, erm...not in heaven.
Structured like a classic horror film, Uncanny X-Men #159 sees Storm the victim in a very odd mugging. When someone overpowered the weather goddess and cut her throat, Storm suddenly finds herself wanting to die, inviting a stranger through her window at night, drawing back from Kitty Pryde’s Star of David, and shunning sunlight. You don’t have to be Bram Stoker to see where this is going and an epic confrontation between vampire and mutant takes place. The X-Men take out Dracula’s monstrous rat and canine minions, but fall before Dracula, all except Nightcrawler who has the faith to drive the vampire off with a makeshift cross.
When Storm arrives, Dracula finds that he cannot control the primal Storm, who stands tall and proud. In an awesome moment, Dracula tells Storm it was her inner strength that compelled him and after a standoff, Dracula retreats. This was Claremont at his finest, giving each X-Man a moment to shine and writing a classic and pretty damn scary Dracula in the process. The issue created an indelible bond between the X-Men and Dracula, one that stands till this day.
In the 1982 Uncanny X-Men Annual #6, the battle between the X-Men and Dracula continues as Kitty Pryde is possessed by Dracula’s daughter and one of his most enduring foes, Lilith. It was another compelling confrontation that deepens the threat Dracula had on mutantkind.
Dracula vs. Thor (1983)
Not satisfied with feeding off ducks, mutants, and wizards, Dracula sets his sights on embracing Lady Sif. In Thor #332, Dracula succeeds in feeding and turning Sif. In issue 333, Thor must face a Dracula empowered by god blood (comics = awesome), and an embraced Sif.
This story was significant in showing what a powerhouse Dracula was and established the idea that if Dracula fed off a non-human being, he would be fueled by their powerful blood. Thor managed to free Sif, but not before fans realized that Dracula was a threat to everyone, god, mutant, or human.
The Death of a Legend (1983)
Doctor Strange #59-62
In Doctor Strange #59-62, Strange and a group of companions including Dracula hunters Blade and the vampiric detective Hannibal King close all the plot threads left over from Tomb of Dracula and close the door on Marvel’s vampires for a quite a while. Aided by Avengers Captain Marvel (then Monica Rambeau) and the Scarlet Witch, Strange and company race to secure the Darkhold, a book which contains the Montessi Formula, a spell that will rid the Earth of Dracula and the curse of vampirism. Keep in mind that the Darkhold is an ancient magical book that created vampires in the first place.
These issues are the type of storytelling that made Stern a legend, taking elements from Dracula’s appearance in X-Men (the first mention of the Formula) and Thor (whom Dracula is reluctant in facing when he sees the other Avengers by Strange’s side). By the end of the story, Strange does recite the formula and Dracula is finally destroyed.
Like all good vampires, Dracula would eventually return, but the storyline has an epic sense of finality to it. After years of being plagued by Dracula, the Marvel heroes fight back destroying all vampires. For now…
Dracula vs. The Fantastic Four (2000-2001)
Before the Fantastic Four: The Storms
Dracula’s shadow is cast far and wide across the history of the Marvel Universe. Before they were legends, Sue Storm and Johnny Storm find a mysterious amulet. The young siblings are attacked by zombies seeking the amulet for its power, zombies controlled by none other than Dracula, who lays inert, staked and comatose, using his mind to control the zombies so they may deliver the amulet to the vampire.
The Storms, before they were Fantastic, must stop the zombies from taking the amulet to Transylvania to resurrect their puppet master. Even immobile, Dracula proves to be one of the most evil and capable beings in the Marvel Universe.
X-Men: Apocalypse vs. Dracula (2006)
The cool thing about this series is that it gave added weight to the idea that Dracula has had an impact on the history of the Marvel universe and that his ties to the world of mutants did not begin the day he tried to embrace Storm. Dracula begins embracing members of Apocalypse’s cult which wakes the legendary mutant to defend his followers. The book ties the history of the Van Helsing family into the war between mutant despot and vampire lord.
Dracula on the Moon (2009)
Captain Britain and MI:13 #10
The so-called end of vampires arc in Doctor Strange was a large scale storyline bringing in many mainstream Marvel mainstays, but it had nothing on the grand tapestry of cool that was the Dracula arc in the late, lamented Captain Britain and MI:13 title. So, Dracula gathers a sect of vampires on the moon to set up a front for his attack on Earth. Just typing that sentence was awesome. Dracula forms a non-aggression pact with Dr. Doom and only the magic of MI:13 led by Captain Britain and Pete Wisdom has a hope of stopping Dracula.
During the course of the arc, fans find out how brilliant Pete Wisdom is, that Dracula still holds a grudge against Muslims stemming back from his Vlad the Impaler days, that seeing Black Knight duel Dracula is pretty much better than anything else in the world, and that the legendary sword Excalibur wielded by a Muslim woman is more effective against Dracula than any crucifix.
Seriously, stop reading this and track down this storyline, we’ll wait.
Hulk vs. Dracula
Part of the Fear Itself mega-event, this battle between two legendary monsters took a form fans did not expect. During the course of Fear Itself, the Hulk was transformed into Nul, the Breaker of Worlds. When Thor knocked Nul into the Carpathian Mountains, the Hulk became a threat to Dracula’s sovereignty. Once again taking up the mantle of reluctant defender, Dracula most take on Nul with a group of vampires, the Forgotten at his side. The event book was another step into the modern evolution of Dracula and was the first time he appeared alongside the Hulk.
An X feud renewed (2011)
X-Men: Curse of the Mutants
Dracula’s return to the X Universe also served as the introduction of the modern interpretation of the Lord of the Undead. Gone is his rocking ‘stache and suave opera cape, arriving is the white hair and Coppola-esque armor. The story is pretty cool, if needlessly complex at times, and introduces Dracula’s son, Xarus. Xarus goes to war with dear old dad with the X-Men and a group of Atlanteans caught in the middle. The whole thing ends with a fierce reminder, family or not, do not mess with Dracula.
The new look for Dracula would stay consistent across all Marvel media as it was this look that appeared in an episode of Avengers Assemble on Disney XD. The story arc also brings vampirism closer to the X-Men as never before as Jubilee, once the most innocent of the X-Men, is transformed into a vampire. What Claremont and company began in the early '80s continues today as Dracula’s influence on the X-Men looms like a constant shadow over the heroes!
Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!
We sat down with Batman and Justice League writer Scott Snyder to talk about his upcoming miniseries, The Batman Who Laughs.
"I will never get tired of writing Batman," veteran DC writer Scott Snyder tells Den of Geek on the last day of NYCC 2018. "I mean, I will stop writing it, you know, cause I don't want to overstay my welcome. And when I don't have an idea that I think is special. But I get in that Batmobile and I just love it to death, I have so much fun."
Since 2011, Snyder has been working on a Batman epic that is already regarded as one of the all-time great runs on the character ever written. Snyder has tackled everything from Batman's origin story to his adventures through the Dark Multiverse, a nightmare version of the DC universe run by an evil Justice League and a Bat-God. Batman's also fought a villain-turned-kaiju in a giant mech, punched a plethora of zoo animals (a running gag in Snyder's stories), teamed up with the Joker, and even created clones of himself in order to fight crime forever.
What's kept Snyder's Batman work so interesting is his unbelievable range as a writer. He's explored Batman through the lens of horror, sci-fi, and the adventure genre. He can make you laugh, cry, or shiver in terror. Most importantly, the stories he tells about Batman feel personal, more concerned with what makes Batman human than whom he is punching.
With almost a decade of Batman stories under his belt, Snyder has shown no sign of leaving the Dark Knight behind. In fact, he has at least two more stories left to tell. Next year, Snyder will team up with his Batpartner-in-crime, artist Greg Capullo, for Batman: Last Knight on Earth, a postapocalyptic three-part miniseries inspired by Mad Max and billed as "the last Batman story ever told."
But before that, Snyder has an ever grimmer tale to tell: The Batman Who Laughs, a six-issue miniseries with art from Jock, another frequent collaborator (most recently on Wytches and All-Star Batman). It will see the return of one of the most grotesque villain's in the Caped Crusader's rogues gallery, a Jokerized Batman from the Dark Multiverse who killed all of his friends and enemies on his Earth and has now come to our Earth to do the same. For Batman, the Batman Who Laughs is a terrifying mirror image of what he could become if he ever broke his most important rule.
"It's a really personal story," Snyder explains. "It's very much about the Batman Who Laughs coming to Gotham and saying, 'I've seen you across multiple worlds, and I know what really makes you happy. And what makes you happy is going to surprise you.'"
While the material is certainly dark, Snyder says that the book will still contain plenty of the over-the-top action Batfans know and love.
"The story starts with Bruce tracking down the smuggling ring, and they're smuggling things in these heavy load trucks, with these kinds of compartments that sort of sit beneath the truck. He's following one that's carrying houses and people are pushing houses off and trying to stop him. He's busting through the houses on his Batcycle. I love it, it's so fun."
According to Snyder, what the Dark Knight finds inside these hidden compartments is what sends him on a collision course with the Batman Who Laughs.
"He opens up the compartment and he sees a dead Bruce Wayne. This Bruce Wayne is ten years older than him, has lived a different life, was married to Selena, had a kid with Selena," Snyder reveals. "He has to autopsy himself and discover the clues as to whose back and he realizes very quickly it's the Batman Who Laughs."
While it's true that the Batman Who Laughs is what happens when you mix Batman and Joker together to form the DCU's most terrifying bad guy, Snyder stresses that this isn't necessarily a Batman vs. Joker story. Even the Joker doesn't know what to make of the Batman Who Laughs.
"I would say that the thing that's really interesting to me right now is not the Joker/Batman antagonism," Snyder says. "It's the Batman Who Laughs as the nightmare that the both of them are sort of unprepared for. I don't think Joker ever really thinks Batman is going to kill him. I think he just pushes him and pushes him to be a better version of himself in his own evil, psychotic way. He believes he's helping [Batman] somehow as his kind of best villain."
Just imagine a villain who has every quality that makes Batman great -- the superior intellect, combat training, and determination bordering on the suicidal -- while also enjoying the amorality that allows the Joker to destroy, burn, and kill without hesitation. He's the perfect foe for Batman, he knows every move the Dark Knight will make as well as all of his weaknesses.
"The Batman Who Laughs to me is a figure who, he's not even so much the Joker as he is Batman. He's Bruce Wayne, he has all Bruce Wayne's memories. He knows everything that's happened with the Justice League," Snyder teases. "That's what's scary about it."
First introduced in Snyder and Capullo's big Dark Nights: Metal crossover event, the Batman Who Laughs was only defeated when the Joker decided to team up with the Caped Crusader to take the monstrous aberration down. This was one partnership that the Batman Who Laughs couldn't predict.
Most recently, the Batman Who Laughs returned in the pages of Snyder's Justice League series. It's revealed that Lex Luthor captured the villain and locked him up in the Hall of Doom. In Justice League #8, Luthor and the Batman Who Laughs make a pact to help each other take down the world's greatest heroes. But while Luthor wants to take down all of the superheroes who stand in his way, it's clear that the Batman Who Laughs has his sights set on his heroic counterpart. And this time, he's not coming alone.
The Batman Who Laughs will also introduce the Grim Knight, a gun-toting Batman from another universe who Snyder likens to the Punisher. He's packed with weapons and isn't afraid to pull the trigger on his enemies. As you can see in the art above, the Grim Knight has a real love for killing machines.
It's impossible to ignore the fact that the Grim Knight is making his debut at a time when our country is facing a major gun violence problem that's resulted in over 280 mass shootings just in 2018. While Snyder isn't using the Grim Knight to comment on current political issues, he does stress that this gun-toting villain isn't meant to be celebrated. The Grim Knight is very much the bad guy.
"With Batman, a lot of the time you get the question of 'Why doesn't Batman use lethal force?'" Snyder says. "This is one of Batman's worst fears come to life. That fear is that he will cross a line and will never be able to come back and get darker and darker and darker."
Guns aren't the only tools the Grim Knight uses to inflict his particular brand of justice on his enemies. He's got plenty of other ways to hurt his enemies.
"It's not really about guns, so much as it is about lethality. And the story itself, as much as he's shown with the guns on the cover, he actually uses many other means. He uses a lot more blades and gauntlets and scythes and electricity, and all kinds of horrifying things to get you."
Like Bruce Wayne, the Grim Knight is also incredibly rich. While our Bruce has used his immense wealth to fund his non-lethal crimefighting tech, the Grim Knight is basically running something like Murder Google.
"The Grim Knight is literally the head of a multi-billion dollar military industrial complex. He has stuff in your phone. He has stuff in your car and GPS. So if he wants to kill you, your car just goes off a bridge. You don't even know it was him. So its really not about the guns, so much is about the fact that he's willing to kill anyone to get what he wants, anytime."
With two killer Batmen on the loose (and one dead Bruce Wayne), will the Caped Crusader be able to win the day without breaking his one rule? Will he survive the onslaught at all? We'll find out when The Batman Who Laughs #1 arrives in November.
The Stranger Things comic adaptation from Dark Horse features writer Jody Houser’s take on how Will survived the Upside Down.
Few comic adaptations were as ripe for the picking as the outrageously popular Netflix series, Stranger Things. With a prequel novel centering around Eleven, a vinyl recording of Halloween sounds inspired by the show, and even a video game in development, there are plenty of stories that can be pulled out of the established canon. One of those stories comes in the form of the Dark Horse comic by Jody Houser, who tells the untold tale of what happened to Will Byers while he was in the Upside Down in Stranger Things season one.
Houser is renowned for her work with DC titles such as Mother Panic and Supergirl, but she has also shown her skill with comics adaptations for shows like Doctor Who and Orphan Black, games like Halo and Starcraft, and movies like Star Wars. The four-issue Stranger Things title that Houser worked on with artists Lauren Affe, Keith Champagne, and Stefano Martino, maintains that grand tradition. With the second issue of the series coming out on Halloween, appropriately enough, we spoke with Houser about the journey so far.
DEN OF GEEK: This comic fills in a part of the story from season 1 of Stranger Things that maybe some viewers didn’t even realize they were missing! Tell us about the premise of the comic and how far it will take us in terms of the chronology of the show.
JODY HOUSER: The comic covers the entirety of season one and all from Will’s perspective, so it’s not exactly a true adaptation because we see scenes that we saw in the TV show but from the other side — literally the other side! It’s an examination of how he is the one person that manages to survive the Upside Down because you had soldiers who went in, you had scientists who were pulled in — and they’re adults and they didn’t make it! And of course, poor Barb; R.I.P. Barb. Then you have this not-very-old kid who somehow managed to get out, not unscathed, but alive. So it’s sort of a study of exactly what he had to do and what he went through to stay alive and make it out.
What are some of the moments you had to re-create from the original story to maybe show from a different perspective, and how did you choose which moments to include?
Basically every moment that we see Will during season one is in this comic, so with four issues, there’s actually a lot of room for new material and seeing these new scenes that are completely apart from the TV show. But at the same time, the moments that we are familiar with help us build the timeline of where things are on the other side.
How do you prepare for a TV adaptation assignment like this? Do you go back and watch certain episodes as part of your research before coming up with an idea, or are you presented with the seeds of where the publisher or production company want it to go?
In this case, it was a little bit of both. I had already watched Stranger Things season 1 twice before I got the job offer, so I went back and watched it a third time. But we did have a couple of seeds of ideas from Netflix, one of which being Will in season one in the Upside Down. I don’t think it was specifically to cover the whole season, but we did want to see that entire journey that we didn’t get to see.
So it was going through and picking out the parts where we do see Will during the season where he’s able to talk to his mother in different ways and where you hear his voice and building the story around those moments because those are the fixed points in continuity that readers will already be familiar with and just seeing what’s happening those other times we don’t know where he is.
We saw Will communicating through lights in season one, but that concept fell by the wayside in season two. Will we get to see how Will is manipulating electricity from the Upside Down?
Uh spoilers, let’s say! But no, it’s fun because it was pretty cool watching Joyce work out how to communicate with her son, but Will had to go through the same thing on the other side to figure out how to talk to his mom, so we will get to see some of that.
Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!
Where in the story development process does the collaboration with the artist begin? It seems like you’d need to know what the silent in-betweens were going to look like before you sketched out the script, especially for this show which is so atmospheric.
I’ve done a lot of work where I both knew who the artist was before I started or I didn’t find out who the artist was until I had already started scripting. So I always try to keep my script style a little bit loose so there’s plenty of room for the artist to come in and execute their storytelling visual chops which are always going to be way better than mine. So I tend not to do things like layouts, and I’m always fine with artists who are like, “You know, I think it would be better if we did this,” because they’re pretty much always right. They’re pretty good at what they’re doing.
So they might tell you they want to draw out a moment in your writing to increase suspense?
Yeah, like expand this into an extra panel or two, or these panels we can actually condense so we can let this moment be a little bigger. And honestly that’s one of my favorite things in comics is just seeing how everyone takes the seeds and just adds their own element and flavor, and at the end it’s something that’s greater than all of the parts.
You decided to include the Dungeons and Dragons campaign as a framework for your story. Can you tell us what your thoughts were about how Will would discover where he was and how to survive through his understanding of the game?
The D&D was obviously such a big element for his friends in the first season, and it’s sort of how they were able to process what was going on because they had this metaphor of these adventures and these monsters. And for Will it even made more sense for him to be looking at it through that filter because the D&D game was the very last thing he experienced in the real world before he was chased down and pulled into the Upside Down.
Also, having these flashbacks to their gaming sessions is a way that we can still include his friends in the comic, and you can still see that friendship that’s really at the heart of Stranger Things when Will’s by himself and not with his friends. So just the fact that he has been on adventures before, and the idea of the party is such a strong core of the show, but he’s not with his party right now. Some of the lessons he learned while playing with his friends and being Will the Wise, being a part of that party, that’s something that he carries into the Upside Down, and it does help him survive.
With art in the same nostalgic 80s style as the show itself to complement Houser’s compelling story, the Stranger Things comic from Dark Horse should appeal to fans everywhere as they anxiously await the season 3 premiere in 2019. The first issue of the comic is available now from Amazon and Comixology, and the second issue arrives on October 31, 2018.
Justice League writer Scott Snyder dishes on what fans should expect from the book after "Drowned Earth."
After almost a decade of exciting Batman stories, DC veteran Scott Snyder has finally been given access to the company's entire pantheon of superheroes. Ten issues in, Snyder's Justice League series has already given readers one mind-blowing epic about the creation of the DC universe as well as the dawn of Lex Luthor's Legion of Doom. Along the way, we've also witnessed the return of Starman to the DCU, Martian Manhunter's new role as chairman of the League, and learned of humanity's ultimate destiny. Needless to say, this isn't a small book.
Now that the first arc, "The Totality," has come to an end, Justice League has now shifted focus to the five-part, Aquaman-centric "Drowned Earth" crossover event which sees the Earth flooded by an alien invasion force. The event kicks off today with Justice League #10, with art from Francis Manapul.
We caught up with Snyder at NYCC 2018 to talk about Justice League, what's going on with Starman, Batman's killer "Professor X" wheelchair, and an upcoming arc of the book, which is called "The Sixth Dimension."
When it comes to Snyder, it's hard to not ask him a million questions about Batman. He's spent so much time writing the Dark Knight, getting to know (and breaking) the character, so it shouldn't surprise you that Snyder has big plans for Batman in upcoming issues of DC's flagship team book. In fact, Snyder's approach to future Batman Justice League scenes sounds hilarious.
"I love writing him on the team because I play him more for comic relief a little bit, you know?" Snyder says. "He actually is having some dark stuff happen to him, where, as much as we joke about it, he's in a body cast right now."
For those of you who don't know or need a refresher, Batman recently had his body completely shattered during his fight against Luthor. Powered by the Totality's incredible energy, Luthor dealt a blow that left Batman with quite a few broken bones. His limbs are basically useless, which means he's been left out of the action, forced to wear a giant body cast that doubles as a high-tech wheelchair. But because this is Batman we're talking about, it's not just a wheelchair...
"I always wanted to do this, where he's in a kind of 'Professor X' chair that holds his bones and muscles together. But that chair has all kinds of crazy ass weapons in it," Snyder teases. Snyder, ever a student of "Chekhov's gun," plans to put Batman's wheelchair to good use in upcoming issues of "Drowned Earth."
"The Legion of Doom actually attacks the Hall of Justice during our Aquaman arc. Batman is alone in there in his body cast, and he takes them all on in his body cast and it's one of my favorite scenes," Snyder says. "He's just like, 'Bring it! My weapons have weapons.'"
Snyder has made a name for himself, not only for his incredibly dark Batman stories ("Death of the Family,""Endgame," and Dark Nights: Metal to name just a few) but for the way he's able to write the Caped Crusader for laughs. Batman is the kind of hero who is almost comical in his level of preparedness and Snyder knows it. But in order for a book like Justice League to work, Batman can't just solve all the problems the team faces single-handedly.
"I like playing him a little bit more off-center in Justice League, just to give other characters a chance to shine, because I feel like everyone thought I'd put Batman right at the center," Snyder explains of his approach to Batman in the team book. After all, Batman can't be the only focus of a series also headlined by Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Cyborg, Hawkgirl, and Martian Manhunter.
Besides blowing up bad guys with his wheelchair, Batman's also focused on figuring out the mystery behind Starman, who returned to the DCU in Justice League #8 in a shocking opening sequence that not only brought the character back but tied his origin story to the arrival of the Totality, a cosmic energy source that fuels the creation of universes. In a clever retcon, Will Payton's powers are now forever tied to the strange energy. Naturally, Batman needs to get to the bottom of this mystery and figure out how Starman's story ties into their current predicament against the Legion of Doom, which seeks the Totality for its own evil gains.
To do this, Batman's using an unlikely ally to get inside Starman's memories: Starro, the giant space-starfish supervillain who met his demise during the Justice League: No Justice event last spring but is back in a new form.
"[Batman]'s got a baby Starro with him because he found a fragment of Starro and it's in a jar. They call it 'Jarro.' And he's using it to extract memories from Starman and all this stuff, so it's very kind of fun and over the top," Snyder explains.
While Snyder teases all the funny moments to be had in the upcoming issues, there are some dark things coming down the line as well. After "Drowned Earth," Snyder is leaving Earth to catch up with Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern, and Hawkgirl on a mission to Thanagar Prime, the homeworld of DC's hawk-themed characters. That arc will then give way to the next story, titled "The Sixth Dimension."
Snyder spoiled a tiny bit of that story for us, including what Batman's going through during the arc:
"Deep down, [Batman]'s actually really hurt by the fact that Lex beat him and broke his bones. This mystery and this challenge are a lot bigger than anything he's faced as a street detective. So there's a lot of fear right now and that's gonna come out in a bigger arc that we're gonna do in about issue 19 called 'The Sixth Dimension.' You start to see Batman's fears and the damage that's been done to him really come out in a way that's not funny anymore, that really hurts."
What other adventures await the Justice League in "The Sixth Dimension?" We'll just have to wait and see as the mystery of the Totality continues in the pages of Justice League.
Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!
The cast of Good Omens gives insight into how director Douglas Mackinnon brought Good Omens to the screen.
Television is known as a writers' medium, but that doesn't mean the director isn't a vital contributor to the creation of an on-screen television world. This is especially true when one director has the chance to direct every episode of a TV season, which is normally not the case in the traditional TV model.
This is the case for Amazon's much-anticipated upcoming adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens, the story of a demon named Crowley (David Tennant) and an angel named Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) who team up in an attempt to prevent the apocalypse and the end of life as they know it.
Director Douglas Mackinnon is behind the camera for all six episodes of what looks to be a trippy, distinctive, and wonderfully weird adaptation of a beloved book.
Mackinnon knows his way around both an adaptation and a fantasy world. Standouts on the Scottish director's long resume include Doctor Who's "The Husbands of River Song" (he's directed eight episode of NuWho), Sherlock's "The Abominable Bride," and the first three episodes of Steven Moffat's highly underrated Jekyll.
Den of Geek had the chance to talk to Mackinnon and the cast of Good Omens at the recent New York Comic Con.
"It's Douglas who's focusing on source material," said Sheen of working with Mackinnon, noting that it was the director whose copy of the Good Omens book was the most thumbed-through, and who was the most actively engaged with keeping the adaptation faithful to the spirit of the book.
"[Douglas] was the guardian of the book weirdly in the way that you'd think Neil would be the guardian of the book. But, actually, it was Douglas who kept the book pinned down, which allowed me to be much freer in kind of messing around with things a bit. You had the confidence of the authorial voice to go, 'All right, that was the book, but we're doing this.' And Douglas would keep going, 'There's that bit in the book. There's that line in the book.''"
Both Tennant, who'd worked with Mackinnon before on episodes of Doctor Who, and Jon Hamm, who plays Archangel Gabriel in the series, remarked on MacKinnon's ability to manage the broad scope of the adaptation.
"I think what's brilliant about Douglas is that he has an absolute grasp of all the disparate elements of what Good Omens is, and there are a lot of them," said Tennant. "There's lots going on that we [actors] never really get to truly understand or know. There're whole plot lines that I can't wait to see what they're about, some characters that we're never in a scene with."
"You've always felt like Douglas—he's been working on this project certainly a lot longer than I have—had a real sense of what everything was and how it all had to be pulled together. And I felt, probably because I knew him before, probably because of the sense that he brought to set everyday, I could trust that. I didn't have to worry about. I just had to look after my little corner of it because he was in charge."
Hamm, who was part of a separate roundtable discussion from Tennant, echoed the sentiment.
"It's a treat to have a unified vision over something so sprawling and vast," said Hamm, who is a longtime fan of the book. "And just the scale and scope of this project, especially giving that it has such an international following and is so adored by so many, because then you want somebody who has experience and knows what he is doing, but also has the ability to play nicely with others and to understand that Neil and the book are the sources of all of this and really use it to his advantage."
From the actors' perspective, Mackinnon is a delight to work with because he understands that the relationships between characters is at the heart of any good story.
"Douglas's personality, maybe just on this," said Sheen, "mirrors the challenge of the book which is the enjoyment of the craziness of the world, of the universe. This kind of huge, silly, absurd stuff going on, but at the heart of it is something very, very real about relationships and something that matters."
"You want to be able to enjoy both," Sheen continued. "You have to be taken along by the narrative engine of why it matters, what's going on, in order to enjoy the crazier elements of it. And I think Douglas has that. When you meet him, you think he is making jokes all of the time and being kind of silly, but actually, underneath, he has a very serious commitment to what it's really about. I think that's why he was the perfect director [for Good Omens]."
"He's very good with all the bells and whistles. He understands how you can be drummaging in work. He likes doing fancy things with cameras. He gets excited by all that. But, ultimately, only really cares about what's going on between the actors."
Miranda Richardson, who plays Madame Tracy in Good Omens, has been working in this business a long time. Where does Mackinnon fall in the context of her experience?
"He knew what he wanted so that's always a relief as a performer," said Richardson. "He's also one of the most relaxed bosses, you know, not in Australia that I've ever had, really."
What does Mackinnon himself have to say about the responsibility of bringing the world of Good Omens to the screen? Den of Geek asked the director specifically about bringing London, a location and setting that has a rich history on screen and that Mackinnon has worked with as a setting before, to distinctive life.
"Good Omens is a very—I'm going to use a very particular word here—is a very English production," said Mackinnon. "It's very English. There's no British, no UK. It's very English."
"I'm Scottish, when I read the book it felt so much like a ... I wouldn't say cliché or stereotype, but it's so much about how English people talk to each other," continued Mackinnon. "That's why with Aziraphale and Crowley, they're both English. And so, the London that I wanted, and the Soho that I wanted, and also the Tadfield I wanted ... There was an English playwright who died a number of years ago..."
"Dennis Potter," Gaiman contributes, giving us a peek into the partnership between these two men, who have been working closely together on this project for months and months.
"[It was] Dennis Potter," continues Mackinnon, "who said that, he was dying and he said that, 'The blossoms were the blossom-est blossoms that he'd ever seen.' So, I want the Soho-est Soho that I'd ever seen. I want the London-est London. I want the Tadfield-est Tadfield."
"It means that, in Crowley's flat, he's got heads of Parliament outside his window," continued Mackinnon. "It means at St James's Park you see Buckingham Palace. There are red buses going past all the time. And, for Tadfield, [where] we went and shot, the last major film that was shot there was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. So, you can't get more English than that."
"My theory was that, when Aziraphale and Crowley were walking down the street of Soho, they would just fit in completely, but when they got to Tadfield they standout like they're crazy guys... Especially, if you turn up with a burning Bentley."
Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!
The CW's Dorian Gray TV series will be a "comedic" adaptation of the classic Oscar Wilde story.
You gotta hand it to The CW: the network is committed to its reimaginings of popular properties, from the comic book world to the literary one. It's been a few years since Beauty and the Beast was on the CW's schedule, which means it may be time for a different show based on classic literary material to make it onto the rotation...
According to Variety, The CW is currently developing a TV series based on the Oscar Wilde novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, which is about an ever-youthful and ever-beautiful young man named Dorian Gray whose portrait becomes increasingly hideous as he himself becomes mean, cruel, and bitter. The portrait becomes a record of the sins, as Dorian Gray's youthful, beautiful facade obscures the terrible human underneath.
Sadly, The CW's adaptation will not be a straight adaptation (we still miss Penny Dreadful's Dorian Gray adaptation), but rather "a comedic spin on the classic story."Dorian, as it is currently called, will follow a woman who made a deal with the devil 50 years prior to remain young. She has spent the past five decades living a life of selfishness, largely without consequence. When the series starts, the downsides of living young forever (wait... this seems to go against The CW brand) begin to rear their ugly head, and Dorian decides she is ready to physically age and emotionally mature. First, however, she has to make amends for her past.
Dorian is being developed by writer and executive producer Marisa Coughlan, who is mostly known for her acting work. Coughlan has appeared in Super Troopers and Space Station 76. On the writing side, her project Lost and Found went to pilot at ABC, and she has contributed scripts for projects Pushing and That’s Wonderful.
Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!
The big Daredevil season 3 villain has a crazy Marvel history. Here's everything you need to know about Bullseye.
Things are about to get deadly on the mean streets of Marvel because Bullseye is coming to Netflix’s Daredevil season 3. Fans have been awaiting Bullseye’s arrival since the first season, and with good reason. Over the years, many writers and artists have done their creative best to make Bullseye one of the most fearsome foes in the Marvel Universe. So let us go back in time and discover the deadly secrets of Bullseye, the man who never misses. Be warned though, as we travel back and find these greatest Bullseye stories, the journey is littered with the corpses of men and women (and thus, potential spoilers) who crossed Bullseye. Victims punctured with playing cards, pierced with paper clips, and penetrated by ninja weapons.
The first character known as Bulls-Eye (not Bullseye) appeared in Nick Fury: Agent Of SHIELD #15 (1969) by Gary Friedrich and artist Herb Trimpe. This Bulls-Eye attempted to kill Nick Fury but was taken out by Dum Dum Dugan. Bulls-Eye was packed away into Marvel obscurity and seemingly has no connection with the Daredevil baddie, but when a villain possessing the moniker returned, the Marvel Universe would become a much more dangerous place.
It’s hard to imagine that Bullseye has become such a major force of evil in the Marvel Universe considering the assassin has no powers. He is highly trained in martial arts and has perfect aim. Bullseye used to be a pitcher in the major leagues but was banned and prosecuted for killing a batter with a bean ball. From there, Bullseye trained himself to kill with any object from office supplies, to peanuts, to playing cards.
With all that being said, let’s get to our reading list/history...
The Bullseye we all love to hate first appeared in Daredevil #131 (1976) and was created by Marv Wolfman and John Romita Sr. Now, you guys have to understand one thing about Daredevil’s rogues gallery circa 1976: it was not very good. It was fun and some characters like Kilgrave the Purple Man (you know, from Jessica Jones), Gladiator (good ol' Melvin Potter, who keeps popping up on the DaredevilNetflix series), and, of course, Wilson Fisk, have all gone on to star in some phenomenal tales, but this era of DD villains was before the days of Typhoid Mary and Elektra, so when Wolfman and company first introduced Bullseye, he seemed like another one-and-done DD baddie.
Admittedly, in this first appearance of Bullseye, the villain had a bit more of an edge to him compared to, let’s say, Matador or Stilt-Man (but let’s face it, a potato has more of an edge than Matador). In Bullseye’s first battle with Daredevil, he sets up a series of exhortation and murder plots and even publicizes himself in an interview with the Daily Bugle. Bullseye actually defeats Daredevil but soon, Matt pulls himself together, and for the first time, lays the smack down on Bullseye. Wolfman told a tight yarn and Bullseye was daringly different, but the master assassin could have just been another forgettable entry in the Daredevil rogues gallery...if it wasn’t for Frank Miller.
When Bullseye would next appear, it was an issue drawn by the creator that would fully unleash Bullseye on the Marvel Universe: Frank Miller. Don't forget about writer Roger McKenzie who penned the story that first unleashed the full brunt of Bullseye on Marvel. In Daredevil #160-161 (1979), Bullseye desperately wants revenge on DD for his previous defeat, so he kidnaps Daredevil’s than true love the Black Widow and forces Matt Murdock into a brutal confrontation. McKenzie writes a tight, brutal tale while Miller finds frenetic visual language to bring Bullseye to life. The master assassin must have struck a chord in Miller, because when the iconic creator had full creative control of the book, he put Bullseye front and center.
In Daredevil #169 (1981), both written and drawn by Miller, the full horror of Bullseye is unleashed. In this issue, Bullseye finds himself with a brain tumor. The villain is so obsessed with Daredevil, that now everyone he sees resembles the Man Without Fear. So Bullseye goes on an epic killing spree. By issue’s end, Daredevil stops Bullseye’s reign of terror, but with this single issue, Bullseye basically became Marvel’s Joker, an unstoppable force of insanity.
In Daredevil#171-172 (1981) by Miller, Bullseye becomes the hired assassin of Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin. This is Kingpin at his most driven and violent because he just had to bury his beloved wife Vanessa. Kingpin wanted to burn the world and Bullseye would be his match. This unholy alliance would define both villains for decades to come. Which brings us to a moment that would solidify Bullseye as one of Marvel’s most heinous villains forevermore...
The Death of Elektra
“…You’re pretty good. But me…I’m magic.” With those words in Miller’s Daredevil #181 (1982), Bullseye slits Elektra’s throat with a playing card and plunges her own Sai into her chest. You see, at that point, Kingpin had replaced Bullseye with Elektra and the psycho killer that never misses had something to prove. Of course, Elektra was also Matt Murdock’s lover so her death sent shockwaves through the world of comics. It was a watershed moment as the seemingly unstoppable Elektra was systematically dismantled and murdered by Bullseye and became one of the first truly unforgettable Marvel moment of the 1980s.
Bullseye paid for his actions when Daredevil tossed the killer off a rooftop, shattering his spine. Bullseye was paralyzed and things took an even darker turn when Daredevil visits Bullseye in the hospital in Daredevil#191(1983). As Bullseye lay immobile, Daredevil plays a faux game of Russian roulette with the prone killer. It was the darkest moment of Miller’s run on Daredevil and may have been the darkest moment in the history of Marvel. A hero pressing a gun to the temple of a killer that robbed him of his great love. Damn.
Elektra was not the last love Bullseye would take from Matt Murdock...
The Death of Karen Page
The coming of Bullseye to Netflix could mean horrible things for one Karen Page. Because in the famed Guardian Devil (1999) storyline by writer Kevin Smith (snootches) and artist Joe Quesada, Bullseye is hired by the Spider-Man villain Mysterio to kidnap an infant. During the case, Bullseye uses Daredevil’s own billy club to kill Daredevil’s other great love Karen Page. Page had been Matt Murdock’s constant since Daredevil #1 and now, like Elektra, she was dead because of Bullseye.
When Brian Michael Bendis took over Daredevil in the late 90s, fans knew the writer had a killer Bullseye story ready and waiting. After all, Bendis is and was a master of hardcore crime sagas and dark noir. Fans were not disappointed when Bendis presented the storylines “Lowlife” and “Hardcore” in which Matt Murdock’s identity as Daredevil is revealed to the world.
Bullseye uses this new revelation to attack Murdock’s life and attempts to murder DD”s current lover Milla Donovan. Murdock is having none of it and confronts Bullseye. With the rage of the loss of Elektra and Karen, Daredevil beats Bullseye almost to death and carves a bullseye symbol into the killer’s head. Yeah, it was a response to the best-forgotten Daredevilmovie of the late 90s, but it was a moment of pure vengeance as Daredevil finally made Bullseye pay for all the pain he caused.
The next time Bullseye would appear would finally be separate from the world of Daredevil. Bullseye joined the Thunderbolts team led by Norman Osborn. Bullseye operated as Osborn’s most secret of weapons and was only unleashed on the most dangerous of missions. So let that sink in, Bullseye is so deadly, even Norman Osborn was wary of the master killer. As a member of the Thunderbolts, Bullseye helped fight Spider-Man, the Skrulls, and was even paralyzed again by the Native American hero known as American Eagle. Bullseye’s time with the Thunderbolts hit like a bolt of lightning in 2007 and was presented by Warren Ellis and Mike Deodoto.
Things got even sicker when Osborn transformed his Thunderbolts into the Dark Avengers. Bullseye adopted the identity of Hawkeye and seeing the man who had killed Elektra and Karen Page profaning the iconic heroic identity of Clint Barton was truly twisted. Dark Hawkeye marked Bendis’ return to the character in the 2009 Dark Avengers series. Bullseye/Hawkeye also starred in a bloody and twisted mini-series in 2009 by Andy Diggle and Tom Raney.
The Magic Returns
After his time as Hawkeye, Bullseye was killed in the Shadowland crossover. At this time, a new assassin named Lady Bullseye became a major player in the New York underworld. Lady Bullseye brought Bullseye’s corpse to the Hand and had the killer resurrected. Sicker than ever, Bullseye was confined to an iron lung and did what he does best: make Matt Murdock’s life a living hell. Bullseye sends many adversaries to weaken Daredevil during Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s superb 2013 run on Daredevil until he was once again defeated by the Man Without Fear.
Daredevil season 3 arrives on Netflix on October 19.
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.
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!
Get ready for a new Batmobile and a bonkers take on Batman mythology in Batman: Three Jokers.
“The coolest thing about this story is no one knows anything about it,” Johns said at NYCC. “It’s a pretty mature take. I’ve never gotten to write a Batman and Joker story, and Jay’s never gotten to draw one. We wanted to tell the best Batman story, the best Joker story possible.”
Johns said that he always set out to fix DC characters that needed a boost like Aquaman, Green Lantern, Booster Gold, and Hawkman. But to Johns, Batman was always a perfect character. While Johns and his Doomsday Clock collaborator Gary Frank worked together on a pair of Batman: Earth One graphic novels, he has never worked on a Bat-focused book in the main DC Universe until now.
As for Fabok, he’s thrilled to be working on the project, “I’m so excited to get up and work, and every time I hand in a page, I’m really proud of it,” Fabok says. “I feel there’s a magic to this story. I had chills, I really feel like Geoff has come up with the ultimate Batman/Joker story.”
Batman: Three Jokersdeals with the three heroes that the Joker has hurt the most: Batman, Batgirl, and Jason Todd. Johns and Fabok then revealed the three eras of the Joker they will use in the coming epic. First, there is the “first appearance” Joker from 1940, then the classic Silver Age "Clown Prince of Crime" Joker, and finally, the Brian Bolland-inspired Killing Joke Joker (the book's cover is something of an homage to that title). During the panel, the creative team also unveiled their take on the Batmobile, which looks something like an amalgamation of the 1989 cinematic Batmobile and the 1966 Adam West version of the famed car.
While there’s still plenty of mystery surrounding the book, now DC fans have an idea of the focus and aesthetic of this highly anticipated project. There’s still no release date set for Batman: Three Jokers, but it should arrive in 2019.
Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!
The paint's not even dry yet, but Chrissie Hynde is Adding the Blue to a trace of the outline of a shadow.
Chrissie Hynde's tattooed love boys smeared paint stick all over their scars and lumps and bumps, but the former Pretender can't fake it anymore. She will display 200 never-before-seen paintings in the book Adding The Blue. The edition of colorful still life studies and expressive abstracts is being published by Genesis, which has brought out art books from musical icons like David Bowie, Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones and Small Faces' Ronnie Wood.
"Coming off tour can be a tricky affair," Hynde said in a statement. "It feels like jumping off a trampoline. Painting is the one thing I've found to adjust back to civilian life. Genesis has been there collecting it all into book form. Now you can see for yourself. In fact, blame them."
Adding The Blue is introduced by the Royal Academy’s Artistic Director, Tim Marlow and visionary musician and artist, Brian Eno. "These paintings wake me up, show me life, make me want to get up and do something," Eno writes in the foreword.
Hynde first rendered an oil painting of a ceramic vase made by a friend in 2015, and has now produced nearly 200 canvases. "Finally, I thought, 'now’s the time,'" Hynde said in a statement. "I always thought I would get into painting, but I got waylaid by rock ’n’ roll."
Hynde put The Pretenders together in 1978, merging the sounds of British Mods with punk Rockers, equal parts The Kinks, The Who, and The Ramones and Sex Pistol. Over nine albums they showed us what that hole was for. Hynde released her first solo album, Stockholm, in 2014, trading licks with Neil Young and, most recently, Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys.
"Painting is pretty much like writing songs," Hynde said in a statement. "I might know what I want to write about, but generally I just dive in." Each Deluxe edition copy will also contain an exclusive, signed print of Hynde’s "Sunday Painter" self-portrait. The images will be captioned with Chrissie’s thoughts and reflections. The front cover will feature Hynde's "Monogram II."
Only 1,000 limited edition copies are being published, presented in a cloth-bound solander box, half-bound in linen. All will be individually signed by Hynde. The 212-page volume is printed on heavyweight uncoated paper, with hand-torn page edges.
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!
The Walking Dead season 9 will once again borrow from the comics. We've dissected "A New Beginning" to see what's in store!
This Walking Dead article contains spoilers.
If you watched The Walking Dead season 8 finale, "Wrath," you may have noticed an interesting trend. Rick Grimes had quite a bit to say about "a new world" or a "new beginning." In fact, the entirety of season eight and its finale seemed to be setting up the arrival of a very different world. A world where not only is there no all-out war against the Saviors, there is no war at all.
Well, season 8 may have been foreshadowing something very specific. The next saga in The Walking Dead comic universe looks very different from everything that came before it. Robert Kirkman tried something rather experimental in terms of storytelling and time jumps.
Given what we've seen in footage from season 9, it's clear that The Walking Dead season 9 will adapt the "A New Beginning" arc from the comics this season. That's The Walking Dead issues #127-132 by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard. We've gone back to the comics to see what season 9 has in store!
Read on to find out what "A New Beginning" entails. But beware - the following contains HUGE spoilers for The Walking Dead comic series and possibly the TV show.
The Walking Dead’s Volume 22 “A New Beginning” represents a dramatic time jump for the series that allows writer Kirkman a chance to interact with his characters in a new context. On a capitalistic level though, it also conveniently provides an easy jumping on point for viewers of the TV show who want to give the comic a shot but are intimidated by the 126 issues already in circulation.
To help with both those artistic and financial goals, “A New Beginning” introduces several new characters right off the bat to serve as our guides to this new world. Issue 127 opens with a new group of survivors we haven’t met before. A woman named Magna is their de facto leader and other members include Luke, Yumiko, Kelly, Connie, and Bernie. Magna’s group is experiencing a bit of a crisis. They’ve survived the zombie apocalypse by traveling around with a trailer that was hitched to horses. The trailer is no longer a safe haven as Magna’s group quickly and unexpectedly becomes surrounded by a group of walkers that emerge from the woods.
Magna nearly gets bit on the arm before our old friend Paul “Jesus” Monroe arrives to rescue them, though sadly Bernie is killed by the horde. Jesus shepherds (hehe) Magna and her remaining crew to Alexandria where they act as the reader’s cipher, being introduced to a world and a community that is completely foreign to us now that two years have passed (though producers say the time jump in the show will be one and a half years).
Since Magna and her friends’ introduction, the comic series hasn’t found many relevant or interesting things to do with them. They largely functioned as an introduction into this new time-jumped storyline and have operated only as tertiary characters since then, though Magna and Yumiko have seen more opportunities as of late. Still, they’re an important part of the time jump and the show may even find some renewed uses for them beyond that.
“A New Beginning” also introduces the character of Siddiq, but we’re already pretty familiar with him. The only question is whose role from the comics will he take on in season 9? Another character the volume introduces is someone we may have already seen. Dante (more on him in the fourth section) is a head-strong and charming Hilltop soldier who develops feelings for Maggie. Dante kind of resembles a current character on The Walking Dead season 8 - the captured Savior soldier turned sympathetic Hilltoper named Alden (Callan McAuliffe). He certainly seems to harbor a lot of respect for Maggie Rhee. With Lauren Cohan leaving the show midseason, maybe they'll find someone else for Alden. I hear Michonne will soon be available...
New Looks for Old Faces
The Jesus who rescues Magna’s group looks a bit different from the Jesus we’re used to. As it turns out, people can change quite a bit in two years. Take a look at the man that fans have endearingly referred to as “Bushido Jesus.”
Paul has let his hair grow out and it makes him look more badass than ever before. Almost all of the key characters look different in “A New Beginning.” Not only that but they are sometimes slightly different people overall from who we’re used to.
Rick is now “Old Man Rick.” He’s shaved his graying hair, walks with a limp thanks to Negan, and now has a prosthetic hand covering up his stump. That likely won’t be a part of the show, as Rick’s hands remain accounted for.
The old Sheriff has essentially retired from the life of adventuring and has settled into the role of Alexandria’s full-time leader. He’s a welcome face for all new potential citizens.
His son, Carl is growing into a pretty relatable young man himself.
The show, of course, has made the baffling decision to kill off Carl, so maybe when season nine opens, Siddiq will be missing an eye and take to wearing cool bandanas.
Like Rick, Maggie has embraced her leadership role at the Hilltop. Her appearance and demeanor changes as a result. She appears to be more “motherly” while the general aura she projects is that of a resolute leader more than ever before.
Rick and Maggie actors Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohan will be departing the show at some point in season 9 so our appreciation of their new looks will be fleeting, so expect a big detour from the comics concerning their storylines.
Dwight has finally realized that growing his hair out will cover that ugly burn. He is now a full-time Alexandrian and is an important deputy and ally to Rick, much like Tyreese and Abraham in the comics and Daryl on the show. Dwight's role in season nine will likely change now that Daryl has scared him off. He may not appear next season at all.
No character, however, has undergone a bigger change than Negan. Once the “swinging dick of the world,” Negan is now a prisoner at Alexandria. His hair and beard are overgrown and unkempt but he does maintain his rather dark sense of humor. Both Rick and Carl like to visit him in his cell during times of need as though he is their own private Hannibal Lecter. He’s an asshole and therefore knows how other assholes that Alexandria might encounter will act.
Other characters haven’t had extreme makeovers physically but do begin the new arc in quite different places. Eugene has gone from cowardly pariah to one of the most important men in the new world. His ability to carefully read and follow instructions have made him Alexandria’s foremost scientist and engineer.
In the comics, Michonne has quite simply run away after the traumatic events of "All Out War." She now lives in Oceanside and spends her days fishing for the network of communities. Since Michonne’s role on the television show has evolved quite a bit, it remains to be seen if she will take over for Rick as the leader of Alexandria once the Sheriff is gone...
Alexandria Block Party
In addition to most major characters receiving a makeover, Alexandria receives one itself. Following "All Out War" in both the show and comics, Alexandria is in rough shape. It's been attacked by gunfire, grenades, and more. Many houses are just burnt out husks. By the time "A New Beginning" roles around, Alexandria has largely recovered.
Buildings have been rebuilt for one, but more importantly, the Alexandrians are building new things on their own. Alexandria, the Hilltop, and the Kingdom all have thriving agriculture and trade with each other. Even Oceanside and the Sanctuary are involved in this trade network that is meticulously maintained through well-guarded and patrolled routes.
Thanks to the genius of Eugene, Alexandria has windmills, grain houses, irrigation, and many other Medieval-era luxuries. In the comics, Kirkman correctly assumes that all readers will accept these modest technological advancements within a relatively short timeframe. The show, however, has already introduced an agent of change to quicken the pace. Remember Georgie and her gift of knowledge to Maggie? That knowledge comes in the form of books and Eugene is still around to read those books, so expect some "advancements" at the settlements.
So what do the Alexandrians do now that they have an extended era of peace and prosperity? Throw a party of course! The three volumes that season nine is likely to cover are "A New Beginning,""Whispers into Screams," and "Life and Death" (or issues 127-144). All of these volumes deal with the Alexandrians planning a spring festival for members of all the communities to visit. The festival finally comes around in "Life and Death" and all in all it goes pretty well!
Alexandrians, Hilltoppers, Kingdomers, ex-Saviors, and Oceansiders are all able to trade their wares with one another. Eugene even finds a nice CB radio that could come in handy. Things turn dark, however, when people start to go missing from the festival and then a line of heads on stakes are discovered on the outskirts of the communities' territory. The Whisperers have arrived.
Nearly every era of The Walking Dead is defined by a singular villain. The early years were the Governor and Woodbury and then Negan and the Saviors. At first, "A New Beginning" looks like it will just be a leisurely study in agriculture and farming techniques for our protagonists. Alas, that is not to be, as the end of the volume introduces a new, dangerous, and - quite frankly - disgusting threat.
The Whisperers are a group of individuals who have chosen to survive the zombie apocalypse by becoming the dead. They remove the flesh and viscera of corpses and wrap it around themselves as gruesome coats and masks. This is the strategy of masking one's scent from the walking dead that Rick and the other characters sometimes use. The Whisperers, however, take it to the absolute extreme - living most of their lives within those undead "costumes."
The Whisperers received their name from frightened Hilltoppers and Alexandrians who hear their "whispers," as the villains walk among the dead. A group, led by new character Dante, is ordered by Maggie to go find and rescue a member of a missing caravan. They eventually run afoul of this group of Whisperers, making first contact. Dante is taken hostage and the communities must gather together to negotiate his release.
The Whisperers will offer a fascinating new dynamic for the show. Their "society" is somewhat bestial and completely amoral, similar to the TV show's "The Wolves." They eschew names altogether. Their leader, a middle-aged woman, is named "Alpha." And her second-in-command, a hulking seven-foot tall man, is called "Beta."
Alpha and Beta have both been cast for season 9. As has Alphas's daughter, Lydia...so full steam ahead on the Whisperers.
The communities and the Whisperers eventually go to war, but that might be a story for another season. The Walking Dead season 9 will be jam-packed as is with just these few volumes.
Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!