Nerd Bytes is all the news nerds love to hear about from the comic book, movie, television, video game, and other nerdy industries. We know you can’t catch it all in your fast-paced lives, so we catch it for you, and post it here in easy to read Nerd Bytes. One stop shopping for the Nerd Brain! Enjoy!
DEAD BYTE: If you’re a Walking Dead purist, disappointed that the television series has deviated too far from its comic roots, hold out hope! Season 4 hype seems to indicate some backtracking to the original story lines. Robert Kirkman recently revealed that the new season follows the source material more faithfully than previous seasons. This is due in part to the new showrunner, Scott Gimple, being a long-time fan of the comics. “He absolutely loves the material,” according to Kirkman. “Season 4 probably has the most number of scenes that are adapted directly from the comic series or very close to what we did. A good deal of that is from Scott and the way he views that material and puts forth that extra effort to work it into the show in a way that it all works.” Kirkman also mentioned that the new season will have “a bit of a time jump, only a few months. We go into Season 4 with characters you’ve known for four years and still find new things to explore with them and new aspects of their character and see that they are growing and changing in extremely dramatic ways due to the strains that this world has put upon them.” Personally, I have loved the comics since the beginning, but that has not stopped me from enjoying every minute of the TV show. The most memorable moments over the four years have been the divergences. I wasn’t happy to see Andrea die, but I loved that it made me say, “Holy $#!+”! Keep in mind, if the TV show producers stuck strictly to the source material, Darryl Dixon would not exist. Nobody wants that!
VERTIGO BYTE: Lee Bermejo has a new project coming out from Vertigo Comics. If you aren’t familiar with Lee’s work, where have you been? He has done work for Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Men’s Health, Max Mara, Top Cow productions, Wizard Entertainment, and even a film called Ultraviolet. Are you up to speed now? Good! Suiciders will follow the lives of two futuristic boxers – one on top of the world, the other trying to fight (and kill) his way to the top. Set in L.A. after it was devastated by an earthquake, Suiciders is the name of the wildly popular reality sport that pits contestants against each other in a literal death match. Despite the consequences of losing, many are still “dying” to be a part of it. In Suiciders, to be the best, you have to kill the best.
DYNAMITE BYTE: In a week dominated by huge news coming from San Diego, Dynamite Entertainment has led the charge with several huge announcements. This time they signed the Godfather of Shock Rock, Alice Cooper, to do an ongoing series, and announced a prestige version of The Heart of the Beast, by Dean Motter and Judith Dupré, and Sean Phillips. This isn’t Cooper’s first foray into the comic medium. He first appeared in a comic in Marvel Premiere in 1972. Then in 1994 he released a graphic novel called The Last Temptation, as a companion to his album of the same name. The graphic novel was written by legend Neil Gaiman (The Sandman) and illustrated by Michael Zulli. Cooper said of the new endeavor, “artistically, for me there is hardly a better medium. There is so much you can do in the form of a comic that we’d never been able to do on stage. It’s just a different way of storytelling, and it really has almost limitless possibilities. We’re looking forward to stretching the existing boundaries of the comic medium again. We have new stories to tell, but we’ll do it with the same theatrical, sinister sensibility that comes with the name ‘Alice Cooper’. This is just the beginning! Welcome to my NEW Nightmares!” Nick Barrucci, the workaholic CEO and Publisher of Dynamite loves the fit between Cooper and his company. ”Alice Cooper’s on-stage persona, the ultimate shock rocker, is perfect for comic books. From his comic book debut in Marvel Premiere to The Last Temptation by Neil Gaiman, I’ve enjoyed the appearances Alice has made in comics. We are excited to develop captivating and hypnotic comic storylines that incorporate the Sinister Showman’s gothic flair and grandiose vision. This is going to be one hell of a ride!” The Heart of the Beast has been thumping away for 20 years, well past time for a new release for fans who missed it back then. The project came together as an amalgam of talent working from different directions. Dean Motter said, “After writing Mister X and The Prisoner, I felt a bit ill-suited to do a supernatural story. I thought that what I’d really like to do was a contemporary adult gothic drama.” Judith Dupré, a curator and art critic at the time, shares her vision, “Soho was the belly button of the global art scene in the 1980s, with collectors coming in from all over the world. They’d snap up entire shows of the artists who were hot. Prices were high and so were the piles of cocaine”. Add to that the stunning art of Sean Phillips who said of his early work, ”This was my first major project for an American publisher and it sank without trace twenty years ago. Now people have another chance to read Dean and Judith’s great story and to see me learn to paint in watercolours on the job. I’d like to think I’ve got better at painting since I finished Heart Of The Beast, but I’m not so sure”. Cheers to Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher of Dynamite for bringing this work back!
TERMINATOR BYTE: Are you a fan of the Terminator movies? Have you ever wondered how it all works out for humanity? You didn’t really think it was over did you? According to Dark Horse Comics you will soon find out how it ends in Terminator: The Final Battle. The word is out that writer J. Michael Straczynski and artist Pete Woods have been signed to produce a twelve-issue series focusing on the time after Salvation. John Connor continues the fight to save the human race and eliminate the threat of Skynet for good. In a recent interview Staczynski gave us a peek into his idea. “The story that I’ve always wanted to see visualized, and that I think other fans of the movies have eagerly anticipated, is the battle that set all of the movies into motion: the assault on Skynet, the Terminators going through and what happens afterward on both sides of the timeline. So the events weave in and out of the tapestry of the Terminator, showing what we know or what we think we know, then turning the camera around to show us that what we thought we knew may not be exactly what happens. The only timeline in which you could set that story would be after Salvation.”
POLAR BYTE: Dark Horse Comics had some news of their own at SDCCI. The company that was founded in 1986, and has been known for unique and creative work, is proud to bring Polar, by Victor Santos (Mice Templar), to print. In case you haven’t heard of it, Polar is the fan favorite silent webcomic. It has been described as, “A guns-blazing espionage action-adventure in the grand tradition of Jim Steranko and Frank Miller. This graphic novel is a brutal, fast-tempo story of revenge that is as ice-cold as its name.” Creator Victor Santos said, “Polar began as a tribute to the greatness of graphic storytelling. Watching it improve and evolve into the version readers will see in the book printed by one of my favorite publishers, I can only say: Mission accomplished, old soldier.”
“Ripped out of retirement by an assassination attempt, the world’s most deadly spy—the former agent known as Black Kaiser—is a wanted man that’s wanted . . . dead! On a collision course with his former employer, the Damocles Agency, Black Kaiser goes head to head with a stab-happy, psychotic torture expert and a seductive but deadly redhead. His mission only ends if he dies or kills everyone out to get him, and he’s not in the habit of dying.”
Santos assures fans that he has “crafted a script as hard-boiled and intriguing as his art for this hardcover collection”. With an art style reminiscent of Frank Miller’s Sin City, noir themes, and new dialogue Polar: Came from the Cold is sure to be a hit when it hits the shelves on December 11.
GAIMAN BYTE: Neil Gaiman and Terry Gilliam have been teasing the news feeds and twitter-verse that they are working on something secret. Of course anything with these two names attached is going to garner attention and speculation. Some are under the assumption that they’re preparing for another attempt at filming Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s novel, Good Omens. Gilliam had once been mentioned as a directorial candidate for the film, so that fits. But, there have been reports that Good Omens has been moving forward as a TV property. Gaiman’s twitter feed has added some fuel to the speculation. On July 17th at 3:05pm Gaiman tweeted this, “Just signed a Non Disclosure Agreement on a plane in order to stop me talking about the cool thing I am going to do. Pretend I said nothing.” Just 47 minutes later Gaiman re-tweeted and responded to another tweet saying, “It is. RT @Starocotes: @neilhimself very interesting that Diane Nelson mentioned Sandman here: http://www.newsarama.com/18390-dc-s-top-exec-dishes-to-thr-on-publisher-s-movies-tv-future.html …“. Diane Nelson is President of DC Entertainment, and the article referenced future movie and TV possibilities. When asked about her personal picks of which characters Nelson thought were next in line for the big screen she replied, “Sandman is right on top. I think it could be as rich as the Harry Potter universe. Fables, Metal Men, Justice League, and yes, I’m going to say it: Aquaman.” This is a lot of circumstantial evidence that could mean nothing, but wouldn’t it be cool to see Sandman brought to life in the only way it should happen…with Gaiman’s involvement?
IMAGE BYTE: The coveted and respected nominations are out and Image Comics is a big winner. The comic publisher, founded in 1992, had their titles receive eighteen Eisner Awards nominations this year. Join Image Comics and the rest of the comic book industry in congratulating Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples, and Brandon Graham for winning Eisner Awards, in their respective categories, on Friday night in the ceremony held in San Diego. Saga, by Vaughan and Staples, won awards for Best New Series, Best Continuing Series, and Best Writer. Graham’s King City, described as an inventive sci-fi graphic novel, won the Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album – Reprint. Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson accepted the awards for the absent Saga creators, reading from a statement written by Vaughan, “Thank you so much for this huge honor, especially because we were nominated alongside so many equally deserving series and creators (even my wife thought Hawkeye should win). I’m just riding the coattails of co-creator Fiona Staples, one of the great comic artists of all time, so all credit to her, our peerless letterer/designer Fonografiks, and especially everyone at Image, for being so supportive of truly creator-owned books for over twenty years.” Dave Stewart, colorist on Fatale, also received the Best Coloring Eisner Award, for his work on seven titles. Among the other nominees for Image Comics were Fatale by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, The Manhattan Projects by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra, and Prophet, written by Brandon Graham and drawn by Simon Roy, Giannis Milonogiannis, Farel Dalrymple, and Brandon Graham. Al-in-all it was a banner year for Image Comics, no reason to expect any less in the years to come. Congratulations to all of the nominees and award winners.
CROW BYTE: F. Javier Gutiérrez and James O’Barr appeared at Comic-Con yesterday and announced the upcoming reboot of The Crow starring Luke Evans. Filmmaker Gutiérrez says pre-production will start in October. O’Barr, who had resisted rebooting the character that he created for decades stated, ”what brought me around after twenty years was Javier. Before talking with him, I was 110% against it. There was no point or need for a reboot. In my mind, you could throw a $100 million at it, put Johnny Depp in it and had Ridley Scott direct and it wouldn’t top what Alex Proyas and Brandon Lee did. I explained all of that the minute Javier arrived.” So, how did Gutiérrez convince the protective creator? He said something like, ”It’s not a remake of the original. It’s a new interpretation. Of course, we have to fill some parts and new elements, but there was so much beauty and passion to the original. A lot in there we could do that was never done. That’s the main thing that captured my attention. We can do something original. The darkness, the beauty, the violence and love. That’s what got me excited. A lot of fans responded to the original movie, but this is going to be different. This is going to give them some good gifts. We’re going to pull some stuff from the original comic that’s going to be tough and we’re going to do it in an original and artistic way.” Obviously O’Barr was convinced. I loved the character as he was played by Brandon Lee. Can Luke Evans (The Raven, Clash of the Titans) bring the passion that we loved in the original. I honestly hope he can!
HARLEY BYTE: This byte is not about the popular motorcycle. It’s about your favorite gal pal of the Joker, Harley Quinn. She will be getting her second solo series starting in November from the writing team of Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti. Conner said of the off-beat character, “She is a totally beloved character, and you have to show that some respect, all while bringing her into a whole new atmosphere. We have to make her world very believable. We want to make her almost like she’s someone you’ve met before.” Since the New 52 reboot Harley has been spending time with the Suicide Squad. Palmiotti explained the differences to be expected between the books. He said, “The Suicide Squad book has Harley spending time with other heroes and bad guys. This book will focus on Harley and her life, where she lives and how she functions, as well as her motivations and solo adventures” If you are wondering what, if any part the Joker will play, Conner said, “The Joker is someone that she’ll never be able to shake, nor is she really going to want to. Their relationship is a lot of what defines her now, although she is going to get into a lot of stuff where it has nothing to do with him.”
MAXX BYTE: Sam Kieth’s The Maxx was on of the first true multimedia comic book characters over 20 years ago. Kieth’s art style was perfect for the strange world he called The Outback. His writing style was quirky and unique. The Maxx followed a man’s dual identities as he was caught between the real world and a strange fantasy realm. The Maxx comic book series ran for more than 30 issues and inspired the MTV animated series of the same name. Now Idea and Design Works (IDW) is bringing the Maxx back! The Maxx: Maxximized will feature brand-new painted covers by Kieth on the re-mastered, re-colored originals. Keith and IDW will also release a series of hardcover Maxx collections and Artist’s Editions enabling readers to see Sam’s work as they never seen it before. Sam Keith stated, “I want to thank my pal Ted Adams (founder of IDW) for giving me and some of my books a home at IDW… I hope he doesn’t lose his shirt!” IDW EditorScott Dunbier responded, “Sam, as usual, is self deprecating to a fault, he’s an amazing artist and a good friend, and I could not be happier to have him at IDW.” IDW has a long history of bringing classic comics back so that a new generation of readers can enjoy them. This partnership should be just the right fit!
SAMCRO BYTE: Have you ever felt that there are just too many superheroes in comics? Have you ever felt the need to have gun-smuggling outlaw biker gang as the protagonist of the story? If you said yes, seek help, or throw a party because your favorite outlaws from Charming, California are coming to comics courtesy of BOOM! Studios and Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products. Sons of Anarchy is a modern vision of the outlaw genre, based on the popular television show and will launch on September 11, 2013. Ross Richie, CEO of BOOM! Studios, said of the move, “Our team at BOOM! Studios includes some of the biggest fans of Sons of Anarchy and with our long-time desire to create a comic series around the show now a reality, we couldn’t be more excited. We are focused on adding to the mythology of the show in a way that is authentic and meaningful, while working closely alongside Kurt [Sutter], FX and Fox so that the fans get the best experience from a Sons of Anarchy comic book.” For those of us who are fans of Jax, Gemma, Clay and the rest of the gang, this is great news. You just can’t have enough of a good thing!
NERDITORIAL: Continuity can be a fighting word in nerd circles. The Original vs. New 52 battle rages on. Unfortunately the commentary coming from both sides is usually less than eloquent. Most of the people that I see on Facebook or Twitter can barely manage more of an explanation than, “New 52 sucks!” I disagree, nothing is completely good or bad. I am not a fan of calling “Mulligan” and saying 75 years of stories never happened, but hadn’t the whole thing become too convoluted anyway. We did have Crisis after Crisis to restart, change-up, re-set, and go back and forth between worlds and dimensions and… oh my aching head. I like the fact that New 52 is clean, fresh. But do you know what I like even more? Great stories! I love comic books and I’m not ashamed to say it. I love great writing and art that draws me into a world of fantasy that makes me forget the problems of my “real world”. Do I really care that the Avengers have 8 teams and Wolverine is somehow on all of them? No, I don’t. Do I care that Wonder Woman is now the Demi-Goddess daughter of Zeus? Well, yes I do, it made me pick up the book for the first time in a decade. Does history really matter? Yes, it does, because it happened. We read it, reacted to it and it meant something. These new stories and worlds will have the same effect, if we give them a chance. Saying, “the New 52 sucks”, after reading few if any of the stories hurts only one person, you. Read comics, if you love them, share the experience. If you don’t, share that too. Just keep reading them! See you in the Funny Papers!