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Archive for February, 2008

(Read This Title in Deep Echo Voice) THE REPORT FROM WONDER CON!

29

Feb

Posted by Steve

Good friend of Geek Out Online, Dave (aka HawkeyeProtagonist from Youtube or Hawkeye of Krypton from the House of El forums.) had the opporunity to go to Wonder Con last week. I envy Dave, but he has been kind enough to check in to the Fortress of Solitude South and give us a report from his time there. So, let me say I appreciate Dave writing up this report and if you’re ever at a convention and come away with some newsworthy/noteworthy stuff to report, send it in and immortalize yourself in the annals of Geek Out Online History.

 So without further ado and with my gratitude, ladies and gentlemen, Dave:

Wondercon 2008 was held in the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, across the street from GDC (Game Developers Conference). February 22nd – 24th
I was actually surprised by the small turnout. It may have just seemed small because I’m used to ComiCon where there are 100,000 people, but it was still a great crowd.
On friday it didn’t seem like there was much to do in terms of Q&A and Panels so I basically just walked around the exhibit hall, looking for some cool swag and awesome products to buy. At one booth, the guy was selling graphic novels half the cover price…. So I splurged and ended up getting:
Batman: Hush

Batman: Year One

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

Batman: Dark Victory

and Buffy Season 8: Vol. 1.

Friday there was a Panel with Darwyn Cooke and Noel Neill, but I didn’t end up going to them because I was too enthralled in the Exhibit Hall. I played a demo of “Lost: The Video Game” for xbox 360 and met Steve Cardenas (red power ranger), Peter Mayhew (chewbacca), Lou Furgino (the hulk), Tim Sale (comic and heroes artist) and Noel Neill (Original Lois Lane). It was a pretty good day.

Later that night, I saw Bruce Timm just hanging outside the Lobby by himself, having a smoke. So I went up to say “hey”, not in annoying crazy-fan way, but just like “so you’re having a smoke”. We had a little conversation about how he hoped that the fans enjoyed “New Frontier”. (They showed it saturday night, the full length animated movie.) It was alright…..and thats all i’ll say. (Note from Steve: I’ll be saying more in the near future.)

Saturday was the best day for the Con because all of the best panels were happening. I basically stayed in the same big Hall all day to hear panel after panel, and I made sure to get there early to get a good close seat.

First up at noon was the WARNER BROS PANEL. They showed an extended trailer for the movie “10,000 B.C.” and then had a Q&A with director Roland Emmerich (Stargate, Independence Day, Day After Tomorrow) and the two main actors. Emmerich also hinted that 10,000 BC might have connections to Stargate and we should watch for them.

Next was the full length trailer for GET SMART and then a fantastic Q&A with director Peter Segal, Steve Carell (Max Smart), and Anne Hathaway (Agent 99).   Carrell is just as funny in person as he is on The Office, if not funnier.  He also mentioned that the will start shooting Office again in two weeks and he’s looking forward to writing an episode where Michael gets gets called for jury duty.  During the Q&A some idiot said that he would have made a great Joker in TDK, which caused the audience to BOO like crazy. Anne Hathaway was gorgeous and just as witty as Carrell. They really are the perfect duo for Get Smart.

Then, there was one more surprise, a sneak peak of Batman: Gotham Knights, the animated mini-series set as a prequel to TDK.  This was one of my favorite highlights of the day.  They showed actual footage from the project that reminded me very much of the Animatrix.  I think japanese art direction is something we haven’t seen for Batman and it will be refreshing and new. 

Disney’s Panel was at 1pm and started off with a look at The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.   The quick trailer showed some really exciting action scenes with even some unfinished CGI shots.  The best was the mice with the little swords kicking tail while trying to open a door to the castle.   Just to let you know, I haven’t seen the first movie yet or read the books; but this looked action packed with a dark tone, similar to Lord of the Rings.
Wall-E, a pixar movie, was next.  This movie is now one of my most anticipated for this year.  The premise is that Earth has been abandoned and someone forgot to turn the last robot off, Walle.  He has alot of free time on his hands when a ship lands carrying Walle’s new interest which leads him to a grand adventure.  Director Andrew Stanton (from Pixar) was there to field questions and introduce each finished movie clip. He showed 3 movie clips, 2 of them featuring the robot’s love interest, Eve.  I hate to say it, but it seemed so…..”cute.”  One clip featured Walle bringing Eve back to his Winnebago to show her all the neat junk he’s collected over the years, and that’s just cute.  What I was most surprised about was the lack of dialogue, but every emote in the scene came out perfectly, and the movie has a grand epic feel to it. Stanton also stated that Wall-E was a “Love Story.”   Look for it to hit theaters June 27th, I know I will.

20th Century Fox’s Panel was next.  There was not much to speak of in The Shutter panel… A newly married couple discovers disturbing, ghostly images in photographs they develop after a tragic accident.  Fearing the manifestations may be connected, they investigate and learn that some mysteries are better left unsolved.  This movie seems like a generic horror movie and I wasn’t too interested.  The only thing that I was interested in was hearing from James Kyson Lee (Ando on Heroes).  He mentioned that Heroes will begin shooting soon after the fallout from the writers strike.
AND NOW FOR THE MAIN EVENT… and the panel that caused the most hysterics at Wondercon 2008. The X-Files 2 movie Panel.
It started off with a very short movie teaser. The bulk of the teaser was of a character (played by Billy Connelly) walking, leading a group of armed sheriff-like men through a winter covered environment. The sheriff-men were driving poles into the snow beneath their feet as if looking for something important, that was buried. Other quick shots in the teaser featured Mulder and Scully looking distressed.

After the Teaser had finished the panel was introduced, this caused the crowd, to go nuts. I got most of the fan-squall because I was sitting so close to the stage. First Frank Spotnitz was introduced, then Chris Carter, Gillian Anderson and finally David Duchovny. They all seemed very very tired, and it was mentioned that they were up the night before shooting and then took a plane straight to San Francisco. The info-highlights of the panel included information that the movie would be a standalone monster of the week story-line, Amanda Peet would be playing a character named Dakota Whitney, and that the year 2012 may have a significance in the story. X-Files 2 will hit theaters July 25th, 2008.

The crowd really seemed to die-down after this panel (i wonder why…)

Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay. John Cho, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg were there. I haven’t seen “H&K Go To White Castle”, but this looked offensively funny. The clip that was shown, featured the duo getting on a plane ready to go Amsterdam. Kal Penn’s character had brought a “smokeless bong” on board and it’s confused with a terrorist bomb. The whole plane freaks out when the glass tubing in the “smokeless bong” breaks and “Poison Gas” leaks out…HILARIOUS.

Sneak peak at Iron Man with director Jon Favreau. Favreau is an awesome guy, he was probably the best panelist of the day because he gave great insight and was just plain fun.
He made sure to introduce a clip from the movie in which Tony Stark is trying out the prototype jettison-hover boots. Unfortunately Stark’s first attempt fails and he goes flying backwards into a wall…funny.  The second clip, however, shows Stark getting control of the hovering boots and floating around the room followed by him taking his new built Iron Man, Mark II, suit up into the sky and doing some arial acrobatics…..awesome.
What really made me like Favreau was he poked fun at himself by saying he directed Deep Impact, “the other Armageddon”. “The Michael Bay classic”.

Iron Man Exclusive TrailerAdd to My Profile | More Videos

Next came Inside Lucasfilm With Steve Sansweet.  Sansweet showed so much Star Wars related footage that it made my head spin.  First up was a sneak peak at The Force Unleashed the new video game slated to be released in Summer.  You play as Darth Vader’s secret apprentice and go around killing the remaining Jedi Masters that survived after the events of Episode 3.  Actual gameplay footage was introduced by one of the project leads at Lucasarts.  This game looks like so much fun,  I can’t wait.
Now for another of my favorite highlights of the day, special footage from the upcoming Star Wars movie, Star Wars: Clone Wars.  This is a full CGI movie and is set between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.   Anakin and Obi-Wan continue there battle against the separatist forces.  We meet Anakin’s padawan Ahsoka Tano, a brash young female Twileek.
We got a good sneak preview of finished in-movie CGI shots. One scene featured Anakin, Ahsoka, and R2 walking through the tatooinne desert with an artsy setting sun in the background, it stuck out in my mind.  The art style is fantastic, very reminiscent of the animated clone wars series done by Gennedy Tartakovsky, just in full 3D.  It will be introduced first via a theatrical movie made up of the first three episodes of the series and then be turned into a weekly television series concluding the story.  Look for it to start in theaters on August 15th.

Other videos shown by Sansweet include a preview for Lego Indiana Jones, the video game, which looked just as cutesy as the Lego Star Wars series.  The already online trailer for, Indy 4, and re-cap clips of previous “Star Wars Celebration” conventions followed by the announcement that the next Star Wars Celebration will be held in Japan.
After Sansweet said his goodbyes it was time for the night-time world premiere screening of Justice League: New Frontier followed by a panel featuring Bruce Timm, Darwyn Cooke, David Bullock, Michael Goguen, Stan Berkowitz, Andrea Romano, and Phil Morris.
Since New Frontier has since come out I won’t go into a review of it, but the experience of sitting in a theater with other Justice League fans was an enjoyable experience. I think my favorite part of the movie was when Faraday did his classic T-Rex grenade routine.
The panel had a decent Q&A section, but not much to speak of in terms of info. I think the best part was they replayed the preview for Batman: Gotham Knights which still looked awesome!
That was my saturday experience at Wondercon.

Sunday I walked around the Exhibit hall one last time and then prepared myself for the Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles Panel featuring Thomas Dekker, Summer Glau, Brian Austin Green and James Middleton.  The panel went well and featured a great amusing story of how when Dekker rehearses he uses a different celebrity voice every-time.  No real info on future events, but a quick montage video, where it was just action scene after action scene.
That was basically a quick overview of my weekend. I’m glad I went. Since I can’t go to ComiCon this year, this was a good substitution. 

Thanks again Dave.  The X-Files 2 panel is really what the buzz has been all about since Wonder Con ended.  That and the Iron Man panel.   Both panels featured trailers that got huge fan response.

Personally, I am looking forward to GET SMART.  The newest trailer looks hillarious, and I think the movie is going to be a blast.

Don’t be afraid to click around the links in the story above.  You’ll find videos, images, and even be able to buy stuff on Amazon.  (That would help the site.)  Thanks for the millionth time to Dave for writing up this report.  

No Comics Needed, But I Have Them Anyway – Hulk #2

26

Feb

Posted by Steve

hulk2cov.jpgI have never in my life subscribed to any comic.  I’ve always let myself be bound to having to seek them out in bookstores and comic stores, and before that convenience store and grocery store magazine racks.   Well, a few months ago, I read that Jeph Loeb was coming to the Hulk title.  This on the heels of the Planet Hulk saga and the ensuing World War Hulk.

I got to read like two issues of Planet Hulk, and my knowledge of the events of World War Hulk were relegated to recaps and reviews that I read online.  This made me somewhat sad because the Hulk has always been one of my favorite characters.  In any incarnation.

The problem with the Hulk is that I don’t know if any writer since Stan Lee (outside of Peter David) has really had a good grasp of the Hulk.   Of course, after the amazing 13 year run that Peter David intitally had on the title, it was going to be hard in the following years for anyone, no matter how talented or passionate, to come in and write compelling Hulk stories.  I think one of the best examples of this is an accomplished writer like John Byrne stepping in and producing what was a pretty poor Hulk story.  Later when Bruce Jones came in, he had promise, but I think a lack of understanding just who the Hulk is and what he’s about caused the story, which started with a lot of promise,  to drag on too much, get too convoluted and ultimately fail.

While Planet Hulk got great reviews from all over, I couldn’t help but think, “Haven’t they done this before.”  In a way they did.   Anyone remember Jarella?  Rocket Racoon?  Anyone?

Then, with World War Hulk, a lot of people thought that Marvel dropped the ball on what should have been a sure thing.   I don’t know about that as I didn’t get to read it.  However, thanks to ebay, that’s going to change really soon. 

Enter Jeph Loeb.  There are a very small handful of writers in comics today that I think can do no wrong.  It seems that whatever their imagination touches turns to gold…or in the Hulk’s case red.  Loeb, to me, is one of those writers.  I really enjoyed Loeb’s stuff on Superman, and I really liked his Batman Superman run.  His “Hush” story arc with Jim Lee proved that no matter how good the artist is, a good writer is what makes those pretty pictures work together for one heck of a story.  So, when I heard that Jeph Loeb was coming to Marvel and going to write for one of my favorites, I got excited.  Really excited.  Add to that the ole’ one two of Loeb and McGuinness and I my geek senses were tingling so much that I could barely stand it. 

As much as I like Loeb’s writing, I love Ed McGuinness’ art.  His style is cartoony, but not over the top.  In a time where it seems everyone is concerned with uber-realism and making their characters look like they stepped out of reality into the comics, McGuinness’ style boldly reminds us that this is a comic book…and there is nothing wrong with that.  His style is a fun style that seems to be lacking in othr books.  It’s got a cartoony feel, but it’s not too cartoony to be distracting.  It’s fun.  It’s what comics should be.   As much as they are compelling and dramatic and full of action…they too should be fun.  McGuinness brings that to the table with his style.

Then I heard about the whole red Hulk thing.  Wha?  Waitaminute?  Red?  I was a little iffy on this point, but I was willing to give Loeb the benefit of the doubt.

Quite frankly, as far as issue number 2 of HULK is concerned, it paid off. 

The issue opens quietly enough.  Tony Star is discussing the weapon used to murder the Abomination with a S.H.I.E.L.D.  commander and She-Hulk.  Out of nowhere, the Hulk grabs She-Hulk and the issue cranks up to 11.   The Hulk utterly demolishes the new Hellicarrier and beats the snot out of Iron Man.  The interesting thing is that while all of the action is going down, we learn that files on the Hulk have been erased from the S.H.I.E.L.D. database, the Hulk spoke coherently and rather threateningly to She-Hulk while only growling at Stark, and Leonard Samson is presumably in a bad way somewhere in the bowels of the hellicarrier. 

As quickly as he attacks the hellicarrier, the Hulk is gone.  Then we are treated to the next little surprise.  Rick Jones, thought to be dead, is still alive.  The Hulk shows up and tells Rick that he doesn’t like to be surprised, and he HITS Rick!!! The final surprise of the issue?  Rick turns into a new (?) Abomination that talks like the old green Hulk. 

Yep.  Jeph Loeb retains his place in my fandom.  (I’m sure he’s breathing a sigh of relief somewhere.)  Loeb is doing with the Hulk what he has done best in other titles.  He’s taking what we know and love and turning it on its head all the while making it feel like an old friend. 

This is also the first time that I can remember when the Hulk has undergone a significant change and we’re not really privy to all of the details.  Why is the Hulk red?  How can he be so brutal?  This goes beyond the realm of the snarky, rude, bullying of the grey incarnation of the behemoth.  This is something completely new, and I am completely sold on it.   I cannot wait until issue 3 shows up in my mailbox.  Why?  Well, there’s the new Hulk, new(?) Abomination face-off.   What more do I need? 

I have a couple of theories about this new Hulk.  I think that either:

1.  It’s not really the Hulk, which would mean that before this story arc is over we’re gonna get treated to a showdown between old Jade Jaws and Big Red.  Or….

2.  Knowing Jeph Loeb’s attention to the history of the characters he writes, the Devil Hulk could finally have made his way out of Banner’s psyche.  I know he was yellow and lizard-ish when we first saw him, but he could very well have chosen this as a physical appearance for reasons that he will reveal later. 

Both of those theories are probably wrong.  But, I’m sure I will shift and change theories as the story progresses.

Following my two fold theory, I have a two fold recomendation:

1.  If you’re a fan of the Hulk in any way, pick up this book starting now.  Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness have not disappointed and I don’t think they will.

2.  If you don’t live near a comic shop.  Subscribe to a comic.  Not necessarily Hulk, but the comic of your choice.  It’s  neat feeling to open your mailbox and find a comic book.

All in all, I have to give this issue (after reading it like three times) a 5 out of 5 whatever I give 5 of.  It’s just that good.

Kingdom of the Awesome Trailer!

14

Feb

Posted by Steve

Today was the day for Indiana Jones fans everywhere.  If you’re not an Indian Jones fan…WHAT?

Indiana Jones is THE definitive treasure hunting/globe trotting/action/adventure franchise.  The Indy franchise is everyting the National Treasure franchise wishes it was.  (For the record, I enjoyed the two National Treasure movies.)

Anywho, it may be a mild case of trailer euphoria, but I am as of this moment in time more excited about this film than any other that is coming out this Summer.  So, in case you’ve been under a rock and haven’t seen it yet…The first trailer for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull…

From the Fortress of Baileytude

14

Feb

Posted by Steve

I enjoy podcasts.  I wish I had more time to do mine.  However, between Starkville’s House of El Podcast and the newest podcasting sensation Skynext, our podcast about Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles I haven’t had time to record. However, I have several favorite podcasts that I check out on a regular basis. You can check them all out over at the left hand side of the main page here under my links.

I want to mention Michael Bailey’s solo endeavor Views From the Long Box. Michael does a great job with his podcast. He talks about everything from comic books to movies to television, and he does a great job and has fun with it. If you’re one of the people who have been e-mailing me about my next episode of Geek Out Loud, go check out Michael’s podcast. His cast is everything I ever wished my podcast could be. So go check him out and enjoy it.

The Return of the Jedi

12

Feb

Posted by Steve

Ever since Revenge of the Sith, we Star Wars fans have been chomping at the bit for some type of news concerning the new television endeavors of George Lucas. 

While a live action Star Wars television series still seems to be nothing more than a dream, The Clone Wars animated series is a reality.   Last year at Celebration 4, the makers of the series showed off a trailer of sorts for the newest bit of chewy Star Wars goodness to come our way.

Today, it’s been officially announced at starwars.com that the Clone Wars will be premiering in THEATRES!!!! On August 15th, I will get to do something I didn’t think I’d get to do again ever in my life. I will get to go to a movie theatre to see something new from the Star Wars Universe. After that, the Clone Wars animated series is going to be premiering on Cartoon Network with repeats on TNT.

The official site also released this video, the first in making-of type series of webdocs.

A few things (outside the fact that we’re getting NEW STAR WARS) that interest/excite me are:

1. Anakin’s got a padawan. This is interesting as it could play into the new Force Unleashed game slated for release later this year, and it could be something that plays in to Anakin’s ultimate downfall. The padawan could die giving Anakin yet another reason (beyond his mother and Padme’) to desire to find the power to keep people from dying.

2. Anakin and Obi Wan’s relationship will be explored more. I’m happy about this because, though we got to see the two actually working together in Revenge of The Sith, because of their constant bickering and Obi Wan’s nagging in Attack of the Clones, we never got to see how close they really had become. To get to see them working together and enjoying each other’s company is going to do a lot to enhance Revenge of the Sith and even A New Hope.

3. I will be buying a ticket to see a new Star Wars movie. Well, kind of. No details as to running time have been mentioned yet, but one has to assume that we’re looking at at least a 90 minute run time or the first three episodes of the series. It’s just gonna be cool to watch these things on the big screen.

I’ve stated several times on the podcast and here in the blog, that I am a Star Wars geek before anything else. So, you can expect constant updates and info and links to videos and reviews as we get closer and closer to the release of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

I’m so excited right now.