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1. Premio Alfaguara de Novela

       They've announced the winner of this year's Premio Alfaguara de Novela -- not the biggest Spanish-language book prize, but at US$175,000 and with a solid list of previous winners, certainly worth paying some attention to. The winning title was: Contigo en la distancia, by Chilean author Carla Guelfenbein; see, for example, the report in El País, where it is described as: "una historia sobre los recovecos del talento y del amor".
       Never mind the Man Booker Prize-dwarfing payout: there were 707 entries -- some five times what the Man Booker deigns to consider .....
       Her novel The Rest is Silence did come out from Portobello Books a couple of years ago; see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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2. Gaye vs. Thicke: How blurred are the lines of copyright infringement?

“Blurred Lines” and Thicke’s overwhelming success have been eclipsed by the popularity of the recent federal court case, in which a jury decided that its creators infringed upon the copyright of Marvin Gaye’s 1977 Billboard Hot 100 chart topper, “Got to Give It Up.”

The post Gaye vs. Thicke: How blurred are the lines of copyright infringement? appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on Gaye vs. Thicke: How blurred are the lines of copyright infringement? as of 3/26/2015 7:23:00 AM
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3. Orwell Prize longlists

       They've announced the Orwell Prize longlists -- which includes the twelve-title book-prize longlist. (The prize(s) are apparently: "Britain's most prestigious prize for political writing".)
       One of the titles is actually under review at the complete review, In the Light of What We Know, by Zia Haider Rahman.

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4. Lament of an educator/parent

My seventeen-year-old son has just completed fifteen examinations in the course of two weeks. They varied in length – some in excess of three hours, with a half hour break before the next exam – and we are still feeling the fallout from this veritable onslaught.

The post Lament of an educator/parent appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on Lament of an educator/parent as of 3/26/2015 4:55:00 AM
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5. Alan Moore Interview Part I – Steve Moore, River of Ghosts, The Show, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star…

It’s the 26th of February, and the time is 7.00pm, the usual time for all my telephone interviews with Alan Moore, since the first one we did, back in March 2008. This is something like the eighth time I’ve interviewed him 1, but I still get nervous. There’s the usual fumbling around with a voice recorder, and making sure I know how to put the phone on speaker – I’m totally technically incompetent, so Deirdre, my wife, has to come and oversee all this, to make sure I don’t do something stupid.

Pádraig Ó Méalóid: I’m going to get stuck into this thing because I’ve a long list of questions, at least some of which we’ll get to. OK, I was going to ask you about Steve. Obviously Steve Moore’s death must have been an enormous blow to you. 2

Steve MooreAlan Moore: Well, yeah, obviously, and it – it was a period of massive shock, and of course a few marvels in there. There was an ethereal period. We managed to follow Steve’s instructions, and scattered his ashes on the burial mound in Shrewsbury Lane by the light of, not only a full moon, but of a Supermoon, which is when the Moon is full at its perigee, which is apparently its closest approach to Earth, and it was just at the tail end of Hurricane Bertha so we didn’t think that we were going to be able to really do it successfully, but as it happened, the hurricane had blown all the clouds out of the sky by the time we got down to Shooters Hill, and it was a – a rather magical night in its way, even though I managed to end up wearing at least a small portion of Steve, when we had a difficulty transferring him to the scattering tube. Funnily enough, I’d said on the way down there that I hope this doesn’t end up like The Big Lebowski, with me kind of going on inappropriately about Steve’s service in Vietnam, while getting ashes all over me, but apart from me going on inappropriately about Steve’s service in Vietnam, that was pretty much what happened. But otherwise it was a great night and, yeah, I suppose that after Steve’s death I kind of hurled myself into a great deal of creative work – it’s just my way of dealing with things, you know? Or perhaps my way of not dealing with things, I don’t know. But, yeah, it still goes on, like at the moment I’m, I just went down last weekend to Steve’s place to talk with Bob Rickard3.

I went to the burial mound – it’s been padlocked since we did the scattering there, which – I don’t think it was in response to our scattering, probably more in response to some of the empty cider bottles that I’d noticed around the site, but I suppose in its way it’s fortuitous – if Steve had died a year later it probably wouldn’t have been anywhere near as – convenient? – to honour his final wishes, but – no, he’s still an immense presence in my life. I’m still, I’m wrapping up dealing with his estate – and I shall be dealing with that for a number of years, I’m sure. But, yeah, we’ve still got the Book of Magic to come out, which is very very much a joint venture, even if – even if one of the members of The Moon and Serpent is now only active upon the Inner Plane, it’s still going to be both of us on the cover, there. It’s going OK, Pádraig.

Bumper BookPÓM: Good, I’m glad. As you mentioned the book, The Moon and Serpent Bumper Book of Magic, is there any kind of a timescale for that?

AM: Well, at the moment I have just finished the final article, the big concluding essay that me and Steve had been working on for about six months before last March and that leaves me one episode of The Soul4 to do, and then I’ve got to go back and tinker with the Tarot Card, and the Kabala Boardgame, and some of the other, more art-centred things, and less text-centred – most of the text-centred stuff is completed. As to when that will come out – we would like to get it out in 2016, but that is not a promise, that is an aspiration5.

PÓM: [laughter]

AM: I’m sure that – yeah, you know what that means – we’ve been living under a coalition for some several years now, so we will know what we mean by promises and aspirations.

PÓM: Somebody was suggesting – are you likely to do a performance related to that when it’s finally finished?

AM: Don’t know. Don’t know – I hadn’t been thinking of a performance related to it. Eh, don’t know, is the answer to that, it is nothing that I’d actually considered. These things tend to come in seasons. There was a period when I was closer to Tim Perkins – Tim moved to Oxford – me and Tim still communicate, and we still talk about possible projects together, but it doesn’t feel like the time at the moment when performance stuff is probably at the forefront. I had a very very nice offer from Paul Smith of Blast First records, talking about the possibility of getting some satellite time for something live, but, quite honestly, it would be filling three hours of live – no. It’s not like I – my urges at the moment are not really towards live performance. That said, tomorrow night I shall be going down to the local café, and me and Robin Ince and Grace Petrie will be doing another one of our, just impromptu little events6 which Robin is – we’re recording them all, Joe Brown is doing all of the mixing and everything, and they will eventually be released as podcasts. But that’s pretty much the extent of my public appearances at the moment.

PÓM: I met Tim Perkins for the first time in August. Worldcon – that’s the World Science Fiction Convention – was on in London, and myself and himself and Gary Lloyd ended up doing a panel about your musical output.7

AM: Aw, brilliant! And how is Tim? I haven’t spoken to him for ages.

PÓM: Tim was good! I was delighted to meet him, because I have a lot of his work, but I’ve one question I was asking him that I had always been interested in, which was, in all the musical work that you did, did you play a musical instrument at all?

AM: Oh, no. No, I never played a musical instrument. I am – yeah, I know I’m a fairly multi-competent kind of individual, but no, no. Playing a musical instrument has always been beyond me, and I have nothing but the greatest of respect for those that can, and I tend to – even if I could play a musical instrument, I’ve known such brilliant musicians that it would have been foolish not to leave that side of things to them, and to play to my strengths.

PÓM: Yeah, I know. He did say something about your playing – was it with one hand, was it Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, something like that, on a piano?

The Sooty Super Xylophone, Green Monk Products (Games and Toys 1956)AM: Oh, I can actually – because when I was a child, I had a Sooty Xylophone, with numbered keys, and the actual score to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, with numbered keys on xylophone, is 1155665 – it’s been a long time since I played it, but I could remember it all the way through, on my Sooty Xylophone. So, yes, I suppose technically, if there is ever any need for a kind of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star refrain on xylophone, then you’ve got my number.8

PÓM: Fair enough. I always wanted to clear that one up.

AM: Well, it’s an important point, Pádraig. No, I’m surprised that Tim remembered that.

PÓM: Yes. Well, it obviously made an impression.

AM: Yeah, obviously, obviously.

PÓM: Tell me about The Show. What’s happening?

AM: The Show. Well, The Show is the name of the project that follows on from the Jimmy’s End films – which, surely to Christ, should be out soon. It should be very very soon – I’ve been kicking up a fuss, Mitch [Jenkins] has been kicking up a fuss…9

PÓM: This is the stuff from Lex Records?

AM: Apparently there’s been unavoidable delays on the packaging side. I don’t know!

PÓM: Yeah, I know, I know. It’s bad enough having to always wait for your comics to come out, but really…!

jimmys endAM: It’s this film business, it’s – and I am kind of limited in what I can actually do. And it’s the same with the comics business, I suppose. Anyway, that should be out soon, and I have written a screenplay for a feature film, called The Show, which is designed to follow on from that. We have been talking with various parties about maybe making that screenplay into the first two episodes of a serial, which – we could probably have done it, but that doesn’t seem to be – that’s not technically gonna happen. At the moment we’re talking about maybe doing what we had originally intended to do, which is to bring out The Show as a feature film, and then to launch The Show as a television series, so at the moment, that’s all up in the air, and in my experience of these things, some things just remain up in the air forever, in defiance of gravity. So, who knows? But there are talks going on, it’s looking quite promising, and I’m sure that one way or another there’ll be – we’re asking for so little, to do this film, at least in terms of money. We’re asking for complete control, and complete ownership. But financially we’re asking for very little. It would be a very good film – it’d need me writing a few more songs, and it would be very differently paced to the five short films, because short films, they can be as long as you want them to be, and you can linger, whereas a feature film, that’s got to have – I’m not saying that it’s gonna be kind of action/thriller paced, but certainly a lot more conventionally paced for a feature film, put it like that.

PÓM: Yeah, of course.

AM: Yeah, that’s all going on as we speak – there might be more news – I’m sure if there is any more news, that’ll be in a couple of – in a couple of months we might know more.

PÓM: OK, fair enough. Emmm, what was I gonna ask? The League. The next – the third part of the Janni Nemo trilogy is coming out soon…?10

River of Ghosts coverAM: River of Ghosts. I’ve just looked in the box that I got from Knockabout the other day, and I’ve got – yes, very soon, I’ve got my copies already. We are very pleased with it. It’s funny – when me and Kevin O’Neill first got our complimentary copies, we both looked through it, skimmed through it, independently, and when we were talking on the phone later I was – he was saying that he’d been – he’d felt that his art really, it was a bit tired-looking, and I was saying, ‘Yeah,’ I said, ‘I thought your art was great,’ I said, ‘but I don’t know with my script – I’m not sure that the ending’s not rushed, or something.’ Like, all these little things. And then, after that, I was still a bit despondent, but I sat down, and picked up the copy again, and started reading it. And I got to the end, and I went and phoned Kevin and left an answer phone message saying, ‘Actually, Kevin, I should go back and having another look at River of Ghosts, I think that it might be about the best run of the League since the first couple of volumes.’ And I got a phone call back from Kevin about ten minutes later, saying ‘Actually, I was going to call you and say the same thing! ’ It’s just that, when your expectations are up, and you first see the thing in print – I should know by now that very often my first reaction is disappointment. But then, you read it again and, yes, this is – it’s a bit of a corker. I think, beautifully rounds off the Nemo trilogy, and I hope will put the other two books into perspective, ‘cause I did hear a couple of comments saying, ‘Oh well, we’ve read Heart of Ice, good story and all that, but it does seem a bit – a bit slender, a bit thin, a bit inconsequential, compared to other graphic novels.’ It’s forty-eight pages, it’s like two issues of a comic and, really, it’s not until the River of Ghosts that we get to the end of the story – yes, they are all self-contained episodes, but there is an over-all story that’s going on, which I think we tie up quite nicely in River of Ghosts.

The story opens upon Lincoln Island in 1975, so this is six years after we saw Janni in League volume three in 1969. She’s now – what? – around eighty, and it’s been very interesting – I’ve always wanted, since I started writing Halo Jones, I always intended to have that conclude with Halo Jones as a very old woman, and I – I don’t know, I think that there is something magnificent about old women, and I’ve always wanted to do one with a very old woman in the main role. So, with River of Ghosts I think I’ve accomplished that.

Hugo HerculesThere’s – we see a couple of old characters. There’s a couple of interesting new characters, one of whom might be of interest to you. Kevin found an American newspaper strip from, I think, 1902, that was entitled Hugo Hercules, and this is a very very big, very very strong man. I think it lasted for six or seven episodes – it wasn’t very long-lived. But, yeah, the first American superhero, I think, pretty much. I can’t imagine any earlier than that. Certainly earlier than Hugo Danner in Gladiator, a long while earlier than Superman.

So, yeah, I had a look at some of these early strips, which generally don’t have much in the way of dialogue balloons, but put most of the dialogue into captions under the panels, and from that, in the transcriptions of whatever the accent was supposed to be that Hugo Hercules was speaking in, I finally figured out that it was probably a racist and ill-informed transliteration of an Irish accent. It could just as easily have been Polish, or possibly Trinidadian, but I think probably it was meant to be Irish. So, we’ve kind of worked out, yeah, all right, if this Hugo Hercules, so-called, was Irish, what might be his backstory. Me and Kevin are very pleased with him as a character, and he plays quite a major part in River of Ghosts – which deals with, as you might expect from the first two volumes, it deals with a conclusion to the Ayesha question. Just kind of tying it all up in a neat and somewhat blood-stained bow.

The River of Ghosts in question is the Amazon, which means that we get to – as we did with Heart of Ice, less so, perhaps, with Roses of Berlin – but with Heart of Ice we were very much depending upon the New Travellers’ Almanac, and its gazetteer of fictional sights, and we’ve fallen back upon that quite a bit for this exploration of the Amazon. So, if that gives you any hints as to what sort of things we might be running into…

New Travellers' AlmanacPÓM: It does! I actually find, I go back and I reread the New Travellers’ Almanac and the Black Dossier quite a bit, because I think that there’s a huge amount more information, a huge amount more stuff, about various adventures that’s coded into those than you’re probably ever going to put down on the comics page.

AM: Well, that’s true. And also, because we were very specific – I think back in the New Travellers’ Almanac there’s already bits talking about Jenny Diver…?

PÓM: Yes, yes.

AM: And we did have this fairly fully planned out, right from the start. One of the things that I’ve thought about is the possibility at some point in the future, of an actual integrated volume of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, in chronological order, to see how that reads? I don’t know. This is nothing I’ve discussed with anybody else, so I’m going off the menu here, a little bit. But…

PÓM: I know – from all the stuff, there’s all sorts of bits and pieces, and there’s dates, and it is possible to build up quite a detailed chronology of – particularly from the beginning of the Victorian League, and Mina Murray and all of that, upwards. It’s remarkable how much little bits and pieces fit in. Like the current volumes, the Janni Diver stuff, is filling in more little odds – and you go back and look at something and say, ‘Ah, that was there all along.’

AM: This is it, this is what we’re trying to do. And, actually, having said that it would be nice to put it all in chronological order, there is a lot to be said for the way that we’re doing it, where we’re jumping back and forth a little bit. Jack Nemo, whom we glimpse at the end of volume three, and in River of Ghosts, it’s almost like an origin story. Jack Nemo features in it – he’s a very small boy, a couple of years older than when we saw him as a five- or six-year-old running around on the Nautilus in 1969. We’re stitching all of this together, and we’re doing it all for a reason. One thing that might be of note is that this will be the last piece of work that me and Kevin will be doing on the League for a little while. We – this is largely because – me and Kevin have both been doing the League for fifteen years now. I know it doesn’t seem like it, but it actually is.

PÓM: I know. It’s 1999, wasn’t it?

AM: Something like that. Fifteen or sixteen years? And during that time I’ve been doing quite a bit of other work, but Kevin, the League has been pretty much the only thing that he’s been doing, so it’s more like – it’s a long-term sentence. And although me and Kevin are both in love with what we’re doing on the League, I could see that, it was a bit of an unfair strain upon Kevin, because the League might not be the only thing he wanted to do with the rest of his life. So, anyway, I can’t tell you very much about what we’re doing – in fact, I can barely tell you anything at all, except that me and Kevin are going to be doing something new for about eighteen months, summat like that.

PÓM: OK. In a comic form, I presume, is it?

Black DossierAM: In a comic form. It’ll be an episodic thing. It will be a million miles away from the League. And we’re both very excited about it, we think we’re actually breaking new ground in term of the effects that comics can achieve. Which is, again, ‘cause I know that Kevin’s always had a hankering to experiment, and we’ve done as much as we can of that in the League – the League is limitless in some ways, but in other ways there are certain stories that perhaps wouldn’t fit quite so easily into it, and with this, yeah, we’re a long way away from the League. What we’re thinking is, we’re going to do this, as a break for Kevin, for the next eighteen months, or something, and then we will probably be going back to do book four of the League, but this is a long way in the future, but we have got a lot of good ideas that would – in some ways I’d like to do a book four that wouldn’t be the last book of the League, but could be. And if it was the last book of the League, then everything would be tied up. All of the strands and insinuations and implications in the Black Dossier, all of the tiny little threads, going right the way back to issue one of the first volume, I can see a way that all of this could be tied up splendidly into a fantastic story – but that will have to wait until me and Kevin have had our little vacation. We’re about four months into this eighteen months sabbatical anyway, so hopefully it won’t seem as long as that in the outside world.

PÓM: Before we leave it, can you tell us anything about what’s going to be in volume four?

AM: Other than, like I say, a tying up of ends, it would probably be set not long after 2009 and it would be tying up threads from all three volumes of the League, from the Black Dossier, and from the Nemo trilogy. It would be a – it’s a kind of story that I’ve been thinking of for a few years, but, yeah, after we’ve taken this sabbatical, both me and Kevin thing that, when we do go back to the League, we’ll go back refreshed, and capable of giving – not that we aren’t incredibly pleased with River of Ghosts. Like I say, that seems to have some of the energy – I wouldn’t want to deny the energy of any of the volumes of the League, but it’s undeniable that, say, the first two volumes are paced and structured very very differently to Century. And there were some people who thought that Century was a bit slow, or a bit over-complex, but that was just what we wanted to do with the characters. We wanted to show that it didn’t always have to be a fast-paced Victorian romp, that there was plenty of interesting stuff in this world that could do with lingering over. But, when we finished Century we thought, all right, let’s take a break from that stuff, and do the Nemo trilogy, something very fast paced, where we’re paying a lot of attention to spectacle, where that is a big part of the story development, and that gives Kevin an opportunity to really show what he can do on some nice spreads, and things like that, of which there are a couple of – some of the best pages of art by Kevin I’ve ever seen, in this upcoming issue. Some very memorable little images there.

To Be Continued…

——————————————————————————————————-

FOOTNOTES11:

1Previous interviews I’ve done with Alan Moore in various places, including the Forbidden Planet blog, 3:AM Magazine, here on The Beat, and on my own Slovobooks blog:- June 2008 FP I, FP II, May 2009 FP I, FP II, FP III, March 2011 3:AM, July 2011 FP, April 2013 CB I, CB II, October 2013 MM I, MM II, MM III, and January 2014’s Last Interview? Which, of course, it wasn’t. That question mark wasn’t there for nothin’!

2In case you all think I was being hideously impolite by launching directly into talking about Steve Moore, I should point out that there was a certain amount of small-talk in there beforehand, which none of you need to know anything more about. However, if you wish to read my interview with Steve, called The Hermit of Shooters Hill, you’ll find them all (six parts so far) here on The Beat, under the tag HERMIT.

The News, issue 1, November 19733Bob Rickard is the founder of the Fortean Times: The Journal of Strange Phenomena (Originally called The News, which both Alan Moore and Steve Moore contributed to over the years. He is also one of the two people Steve described to me as being his best friends. The identity of the other one should not be hard to grasp…

4The Soul is a strip, written by AM and drawn by John Coulthart, that was to appear in America’s Best Comics’ Tomorrow Stories, but is now going to be in The Moon & Serpent Bumper Book of Magic.

5A favourite saying of British politicians.

6 Another of these events, Alan, Grace and Robin’s Blooming Confusion is in the NN Café in Northampton on the 31st of March 2015, and there are still tickets available, here. Robin Ince is a comedian, and Grace Petrie is a singer.

7Tim Perkins is AM’s main musical collaborator, with five CD releases thus far between them. He has a hopelessly out-of-date website, here. Gary Lloyd is another of AM’s musical collaborators, having worked with him on the audio version of Brought to Light. The interview with Tim and Gary is slowly being transcribed, and will doubtless turn up on the ‘net eventully.

8Before anyone writes into to point out that the Sooty Xylophone isn’t actually a xylophone, not being made of wood, we’ve already got that covered. All I can do is report what is said!

9This is in reference to Lex Projects’ Kickstarter for Alan Moore and Mitch Jenkins’s His Heavy Heart short film, which those of us who backed it are still waiting to see make its way into our hands. It’s by no means the only Kickstarter project I’ve backed that I’m still waiting for, mind you.

10There was some confusion about the actual publication date of this book. It first made landfall on the shelves of GOSH! Comics in London on Tuesday the 3rd of March, and should have been available elsewhere – not just in the UK, but also in the US – that same week. However a labour dispute at American west coast ports meant that containers remained in the docks, rather than being shipped onward, with the result that copies weren’t available until about a week and a half later on the 12th of March.

11Why all the footnotes? I’ve been reading through the works of Flann O’Brien, and bits of it have rubbed off on me. It’s even slightly relevant to the subject of this interview, as it was largely his fault that I went back to them in the first place. Further enlightenment, at least of a sort, here.

1 Comments on Alan Moore Interview Part I – Steve Moore, River of Ghosts, The Show, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star…, last added: 3/26/2015
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6. Legendary announces new Pacific Rim comic book and much more!

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Gypsy Danger! If there was ever a no brainer in this transmedia world where comics are a nice placeholder and more between filmed entertainment outing, it’s tat the world needs Pacific Rim comic book. The controversial film wasn’t considered a box office hit but has rapidly become a cult movie with a strong fanbase. And now Legendary, which procued the movie, is putting out a comic from its publishing arm.

The new series will be presented by Guilermo del Toro and plotted by Pacific Rim creator Travis Beacham, with writer Joshua Fialkov (The Bunker, I, Vampire, Elk’s Run) and artist Marcos Marz (Batman Confidential, Blackest Night: JSA) produced the comics. Release details are to come, but Pacific Rim: Tales From the Drift picks up where the Pacific Rim: Tales from Year Zero graphic novel left off, with new kaiju, new Jaegers, and more giant monsters battling giant robots.

AND also a contest to win a page of original artwork; enter here.

The book comes out in November and runs as a four issue mini series.

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Legendary is also ramping up its original content with two new titles. And They Are:

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• With Black Bag, Legendary jumps on the popular female protagonist bandwagon. Chris Roberson and artist JB Bastos portray the adventures of a suburban wife-turned-covert government assassin.

A suburban housewife with a criminal past and a thirst for adrenaline is about to get a top-secret side job: carrying out the government’s most dangerous missions.

Renear is tired of playing by the rules. A valedictorian and top athlete in her younger years, she’s sacrificed a promising career to tie the knot and play house… isn’t there more to life than this? Of course there is – if you’re willing to take the shot.

It’s time the world found out what she is truly capable of.

The 6-issue espionage thriller written by Chris Roberson (Superman Grounded, Fables, iZombie), featuring artwork by JB Bastos (Night Trap).

Release Date: Fall 2015
Writer: Chris Roberson
Artist: J.B. Bastos
Colorist: Jamie Grant
Length of Series: 6 issue monthly series
Price: $3.99 single-issue cover price




 

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• Cops for Criminals is by Steven Grant and Pete Woods, a crime-thriller about a federal agent forced to find true justice in the criminal underworld.

When a federal agent becomes a victim of the system he has sworn to uphold, he finds true justice in the criminal underworld.
Agent Woods was one of the best – but everything changed when he was wrongfully convicted and labeled a traitor. After serving his time, this ex-convict is cut loose onto the lawless streets to fight corruption on both sides of the law. Even criminals need a code – and every code needs an enforcer.
The 5-issue crime-thriller series is written by Steven Grant (Punisher War Journal, Avengers, Hulk, X) with art from Pete Woods (Deadpool, Robin, Catwoman).
Release Date: Fall 2015
Writer: Steven Grant
Artist: Pete Woods
Format: 5 issue monthly series
Price: $3.99 single-issue cover price






 

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7. "It is spring! We are going to die!"

“It is spring! We are going to die!”

- Louise Glück, from Poems 1962-2012
(via violentwavesofemotion)


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8. Diamond Book Distributors hires Carter and Hayes

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A few personnel notes at Diamond Book Distributors, the arm of Diamond that sells to bookstores and other non returnable outlets. Sales Rep Brooke Borneman lest to become director of Marketing for Dorchester publishing last month, and now longtime Diamond employee Stuart Carter has been hired as the new DBD sales manager for Barnes & Noble, Barnes & Noble College, BN.com, Hastings, as well as airport newsstand accounts HMH Host and Hudson Booksellers.  Prior to working at Diamond, Carter was a buyer at Borders/Waldenbooks and HMS Host.  He’ll report to Emily Botica, DBD Director of Sales & Marketing.
 
Also, Josh Hayesis joining DBDas Director of E-Commerce Business Development, where he’ll manage the global supply chain between Amazon North America, Europe, China, Japan and Brazil, and oversee existing and emerging worldwide e-commerce opportunities.  Hayes will report directly to DBD vp Kuo-yu Liang.

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9. The Knight and His Shadow review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Boubacar Boris Diop's The Knight and His Shadow.
       Diop will be part of the PEN World Voices Festival in New York in May, and it's great to see this book available in time for that.
       The Knight and His Shadow is also the first (and currently only) in Michigan State University Press' new African Humanities and the Arts-series; it's a very good start, and I look forward to seeing how the series develops.

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10. Dogs in digital cinema

Supplementing real dogs with digital animation produces performances that have benefits on many different levels. Firstly, they are much more effective dramatically because they can become more anthropomorphically expressive to suit the needs of the story. Economically they are less time-consuming and therefore less expensive because the performance is no longer determined by the unpredictable or intractable volition of real animals, however ‘well-trained’. The problems that arise even when working with ‘professional’ dog actors can be exasperating.

The post Dogs in digital cinema appeared first on OUPblog.

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11. Peter Pišt'anek (1960-2015)

       Very sad to hear that Slovak author Peter Pišt'anek is dead, having reportedly: "left the world in silence and voluntarily"; see, for example, the report in The Slovak Spectator.
       His Rivers of Babylon-trilogy is very good and deserves to be far better-known than it is; all three volumes are under review at the complete review:

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12. Matt Lewis Helps at an Acting Class at Grammar School at Leeds

Matthew Lewis took a trip back to his hometown to work with students in an acting class at Grammar School at Leeds. He and his brother, Anthony, to help judge a competition at the school. Matt expressed a lot of praise at the talent of the students, saying that the experience was exciting for him and he was impressed by the work and creativity of the participants. The Yorkshire Evening Post reported:

The pair visited the Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) to host workshops and teach pupils about preparing for television and stage auditions.

“It has been really nice to get back up to Leeds. We were both really impressed with the standard of work and creativity. TV and film is such a different discipline and it was nice to try and break that down and see how the students handled it and they all did really well. There is so much stuff that I know now, that I just had to pick up along the way. So we try and teach the stuff that we would have found useful when we started out.”

The performing arts school was launched in Leeds last year by his brother Anthony, 31, at the Yorkshire College of Music. It follows on from the success of Totally Lit College in London, and is aimed at 11 to 19-year-olds.

Artistic director Anthony is also an actor and has starred in Emmerdale, The Syndicate and Torchwood and has more than 20 years’ experience in the business.

He said: “It was fantastic for GSAL to invite Matthew and myself. After years working, it’s great to pass on some of our knowledge to the next potential batch of young actors. The students all really took on board the advice and we had some great feedback. It all went really well.”

“The purpose of the workshops was to look at a different style of acting to the theatrical work that the students were familiar with.

“Using mine and Matthew’s experiences working over the years, we explained the main differences between working to a large audience and then playing to a camera, which is a far more intimate experience.

“We also discussed the practical side of working as an actor.”

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13. Times’ Top 30 Most Influential People on the Internet: J.K. Rowling

The Times has released one of it’s “Top Influential People” lists. This list was comprised of the Top 30 Most Influential People on the Internet. With her recent activity on Twitter, more this year than in the recent years, J.K. Rowling has been named one of the thirty. Even on her Twitter, J.K. Rowling has the means of spreading her inspirational messages. The Times said:

The author, 49, has given Harry Potter a new life online, answering fans’ questions, teasing future project and revealing uberviral plot extras to her 4.2 million followers on Twitter. Among the buzziest ones: a riddle about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the Potter spinoff screenplay she’s writing, and the fact that there are Jewish wizards at Hogwarts. She’s also especially giving on her fansite, Pottermore, which crashed last July after Rowling posted a new story about Harry Potter as a 30-something.

http://time.com/3732203/the-30-most-influential-people-on-the-internet/

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14. Purple Day: a day for thinking about people with epilepsy

Purple Day started with the curiosity and of a girl in eastern Canada, in the province of Nova Scotia, who had epilepsy. It soon became a world-wide success. Purple Day is now an international initiative and effort dedicated to increasing awareness about epilepsy around the globe. Why is it so important to create awareness around people with epilepsy?

The post Purple Day: a day for thinking about people with epilepsy appeared first on OUPblog.

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15. Jesse Eisenberg with a bald head = Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

lex-luthor

Via Entertainment Weekly, here’s your first look at Jesse Eisenberg with a clean shaven dome for his role as Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Director Zack Snyder shared a few words on Eisenberg in the role:

He’s not any of the Lexes that you’ve seen, that’s for sure, other than him being a captain of industry and one person to the world and another person to himself. And bald, of course. Our Lex is disarming and he’s not fake. He says what he believes and he says what’s on his mind. If you can unravel the string and decipher what he means, it’s all there.

More importantly, this tips me off to the idea that we’ll be seeing a trailer very soon, as they had been keeping Eisenberg’s head under wraps (literally) for months. Now that this cat is out of the bag, those WonderCon trailer debut rumors don’t seem so unfounded.

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16. lastnightsreading: Donna Tartt at Congregation Beth Elohim,...



lastnightsreading:

Donna Tartt at Congregation Beth Elohim, 10/29/13

Maud reminded me of this advice today. It remains excellent!

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17. Review: Gotham Academy #6, The Kids of the Black Hole

Gotham Academy #6

Gotham Academy 006-000Story: Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher

Art: Karl Kerschl, Mingue Helen Chen 

Color: Msassyk, Serge Lapointe

Letters: Steve Wands

Publisher: DC Comics

 

 

 

As much as we love reading about the adventures of the world’s greatest detective, you have to figure Gotham city is probably a pretty messed up place to grow up. Walking down the street could get you turned inside out by Joker gas or someone in a skintight cat outfit could shred you to pieces. Even adolescents in this world have it rough. This is mostly due to Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher. They put kids in buildings with Arkham inmates, fire hazards, and sinister looking headmasters. All these obstacles put forth for our enjoyment in Gotham Academy #6.

The issue wraps the first story arc and sheds a little more light on Olive Sliverlock’s forgotten past. What issue six finally does is make good use of a Batman appearance. It’s powerful, and not just because of the fight with Killer Croc. This chapter of Gotham Academy puts Olive on a collision course with the caped crusader. Neither character is shown to be on the right side of the argument, which makes this matter poignant to the series and a mystery we’re sure to want answers about. Cloonan and Fletcher write the usual whimsy and angst sprinkled voice that cast of characters has become known for in the series. It’s just that now the team has managed to raise the stakes for all of them.

In addition to the usual fantastic Disney animated style art of Karl Kerschl, issue six brings Mingue H. Chen on board for some key flashback sequences and an epilogue that leaves us wishing DC would just skip Convergence altogether. Her style is noticeably more painted than that of Kerschl but it never jitters the reader. The two artists blend pages smoothly and that’s the best you can ask for when sharing illustration duties on a single story.

Gotham Academy is one of the best new ideas DC has published in awhile. If you’ve been on the fence about trying this series, go do it. Issue six, as a standalone, has major hook and you’ll definitely be enticed enough to pick up the pieces you’ve missed. One usually has to read a Vertigo published book to find this much depth in a comic.

Now that the kids are united it’ll be even more fun to see how they’ll be divided.

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18. Matt Smith Rumored to play Newt Scamander

Rumors have started to catch fire and spread quickly about the casting of the lead character in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. As of now, Warner Bros and J.K. Rowling have revealed nothing about the Fantastic Beast films, other than they will be filming at Leavesden and that J.K. Rowling is writing the screenplay. With the first movie scheduled to be released next year, production beginning soon (filming is set to start this summer), and still no word of who is gracing the cast list. However, many sources have been spinning rumors of who will play the lead. The current favorite is Matt Smith, most commonly known as the 11th Doctor of the Doctor Who series. Hypable (http://www.hypable.com/matt-smith-fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them/) reports:

Full disclosure: this rumor was started by British tabloid newspaper The Sun. Unfortunately, they are notoriously known for throwing out crazy rumors they know will be picked up by gullible fans like us.

But once in a blue moon, their sources really exist and the rumor turns out to be well-founded, so we’re going to go ahead and let ourselves imagine the possibility: Matt Smith might be playing Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Matt Smith, of course, is best known for playing the Eleventh Doctor in Doctor Who. He can next be seen in Terminator: Genisys, and also has a zombie movie titled Patient Zero(no, not Prisoner Zero!) coming up. He has signed up for several more Terminator films. His schedule is probably pretty packed.

And yet, when The Sun says that Smith is interested in Fantastic Beasts, we believe it. Not only is Smith a huge Harry Potter fan, but with the screenplay written by J.K. Rowling herself and David Yates returning as director, everyone’s predicting that this movie is going to be a huge success – both commercially and critically.

The Irish Examiner added fuel to the fire that The Sun started, saying:

The former Doctor Who star is said to be “favourite” to play adventurer and “magizoologist” Newt Scamander in the Harry Potter spin-off film, reported The Sun.

There is already a Change.org petition for film bosses to offer Matt the role.

Benedict Cumberbatch has also been linked to the role.

http://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/entertainment/matt-smith-tipped-for-fantastic-beasts-role-668806.html

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19. Review: Past Aways Needs A Wilson

Past Aways #1

26716

 

Story: Matt Kindt

Art: Scott Kolins

Colors: Bill Crabtree

Letters: Rob Leigh

Publisher: Dark Horse

 

 

As a fan of the comics medium, it’s a privilege to go into a comic book shop or Comixology and try all the new #1’s. Comics are where ideas are born that translate into tomorrow’s film and television. There’s nothing like them, and lately a lot of science fiction books have debuted; some good, some not so good. Past Aways is Dark Horse Comics latest contribution to the genre.

Written by Matt Kindt, Past Aways is the story of a group of time travelers tasked with recording the events of history. They’re stranded in the 21st century and the strain has splintered the group. Right from the gate, Kindt puts their defects out there for us to see. Detached, distant, suicidal, and conceit are the words that only begin to scratch the surface of these characters. Instead of being united under the goal of returning to their own time, they can barley stand each other. Like any team an event needs to happen to bring them together and issue one sees the beginnings of such a moment. I won’t spoil that for you because it would give away too much.

Scott Kolins brings his energetic art style to these pages. The characters and designs of the futuristic equipment feel kinetic. Even the layouts feel unique, from the effects tying together the panels or the footnotes explaining what we’re seeing, everything has distinct purpose. Where he’s separating himself from his previous work is in how much risqué he’s adding. Naked bodies and acid sh**ting dinosaurs are just some of the weird things you’ll get in Past Aways.

Ultimately, Past Aways is interesting but it throws out so many questions with no answers. Yes, the opening chapter of a book should do that, but it should also give you a reason to want answers. The reasons to care about the characters are missing. It could be due to having everyone crammed into the issue. None of the characters feel like they have any breathing room. A new idea is always welcome but it needs to present the hook right away and it’s just missing from these pages. I’m a fan of Matt Kindt and Scott Kolins, but it feels like the introduction of this story could have used a bit more fleshing out.

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20. Dynamite teams with bundling site Groupees

groupees
Bundling, unboxing…so many ways to get cool stuff these days. And here’s another one, Groupees, which offers a pay-what-you-want bundling service. And they’ve just teamed with Dynamite to offer a bundle of digital titles, with multiple tiers and special art prizes—and a portion of the proceeds benefit the CBLDF! So it’s  a win all around. The offer is live now at the Groupees site. Details on all below:
Legenderry01-02-03Dynamite Entertainment is proud to announce that Groupees LLC, a unique media and charity bundling site, will host – for the first time ever – a ten day comic book bundle promotion that allows fans and curious newcomers to purchase over 75 digital Dynamite comics and graphic novels with “Pay What You Want” purchasing power.  A portion of proceeds will be contributed to one of the industry’s most important charitable organizations, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. The bundle promotion will run from Thursday, March 26, through the afternoon of Monday, April 6, on the website Groupees.com.
Through the Groupees program, customers can purchase a bundle of digital comic book and graphic novels for a price they decide.  The first tier of exciting digital content is unlocked with the dollar minimum investment, but consumers can double their take by reaching the $5.00 second tier. Dynamite offers a highly desirable batch of comics at the third tier for a $10.00 minimum investment, including the bestselling Dynamite Art of Alex Ross art book.
Legenderry01-08For those who support the “Pay What You Want” initiative with considerable support, Dynamite will reward the top ten consumers with special prizes.  The Top Prize will see the contributor illustrated on the cover of an upcoming Dynamite comic book, alongside the title character and the cover will be drawn by super star artist Jae Lee!  The winner will also receive 100 copies of the comic AND the original art.  The second, third and fourth-highest contributors will be illustrated as characters on one interior page of a Dynamite comic book, while the fifth through tenth-highest contributors will receive a hand-drawn illustration of their favorite Dynamite character again by super-star artist Jae Lee.  Additionally, top-secret Group Bonuses will be unlocked for all consumers to enjoy when the overall orders reach certain thresholds.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Dynamite Entertainment to offer this First Edition Dynamite Groupees Comic Bundle,” said Thomas Brooke, Groupees Founder and CEO. “Dynamite has an exceptional catalogue of titles and is offering fans in this promotion an amazing deal on some truly exceptional books including the likes of George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell. As we expand into this category of media, we look forward to continuing to work with Dynamite to offer literary fans of all types curated, great deals during our online social events that connect fans and artists.”
The $1.00 Minimum Tier features superhero action, pulp intrigue, Victorian mystery, tough-talkin’ private eyes, and mind-blowing swords-and-sorcery, courtesy of some of the comic industry’s brightest stars: Gail Simone (Batgirl), Alex Ross (Kingdom Come), Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash), Jim Krueger (Earth X), David Liss (Black Panther), and more!  This accessible bundle includes:
• Project Superpowers (Vol. 1) #0 – #7
• Dawn/Vampirella #1
• The Spider #1 – #6
• Chaos! #1 – #6
• Shaft #1
• Sherlock Holmes: Moriarty Lives #1 – #5
• Red Sonja (Vol. 2) #1 – #6
• Altered States: Red Sonja
Legenderry01-Cov-BenitezThe $5.00 Minimum Tier features 48 comics written by the mainstream’s most beloved authors and movie directors, like George R.R. Martin (A Game of Thrones), Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction), Kevin Smith (Clerks), Warren Ellis (Iron Man, Red), Garth Ennis (Punisher), Jim Butcher (Dresden Files), and Nancy A. Collins (Sunglasses After Dark).  Also, the Fox cartoon sensation Bob’s Burgers, gaming powerhouse Pathfinder, and rock ‘n roll icon Alice Cooper round out the package, making it worth the additional investment.
• A Game of Thrones #1
• Vampirella: Feary Tales #1 – #2
• Warren Ellis’ Project Superpowers: Blackcross #1
• Garth Ennis’ Jennifer Blood #1 – #3
• Alice Cooper #1 – #3
• Bob’s Burgers #1 – #2
• Army of Darkness (Vol. 3) #1 – #5
• Purgatori #1 – #4
• Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet #1  – #10
• Django/Zorro #1 – #2
• Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files: Storm Front (Vol. 1) #1 – #4
• Pathfinder #1 – #6
• Cryptozoic Man #1 – #4
• Blood Queen Annual 2014
Finally, the $10.00 Minimum Tier features 17 comic books by Bill Willingham (Fables), Jim Starlin (the creator of Thanos from Marvel’s The Avengers), and Tom Clancy (the video game Splinter Cell), as well as the bestselling Dynamite Art of Alex Ross, a 328-page retrospective of the influential painter’s cover artwork and character designs on such characters as Vampirella, Green Hornet, The Bionic Man, the Kirbyverse, Black Terror, and more.
 
• Dynamite Art of Alex Ross
• Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure #1 – #7
• Dreadstar #1 – #6
• Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Echoes #1 – #4
Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher of Dynamite Entertainment, says, “Groupees has a unique and incredible mechanism to engage fans and bring content to a new audience, as well as reward any fans of our existing audience who wish to take advantage of this promotion.  They’ve built a model that stands out and can help grow the fan base for comics, which in turn can bring more readers to the industry, and that is extremely exciting.  With comics being if not the only, one of the only forms of print that has grown side by side with digital, we’re proud to be working with Thomas and his team to create more awareness of comics to their audience, who in turn will come into our industry and many of whom will then become ongoing readers.”
Part of the proceeds from the first-ever Dynamite Groupees Bundle will contribute to The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the First Amendment rights of the comics art form and its community of retailers, creators, publishers, librarians, and readers.

 

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21. Entertainment Round-Up: Your first look at The Thing in Fantastic Four, Jubilee is cast in X-Men: Apocalypse, Idris Elba for Star Trek 3?

fantastic-four-reboot-jamie-bell-600x399

While Jesse Eisenberg‘s shaved head is grabbing most of the attention today, here’s a few other headlines of note in the Entertainment world:

– An intrepid Instagrammer snapped this photo of the international banner for Fantastic Four, giving us our first look at Jamie Bell as The Thing along with the rest of the cast similarly powered up. Here it is via Spencer over at ComingSoon. On the whole, it’s hard not to be an improvement over how Ben Grimm was presented in the last two films, but how it works on screen will tell the tale.

#Me #LastNight #Cine #Cinepolis #Multiplaza #Poster #Fantasticfour #Comingsoon #SoExcited

A photo posted by Sir. Alberto (@albertoheineken26) on

Bryan Singer has added another mutant to X-Men: Apocalypse, this time breaking with the 80’s set canon and bringing Lana Condor on as Jubilee. He announced the newest X-Men teammate on his Instagram:

I’d officially like to welcome our newest mutant #JubilationLee, #Jubilee @LanaCondor to #XMEN #Apocalypse

A photo posted by Bryan Singer (@bryanjaysinger) on

 

Star Trek 3 is still slowly plugging along and Variety reports that Paramount may have its eyes on fan-casting favorite Idris Elba to play the yet to be revealed villain in the 2016 release. Simon Pegg and Doug Jung are co-writing this third entry in the rebooted series for director Justin Lin. Variety also states that The Klingons are rumored to be the main adversary of the film.

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22. Beethoven’s diagnosis

Since Beethoven’s death on this day 188 years ago, debate has raged as to the cause of his deafness, generating scores of diagnoses ranging from measles to Paget’s disease. If deafness had been his only problem, diagnosing the disorder might have been easier, although his ear problem was of a strange character no longer seen. It began ever so surreptitiously and took over two decades to complete its destruction of Beethoven’s hearing.

The post Beethoven’s diagnosis appeared first on OUPblog.

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23. Kickstarter’s new Spotlight feature: an ongoing storefront for creators

launch-gif-large (1)

A Kickstarter is a little like having a baby in only 31 days, You put all your efforts into the birth, but then what happens to the baby? Well now we’ll get to see the kids grow up and go to school. Kickstarter is enabling creators to showcase more of what happens to projects after the initial funding ends with a new “Spotlight” feature that launches today. All creators with funded projects will now be able to manage the page to present a view of their work, with huge graphics, an inviting look, an attractive new timeline feature that can share the creator’s story at a glance, and links that can go anywhere—so buy buttons and links to ongoing projects can be added.

And for those who like to see how the project got made, the original Kickstarter page will still be archived in a tab called “Story.”

Since Kickstarter ages are often top search results, this is a good way to promote the finished project and later developments and direct buyers to a place to purchase related projects.

For instance here’s how the old pages looked:

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 5.38.04 PM

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 5.43.26 PM

And how they’ll look now:

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 5.36.35 PM Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 5.41.45 PM

 

As you can see it’s a huge improvement and a perfect showcase for further interaction and sales. For comics people where Kickstarter pages are already a hub of activity, this can effectively become a storefront. Kickstarter has a very creator-oriented philosophy and this is a strong indication of how they’re implementing that going forward.

 

And here’s a video:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7KLTEWL8S4

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24. Next Games and IDW launch new Compass Point: West comic

Compass_Point_West_Keyart.png

Finland—home of saunas, heavy metal, fish pies…and mobile game design. It must be all the coffee they drink. Next Games is one of Finland’s newest game studios, comprised of veterans from Rovio and other studios, and they’ve just launched Compass Point: West, a 3D game set in the Wild West which ties together mobile game play, card collecting, and now a comic book from IDW. Yee haw!

“In Compass Point: West we draw inspiration from the unbelievably rich Wild West theme. The game boasts fascinating characters and lots of humor combined with stunning 3D graphics and an original card collecting mechanic at its heart. This setting lends itself very well to other entertainment formats beyond games such as the gorgeous comic by IDW Publishing”, said Teemu Huuhtanen, CEO, Next Games.

compasspointcomic.jpg

The comic will be available worldwide through multiple platforms including Apple iBooks and Google Play or on the web. Obviously, comics based on games have had a big impact in recent years—IDW’s Angry Birds comics, Dark Horse’s Plants. vs Zombies, and Dynamite’s Doodle Jump comics being prime examples. (The Beat is currently enthralled with PvZ, but it’s about time for a new game, so we’ll check this one out.)

“IDW has been developing the Compass Point: West  comic since very early in the game’s development, and we’ve enjoyed creating characters and backstories in a way that extends the game’s world,” stated Ted Adams, IDW CEO & Publisher. “The Next Games team has a long-range plan that we’re proud to be a part of.”

Next Games has three more games on tap, but you can download Compass Point West now for iOs and Android, or check out the trailer below.

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25. Spider-Island in Secret Wars, More All-New Avengers Revealed

Today Marvel dropped yet another piece of the Secret Wars. Dan Slott’s Spider-Island gets a piece of Battleworld. Secret Wars: Spider-Island  features a lead story revisiting the “Spider-Island” event by Christos Gage and Paco Diaz, and along with that is a secondary story featuring a return of not just Mayday Parker but the entire MC2 universe, with key creators Tom Defalco and Ron Frenz.

Gage says his lead story in Spider-Island is set in an alternate timeline where Spider-Queen won that day instead of being thwarted by Spider-Man. Spider-Island‘s secondary story featuring Mayday and the return of the MC2, it starts off with Mayday’s decision to transition from the name Spider-Girl to Spider-Woman.

spiderisland_secretwars

SPIDER-ISLAND #1 & #2
Written by CHRISTOS GAGE & TOM DEFALCO
Penciled by PACO DIAZ & RON FRENZ
Cover by HUMBERTO RAMOS
· The Spider-Queen has turned Manhattan into an island of Spider-Madness and Peter Parker has lost, thanks to Spider-Scribe CHRISTOS GAGE (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN) & rising star artist PACO DIAZ (WOLVERINE, SCARLET SPIDERS).
· With Spider-Man defeated and captive, does Flash Thompson, A.K.A. VENOM stand a chance?
· All this, plus visit the MC2 patch of BATTLEWORLD! Mayday Parker and her Spider-Family are back courtesy of classic Spider-Girl team TOM DEFALCO, RON FRENZ & SAL BUSCEMA!
40 PGS./Rated T …$4.99






Today, two more characters were revealed for the All-New All-Different Avengers. So far we’re 2 for 5 in our pool with the reveal of the Vision and Nova. It looks like Marvel isn’t going to wait till FCBD to show the new team off to the world. Expect the entire roster to be revealed within the next week.

All-New_All-Different_Avengers_Assemble_2

Who do you think the remaining figures are and who do those glowing hands belong to? What about Spider-Island, ye or nay? Are there events left you think Marvel should revisit?

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