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26. WTGB: Ellie in Borderlands? Mad Max, Batman Beyond, and Who Wants to be a Cat?

A few days off, one day on, then we go back on the road for another show. Hope your Memorial Day was well spent. I’m Back from Punk Rock Bowling and now we get set for our next destination, Phoenix, for one of the best comic shows around.  Let’s talk about the recent news in gaming and give away some more Secret Wars books. On the rundown today; Ashley Johnson reunites with Troy Baker, Resident Evil gets yet another remake, Arkham adds some new duds, Mad Max, and have you ever wanted to be a cat? Let’s Go!


Ashley Johnson grew up for a bit in front of our eyes on the tail end of the ABC sit com Growing Pains. (RIP Boner!) Little did we know back then Chrissy Seaver would grow up to be a pop culture darling when she loaned her voice to the iconic Ellie in Naughty Dog’s masterpiece The Last of Us. Recently, Telltale Games announced the actress would reunite with her TLOU co-star Troy Baker for the latest episode of the Tales From the Borderlands series. She is reportedly voicing a “core” character and from all of the indication of the developers on twitter; she’s stolen the show. Not much else is known at this time but episode three of this series is expected in Fall 2015.

You can catch up on the Tales From the Borderlands games so far digitally through PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, and Steam. Find more about the game on Telltale’s website.

Our Thought:

If there’s one thing Telltale is the best at, it’s telling a story. If there’s two things they’re the best at, it’s working with the most talented voice actors in the industry. With Telltale’s biggest endeavor still a head of them, it’s almost a sure bet we’ll hear Ashley, Troy, Dave Fennoy, Melissa Hutchison, and most of the previous talent the studio has worked with again soon. Maybe it’s their Marvel project, maybe it’s their “supershow”, but expect news on this soon.


Capcom dropped news over the holiday weekend of a remaster to the Gamecube classic Resident Evil Zero. Earlier today at an event in Japan, Capcom confirmed Resident Evil 0a remastered version of the popular prequel to the original title in the Resident Evilseries, is currently in development. The game is planned for release on PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system, PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system, Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft and PC in early 2016.

Here’s a video message from Director Koji Oda and Producer Tsukasa Takenaka about the project:

(If you don’t enable your subtitles, then it’s probably just a message about Japanese pot to you)

Our Thought:

Remaster! Remaster! Remasters!


Enough with the remasters already. At the very least, Capcom, for the most part, have done them based on older games in their library versus other publishers who’ve brought back PS3 games probably still stuck in our disc drives. It’s the same angst I have towards local LA radio station Alt 98.7 about calling Weezer’s “Island in the Sun” a throwback song. Apparently human history didn’t exist before 1999 when Skynet took over. All mostly kidding aside, Resident Evil Zero was one of those things I bought a Gamecube for but never finished. There’s hope this will one will A) be a noticeable visual upgrade and B) be priced at a point that makes it appealing to pick up an old game with a new paint job. We won’t have to wait long to see something about this as it’s sure to be one of Capcom’s offerings on the E3 floor.

We’re less than a month away from FINALLY getting to play Batman: Arkham Knight. Rocksteady, the studio behind the game, are determined to keep dropping surprises along the way. A few days ago a new live action trailer for the game was released. It’s common to have such videos produced to hype a game. However what’s not typical is having one of the most influential voices in the music industry be a part of it. Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor is credited as a music consultant for the video below:


As if that wasn’t enough, a new set of Bat-suits were announced as pre-order bonuses for he game. The Batman’s future theme skins include a hefty version of Batman Beyond and a nod to Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns with the –built like a tank– old Batman.  These come in addition other previous announced skins and appear to be part of most retailers offerings along with the Harley Quinn pack.


Batman: Arkham Knight releases on June 23, 2015 for PS4, Xbox One and PC. Pre orders are available through the game’s website.

Our Thought:

Come on. Is there anyone out there not getting or excited for this game?

Shockingly the internet managed to, for the most part, agree on its love of the new Mad Max: Fury Road film. In a move that shocked no one, the Mad Max game long in development is back on everyone’s radar.

Avalanche Studios, the developer behind the action packed Just Cause games are behind this open world Mad Max game. You can see by the trailer much of the over-the-top blockbuster badassness is here. In the non-concrete timeline of Mad Max the game takes place before Fury Road. We only have to wait a few short months when the game is released in September for the PS4, Xbox One, and Steam. Find out more about Mad Max at the game’s website.

Our Thought:

With the heat from the astonishing response to Fury Road, it only makes sense WB would want to capitalize with both green lighting a film sequel and the release of the video game. Where most games based on movies fail is in not giving developers a proper cycle to make the game. It doesn’t have to mirror the film at all, but something that lives in that universe should speak to it as a whole. Most games never achieve this because they’re rushed to coincide with their counterpart movie. Avalanche have been at work on Mad Max for more than two years with next-gen hardware. They’ve got a great chance at being more a Riddick than a Bad Boys: Miami Takedown (I could barely type that without vomiting)

Finally to wrap things up something came into my inbox that just had to be shared with the world. It doesn’t have to do with games based on comics or vice versa, but it’s importance is no less diminished. Some time ago a game let you step into the hooves of being a goat. Chewing up everything insight, head butting objects out of spite, it was all there. Now cat lovers can rejoice!

Catlateral Damage is a first-person destructive cat simulator where you play as a cat on a rampage, knocking as much stuff onto the ground as possible. That’s the F**king description!

The game is available on PC download platforms. You can find out more about Catlateral Damage on the game’s website.

Our Thought:

Haven’t you ever wanted to wreck everything and blame it on the dog? As a society what’s left to conquer?




Now let’s giveaway a bunch of Secret Wars books (digitally)

I won’t tell you what’s what because I’m an awful human being; but here’s a few of codes for last week’s Secret Wars offerings including Battleworld, Secret Secret Wars, Loki, Planet Hulk, and more… (First Come First Served) Marvel.com/redeem











0 Comments on WTGB: Ellie in Borderlands? Mad Max, Batman Beyond, and Who Wants to be a Cat? as of 5/26/2015 10:05:00 PM
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27. Book Week! BookExpo America, BookCon Bring Biblio-Graphic Excitement to the Big Apple!



It’s that time of year again!  Publishers, retailers, and readers are gathering in New York City to explore and celebrate the latest in books!

From Tuesday until Sunday, the Javits Center will host thousands of attendees with a four-day trade show, and then a two-day consumer show on Saturday and Sunday!

Last year, Reed Exhibitions partnered with their pop-culture branch ReedPOP to organize what had previously been a half-hearted attempt to add some liveliness to otherwise dwindling attendance figures.  This was a bit of a no-brainer…Lance Fensterman, the mad genius behind ReedPOP, once ran BEA.

So, what happened last year?  The usual at BookExpo… famous celebrity authors promoted their memoirs, author breakfasts and lunches were attended, lots of business was done, tons of free books were shipped home.

BookCon…?  Many of you will recall the inaugural New York Comic Con in 2006, a party so epic, the cops showed up.  That’s what happened last year at Javits.  10,000 tickets sold out for the one -day event.  The fire marshal forced attendees to wait in line to access the panel rooms downstairs.  And while there wasn’t a room similar to Hall H in San Diego, BookCon still had their celebrity moment, as John Green, internet maestro, hosted a panel to promote the release of “The Fault In Our Stars” at theaters the next weekend.  Here’s a sample of what occurred:

When Vilkomerson opened the panel up to questions from the audience, there was an immediate scuffling of chairs and shoving of tables as attendees – most of them adolescent girls – began crushing toward the microphone in the center of the room.

It was so intense, and so sudden, that a panic began to break out and Green himself began calling from the stage: “Stop. Stop! STOP!STOP!!”

He ordered everyone pushing into the line to, “Go back to your seats,” saying there were already more than enough people to close out the hour-long event.


No doubt the biggest, funniest, and most emotional reaction during the BookCon panel came near the very end, when a young man wearing shorts that revealed his prosthetic leg got his turn at the microphone.

The lead male character, Gus (played by Ansel Elgort) has had one leg amputated due to his cancer, and the questioner first wanted to make a comment about the book’s famous love scene between Gus and Hazel.

“As an amputee myself, I just wanted to say thank you, John, for answering a lifelong question of mine, which is: whether, during sex, to keep my leg on or off,” the young man said, to deafening squeals of delight from the mostly female audience.

Green rocked back in his chair laughing, then brought everything to a halt by jumping off the stage to give the man a hug. When he returned to stage, Green said: “That [question] didn’t go the direction I expected!”

A woman who had a question immediately after that noted: “I think he’s got a roomful of dates already,” while Green scanned the crowd and pointing out various girls swarming him.

“He’s not going to be able to walk out,” Green said. “He keeps getting stopped!”

Is it any surprise that there will be a repeat this year, for “Paper Towns”?

What does this mean?  Well, I’m not sure who will show up this year, but if it’s anything like 2014, it will be the bizarro-comic-con.  How so? First, lots of teenage (and pre-teen) girls will be there, partly because of John Green, partly because they read. Then, there’s the focus of the the show… it’s part of a trade show, so there are no retailers (aside from the publishers themselves, if they wish to sell). Everything will be geared towards the Fall list, stuff due in September, October, and November.  Certainly, authors will be there because of their backlist, but they will also have a new title to promote.  Thus, no dealers selling first editions, signed copies, or variants. Nothing slabbed (or in this case, clam-shelled). There will be children’s book authors, and authors covering every genre and demographic. (Harlequin is a master of this, putting any Wednesday Crowd publisher to shame. Some of their paperback series are weekly.) Quite a few families as well, as BookCon sells a $5 kids ticket (ages 6-12) along with the $30/$35 Saturday/Sunday tickets.  BookCon2015 map

As with last year, Halls 3D and 3E are reserved for the BookCon exhibitors.  These grey booths above are exhibitors who will also be there during the trade show earlier in the week. (Diamond has their own aisle.)  The blue section towards the back contains pop-up booths for publishers who are exhibiting over in Halls 3A-C during the trade show.

Here’s a big map of the entire BookCon layout.  (It’s a PDF, otherwise, I’d insert it here.) Panels are in 1-A.  1-C hosts the autograph area, as well as the “stockyards” queue hall.  1-D is the events hall.  It will be cleared after each event, and you need a wristband.  (Just like NYCC.)

You’ve read this far, so I know you’re a power reader!  What’s scheduled, you might ask?  Well, here’s the comics-centric list!  I’ll include events held during BEA as well as BookCon, since we have some industry insiders amongst our readership, and it’s nice to encourage comics publishers to exhibit as well as schedule signings and panels.

As always, this is just what’s available via the official websites.  Many publishers will host in-booth signings as well, so if you’ve got a favorite publisher like Andrews McMeel or IDW, stop by their booths first thing each morning, and update your agenda.  Also, times and situations might change.

  • In-Booth Signing with Derf Backderf

    Wed. May 27| 3:15 PM – 4:15 PM | 2827  Abrams

    In-Booth Signing of Trashed by Backderf, Derf

  • Marvel Presents: Star Wars

    Wed. May 27| 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM | Downtown Stage

    In 1977, a few months before the release of Star Wars, Marvel Comics debuted their very own adaptation of the film – which kicked off nearly a decade of stories set in a galaxy far far away, told in the Mighty Marvel Manner! Now, nearly 40 years after that historic debut, Star Wars has finally returned to Marvel with an acclaimed line of all-new comics and graphic novels! Marvel Editor Jordan White is joined by the superstar writer & artist duo of newly-announced series Star Wars: Lando, Charles Soule and Alex Maleev, to discuss all things Star Wars at Marvel!

  • In-Booth Signing with Mo Willems and Tony DiTerlizzi

    diva and flea

    Wed. May 27| 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM | 2757  Disney-Hyperion

    In-Booth Signing of Willems, Mo and DiTerlizzi, Tony

There’s also Thursday and Friday, but I don’t see anything of note for comics.  Check your favorite publishers… they might in-booth signings planned which typically don’t appear on the show planner.


Well, the big event, as reported here many months ago, is the “Comics Are Awesome” panel!


      Sat. May 30| 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM | Room 1A10

      Join comics superstars Ben Hatke (Little Robot), Jenni Holm (Sunny Side Up), Jeff Smith (Bone), and Raina Telgemeier (Sisters) as they talk about how comics work, how they make their own comics, and what makes comics so completely awesome. If you’re a fan of comics, don’t miss this great discussion – it’ll have amazing authors sharing their latest work and exciting art drawn right before your eyes!

    • MARVEL Presents: Star Wars

      Sat. May 30| 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM | Room 1A21

      In 1977, a few months before the release of Star Wars, Marvel Comics debuted their very own adaptation of the film – which kicked off nearly a decade of stories set in a galaxy far far away, told in the Mighty Marvel Manner! Now, nearly 40 years after that historic debut, Star Wars has finally returned to Marvel with an acclaimed line of all-new comics and graphic novels! Marvel Editor Jordan White is joined by the superstar writer & artist duo of newly-announced series Star Wars: Lando, Charles Soule and Alex Maleev, to discuss all things Star Wars at Marvel!

    • Meet Garfield!

      Sat. May 30| 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM | Booth # 3119

      Get your photo taken with with America’s Favorite Cat— Garfield! And pick up your FREE copy of Garfield The Big Cheese. Classic Comics from America’s #1 funny feline!

      Cost: Free

      Track: In-Booth Signing

    • Jeff Smith and Raina Telgemeier Autographing

      Sat. May 30| 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM | Autographing Table 5

      A purchase from the WORD bookstore is required for this autograph session. However, purchasing the book does not guarantee an autograph as space is limited and on a first come, first serve basis.

      Cost: Book Purchase Required

      Track: BookCon Autographing Area

    • Women of MARVEL: An In–Conversation with Margaret Stohl and Adri Cowan

      Sat. May 30| 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM | Room 1A06

      Join #1 New York Times bestselling author Margaret Stohl (Beautiful Creatures series; Black Widow: Forever Red) and Social Media Manager for Marvel Entertainment Adri Cowan as they discuss women tackling the superhero genre in new and interesting ways, the rise of female-followed protagonists by both male and female readers, and possible tricks for writing one’s way out of in-universe, long-standing character conflicts.

  •  Snoopy Photo Op

    Sun. May 31| 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM | Autographing Table 4

    Cost: Free

    Track: BookCon Autographing Area

  • Meet Garfield!

    Sun. May 31| 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Booth # 3119

    Get your photo taken with with America’s Favorite Cat— Garfield! And pick up your FREE copy of Garfield The Big Cheese. Classic Comics from America’s #1 funny feline!

    Cost: Free

    Track: In-Booth Signing

  • MARVEL Presents: Max Ride, Dark Tower and More

    Sun. May 31| 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Room 1A21

    If the World’s Mightiest Heroes and the denizens of a galaxy far, far away weren’t enough for you, then Marvel’s got you covered! Jake Thomas (Editor, Empire of the Dead) and Mark Basso (Editor, Marvel’s Disney Kingdoms line) are on hand to discuss the myriads of non-superhero properties being given the Marvel treatment, along with author James Patterson (Maximum Ride), Marguerite Bennett (writer of Max Ride: First Fight), and Peter David (writer of Marvel’s Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three)!

    [WAIT, WHAT TH?!  James Patterson?! On a comics panel? We have won.]

  • Graphic Novels: In the Studio

    Sun. May 31| 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM | Macmillan Meeting Room 3139 on the Show Floor

    Jonathan Fetter-Vorm (BATTLE LINES), Pénélope Bagieu (EXQUISITE CORPSE), and Ben Hatke (LITTLE ROBOT) will share a behind-the-scenes look at how they create graphic novels, from idea to finished project. Moderated by Calista Brill, editor at First Second Books.

    Ticketed Event: go to booth 3056 starting at 10 AM for a free ticket. Signed copies of panelists’ books will be raffled off.

    PLEASE NOTE: Event will take place in Macmillan Meeting Room 3139 on the Show Floor

  • Crafting Illustrated Stories for Kids: Julianne Moore in Conversation with Brian Selznick

    Sun. May 31| 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM | Room 1A10

    New York Times Bestselling author and Academy Award and Emmy winning actress Julianne Moore (Freckleface Strawberry) joins acclaimed and bestselling author and Caldecott Medalist Brian Selznick (whose novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret was adapted into Martin Scorsese’s Academy Award winning movie, Hugo) in conversation about the inspiration behind their beloved books and characters, their artistic process, and offer a sneak peek at their latest upcoming projects. Moore’s new Step Into Reading books Freckleface Strawberry: Backpacks! and Freckleface Strawberry: Lunch, or What’s That? are due out June 23, 2015. Selznick’s The Marvels, will be published on September 15, 2015.

  • Author Panel: Write What You Know

    Sun. May 31| 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM | Macmillan Meeting Room 3139 on the Show Floor

    Maria Venegas (BULLETPROOF VEST), Adrian Tomine (NEW YORK DRAWINGS and KILLING AND DYING), Jamie Brickhouse (DANGEROUS WHEN WET). From Mexico to Texas to NYC, three authors with wildly diverse backgrounds and stories discuss how they drew from their own experiences to write a book that reflects their life. Moderated by Martin Quinn, Macmillan Sales Rep.

    Ticketed Event: go to booth 3056 starting at 10 AM for a free ticket. Signed copies of panelists’ books will be raffled off.

    PLEASE NOTE: Event will take place in Macmillan Meeting Room 3139 on the Show Floor

  • Jenni Holm Autographing

    Sat. May 30| 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM | Booth # 3119

    Cost: Free

    Track: In-Booth Signing

  • Brian Selznick Autographing

    Sun. May 31| 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM | Autographing Table 2

    Cost: Free

 Plus numerous guests!

  • Adrian Tomine

    Best Known For: Scenes from an Impending Marriage
    Day(s): Sunday
    Location: Panels

    Adrian Tomine is the author of Scenes from an Impending Marriage, Shortcomings, Summer Blonde, Sleepwalk, 32 Stories, and the comic book series Optic Nerve. He is also an illustrator for The New Yorker, Esquire, and Rolling Stone, and his stories have appeared in The Best American Nonrequired Reading and An Anthology of Graphic Fiction,Cartoons, and True Stories. A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, Tomine lives in Brooklyn, New York.

  • Alex Maleev

    Best Known For: Star Wars: Lando
    Day(s): Saturday
    Location: Panels

  • Ben Hatke

    Best Known For: Zita the Spacegirl
    Book Title: Little Robot
    Day(s): Sunday
    Location: Panels

    Ben Hatke is the author of the New York Times Best-Selling Zita the Spacegirl trilogy as well as the picture book Julia’s House for Lost Creatures. In addition to writing and drawing comics, he also paints in the naturalist tradition and, occasionally, performs one-man fire shows.  Hatke lives and works in the Shenandoah Valley with his wife and their boisterous pack of daughters.  His next graphic novel is the delightful Little Robot, which will be on sale in September.

  • Brian Selznick

    Best Known For: The Invention of Hugo Cabret
    Book Title: The Marvels
    Day(s): Sunday
    Location: Panels, BookCon Autographing Area

    Brian Selznick grew up in New Jersey and graduated from the Rhode Island School of Art and Design in 1988. He worked for two years after graduation at Eeyore’s Books for Children in New York City. His first book was published while he worked there.

    Selznick has also designed theater sets and worked as a professional puppeteer. His first book, The Houdini Box, was inspired by a fascination with the famous magician. He has illustrated both novels and picture books for other writers, including the Sibert Honor books, When Marian Sang by Pam Munoz Ryan and Walt Whitman: Words for America by Barbara Kerley. His illustrations for Barbara Kerley’s The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins won a Caldecott Honor Award in 2002; and in 2008, his groundbreaking book The Invention of Hugo Cabret was awarded the Caldecott Medal. It was nominated for a National Book Award and was the basis for Martin Scorsese’s Oscar winning film Hugo. His follow up illustrated novel, Wonderstruck, debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. His newest novel, The Marvels, will be published on September 15, 2015.

    Selznick divides his time between Brooklyn, New York, and San Diego, California.

  • Charles Soule

    Best Known For: Star Wars: Lando [I’d say “Death of Wolverine, if we’re talking Marvel titles, otherwise, “Swamp Thing”.]
    Day(s): Saturday
    Location: Panels

  • Jeff Smith

    Best Known For: Bone
    Book Title: Out from Boneville: Tribute Edition
    Day(s): Saturday
    Location: Panels, BookCon Autographing Area

  • Jennifer L. Holm

    Best Known For: Babymouse
    Book Title: Sunny Side Up
    Day(s): Saturday
    Location: Panels, BookCon Autographing Area

    Jennifer L. Holm is the New York Times bestselling and three-time Newbery Honor-winning author of multiple novels for young readers. With her brother Matthew, Jennifer created the graphic novel series Babymouse and Squish. Together they have teamed up for Sunny Side Up, a semi-autobiographical graphic novel from Scholastic coming in September 2015. Jennifer lives in California.

  • Jonathan Fetter-Vorm

    Best Known For: Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb
    Day(s): Sunday
    Location: Panels

    Jonathan Fetter-Vorm is an author and illustrator. His Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb was selected by the American Library Association as a Best Graphic Novel for Teens in 2013. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

  • Jordan White

    Best Known For: Marvel Editor
    Day(s): Saturday
    Location: Panels

  • Margaret Stohl

    Best Known For: Marvel YA: Black Widow
    Day(s): Saturday
    Location: Panels

    Margaret Stohl is the #1 New York Times Bestselling co-author of the Beautiful Creatures Novels, which were also USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Los Angeles Times, Indie-Bound, Wall Street Journal and International Bestsellers. A graduate of Amherst College, where she won the Knox Prize for English Literature, Margaret earned a MA in English from Stanford University, and completed classwork for a PhD in American Studies from Yale University. Margaret was a teaching assistant in Romantic Poetry at Stanford, and in Film Studies at Yale. She attended the Creative Writing Program of the University of East Anglia, Norwich, where she was mentored by the Scottish poet George MacBeth. She currently lives in Santa Monica with her family.

  • Marguerite Bennett

    Best Known For: Max Ride: First Fight
    Day(s): Sunday
    Location: Panels

  • Mark Basso

    Best Known For: Editor, Marvel’s Disney Kingdoms
    Day(s): Sunday
    Location: Panels

  • Pénélope Bagieu

    Best Known For: Exquisite Corpse
    Day(s): Sunday
    Location: Panels

    Pénélope Bagieu was born in Paris in 1982, to Corsican and Basque parents. She is a bestselling graphic novel author and her editorial illustrations have appeared all over the French media. She blogs, drums in a rock bank, and watches lots of nature shows. Exquisite Corpse is her first graphic novel to be published in the United States.

  • Raina Telgemeier

    Best Known For: Smile
    Book Title: The Baby-Sitters Club Graphix #2: The Truth About Stacey
    Day(s): Saturday
    Location: Panels, BookCon Autographing Area

    Raina Telgemeier grew up in San Francisco and moved to New York City, where she earned an illustration degree at the School of Visual Arts. Her most recent graphic novel Drama was published to rave reviews and quickly became a New York Times bestseller. Smile, her critically acclaimed graphic memoir based on her childhood, was a #1 New York Timesbestseller and winner of the Eisner Award for Best Publication for Teens, and received a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor. Raina also adapted and illustrated The Baby-sitters Club graphic novels. Sisters, a companion to Smile, will be published by Graphix / Scholastic in Fall 2014. She lives in Astoria, New York, with her husband and fellow comics artist, Dave Roman.

  • Sam Maggs

    Best Known For: The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy
    Book Title: The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy
    Day(s): Sunday
    Location: Panels

    Sam Maggs is a writer, televisioner, and geek girl, hailing from the Kingdom of the North (Toronto). Despite her MA in Victorian literature, Sam’s writing focuses on geek culture and (sometimes) how it intersects with being a lady.

    Sam’s first book, THE FANGIRL’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, a handbook for girl geeks, will be published by Quirk Books in May 2015. Named “Awesome Geek Feminist of the Year” by Women Write About Comics, Sam is an Associate Editor for The Mary Sue; talks pop culture on TV and movie screens; and her writing has appeared everywhere from the Internet, to books, to national newspapers. She loves YA lit, Pacific Rim, BioWare games, Carol Danvers, and Jeff Goldblum.

1 Comments on Book Week! BookExpo America, BookCon Bring Biblio-Graphic Excitement to the Big Apple!, last added: 5/27/2015
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28. Interview: Brad Neely & Co. on China, IL – The Worst School in America

During this year’s C2E2, Comics Beat was #blessed to be able to sit down for a quick roundtable interview with Brad Neely, Daniel Weidenfeld, and Dave Newberg – the driving force behind Adult Swim’s hit show China, IL. What happened next was mostly laughing, carefully edited to read like a real conversation.


CB: Okay so China, IL! What can we expect from the rest of the third season?

Weidenfeld: Well, we have an episode coming up where the mayor bans eating anchovies on pizza in town – you can only eat pepperoni. It sort of becomes our take on the idea of a “gay gene.” We’re showing that now because of everything going on in Indiana. The pizza laws.

Neely: And at the end of the season we have an hour-long musical, kind of in the style of a Disney musical like Lion King, with thirteen original songs by me. We’ve got Cat Power singing, Rosa Salazar, Evan Peters, so we’re real excited about that. Otherwise we’ve got three or four other episodes in there.

CB: You’ve got an extensive cast of voice talent this season. How hard was it to round up all these people? There’s Hulk Hogan, Danny Trejo, Christian Slater, etc. Did you have to come to these people, or did they seek you out?

Neely: Yeah, no one comes to us, haha. We have to go to them. We just aren’t shy about asking, all they can do is say no. There’s an equally long list of people that we have asked that were either busy or thought we were disgusting. We’re very lucky to have these folks.

Weidenfeld: Yeah, Christian Slater has a monologue, and he just kills it, it’s so funny. He was so great, and such a pro, just amazing to record. We did it over the phone in like 15 minutes – it was perfect. And Danny Trejo was the same. We’re just really lucky to have all these talents that bring their own voices and their own style of comedy to keep it varied.

Neely: We have Donald Glover this season, which has been great. We like to think that he came over from Community and moved on to regular college. Stayed in school.

CB: What was it like to get Hulk Hogan onboard as the Dean?

Weidenfeld: Once we got Hulk Hogan, we re-wrote everything because we knew we now had America’s dad as the Dean. The father of masculinity. So everything changed for the better, for us. He’s very fun.

Neely: He recorded for an hour, how many 5-Hour Energy’s did he drink?

Weidenfeld: He brought three and slammed them all. But when you think about how big he is, the ratio kind of works out. He’s something else.

CB: I know in previous seasons the show is sort of done piece by piece and brought together at the end. Are you approaching the production differently this season?

Neely: Well, there’s a plan always. But you know, you have to stay on your toes to adapt to whatever is the funniest or working the most. We bring in every actor individually, we don’t record in an ensemble – to facilitate greater dexterity in editing. But we encourage the actors to read the lines in their own words, and improvise after we get what’s on the page.

Weidenfeld: Brad writes every episode, so we tend to write them a little long, so it’d be really hard to bring everyone into a room and have them all feeding off that energy. It’d be a lot harder to cut as a result. And with Brad doing three of the main voices on the show, we always have the luxury of re-recording. It’s incredible to have that flexibility, especially on an animated show. If we have to cut something, we can salvage lines that are important for story.

Neely: Yeah, we fix things by changing my characters’ stuff, because we don’t want to have to call somebody back in, especially after they’ve done something that’s great, and we’ll work around that and re-work my lines.

CB: Are there limits placed upon you by the network? Do you find that you have more or less creative space either way?

Neely: Strangely – you wouldn’t suspect this of a network with the reputation Adult Swim has – but they insist on us making sense on a emotional and character level. The story has to have an appropriate escalation and resolution. They’re pros about holding us accountable to those standards. They’re very involved when it comes to that.

Weidenfeld: Sometimes they’ll have a very specific thought of something they wants us to do, and we’ll have a conversation about it. There’s a real back and forth respect. We always try to meet in the middle in some capacity.

Neely: It’s a healthy working relationship. They don’t hold back when they think something isn’t working, or could be more forceful.

Weidenfeld: We can say shit now five times per episode. Never a fuck though. They don’t give fucks. Or dicksucker… or cocksucker.

Neely: But we can have an extended pause in between those two words.

CB: So do these episodes start with a joke, or does the joke come together after?

Neely: Every episode starts differently. Some of them just come from a nugget of, “I want to talk about Listerine strips,” or, “Don’t you hate it when you have to order food from a counter?” Sometimes we start with, “Alright, we need to see Frank in this kind of situation.” So we try to keep it balanced where there’s half that come from big stupid ideas and half that come from real deal emotional necessity.

Weidenfeld: But the main thing that has to happen in any given episode, is there has to be one big visual funny that Brad sees.

China, IL airs Sundays at 11:30 p.m. (ET/PT) on Adult Swim.

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29. Grumpy Cat is getting her own comic book from Dynamite

Grumpy Cat, the professional name of the mixed breed cat Tardar Sauce, is getting her own comic book! Considering that she draws the biggest lines at any event she shows up at and has 31 million YoutTube vies, I’d say…it’s about time. The comic will co-star her real life brother Pokey, and if you get a little Garfield Odie vibe, well…it’s Grumpy’s time.

The comic will debut as a three-issue mini series this fall.

Dynamite is proud to announce a collaborative licensing partnership with Grumpy Cat Limited to develop print and digital comic books and graphic novels featuring “The World’s Grumpiest Cat” and her brother, Pokey. Grumpy Cat will debut the first of her all-new misadventures in a three-issue miniseries, released in Fall 2015, and collected into a hardcover graphic novel in time for the holiday season. Dynamite also plans to launch a website this summer where new Grumpy Cat comic strips will go up online every week.  
“With her ever-present pout and sassy disposition, Grumpy Cat has won the hearts of people everywhere. I can tell you, we’re thrilled, just absolutely thrilled, to bring this adorable curmudgeon’s misadventures to the comic world!” says Keith Davidsen, Marketing Manager of Dynamite Entertainment. “One of the most important responsibilities for today’s comic publishers is creating content that will attract fresh new audiences to experience the wonders of the medium, and Grumpy Cat is the perfect combination of unbearable cuteness, instant fan appeal, and established multimedia presence to make just such a thing happen. If you love the memes, the videos, and that irresistable scowl, then get ready for the wildly fun antics of Grumpy Cat and Pokey in Dynamite’s all-new, all-sensational Grumpy Cat comics!”
Grumpy Cat’s global following includes 7.6 million Facebook fans and over 31 million YouTube views. Since her photos first went viral in 2012, Grumpy Cat has gone from Internet star to real-life celebrity. She has two New York Time Best Selling Books, her own Lifetime movie Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever (voiced by actress Aubrey Plaza), has made numerous appearances including the MTV Movie Awards, American Idol, The Bachelorette, The Today Show, SXSW, Good Morning America, and even hosted WWE Monday Night Raw. Grumpy Cat is Friskies official “Spokescat”, has filmed videos with Disney and Sesame Street, and appears in commercials for McDonald’s and Honey Nut Cheerios. Licensed Grumpy Cat merchandise is currently available at retailers worldwide.
Dynamite Entertainment’s Grumpy Cat comic books and graphic novels will be available to consumers through the comic book specialty market, and its graphic novels will be available at major bookstore chains, online booksellers, and independent bookstores courtesy of Diamond Book Distributors. Grumpy Cat comics will also be available for purchase through digital platforms courtesy of Comixology, Dynamite Digital, iVerse, and Dark Horse Digital. Fans and retailers are encouraged to follow Dynamite Entertainment and Grumpy Cat’s official social media channel for the latest updates regarding creative teams and release dates.

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30. Ruby Thursday Visits the Stately Beat Manor Comics Pull for 5/27/15

Screen Shot 2015-05-24 at 6.31.56 PM

I would prefer not to name names, but a certain member of the Beat Staff has ingested one too many Steve Gerber comics and fell into the celebration of oddities. For those not in the know, we’ve been getting a lot of stray visitors at the mansion lately — the castaways of comics long ago who find themselves wandering the hallways of The Stately Beat Manor after hours. This week Ruby Thursday happened to pay us a visit. No…not ringing any bells? Thursday is a member of the Headmen, a group of B-list Defenders rogues sent to wreak havoc upon the work schedules of everyone here at The Beat. Or so we thought…as the aforementioned Beat Staffer blamed above and Ruby Thursday seemed to be getting along quite well. When Thursday heard that we took down Howard the Duck villain Bessie (Hellcow) with the power of love (and literature) she grew a newfound respect for us. We introduced her to some of the signatures we’ve acquired from past guests of the Comics Pull(s) including the Matter-Eater Lad (who she is also quite fond of.) She decided to help us continue The Beat tradition. Ms. Rubinstein suggested the following comics for this week revealing herself as quite the Archie fan.

Ruby Thursday’s picks:

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #3

Writer: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa Artist: Robert Hack


It’s the night before Halloween, the night before Sabrina’s sixteenth birthday, the night of the blood-moon and the lunar eclipse, and Sabrina has made her decision: She will go into the woods of Greendale as a half-witch and emerge…on the other side of a frightful ritual…as a fully baptized member of the Church of Night. But there will be a cost, and his name is Harvey. And unbeknownst to Sabrina and her aunts, there is a serpent in the garden, their great enemy Madam Satan, who is conspiring against them…

With a taste for the dark arts and 90’s sitcoms, Ruby couldn’t help but single out this week’s installment of Sabrina. While she did voice displeasure at the comic’s amount of delays — the villain can’t get enough of this reimagining of the titular witch. She expressed that the story has all the morally ambiguity she looks for in media, and the comic has just started to bring out more of the creepie crawlies…whatever that means.

Black Hood #4

Writer: Duane Swierczynski Artist: Michael Gaydos 


NEW ONGOING SERIES FROM DARK CIRCLE! “Bullet’s Kiss, Part 4″ The Connection’s lieutenants have discovered the identity of the new Black Hood. And now Greg Hettinger has only 24 hours to unmask their boss-the man who set Greg up!  As the badly-injured Black Hood struggles to piece together the puzzle, he’s forced to put his faith in a woman who could end up saving him… or sending him straight to the slammer!

Black Hood is also gearing up for a fourth issue that Ruby specifically wanted to single out. This is another installment within Archie’s own Dark Circle line of comics. With another series that’s filled with moral ambiguity and gritty realism, this is just the comic for Ruby. Before she left, Ms. Rubinstein wanted to mention that she will have revenge on the X-Men, Bruce Banner, Heroes for Hire, Bullseye, She-Hulk, Cloak, Silver Samurai, Skaar, and more. She’s also running in 2016 — so look for that — did we mention that Ruby Thursday previously ran for president?

Matt O’Keefe’s picks:

Old Man Logan #1

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis Artist: Andrea Sorrentino


Enter the Wastelands: a realm where all heroes have been murdered by their arch-enemies, villains who now rule over the land with an iron fist. In the midst of this dystopian chaos, one man may make a difference?a reluctant warrior who was once the greatest mutant of all? A man known as OLD MAN LOGAN.

The original Old Man Logan (illustrated by Steve McNiven), was exactly what you’d expect from a Mark Millar comic: bold, brash, broad and full of interesting concepts largely left unexplored. That’s why it’s so exciting to see Brian Michael Bendis pick up on those old threads, adding his depth of character and focus on the more intimate details to the mix. The fact that the X-Men annuals he did with Old Man Logan artist Andrea Sorrentino were the best Bendis I’d read in years only gives me more confidence that this series has the potential to be something special.

Dave’s Pick:

Sons of the Devil #1

Writer: Brian Buccellato  Artist: Toni Infante


Last year, Brian Buccellato asked everyone for help making this project. On Wednesday, Sons of the Devil is officially an Image Comics reality. The premise poses the question; what would you do if you found out your father was evil like a Jim Jones or David Koresh? SOTD looks to bring supernatural horror to a human level.

Kyle’s Picks:

Material #1

Writer: Ales Kot Artist: Will Tempest

material #1

A man comes home from Guantanamo Bay, irrevocably changed.
An actress receives an offer that can revive her career.
A boy survives a riot and becomes embedded within a revolutionary movement.
A philosopher is contacted by a being that dismantles his beliefs.

Look around you. Everything is material.

I love pretty much everything Ales Kot does, from Secret Avengers to Zero (easily one of my top books of the 2010’s thus far), so this will surely prove no different.  Material looks to return to the wide-ranging ensemble cast style of his critically acclaimed earlier work like Change, but as with everything written by Kot, it’s impossible to pin down any of his titles into one particular box and that’s why I find him to be such a refreshing read every time out. I already know what will be on top of my modest pile tomorrow. It should be on top of yours as well.

The Sandman: Overture #5

Writer: Neil Gaiman Artist: J.H. Williams

sandman overture #5

The fate of the entire universe hangs in the balance when Dream finally gets his mother’s full attention. Magic, joy, war and heartbreak are brought to life on the pages with epic luminosity in the penultimate issue of THE SANDMAN: OVERTURE.

The biggest problem with Overture is that it’s been so long since the last chapter, I don’t remember what happened in the previous issue, much less anything before that. But, to its benefit, Williams’ work is so gorgeous that its hard to argue with re-reading the four issues that came before in order to catch up. It’s Neil Gaiman’s second to last issue of Sandman, if I was a betting man, I’d say you’re probably going to read it.

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31. The importance of continuing professional development in medicine

We all want our doctors to be familiar with the latest developments in medicine, and to be able to offer us as patients the very best and informed healthcare. It is important that doctors in the fields of anaesthesia, critical care, and pain are up to date and familiar with the latest developments in these rapidly developing areas of medicine, with new techniques and drugs emerging which improve outcomes for patients. As professionals, we cannot stand still and we must always strive to improve outcomes for our patients.

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32. Interview: Joey Stern, co-founder of Geeks OUT talks Flame Con – NYC’s first ever LGBTQ comic convention


Back in November, queer nerd organization Geeks OUT launched a kickstarter campaign to fund the creation of a convention by queer nerds, for queer nerds. A month later they’d far exceeded their $15k goal, raising nearly $20,000 to make their con a reality. I spoke with Joey Stern about what led him start Geeks OUT, how that led to Flame Con, and what queer geeks and their allied communities can expect from New York City’s first ever LGBTQ comic convention on June 13.

Edie Nugent: Tell me a little about your role at Geeks OUT and how you got involved with the organization.

Joey Stern: We founded Geeks OUT in 2010 after New York Comic Con.  There was only queer panel that year and it was so packed that you had to stand in the back just to be there.

We wanted to make an organization that connected these fans, and gave them a more than once a year event to gather and see each other. We also wanted to make NYCC a gayer place, so we held events and parties as we fund raised to get enough money for a table.

It was really intense, but a year later, we debuted at NYCC with monthly queer comic/geek events and a table where people could come and find a group for themselves.

Nugent: So how did you decide to make the leap from that to putting on an entire convention?

Stern: We and the board of Geeks OUT felt like it was a natural progression and an opportunity to introduce an existing queer audience to amazing queer and ally artists and creators.

There’s so much out there now, it’s really hard to find a lot of the stuff that’s made for you, and Flame Con offers a connection for people and creators to meet and find new passions.

It also creates connections and empowers queer fandom, which is an important part of what we do.

Nugent: Why do you think comic book fandom appeals to the queer experience?

Stern: There really is no art like Comic Books. It’s not only informative, but it offers a lot more context for the writers’ words than traditional books do (or paintings offer on their own). They also have an indie experience, and like queer culture, were for a long time considered the realm of weirdos and freaks.

Comics in general are often about exploring new worlds and future tomorrows. And I think that idea is really appealing to anyone who has experiences of being on the outer edge of polite society.

For me, the X-men’s construct of creating new family, and finding friendship with people like you was really informative.

Nugent: You really leveraged queer fandom to launch Flame Con, raising almost $20k for the event. Were you surprised by how much support you received?

Stern: Yeah! Oh man, it was terrifying, we were worried the whole thing was going to fail, but people really came out to support us and this effort. It just shows how vibrant and important this community is.

Nugent: Do you think recent media attention on sexual harassment at cons, especially of cosplayers, helped identify a real need for a more progressive type of con experience?

Stern: Sure! But I think a lot of that work has been done by cosplayers coming to the media. It’s been really amazing to see people having that conversation and pushing for safer spaces (and to see cons, like NYCC respond positively to those changes).

Nugent: What are some programming highlights from Flame Con that you’re excited about?

Stern: We’re excited to be putting on all sorts of programming – hopefully something for everyone! A panel about writing for LGBT teens hosted by award-winning author David Levithan, a Q&A with Steve Orlando, writer of DC’s upcoming Midnighter series (DC’s first ongoing title to feature a gay man as a lead character,) a great panel on queer horror with Mark Patton, star of the infamously queer Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge and Cecil Baldwin, voice of the hit podcast Welcome to Night Vale, a panel about looking at Sherlock Holmes from a queer perspective, a discussion with some up-and-coming industry pros about costume design, and lots more. We’re really packing something interesting into every minute of this con! There’s also a performance from Sarah Donner!

Nugent: What makes Flame Con different from other cons that aren’t queer-centric?

Stern: It’s tailored to its audience. All Gender bathrooms, queer artists and creators taking center stage, and panels that are not Gay 101, but a bit more focused.

Nugent: How so? 

Stern: Bigger cons have panels focused on Gay Artists, we have panels focused on writing Gay Sherlock Fan Fiction.

Flame Con is a one-day event on June 13 in Brooklyn. Here’s a complete list of guests appearing at the con. For more information check out their website and their Facebook page.

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33. Book of Numbers review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Joshua Cohen's Book of Numbers -- one of the bigger summer books, with Cohen, after publishing with Twisted Spoon, Dalkey Archive Press, and Graywolf (among others) now coming out Random House-mainstream.

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34. Q &A: Jenny Erpenbeck

       Also in the Irish Times Martin Doyle has a Q & A with Jenny Erpenbeck, whose The End of Days (see the publicity pages at New Directions and Portobello, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk) is also Independent Foreign Fiction Prize-shortlisted.
       A perhaps unexpected but nice choice:

What is the funniest book you've read ?

The Weather Fifteen Years Ago by Wolf Haas.
       (Best Translated Book Award shortlisted a few years ago, in 2010, I still don't understand why no UK publisher hasn't taken a chance on this.)

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35. The 2015 San Diego Comic-Con: what, where, Conan and One Direction


SDCC 2015 is less than six weeks away.


Comic-Con is about two weeks early this year, right after July 4th and I don’t even want to THINK about the hell that will unleash upon our psyches. But we’ll survive like we always do.

Like a rite of late spring, Tom Spurgeon’s epic 2015 con guide has been posted, meaning that we can’t escape this any further. As always Tom’s tips are solid for those who still go to the con for the comics portion; line waiters have probably memorized the SDCC Unoficcial Blog’s Where do I line up guide. An entire culture of tips about getting into Hall H, getting autographs, grabbing toys, waiting for panels, sneaking into rooms, exists, but I’m just not going to go there.

Just to reiterate my own two cents:

* Comfortable shoes! Yes it has to be said!

* Don’t ever go to the con planning to finish something while you’re there! It just doesn’t work out. The one exception might be slide shows for your panel, because I’ve sat on the floor at the convention center on Saturday doing that…but not recommended. Really.

* Secret Bathrooms Tom came thisclose to explaining where the secret bathrooms at the convention center are. But he didn’t exactly draw a map so there’s still  hope for a peaceful pee. There is actually a WHOLE FLOOR of secret bathrooms used only by Jude Law and Diane Nelson, but you need a wristband to get there. I should mention that one Beat Operative is a ninja for going into secret places, and I may send him on a bathroom recon this year.

* Tip people. It’s really a good idea.

* Carry trail mix Every year my podcast producer Kate makes me four big bags of GORP and I carry one with me each day. Just like Nux had a line in to Mad Max, I stay connected to this energy source, reaching in and eating a handful whenever I think of it. I never get hungry until my one meal of the day, which is usually some hor d’oeuvres from some kind of reception, hopefully some carrot sticks and a cheese slice. At night I go to Ralphs and get a piece of pumpkin pie.

* Plan ahead! If you heeded my advice from last year, you started your to do list for 2015 the day the 2014 show ended so you’ve already done everything you need to get done like make business cards, because you had a whole year, right? RIGHT???

* Heading east for dinner is an intriguing suggestion. With the San Diego Public Library becoming a new hub for activity I think the once little known region to the northeast of Petco is going to be busy for Our Kind. I had dinner there last year and it was quite pleasant.


NOW, as to what else is happening this year! One Direction is coming to Comic-Con! Omigod ohmigod ohmigod. Okay not really. They are playing Quallcomm Stadium on the Thursday of the con, but Zayn won’t be there so what is the point of living, really?

The Unofficial SDCC Blog folks have an exhaustive list of offsite events and while some things haven’t been firmed up, many traditional fan events will be back including Wootstock, the Aquabats, Jay & Silent Bob Get Old and The Walking Dead Escape. It is amusing to me that some of these are now a year’s old tradition, just like the Saturday dinner at Panda Inn used to be for cartoonists. You can also find a lot of good information on con survival and events at Tony Kim’s Crazy4 Comic-Con site.

I’m not going to go down the list of offsite concerts etc, but there will be many cosplay photo shoots, and symphony concerts of Pokemon and Zelda music.

NOW what about the big offsites?

* Gam3rCon will be back, This is a full five day event running at the Tenth Avenue Arts Center and devoted to all things video games. I’ve never been but they say it’s fun.

* Will there be a NerdHQ this year? This offsite, run by actor Zachary Levi, has been a parallel nerd con with panels and activities, most recently seen at Petco. But it seems to be MIA this year. Last year’s event was crowdfunded, to some controversy, and this year there’s been only this call for volunteers:

Hey there, nerds! Were you guessing if #NerdHQ would be back this year too? You were guessing right! Applications to…

Posted by The Nerd HQ on Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The link is now dead but applications closed on Sunday so that’s probably why. Otherwise, no word.

However, Nerdist HQ WILL be taking up some space at PetCo this year—the stadium itself has had some renovations which will mean changes to the Walking Dead Escape route and more. Once again the SDCC Blog has the deets:

We’ve confirmed that Nerdist Industries will be using the Main Concourse along Left Field and the 3rd Base sideline sections, used in previous years by The Nerd Machine and Nerd HQ. Although at this year’s WonderCon, Chris Hardwick announced they’d be using the entire lower level, there was some question as to exactly which area this referred to. There’s no word yet on what Nerdist has planned for the space, but last year’s Nerdist event was held on the top level of Petco Park, where they teamed up with 2K and Gearbox Software to hold a Borderlands themed laser tag area.


So, more to come on all that.

If these nerdlebrity/media hype events aren’t your cuppa there is one ongoing offsite that will definitely appeal to comics fans, and a lot of people will want to take a look. It’s the Art of Comic-Con show being held at the central library. As we reported previously, the exhibit opens on June 20th and runs until August 30th and can be seen at the Art Gallery on the 9th Floor of the San Diego Central Library @ Joan Λ Irwin Jacobs Common at 330 Park Blvd. in downtown San Diego. It is FREE to attend. For reference, here’s a map:
330 Park Blvd   Google Maps.jpeg

Now, there will be ONE MAJOR NEW EVENT at this year’s Comic-Con: as seen above, the Conan O’Brien Show will be broadcasting directly from Comic-Con. The schedule of shows will run from Wednesday to Saturday, a break from their usual Monday-Thursday schedule. I haven’t seen any more details on this, but it should be good and weird and O’Brien will have his pick of stars for the show. Team Coco previously went to Cuba, but O’Brien says he expects this to be weirder and he’s absolutely right.

Have any hints or tips for this year’s Comic-Con? Let us know in the comments!

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36. Electronic cigarettes may lead to nicotine addiction

Are electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) a relatively harmless substitute for cigarettes? Or are they a Trojan horse leading to nicotine addiction and ultimately chronic smoking? Many researchers believe the latter. E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that deliver aerosolized nicotine and kid-friendly flavored additives, such as chocolate mint, piña colada, atomic fireball candy, and even gummy bears. Designed to mimic the look and habit of smoking, the devices are marketed as a relatively benign alternative to smoking, without the tar, carbon monoxide, and other harmful ingredients adversely affecting the heart and respiratory system. “Vaping,” the term for using e-cigarettes, emits only a cloud of vapor—not secondhand smoke.

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37. Troy Little adapting Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in October


Hunter S. Thompson’s birth of the gonzo memoir fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is getting a comics adaptation from Xeric-winning, Eisner nominated artist Troy Little (Chiarascuro). Created in cooperation with the Thompson estate, the book is due this October from Top Shelf. Notably, it’s also the first book to be an “IDW/Top Shelf” production as Little has a prior relationship with IDW 9(they also published his Angora Napkin. “I’m so pleased that one of the first collaborative projects to come out of the Top Shelf / IDW relationship will be Troy Little’s inspired take on a true classic of American literature,” said Top Shelf Editor-In-Chief Chris Staros. “One of the most unforgettable writers turned loose in one of my favorite cities! We can’t wait to show you what Troy’s done with it.”
Thompson’s classic tale follows journo Raoul Duke and attorney Dr. Gonzo on a drug-fueled, prototypical American road trip through the desert backwaters of Vegas.

IDW acquired Top Shelf as an imprint last January, and as most expected the changes to how the long running indie operate have been minimal up until now. This is a promising project, so it’s all good thus far.

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38. Fantagraphics to publish deluxe Complete Wimmen’s Comix in September


After the stunning and sold out $500 slipcased edition of Zap Comix was published by Fantagraphics last year, I wondered if they would give a similar treatment to the equally groundbreaking but not quite as historically lauded Wimmen’s Comix. Run as a collective, with various contributors taking turns as editors, Wimmen’s Comics ran from 1972 to 1992 in various iterations and published work by Trina Robbins, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Diane Noomin, Carol Tyler, M.K. Brown, Diane Noomin, Melinda Gebbie Phoebe Gloeckner, Carol Lay, Caryn Leschen, Leslie Sternbergh, Dori Seda, Mary Fleener, and Krystine Kryttre—among many others, making it one of the most important and influential anthologies of all times. However, despite the importance of the cartoonists that it gave a voice to, it’s usually only mentioned in passing in comics histories.

Happily, this September Fantagraphics will be publishing a deluxe slipcased edition of The Complete Wimmen’s Comix in two volumes, retailing for $100. Edited by Robbins, one of the main drivers behind Wimmen’s, set will include the entire first issue of It Ain’t Me Babe, the first all female comic book published.

Wimmen’s Comix was raw and uncensored, and the subject matter was torn from headlines and private moments, from periods to abortion to crappy jobs to romance. The catalog copy calls it a showcase for “some of the most talented women cartoonists in America” but I think seen in the context of its times, it will be clear that this is a collection of “some of the most talented cartoonists”…full stop.

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39. Q &A: Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel

       In the Irish Times Martin Doyle has a Q & A with Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel, whose By Night the Mountain Burns (see the And Other Stories publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk) is Independent Foreign Fiction Prize-shortlisted
       I like that he doesn't go for the 'Which writers, living or dead, would you invite to your dream dinner party ?' question -- answering: "Having their books is enough." And nice to see him mention Francisco de Quevedo's El Buscón (twice).

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40. What is ‘Zen’ diplomacy? From Chinese monk to ambassador

In 1654, a Chinese monk arrived in Japan. His name was Yinyuan Longqi (1592-1673), a Zen master who claimed to have inherited the authentic dharma transmission—the passing of the Buddha’s teaching from teacher to student—from the Linji (Rinzai) sect in China. This claim gave him tremendous authority in China, as without it a Zen teacher cannot be considered for leading a Zen community. Considering the long history of interactions between China and Japan, Chinese monks arriving in Japan with teachings, scriptures, relics and such were very common, and were welcomed by Japanese monks and rulers.

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41. George Miller’s Justice League gets a “why didn’t this get made?” documentary

miller justice league

George Miller‘s Mad Max: Fury Road has been a nice moderate hit, accumulating 95 million over the past 11 days, with word of mouth continuing to be strong and rightfully so.

One of the big social discussion points I’ve seen floating around since its release are articles with titles like: “We could have had a George Miller Justice League!”, and it’s true, the auteur behind the Mad Max series was indeed in place to direct the big DC team-up, entitled Justice League: Mortal, that would have seen release just a year after Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight.

Even a few of his cast members from that film appear in Fury Road such as Megan Gale who was signed up for Wonder Woman, and Hugh Keays-Byrne who was intended to play Martian Manhunter. The rest of the cast, which included Armie Hammer (Batman), Common (Green Lantern), Adam Brody (The Flash), DJ Cotrona (Superman), Jay Baruchel (Max Lord), and Santiago Cabrera (Aquaman) contained varying levels of inspiration and exasperation. A number of factors have been cited for why the film wasn’t able to beat Marvel’s The Avengers to the box office, including Nolan not wanting competing, unconnected Dark Knights on the big screen at the same time, a rising budget, and the writer’s strike of 2007-2008.

The biggest problem though? The script just wasn’t very good. At least not the draft I read, which was presumably the final one before production was scrapped. It was basically The OMAC Project combined with Tower of Babel combined with Crisis on Infinite Earths #8, along with an ill-advised fast food plot and some strikingly bad dialogue. This thing would have likely killed your Justice League dreams quicker than you could say “Ryan ReynoldsGreen Lantern“.

But, much like the documentary feature that will cover the disastrous production cycle that marked Tim Burton‘s Superman Lives, another team is looking to do the same for Justice League: Mortal.

Australian director Ryan Unicomb, along with producers Aaron Cater and Steven Caldwell, are aiming to cover what might have been with a documentary entitled, appropriately enough, Miller’s Justice League: Mortal. According to Unicomb, they have investors in place already and may turn to crowdfunding as well.

The filmmaker briefly spoke with Inside Film about the project:

We wanted to get the story out there to help us to gauge interest. I have always been fascinated with project, which would be in the same vein as 2013’s Jodorowsky’s Dune and this year’s The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?

There’s no current timetable for release, and they’ve yet to approach Miller about the project. Hopefully they’ll be able to secure his participation, as I’m sure the story behind this initial Justice League attempt would prove fascinating.

Warner Bros, for their part, will be finally releasing a Justice League film in 2017, directed by Zack Snyder.


4 Comments on George Miller’s Justice League gets a “why didn’t this get made?” documentary, last added: 5/28/2015
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42. Leena Krohn's aesthetics

       Leena Krohn -- author of, for example, Datura (get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk) -- discusses her aesthetics at Books from Finland, in When the viewer vanishes.
       She suggests:

The foundations of my possible aesthetics -- like those of all aesthetics -- lie of course somewhere quite different from aesthetics itself. They lie in human consciousnesses and language, with all the associated indefiniteness.

It is my belief that we do not live in reality, but in metareality. The first virtual world, the simulated Pretend-land is inherent in us.
       A helpful introduction to her always interesting work.

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43. International literature-prize day

       A big day for international literary prizes in the English-speaking world, as they'll be announcing:

       I'll be at the BTBA announcement -- I'm one of the fiction-judges -- and I'll report on all the winners/finalists tomorrow.

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44. Ten facts about economic gender inequality

Gender is a central concept in modern societies. The promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment is key for policymakers, and it is receiving a growing attention in business agendas. However, gender gaps are still a wide phenomenon. While gender gaps in education and health have been decreasing remarkably over time and their differences across countries have been narrowing, gender gaps in the labour market and in politics are more persistent and still vary largely across countries.

The post Ten facts about economic gender inequality appeared first on OUPblog.

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45. Can your diet make you feel depressed?

I am often asked whether eating particular foods can enhance mood and treat the symptoms of depression. With very few exceptions, the answer is no. In contrast, our mood can be easily depressed by our diet. Why? For adults, the brain responds primarily to deficits, not surpluses, in the diet.

The post Can your diet make you feel depressed? appeared first on OUPblog.

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46. David Beronä, In Memory

It is with tremendous sadness that I share news I received this morning from my friend David Beronä's family: David passed away peacefully at home last night. He'd been fighting a brain tumor for about a year and a half, and so while the news is not quite a surprise, it is a blow.

I interviewed David for Colleen Lindsay's blog The Swivet in 2009, where we talked about his Wordless Books: The Original Graphic Novels, which had recently been published by Abrams. I knew very little about graphic narratives before meeting David, and he gave me an extraordinary education over the years, as his knowledge was vast and his passion was thrilling.

Eric Schaller and I had the honor of publishing what David told us was the last piece of writing that he completed before getting sick, the essay "Franz Masereel's Picture Books Against War", which appeared in last year's issue of our magazine The Revelator. David, Eric, and I did a bunch of work together, beginning with the Illustrating VanderMeer exhibit at Plymouth State University, where, until he got sick, David was Dean of Library and Academic Support Services.

The last time I saw David was at a retirement reception for him where the University dedicated a gallery wall of the library in his name. It was a bittersweet moment — so nice to see David being celebrated, so sad to have to say goodbye. Soon, he and his wife moved to Ohio to be closer to David's family. I didn't do a good job of keeping in touch, though I've thought of David frequently since he moved (which is no excuse for not being a better friend, but is the truth).

This past term, my last term of classes as a PhD student, I took a marvelous seminar on graphic narratives, and so David was constantly on my mind, and again and again I found myself returning to things he'd taught me, writers and artists whose work he'd introduced me to, ideas he had shared. I presented at the Dartmouth Illustration, Comics, and Animation Conference, a conference David always attended when he could. That I had any confidence at all presenting in front of a bunch of comics scholars and enthusiasts was very much because I'd been able to talk about so much with David over the years. It would have been fun to have been there with him.

In the short notes he was able to send out to friends after beginning treatment, written against the aphasia the tumor imposed, David exhorted us to cherish our health, and especially our brains. (His life had changed completely over the course of a single weekend.) He spoke of the anger he felt at first when he realized how much he'd lost, and then the peace he found in accepting the vagaries of life, the good and bad, the love of friends and family, the little things and the everyday moments — the things that, in the end, linger longest. (The irony was, I'm sure, not lost on him that he was a man who'd written much about wordless books, and then had lost his words.) He returned to painting, and he was glad to find a good comics shop in the town he moved to in Ohio. He went for long walks in the woods. He spent his last year with family, and he knew that he had friends around the country and, indeed, around the world who were thinking of him.

He lives on in the knowledge he shared with us and the joy that he inspired. My life has been tremendously enriched by all he taught me, but, more than any of that, what I will carry as a memory of him forever is the memory of his smile. He never lost some of the wonder of childhood, and you could see it in his smile.

It's hard to smile today, but for David, I will try.

Lynd Ward, from God's Man

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47. Monthly etymology gleaning for May 2015

In the United States everything is planned very long in advance, while in Europe one can sometimes read about a conference that will be held a mere three months later. By that time all the travel money available to an American academic will have been spent a millennium ago. In the United States, we have visions rather than short-range plans.

The post Monthly etymology gleaning for May 2015 appeared first on OUPblog.

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48. MATT CHATS: Christine Larsen on Samurai Jack, Hand Lettering & the Journey from Creator-Owned to Cartoons and Back

Welcome to Week 1 of a Samurai Jack series of interviews! Christine Larsen, artist of Samurai Jack #19, is an extremely interesting and exciting new voice in the comic book industry. Her best known works have probably been through IDW, including her collaborations with Rachel Deering, her own content in Imaginary Drugs and her licensed work for comics based on cartoons like Samurai Jack and Adventure Time. I asked her questions about all of the above and more, delighted by her enlightening and well thought-out replies.


Art by Andy Suriano.

On less commercial projects, you often employ hand lettering. What appeals to you about that art form?

It probably doesn’t hurt that my mother is a calligrapher, so I grew up with a lot of books about letter forms floating about.  I was a poor punk rock kid, and I used to redraw band logos on duct tape and stick that to my bookbag.  Or tag up my notebooks and pencil cases with sharpies (I, actually, still do this).  So my love of hand lettering goes way back to that.

It also speaks to my obsession with technical ability.  If I have the time, I often pull out my dip pens and ruling pens and protractor and lettering ruler when I hand letter.  Of course, sometimes there is no time for that, and I do take little shortcuts in the preplanning stage that involve the computer; or I’ll want to do something more free form, so I just “eyeball” it.  But, even when I am doing something less technical, I find myself designing with graph paper and measuring out space so it makes sense mathematically.

How can hand lettering amplify the experience of reading a comic?

The most interesting part of the comics medium is the intimate relationship between words and pictures, and I think there is more opportunity for interaction between the art and the lettering when an artist is actively designing that lettering to fit the art.  Especially when it comes to things like special effects lettering.  I swear to God, every time I see some Impact ripoff font going rat-tat-tat I want to murder-kill.


What do you think is lost when comics are lettered on a computer?

The thing is, I don’t think there is a loss in every situation.  Personally, I gravitate towards comics made by cartoonists, or artists that work in a very cartoonist way.  Emily Carroll, Craig Thompson; their work would be ruined if their lettering was done digitally.  But in the case of some art styles, the clean, technical look of computer lettering makes sense.

A really good letterist, whether s/he is working digitally or not, should be able to do more than make neat little diamonds with text.  S/he can also pick a font that suits the art, and knows how to manipulate sound FX lettering so that it doesn’t sit straight on the page like it was typeset in MS Word.  A good letterer can hide the computer.  I’m just not sure how many digital lettering jobs I would quantify as “good”.  Usually the text seems like the last thing anyone thinks about.  However, in many cases, I think timelines and monetary compensation probably factor into that as much as skill level.  I am more vexed when I see lazy lettering on creator-owned and independent projects than when I see it in mainstream books that I know are meant to be produced quickly.

How do you compensate for that loss when working on something like Samurai Jack?

I don’t consider it a loss when I am unable to letter my own work, especially when it comes to these larger licensed properties.  I think Deron did a nice job.  It’s not what I would have done in every instance, but I think he was also bound by how he had been lettering the series up until now.  I think they were looking for consistency there.  I really liked his placement of text bubble throughout the book.


You recently drew and lettered a story written by Rachel Deering, who is primarily known as a letterer. What was the dynamic like, performing what is normally her job?

I love Rachel.  And my editor Sarah.  I asked if I could hand letter and they said “go for it!” and really didn’t interfere in anything I was doing.  I used a special nib for that one too.  It was fun to push that story to look a little different than average.

How did you start doing licensed work for various children’s cartoon licensed comics?

That was a serendipitous series of events.  The first professional comics work I ever did was for Ape Entertainment’s Teddy Scares books way back in… 2006, I think? I then did a bunch of Dreamworks stuff for them, and some of those editors moved elsewhere and I was doing the occasional licensed book here and there for a number of Cartoon Network properties.  So, it was a natural progression.  I managed to get that first job because I did a five page story of my own devising in a Philadelphia Cartoonist Society anthology.  The owner of Teddy Scares saw it and liked it.  I dropped 80 bucks to be in that book (all of the members pitched in for printing.  This was pre-Kickstarter time).  Best eighty dollars I ever spent.

That PCS comic was actually the first comic I made outside of my sketchbook.  If you want you can see it here (baby pictures! OMG, can you tell I loved Jhonen Vasquez’s work?)  I was doing mostly dark themed children’s book looking illustrations before that.  I always liked comics, specifically alternative, indie and European comics (I developed a love of Japanese comics a bit later), I just never thought of drawing them professionally before.  So, the fact that I even have a career in comics astounds me.


Was that kind of work a long term goal or is it more of a means to an end?

I have this personal philosophy about all the work I do: I am always preparing for my next creative venture and I try to take something out of every project that I can bring into a new project.  In that way, I suppose all of my work is a means to a greater end, even my personal work.  I feel like it all feeds into itself, like a snake eating its own tail.

How do you fit the styles of the cartoons without compromising your natural style?

Whenever I get a job, I draw the characters a bunch to get my hand familiar with them. My own stylization sort-of comes out in that. It’s really not so different than when I am creating my own characters.  I need to normalize them before I can draw them in a story. Also, I have also been fortunate in the past few years.  I am usually contacted because an editor likes what I am already doing, and not because they want to shoehorn me into a style.


With Samurai Jack you’re following a popular TV series AND the work of a regular artist. How do you respect what came before you, but still bring something new to the table?

I’ll be honest, I never thought about it like that.  I referenced some SJ comic pages online to see how much wiggle room I would have with the original (animated) design, and went from there.  The rest is just my own hand.  I used a thinner brush than usual.  I think that’s the biggest change I made.

How much influence did you have over the contents of the issue?

Samurai Jack was very much like every other licensed project I’ve ever worked on.  I was given a script, I came back with roughs, once those were approved I did pencils and then went to finish.  I did submit a few pages with notes on bubble placement, only because I had a clear idea of the text flow for them, but aside from that, it was the usual, collaborative process comics tend to be.


What was the communication like between you and Jim Zub?

I had all my notes from Jim passed through our editor, Carlos.  Which I actually prefer when working on a property, only because I feel like it streamlines the process.  I found the few corrections he wanted useful, but in terms of direct contact, we had very little.  I actually have no idea if he liked the pages.  I hope he did.  I was finishing that story during a stressful, early stage of my pregnancy, and I see some things now I might have done differently/better, but I do that with all of my work.  I am my own worst critic, sometimes.

Can you describe some of your creator-owned projects?

Oh, there’s a few, comic wise.  There is the ongoing series I do with Alex DeCampi called Valentine.  That’s on Thrillbent and Comixology.  We took a long break in the middle (a few years back) to find a home for it, so there is a little stylistic jump between episodes 1-10 and 11 onward.  But I think folks find it fun.  It’s very pulpy, and I like pulpy.  I’ve done a bunch of short comics over the years, some for anthologies and some for myself.  A little chunk of the newer ones are on my Microcosmics Tumblr and can be found in the Imaginary Drugs anthology out from IDW.  I’m in the beginning stages of another project that I don’t want to say too much about because I’m superstitious and believe in jinxing projects in the fetal stage, but it’s another fun pulpy thing written by Alex Wilson.  And then there is the ORCS! comic.  I’ve been working on the first issue of that in between everything else for the past year, but I am planning to send it off to the printer this summer (with any luck, before I go into labor).  Since I have issues 2 and 3 written already, I am hoping that I will be able to continue with it in a more timely manner once that first issue is out.  I really do love working on that book.  I’ve been pimping it all over my tumblr for the past 12 months.  

I’m not sure I would want to try and find a publisher for it.  That’s one of those just-for-me things that I work on to remind myself why I love comics.

orc b&w

Given the common theme amongst your creator-owned work, I have to ask: what do you love so much about orcs?

Probably for the same reason I love jazz fusion grindcore and Cambodian lounge music.  Orcs are a mish mash of lots of things I like, from folklore to modern fantasy. I have been enthralled with those irreverent, ill-tempered goblins since I read the Hobbit when I was nine (and later, LotR).  I like the dark humor associated with them; the irreverence towards everything; I love the perspective of the lackey; and I like that, despite the fact that they are sometimes played for comic relief, they are still very much monsters.  And I like monsters.  I think I have identified with the monster since I was small, even if he was a very one dimensional monster.  I always liked to imagine the story from the monster’s perspective.

Also, they are fun to draw. And way less ubiquitous than zombies. ;P


If you like her work (you should) follow Christine Larsen on Tumblr and Twitter and visit her online store.

1 Comments on MATT CHATS: Christine Larsen on Samurai Jack, Hand Lettering & the Journey from Creator-Owned to Cartoons and Back, last added: 5/27/2015
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49. There’s going to be another live-action League of Extraordinary Gentlemen


I distinctly remember going to the theater in 2003 to see the James Robinson-written adaptation of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. At the time, I hadn’t read the Alan Moore/Kevin O’Neill series, I just happened to be drawn in by what I saw as an ingenious premise: the Justice League of Victorian literature.

Even my dad, who had no use for superhero movies pre Iron Man/Dark Knight/Avengers, was excited about the prospect.

You can imagine how deflating that day actually was: a gun-wielding Tom Sawyer, a barely interested Sean Connery, and so. much. camp. When the released just a few months later Underworld was more entertaining by comparison, you know there’s a problem.

I eventually discovered the source material and devoured it voraciously. I even love the somewhat more divisive Century volume. For a good long while I yearned for Fox to go back and correct this grievous cinematic misstep. Then Showtime introduced Penny Dreadful, which took the same basic concept with a number of different characters (Mina Harker’s father, Dr. Frankenstein, another live action shot at Dorian Gray, vampires, witches, etc) and toned down the broader action elements in favor of a healthy dose of “Hammer horror”. It was the League adaptation I always wanted, just without the name or central characters, and it is perhaps the strongest series that the premium channel has ever produced.

And of course now, Fox has announced plans to reboot The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen for the big screen per Variety. Just two years ago, there was talk of it becoming a television series with apparent go-to genre guy Michael Green as the showrunner, but that ended up not moving forward. Now producer John Davis will be teaming with Ira Napoliello and Matt Reilly to bring this new version to fruition, though no writers have been announced as of yet.

Can it succeed? Possibly! But given how Fox has generally mishandled its comic book franchises and fumbled with the League before, it’s tough to get excited on my end. Then again, we are talking about what I think is Moore’s best work from the ABC era to the current period, so the studio definitely has a tough row to hoe. In the meantime, season 2 of Penny Dreadful is wonderful thus far.

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50. Robert Rodriguez set to helm Jonny Quest


A film that’s been in development hell for a number of years may have finally found its ticket to the screen. Sin City and Desperado helmer Robert Rodriguez has signed on-board the long gestating live action adaptation of Jonny Quest for Warner Bros per THR.

Rodriguez will be teaming with Terry Rossio (The Pirates of the Carribean series) on the script, and will also direct in his first outing since the poorly received Sin City: A Dame To Kill For.

Jonny Quest, the 1964 Hanna-Barbera adventure series, centered on the title character and his globe-trotting missions with his father, side-kick Hadji, and bodyguard Race Bannon, lasted only one season, but it made a big mark on pop-culture via syndication and a few revival attempts.

Without Jonny Quest, we’d have no Venture Brothers, and what a sad, sad world that would be.

Previous attempts to adapt Quest for the big screen included a Zac Efron-Dwayne Johnson starring film, directed by Peter Segal. So, at the very least, one massive bullet was dodged. We’ll see what Rodriguez, who is needs a bounce-back in a big way, can bring to the table. Given that his Spy Kids series was a big hit, this may be just what the doctor ordered.

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