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Dark City

Dark City

By David Bird in Blog on October 24, 2011

Dark City (1998)Directed by Alex Proyas, Starring Rufus Sewell, Kiefer Sutherland, and Jennifer ConnellyI hadn’t watched Dark City in many years, when I decided to pop it in this week, and I wondered first of all if I would still in enjoy it as much as I once did. The film has had a devoted following amongst science fiction and fantasy fans since its release, though it wasn’t a box office success at the time (in spite of generally positive reviews). I had picked it up on VHS, but never upgraded my copy to DVD or Blu-ray (I rented a DVD copy).The opening narration spills all the secrets: the Strangers are a dying race and studying us because they believe we may hold the key to their continued existence. John Murdoch wakes up in a hotel bath tub to find out he has no memories and that there is the body of a dead, carved up prostitute on the floor beside the bed. Fleeing the scene he is stopped by the clerk who tells him that the automat has called. He’s left his wallet there. The wallet leads him to his home, a wife who’s cheated on him, and a psychiatrist who’s been helping him deal with the breakdown of his marriage. If he’s off to a bad start, it only gets worse as he discovers strange powers and encounters the Strangers themselves, all while trying to figure out who he is and how to elude the police.It’s at these times that the movie is strongest. Proyas has assembled a strong cast and the story works best when puzzling over koans like, how do you get to Shell Beach? But in the second half of the movie story development is given over to a series of chase and fight scenes (which largely translates into people staring really hard at each other) and it just isn’t as interesting. It rests on atmosphere and set design, which become somewhat repetitive after a while. I mean, how many noir-ishly lit streets does one need? In the end Sutherland’s character comes up with an impressive way to save the day, but it’s used to generate a conventional comic book ending (read: principle characters hitting one another).A good movie if you’re looking for something different, or want to entertain a SF fan (though they’ve probably already seen it); but it’s an uneven film.NOTE: This film shares with The Matrix the ideas that the world isn’t what it seems and that we’re being controlled by malevolent forces. Dark City was released first, thirteen months before the Wachowski Brothers film.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Marvel's Fear Itself Mega-Event reading

Marvel's Fear Itself Mega-Event reading

By xaraan in Blog on October 24, 2011

One of the most awesome columns at the Outhouse is Super Reads.  The guy reads all the giant crossovers, every book and breaks it down for you each week so that you don’t have to.  Now that Fear Itself has wrapped up, if you want to fill in the blanks or catch up on the whole story before the trade lands start right here: Super Reads 138 Follow the column week by week as he reads all the crossovers: Super Reads Column It was a huge undertaking as you can see, ending at Super Reads 163. It’s a lot cheaper than reading every single Fear Itself book marvel put out and probably less time consuming and from what I can tell you, more enjoyable.  I’m pretty sure by the end of most of these the writer is borderline insane so hopefully he catches his breath again before Marvel gets going with this “Point” thing they talked about at NYCC. He also puts these little scenes in them to break up the long reads, I’m pretty sure he’s changed the speech bubbles in them.  No way are they really this entertaining.Authors: xaraanRead more http://theouthouseblog.tumblr.com/post/11844667924


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Why I Love Comics Podcast is out!  NYCC edition In this edition...

Why I Love Comics Podcast is out!  NYCC edition In this edition...

By xaraan in Blog on October 24, 2011

Why I Love Comics Podcast is out!  NYCC edition In this edition of the podcast we go to a convention…New York Comic Con to be exact. This is a favorite convention of mine every year and this is a packed supershow. On the episode I talk with Eddi Mcclintock (Pete on Warehouse 13) Peter David, Tim Seeley, Claudio Sanchez and Chondra Sanchez, Fred Van Lente, The Kirby Krackle, Jeremy Haun and David Hine, Keith R.A. DecandidoAuthors: xaraanRead more http://theouthouseblog.tumblr.com/post/11843669618


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The Weekly Preview Dump

The Weekly Preview Dump

By xaraan in Blog on October 21, 2011

Previews for Marvel comics due out on 10/26/11 Amazing Spider-Man #672 Annihilators: Earthfall #2 Astonishing X-Men #43 Avengers Academy #20 Avengers: Solo #1 Captain America & Bucky #623 Daken: Dark Wolverine #16 Daredevil #5 Deadpool #45 Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz #2 FF #11 The Incredible Hulk #1 Journey into Mystery #630 The Mighty Thor #7 New Mutants #32 Red Skull #4 Secret Avengers #18 Spider-Girl #3 Spider Island: Cloak & Dagger #3 Spider Island: Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #3 Spider-Man Marvel Adventures #19 Ultimates #3 Venom #8 Wolverine & The X-Men #1Authors: xaraanRead more http://theouthouseblog.tumblr.com/post/11738778759

Comic of the Week winner for 10/12 = X-Men Regenesis Click the...

Comic of the Week winner for 10/12 = X-Men Regenesis Click the...

By xaraan in Blog on October 21, 2011

Comic of the Week winner for 10/12 = X-Men Regenesis Click the cover to visit the Outhouse and vote on next weeks winnerAuthors: xaraanRead more http://theouthouseblog.tumblr.com/post/11737564757

Cover of the Week Winner for 10/12 = Black Panther! Click the...

Cover of the Week Winner for 10/12 = Black Panther! Click the...

By xaraan in Blog on October 21, 2011

Cover of the Week Winner for 10/12 = Black Panther! Click the cover to visit the Outhouse and vote on next weeks winner.Authors: xaraanRead more http://theouthouseblog.tumblr.com/post/11737513417

Have some fun with the news coming out of comic-con and see...

Have some fun with the news coming out of comic-con and see...

By xaraan in Blog on October 17, 2011

Have some fun with the news coming out of comic-con and see “What Outhousers are saying about Comic-Con” for opinions straight from readers.Authors: xaraanRead more http://theouthouseblog.tumblr.com/post/11576087990

NYCC News Roundup

NYCC News Roundup

By xaraan in Blog on October 17, 2011

Don’t want to sift through sites looking for the best news from New York Comic-Con?  Makes sense.. that’s why I did it for you: NYCC was a big hit again this year and the Outhousers took it by storm.  Check out one writer’s view of the first day. Marvel dropped tons of news and announcements on us this weekend, starting with their new plans to tackle digital distribution. As always, Joe Quesada’s “Cup O’ Joe” panel ran the gamut of Marvel topics. Marvel also talked about the all-new Ultimate Spider-Man and the new direction of the Ultimate Universe. The Amazing Spider-Man panel talked about the effects of Spider Island and future plans for the series including a highly talked about announcement about the return of The Scarlett Spider. Matt Faction, Chris Gage and others worked the Avengers: Shattered Heroes Panel and talked with fans about the wrap up of the Fear Itself crossover and prepping for “Point One”, Marvel’s next big event.Avengers news continued as Bendis & Bagley announced a new title: Avengers Assemble, that will launch around the same time as the Avengers movie hits.  A Hulk Smash Avengers mini-series will kick off in February.  And fans seemed happy to hear Rick Remender will be taking over Secret Avengers.  And no convention is complete without discussion of Marvel’s merry band of mutants: the various X-peoples. The X-Men Regenesis panel covered plans into next year.  Marvel “teased” that Deadpool could meet his end with issue #50, announced a new ongoing Age of Apocolypse series and told us Chris Gage would be taking over X-Men Legacy.Marvel news didn’t end with comic books as panels were held for Marvel Television with Jeph Loeb and Marvel announced new video games including a new Amazing Spider-man movie tie-in. DC kicked off early with a huge panel on Batman and the Bat-universe.Creators Jim Lee, Brian Azzerello and several others talked with fans about the Justice League and DCU, covering Booster Gold, Starfire, Captain Atom, a new Captain Marvel backup story by Geoff Johns, an annoucement that Jurgens & Giffen are taking over on Superman, and more.In Vertigo news, the Outhouse broke the news on the new series by Paul Cornell: Saucer Country as well as the launch of Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child coming in February for Vertigo. Image Comics’ panel touched on most of their line from Luther Strode to The Danger Club to industry talk and more, including one of the more interesting announcements: a new Brubaker/Phillips book - “Fatale” coming to Image and not Marvel’s Icon imprint.  There were mixed reactions, however, to the news that Rob Liefield’s Extreme was returning to Image.Dark Horse Comics offered fans several Star Wars announcements this weekend.  A Dawn of the Jedi series will launch from Ostrander and Duursema next year, taking us back to the beginnings of the Jedi.  The Knights of the Old Republic - War! series starting in January covers the exciting era popular in the Star Wars games.  A new mini was announced kicking off in May: Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison.  And two more series were announced Blood Ties as well as Knight Errant, the former a Boba Fett adventure and the latter a new installment on the popular series.  Dark Horse also teamed up with Boom! Studios for a panel on Breaking Into Comics.Mark Hammill was here doing a panel for his project with New Gen and talked about the hollywood level talent working with New Gen for their coming projects.The Aspen Comics panel had tons of news to cover from Megan Fox’s connection to the Fathom comic, going digital with ComiXology, new series launches and more.Hermes Press made several announcements including publishing of The Drawn Word graphic novel early next year, publishing the complete Orion series from Gray Morrow collected from the pages of Heavy Metal Magazine, and comic strip collections of Spooky the Cat and Smokey Stover. In the world of manga Viz Media announced a new digital weekly along with the news they will be phasing out Shonen Jump magazine.  And Kodansha Comics teams up with Random House to go digital as well with the launch of their new app.The comic book world still remembers the young readers out there as well: Ape Entertainment is attempting to partner with Sesame Workshops to bring educational comics for kids to print.  And Stan Lee is launching a line of Comics for Kids as well.For the latest and greatest in comic news come to The Outhouse.Authors: xaraanRead more http://theouthouseblog.tumblr.com/post/11574806216

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

By David Bird in Blog on October 17, 2011

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)Directed by Steven Speilberg, Starring Harrison FordThis past week has been Indiana Jones week at the Bird household. We’ve watched all of them in order and enjoyed... most of it. This was the first time I’d seen the fourth one. I had heard a lot of bad things, but I had also heard that lowered expectations help.This movie was set 19 years after the last one--and released was 19 years after the last one--and opens with the Russians taking control of a secret US facility, opening their car trunk, and revealing their prisoners: Indiana Jones and some guy named Mac, I’ve never heard of. The Russians are after something and believe Doctor Jones can help them find it. They’re right, it turns out, and in no time at all Jones loses his job, meets his son, and ends up in South America looking for the lost city of gold, which turns out to be an alien spaceship. Writing that down I see Jack Kirby making something out of that, but he wasn’t around to help and nobody thought to look to him for inspiration.This is not the worst movie ever made. Its not even a particularly horrible one, but the more I think of it, the more problems I’m drawn to. That’s never good. For all the particular problems I could point to, the biggest one is that the middle third of the movie is pretty much all exposition. Characters explaining things. Explanations are good, even helpful, but an action-adventure film needs action, and adventure, and Indiana Jones spends much too much time as a prisoner of the Russians, tied to a chair, talking.And what about the particulars? Starting at the top, the thing that annoyed me most was the soft lighting. Pretty much the whole movie was soft lit. Harrison Ford’s not that old. Neither is Karen Allen. There was no reason for it. Next were the duck falls. There were four of them. The duck in question is the amphibious car used by our heroes to escape the Russians. First, its driven over a very high cliff and into a river. There’s really no reason they shouldn’t have all been killed. But they go on down the river and over three water falls, each bigger than the last, and they all escape unharmed. There’s a difference between an incredible stunt and an unbelievable one. This was my introduction to Shia LaBeouf. Some people really don’t like him, but I didn’t have any problems with his character or performance. I did have a problem with the protracted Tarzan homage. What was that about? Don’t get me started on the nuclear explosion and the gophers and the too widespread use of CGI (except for a brief trip to Hawaii, this film was pretty much all filmed on a sound stage and it suffers for it).In a word, or four: I didn’t like it. Its not Catwoman bad. Since I now own it, it may well be popped into the DVD player again, but certainly not any time soon.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

By David Bird in Blog on October 17, 2011

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)Directed by Steven Speilberg, Starring Harrison FordThis past week has been Indiana Jones week at the Bird household. We’ve watched all of them in order and enjoyed... most of it. This was the first time I’d seen the fourth one. I had heard a lot of bad things, but I had also heard that lowered expectations help.This movie was set 19 years after the last one--and released was 19 years after the last one--and opens with the Russians taking control of a secret US facility, opening their car trunk, and revealing their prisoners: Indiana Jones and some guy named Mac, I’ve never heard of. The Russians are after something and believe Doctor Jones can help them find it. They’re right, it turns out, and in no time at all Jones loses his job, meets his son, and ends up in South America looking for the lost city of gold, which turns out to be an alien spaceship. Writing that down I see Jack Kirby making something out of that, but he wasn’t around to help and nobody thought to look to him for inspiration.This is not the worst movie ever made. Its not even a particularly horrible one, but the more I think of it, the more problems I’m drawn to. That’s never good. For all the particular problems I could point to, the biggest one is that the middle third of the movie is pretty much all exposition. Characters explaining things. Explanations are good, even helpful, but an action-adventure film needs action, and adventure, and Indiana Jones spends much too much time as a prisoner of the Russians, tied to a chair, talking.And what about the particulars? Starting at the top, the thing that annoyed me most was the soft lighting. Pretty much the whole movie was soft lit. Harrison Ford’s not that old. Neither is Karen Allen. There was no reason for it. Next were the duck falls. There were four of them. The duck in question is the amphibious car used by our heroes to escape the Russians. First, its driven over a very high cliff and into a river. There’s really no reason they shouldn’t have all been killed. But they go on down the river and over three water falls, each bigger than the last, and they all escape unharmed. There’s a difference between an incredible stunt and an unbelievable one. This was my introduction to Shia LaBeouf. Some people really don’t like him, but I didn’t have any problems with his character or performance. I did have a problem with the protracted Tarzan homage. What was that about? Don’t get me started on the nuclear explosion and the gophers and the too widespread use of CGI (except for a brief trip to Hawaii, this film was pretty much all filmed on a sound stage and it suffers for it).In a word, or four: I didn’t like it. Its not Catwoman bad. Since I now own it, it may well be popped into the DVD player again, but certainly not any time soon.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Stay up to date on the latest NYCC coverage with us!

Stay up to date on the latest NYCC coverage with us!

By xaraan in Blog on October 15, 2011

Stay up to date on the latest NYCC coverage with us!Authors: xaraanRead more http://theouthouseblog.tumblr.com/post/11492144765

Johnson, Abe, and Sir Edward

Johnson, Abe, and Sir Edward

By David Bird in Blog on October 14, 2011

Lobster Johnson: The Iron Prometheus (June 2008)Abe Sapien: The Drowning (September 2008)Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels (April 2010)This time its three separate stories, each featuring a supporting character from the Hellboy universe. We get a 40s pulp hero, a cast regular, and a 19th century predecessor to the Bureau’s many monster hunters.The Lobster, a.k.a. Lobster Johnson, is a quasi-mythical character in the Mignola-verse. We know he was real, but not everyone believes in him. A Dr. Gallsragas has invented a suit of armour powered by Vril energy—the Hyperborian power source that would powered Atlantis. Nazi agents, working in a pre-war America, capture him and his daughter, but his assistant escapes to find aid from the Lobster and his claw of justice. This battle puts him up against another party wanting the suit, Memnan Saa, an earlier version of whom will show up in another of these volumes.The premise for Abe’s story is much more straight forward. A century ago Witchfinder Edward Grey stopped a warlock named Vrooman by driving a rare and mystical lipu dagger into his heart. Bruttenholm wants that knife and since its located in the waters off Saint Sebastien, Abe is the perfect man to get it. If only things really were that straight forward.The last book, starring the aforementioned Edward Grey, takes place in Victorian London. A group of archaeologists returns with thoughts of professional glory and a terrible secret that is systematically killing them, one after the other.I enjoyed these books the first time, and I enjoyed them more on re-reading. The Iron Prometheus captures the fun and the crazy inventiveness of the pulp novels and early comics—and marries it well to the Mignola-verse. There are even times in which Jason Armstrong, the artist, thanks to the tech and the big and brutish heroes manages to invoke something Kirby-esque, though I don’t think that was ever his goal. In the Service of Angels provides us with our first real look at Edward Grey, a Victorian occult detective whose career was a real influence on Bruttenholm, and subsequently the Bureau itself. The story is really good, and effortlessly connects with everything from the B.P.R.D.’s Hollow Earth and King of Fear arcs to Memnan Saa, but the character of Grey himself is left undeveloped. He’s a Victorian gentleman and an occult detective. That’s about it. There’s been another story arc since this one, which I haven’t read (waiting on the trade as I am), so there may have been more since, but as it stands I recommend it on the strength of the story.One thing I did like about Grey was that he confronted the demonic with appeals to God. He doesn’t come across as a particularly religious character, but it was nice to see someone fight fire with water for a change. When you fight fire with fire, everything is burnt.And that brings me back to my continuing problem in seeing Abe as a lead character. The Drowning is easily the best Abe solo story to date, and it recounts his first solo adventure (so he is supposed to be a bit of a noob), but I would have to put the story over the character when it comes to recommendations. That’s one thing with a new character like Grey; it’s quite another with one of the series’ originals. Unlike the other two stories, we don’t really learn much about the broader Mignola-verse--except when the focus is off our hero. Moreover, the art is too static. Alexander has talent, no question, but I was never drawn in. It doesn’t help that Dave Stewart’s colouring gives it a jaundiced hue.So, three good stories. I would rank them: Lobster, Witchfinder, Abe.I am not through the initial list of trades, but--at this time, anyway--I think I am going to call it a day. Its been fun, and I’ve enjoyed re-reading, but I started this as soon as I posted the last one. That was in August. Time to admit the drive just isn’t there any more.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Johnson, Abe, and Sir Edward

Johnson, Abe, and Sir Edward

By David Bird in Blog on October 14, 2011

Lobster Johnson: The Iron Prometheus (June 2008)Abe Sapien: The Drowning (September 2008)Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels (April 2010)This time its three separate stories, each featuring a supporting character from the Hellboy universe. We get a 40s pulp hero, a cast regular, and a 19th century predecessor to the Bureau’s many monster hunters.The Lobster, a.k.a. Lobster Johnson, is a quasi-mythical character in the Mignola-verse. We know he was real, but not everyone believes in him. A Dr. Gallsragas has invented a suit of armour powered by Vril energy—the Hyperborian power source that would powered Atlantis. Nazi agents, working in a pre-war America, capture him and his daughter, but his assistant escapes to find aid from the Lobster and his claw of justice. This battle puts him up against another party wanting the suit, Memnan Saa, an earlier version of whom will show up in another of these volumes.The premise for Abe’s story is much more straight forward. A century ago Witchfinder Edward Grey stopped a warlock named Vrooman by driving a rare and mystical lipu dagger into his heart. Bruttenholm wants that knife and since its located in the waters off Saint Sebastien, Abe is the perfect man to get it. If only things really were that straight forward.The last book, starring the aforementioned Edward Grey, takes place in Victorian London. A group of archaeologists returns with thoughts of professional glory and a terrible secret that is systematically killing them, one after the other.I enjoyed these books the first time, and I enjoyed them more on re-reading. The Iron Prometheus captures the fun and the crazy inventiveness of the pulp novels and early comics—and marries it well to the Mignola-verse. There are even times in which Jason Armstrong, the artist, thanks to the tech and the big and brutish heroes manages to invoke something Kirby-esque, though I don’t think that was ever his goal. In the Service of Angels provides us with our first real look at Edward Grey, a Victorian occult detective whose career was a real influence on Bruttenholm, and subsequently the Bureau itself. The story is really good, and effortlessly connects with everything from the B.P.R.D.’s Hollow Earth and King of Fear arcs to Memnan Saa, but the character of Grey himself is left undeveloped. He’s a Victorian gentleman and an occult detective. That’s about it. There’s been another story arc since this one, which I haven’t read (waiting on the trade as I am), so there may have been more since, but as it stands I recommend it on the strength of the story.One thing I did like about Grey was that he confronted the demonic with appeals to God. He doesn’t come across as a particularly religious character, but it was nice to see someone fight fire with water for a change. When you fight fire with fire, everything is burnt.And that brings me back to my continuing problem in seeing Abe as a lead character. The Drowning is easily the best Abe solo story to date, and it recounts his first solo adventure (so he is supposed to be a bit of a noob), but I would have to put the story over the character when it comes to recommendations. That’s one thing with a new character like Grey; it’s quite another with one of the series’ originals. Unlike the other two stories, we don’t really learn much about the broader Mignola-verse--except when the focus is off our hero. Moreover, the art is too static. Alexander has talent, no question, but I was never drawn in. It doesn’t help that Dave Stewart’s colouring gives it a jaundiced hue.So, three good stories. I would rank them: Lobster, Witchfinder, Abe.I am not through the initial list of trades, but--at this time, anyway--I think I am going to call it a day. Its been fun, and I’ve enjoyed re-reading, but I started this as soon as I posted the last one. That was in August. Time to admit the drive just isn’t there any more.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Keep an eye on New Comic Day’s site every wednesday for...

Keep an eye on New Comic Day’s site every wednesday for...

By xaraan in Blog on October 14, 2011

Keep an eye on New Comic Day’s site every wednesday for weekly updates on one of the best web comic series out there.Authors: xaraanRead more http://theouthouseblog.tumblr.com/post/11447280789


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Outhouse News Roundup 10/14

Outhouse News Roundup 10/14

By xaraan in Blog on October 14, 2011

Biggest news stories and article from the week:With New York Comic Con starting up this week the world of comicbook news will be on hyperdrive.  Keep up with the latest Comic Con news here.And check out our Day 1 article on NYCC as the festivities get started.The Avengers garnered a ton of geek attention this week as the first official trailer debuted.  If you haven’t seen… what are you waiting for?  Watch it.Now that DC’s 52 relaunch has wrapped up a few of our writers have gone to task one how the relaunch worked out for DC. • Idiot’s Guide Weekly asks Is the New 52 Doing It’s Job? • One new DC reader gives his view of the new DC relaunch. • And check out the Outhouse’s official 52apalooza review rankings to see how all the books ranked against each other with our reviewers. • DC put it’s own mark on the discussion with the news that they sold five million books in six weeks. • IGW also talks cross-promoting idie books during DC’s relaunch.Fans seem happy about the news that Ann Nocenti is taking over writing chores on Green Arrow.Though reactions vary on the news that Gail Simone is leaving Firestorm.The pain of DC’s exclusive Graphic Novel deal with amazon continues as Books-A-Million follows Barnes & Nobles example and drops DC graphic novels from their stores.Luther Strode continues to make waves as his books sell out and word of mouth builds on this amazing new series.If you’re curious about what everyday comic fans have to say about the latest books-  Check out the most recent What Outhousers are saying about Comics for short and fun quotes from readers.Don’t have time or desire to read every issue of a giant crossover?  Let Super-Reads do it for you as they cover the Fear Itself marvel event.The Outhouse interview with Animated Batman Year-One star Ben McKenzie.A few interesting discussions going on in the forums: • Nominations for Moment of the Week, Comic of the Week and Cover of the Week. • The horror unleashed by the news that Wonder Woman not born from magic clay, has a dad • A couple of interesting Star Wars discussions have popped up: New series “Dawn of the Jedi” by Ostrander and Duursema and news about the The Return of Darth Maul • And a discussion has started up about an interesting interview with Robert Kirkman.Don’t forget to check out and comment on the latest comics in our Newstand forum.  Don’t be shy!  We want to know what you think.And as always, support our webcomic creators and check out their latest:Our 31 Days of Halloween art feature with new art DAILY.The latest in Tales of Mr. Rhee.And every wednesday new updates from New Comic Day webcomic.Authors: xaraanRead more http://theouthouseblog.tumblr.com/post/11447080019

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