The GeeksverseNEWS Round-up | Nov. 17–23, 2012

NEWS Round-up | Nov. 17–23, 2012
Published on Friday, November 23, 2012 by
Chef Anthony Bourdain talks about comics and sushi, Ang Lee on what he did wrong with 2003’s Hulk, Alan Moore’s Act of Faith, Adrianne Palicki’s dream comic book movie roles, and more in this week’s NEWS Round-up. 

Anthony Bourdain is deadly serious about sushi

Chef, author, and TV personality Anthony Bourdain (Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations) recently sat down with the BBC’s Leigh Paterson at New York’s renowned Sushi Yasuda to talk about the finer points and myths of sushi and the inspiration behind Get Jiro!, his debut graphic novel work with co-writer Joel Rose and artist Langdon Foss published earlier this year by DC Comics under their Vertigo imprint. An excerpted transcript from the video interview:

[On “Get Jiro!”] I wanted to create an imaginary world where somebody who abuses sushi gets the punishment they deserve. What would happen if some jerk comes in here, immediately sits down, picks up a piece of nigiri, and sits it in the soy sauce and the rice starts crumbling? Instead of a gentle suggestion that “that’s not a good thing to do,” if the chef just leaned over and lopped his head clean off, I needed a world where that would be permissible.

We hold Anthony Bourdain and his opinions on cuisine in positive regard for the most part here in our corner of the Comixverse, but the underlying story ideas in Get Jiro! do come off a bit as smugly elitist—quite ironic for a chef who never hesitates to publicly profess his love for “working class” food and unadorned, simple cooking—although I suppose the ideas are extreme caricatures meant to be played for satirical effect. In any event, having a high-profile personality not normally associated with comics get into the graphic novel business and produce some generally well-received work can only help the medium of sequential art as a whole. Also, note to self: Do not dip the nigiri in the soy sauce on the off chance you find yourself sitting beside Bourdain in a sushi bar.

Chad Coleman added to The Walking Dead cast?

Entertainment Weekly is reporting that the character of Tyreese from The Walking Dead comics is set to make an appearance on the fall finale of AMC’s popular adaptation of the Robert Kirkman-penned title published by Image Comics, set to air on December 2. Speculation regarding Tyreese’s small screen appearance was further fueled by news that actor Chad Coleman (The Wire, I Hate My Teenage Daughter)—rumored to have been offered the part—has been spotted in the Atlanta area where shooting for The Walking Dead is currently being conducted.

Will actor Chad Coleman (R), best known to TV audiences for his role as Dennis “Cutty” Wise on HBO’s The Wire, play Tyreese (L) on AMC’s The Walking Dead?

Ang Lee on 2003’s Hulk: “I should have had more fun with it.”

In an interview with Vulture‘s Jennifer Vineyard, Oscar-winning director Ang Lee mused briefly on what he thought he did wrong with the 2003 film Hulk:

Vulture: How did doing The Hulk prepare you for [Life of Pi]? And what did you think of Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk in The Avengers?

Ang Lee: I learned quite a bit about CG from The Hulk, and I wouldn’t have been able to do Life of Pi without that. But it’s easier to create an animal, because there exists a good reference—so a tiger or a hyena is easier than a 2,000-pound rage monster. The hardest thing to do is the weight, not the skin, because there’s no reference for something that size that is agile. And the technology’s improved, so you can have more details with Mark’s Hulk. My problem is that I took the whole thing too seriously. I should have had more fun with it, instead of all the psychodrama! [Laughs.]

Ang Lee’s more contemplative take on the Stan Lee-Jack Kirby creation felt fresh to us in all honesty—even if the final fight scene with a thrown-together supervillain felt at odds with the rest of the film—and the quality of its CGI and animation hold up remarkably well almost a decade later. Hulk‘s mediocre Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes ratings (54% and 62%, respectively) seem to paint us as a minority in terms of audience reaction to the film, however.

Early Joker “concept art” on the auction block

A unique piece of Joker concept art by film and TV producer Michael Uslan is currently up for bid, with a reserve price of $2,443.

(L) In 1980, producer Michael Uslan used correction fluid to paint over a newsprint still of Jack Nicholson from “The Shining” to create an early concept art piece for a proposed Joker movie design. (R) Jack Nicholson as the Joker in 1989’s “Batman.” Also in the picture on the left: A textbook example of why spelling “flick” in block capital letters with narrow kerning is a bad idea when crafting a headline. Imagine if that headline had been about Clint Eastwood.

Film news site has the lowdown on the significance of the Wite-Out-on-newsprint item:

If you’re wondering why this is a big deal, it’s because Uslan is the man who was largely responsible for getting Burton (and eventually Nolan’s) Batman films up and running in Hollywood. The portrait is even cooler because it’s based on a photo of Jack Nicholson bursting through the bathroom door in The Shining—it’s like two cool pieces of movie-based memorabilia in one.

Uslan crafted the piece back in 1980 when he was trying to figure out how to get Hollywood onboard with the idea of making grittier and darker Batman films. He saw the image of Nicholson, painted over it with Wite-out, and the end result is a Joker concept piece that looks eerily faithful to the one Nicholson brought to the screen nine years later.

The auction is set to close on December 3 so if you’ve got two-and-a-half grand burning a hole in your pocket and not a whole lot of sense, or if you’re Nicolas Cage or something, it’s time to sack up and get your bid on.

Paul Cornell on the March 2013’s Wolverine #1

Last week, the lads over at iFanboy posted a “teaser” image hinting at a new Wolverine-based comic book to be presumably written by Paul Cornell (Dr. Who, Captain Britain and MI:13) and illustrated by Alan Davis (Excalibur, Clan Destine). Well, the musteline is out of the bag now as iFanboy has secured an exclusive interview with Cornell on the now-confirmed title. A highlight:

iFanboy: What can fans of Wolverine expect from this new ongoing series? How will you be kicking it off?

Paul Cornell: James is caught up in a hostage situation, which involves a threat to innocents from a very disciplined, ruthless new character, the nature of which we’re only gradually going to reveal. That turns into an action movie chase, where James is highly motivated to stop having to repeat something not very nice he had to do in front of one of said innocents. James is at his best when he’s protecting others. I’ve been a father for four weeks, and I asked myself, which super hero would I hand my baby to? And the answer is James Logan, because he will die before he sees that child hurt, and anyone who wants to do so has to get through the Wolverine. This title is about that balance between protector and berserker, between long-lived oddity and regular guy.

One thing the interview doesn’t address is how Alan Davis will be portraying the Canadian mutant’s visage and height. In recent years, depictions of Wolverine have tended to show him as a generically attractive superhero-type. Whatever happened to the hideously hirsute, distinctly-designed fireplug who became a surprise breakout hit with the readers in the 1970s and 1980s?

V for Viral, Part 2

Just a couple of weeks removed from the release of his first music single, comics author, magician, and facial hair enthusiast Alan Moore has again revealed another facet of the brilliant diamond that is his innate creativity with the YouTube premiere of his first work written for the screen. (Those shabby films based on his “unfilmable” 1980s comics that he refuses to watch don’t count, you see.)

The 18½-minute short film Act of Faith, directed by Mitch Jenkins and starring British actor Siobhan Hewlett (Fortysomething, Irina Palm) is a darkly humorous tale of a kinky sex game gone horribly wrong (well, it is sort of funny if you’re in the right mood). And yes, we think this is as good an indication as any that Moore is still in the “right kinky bastard” phase of his career that started in earnest with 2006’s Lost Girls. According to’s Motherboard, Act of Faith serves as the prologue to Jimmy’s End, a short film that will be featured on

… a non-linear, multi-platform TV series called The Show. Produced by Lex Projects, the occult, noir-flecked, Twin Peaks-ish films are Moore’s first work written specifically for the screen, and explore a strange alternate universe in Moore’s hometown of Northampton, a place he calls ‘Nighthampton.’

Editor’s Note: the short film embedded below is slightly NSFW-ish in nature, so you might want to view it under more discreet conditions. (Although it depends on where you work, I suppose.) Maybe you can turn your computer monitor away from your workmates’ prying eyes and pretend you’re streaming, I don’t know, BBC World News or something, although you’d be hard pressed to plausibly explain to them why the English correspondent is breathing heavily and talking about wearing “slutty clothes.”

Adrianne Palicki: “I’d really like to play Rogue.”

Model and actor Adrianne Palicki, whom we last saw playing soldier in the international trailer for the revamped G.I. Joe: Retaliation, recently had this to say in an interview with the A.V. Club:

A.V. Club: Between having done Wonder Woman, Smallville, and Aquaman, it seems like you’re eventually going to end up in a superhero movie.

Adrianne Palicki: I really hope so. I would love to play Wonder Woman on the big screen. And if not, Supergirl. I know it’s not the coolest character, but I fell in love with her. My brother is a comic-book writer, and I was always in love with comics. My brother would always be reading all these comics with these dudes, and I was this little blonde, mousy-looking child, and I looked at this beautiful, blonde, blue-eyed chick, and I was like, “I want to be her!” She was one of the very few that I found. Or Rogue. I’d really like to play Rogue.

You and several million fanboys (and fangirls), Adrianne, we’re sure.

A comics event priced for the rest of us

In their recent “Next Big Thing” conference call, writer Brian Bendis, senior vice-president of publishing Tom Brevoort, and director for sales and communications Arune Singh had a lot to say about next year’s Age of Ultron mini-series and its affiliated crossover event that will be the centerpiece of Marvel’s second quarter plans. Among other things, the core mini-series will feature art by Bryan Hitch, Brandon Peterson, and Carlos Pacheco. Something that might be buried under the anticipation and hype however, is Brevoort saying that “[Age of Ultron] won’t be a budget buster,” referring to the fact that the central mini-series will only be ten issues long and that crossover tie-ins will be limited to another ten issues spread out over six or seven Marvel titles. That’s still a lot of scratch for “floppies”—20 comics is still pushing $80 and the inevitable trade paperbacks will surely offer better value—but still, kudos to Brevoort and company for scaling down these events. Armchair publishers can debate and theorize all day long about why the North American comics market is shrinking, but the high cost of entry compared to competing forms of entertainment is ultimately one of the most significant factors in the equation defining the industry’s declining unit sales.

Age of Ultron will ship from March to June 2013.

Aquaman headlines Throne of Atlantis

IGN recently spoke with writer Geoff Johns who discussed his plans for Aquaman in the upcoming Aquaman-Justice League crossover, Throne of Atlantis, set to launch next month with Aquaman #15. An excerpt:

IGN: … you’re known for really giving new life to characters that haven’t been as popular in recent years. What’s your philosophy on revamping or reworking characters? How do you find that new hook to engage readers like you have with Aquaman?

Geoff Johns: Well, with Aquaman I worked with such talented guys, Ivan Reis and Joe Prado. And he’s a great character. I mean, Aquaman’s a great character, he just hasn’t been positioned in a role of importance in a long, long time. We tried to do that in this series; give him this platform because he deserves it, and give a very different perception of Aquaman while at the same time staying true to who the character is. Showing his power level, his fortitude, his sense of honor and commitment and responsibility, and hopefully showing everything that makes a hero a hero. I think Aquaman embodies that more than a lot of other heroes out there.

He’s unique in the sense that he does it without ego. He doesn’t always have to be right. He’s made a lot of mistakes, and he really takes those to heart. At the end of The Others, it’s clear that he’s not entirely comfortable being heralded as a hero because he’s just trying to do his best. But his best isn’t always the right thing.

Re-introducing Aquaman and getting him to a place like that and then ultimately having him headline a Justice League storyline that crosses over between his book and Justice League really is the culmination of where we’ve been going with the character since the beginning. His role in this will change the Justice League storyline, it will change him, and it will send them both in new directions.

Well, Johns has his work cut out for him, we’ll give him that. Of late, the character of Aquaman seems to have found more traction in the pop culture consciousness as some sort of running superhero gag, as evidenced by his repeated and continued skewering in TV shows like The Big Bang Theory, Family Guy, South Park, and Robot Chicken and various humor websites—this one in particular—all of which combined presumably have a larger audience than comics currently have.

This leads us to muse: Not that DC would actually do something like it, but would an irreverent Aquaman book that fully embraces the comedic station the larger pop culture world has assigned the character be more commercially successful than DC’s recent efforts to position him as an especially relevant and serious player in the DCU?

December’s The Dark Knight Rises Blu-Ray/DVD will have a special feature on Bane concept art

Movie news site Screen Crush has posted some of the character concept art images that will come with the Blu-Ray/DVD of the summer’s The Dark Knight Rises, set for release on December 4.

(Left) Bane illustration by co-creator Graham Nolan; (Center) unused Bane design concept sketch for “The Dark Knight Rises,” (Right) Bane as played by Tom Hardy in “The Dark Knight Rises”

Seeing one of the unused designs and the actual design used in the film alongside Graham Nolan’s 1993 design that debuted in print in the Vengeance of Bane one-shot, we feel compelled to remark just how different the film design ended up being. Nolan (no relation to The Dark Knight Rises director Christopher Nolan) had no problems with the costume design changes, though, saying in a March 2012 interview with the Coventry Telegraph that

I like what I have seen so far. I understand the need to change certain things for a film adaptation. The Batman costume of film is not the one in the comics either. It’s more important to get the character right.

Still, we wonder how a costume more similar to the comic book design would have appeared on film. On the one hand, a more faithful recreation of Nolan’s design might very well have ended up looking like Pulp Fiction‘s Gimp. On the other, cosplayers and amateur costume designers over the years have been able to create comics-accurate Bane costumes that don’t look nearly as silly (relatively speaking) as one might think they would appear in real life:

An unidentified Bane cosplayer (center) flanked by Bane co-creators Graham Nolan (left) and Chuck Dixon (right) at Megacon 2012 in Orlando, Florida

Note however, that Nolan’s original design for Bane’s mask had holes for the eyes, nose, and mouth. As he explained to Comic Book Movie earlier this year:

[Bane’s] original mask was more of a Mexican wrestling mask. His eyes, nose, and mouth holes were open. I did it this way for two reasons. 1) to be able to show expressions. 2) Because of where he’s from, it’s probably the only type of mask he would have been exposed to. Editorial decided they wanted a more mysterious look so those holes were covered up. I think they made a good call on that.

Nolan’s luchador-inspired original mask design eventually did show up on screen in season 2 of Batman: The Animated series, in the episode simply titled “Bane” (original airdate: September 10, 1994).


Jim Zubkavich on Skullkickers and the occult power of adjectives

Talking to CBR‘s TJ Dietsch, writer and artist Jim Zubkavich explained the occult motivation behind the upcoming re-numbering and title change of the Image Comics print edition of his popular “anything goes” action-comedy webcomic Skullkickers—it will be called The Uncanny Skullkickers come February:

After doing a lot of comic market research and consulting the dark gods of pulp and staples under the light of a waxing moon, I realized that Marvel has been using “power words,” magical adjective sigils that imbue their many comic titles with far-reaching popularity and commercial success.

Although it’s risky, I felt it was important to test and see if this descriptive sorcery could be used to empower a creator-owned title with a sliver of that same magical might. If Marvel feels 2013 is a good year to make such strong use of “Uncanny,” then why not use that same spark to fuel my sales bonfire?

Truly, Skullkickers is one of the great literary masterworks of our time.

Ever the considerate comic creator, Zubkavich has ensured that old fans and readers new to the property alike will find something to like about The Uncanny Skullkickers #1:

… we’re not adding any crossovers, prelude issues, checklists or continuity mazes for readers to figure out. If you bought issues #1-18 of “Skullkickers” or our three trade paperbacks then you’re perfectly prepared for “Uncanny.” If you haven’t, you’re still good to go. “Uncanny Skullkickers” #1 has an entertaining little recap of important story points so new readers are well-versed in our skull-kicking lore before the new adventure begins.

In fact, if you did buy all our issues and are feeling blue that we’re relaunching with a new #1 and your previous run is bunk, don’t worry! Our “B cover” is a special “issue #19 variant” so your collection numbering can stay perfectly intact. We’ve covered all the bases. Old and new. Classic and relaunch. Chocolate and peanut butter.

The Uncanny Skullkickers #1—or Skullkickers #19, if you prefer to stick with the “classic” title and numbering—goes on sale on February 2013.

And the guy wearing the Spidey costume in next year’s Superior Spider-Man is…

… somebody we’re not going to discuss just yet in this space.

Okay, we know what you’re asking: Where’s the part in today’s Round-up where you nerds leech off of another comics news website’s work and make with the snarky comments about what’s going on in Amazing Spider-Man #698 and what it means for next year’s The Superior Spider-Man series?

Well, the spoilers are a very big deal, apparently, and if you’re anything like us (not a bad thing, incidentally, we’re sort of cool, or at least our nephews and parents say so) and often read your comics days or even weeks after they come out, you might not appreciate seeing the spoilers plastered all over here, even though by the time this article hits teh InterWebs, the issue in question will have been out on shelves for at least 36 hours and The Flame Wars over Amazing Spider-Man #698 will presumably be in full swing in various comic geek enclaves. Besides, we don’t want to risk even the outside chance of getting Twitter-banned by Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott like the blokes at Cosmic Book News did for breaking the spoiler embargo.

We’ll be doing the usual news commentary on the story in next week’s Round-up, though, but if you’re really desperate to find out what the big deal is and you just can’t wait til then, you can hit up the usual suspects (Newsarama, CBR, Bleeding Cool) who’ve probably spoiled the reveal by now or hey, you can even buy Amazing Spider-Man #698 and read the damn thing.

We’re willing to bet though, that if you wait long enough, the ground-breaking, bowels-emptying, mind-blowing, things-will-never-be-the-same-again developments in Amazing Spider-Man and the upcoming Superior Spider-Man probably won’t mean all that much to the character in question in the long run. After all, Status Quo is God—until upending the status quo becomes more immediately marketable, of course.

There. Snarky enough? Too jaded?

Good Vibrations

Shoulderpads? Check. Extraneous seams and piping? Check. Fingerless gloves? Check. This costume officially passes the “New 52″ 1990s-design certification process

In our inaugural News Round-up, we sort of took DC to task over their decision to return 1980s cast-off Vibe to the spotlight as part of their efforts to make minorities more visible in their comics, noting that artist George Pérez—an American of Puerto-Rican descent—found the stereotypical depiction of the character to be so abhorrent that when he was working on the JLA/Avengers limited series, where every member of the Justice League and the Avengers appeared at least once, he only drew Vibe’s legs on-panel. (Although what we were really taking issue with was how MTV Geek writer Valerie Gallaher presented the news as some sort of courageous blow for diversity, as the well-meaning-but-wrongheaded “see, you people can even have your own superhero now” attitude stemmed from her article, and not anything officially and directly quoted from DC’s offices.)

Newsarama‘s Vaneta Rogers recently caught up with Andrew Kreisberg, who will be co-writing the new Vibe series with Geoff Johns in February of next year, and any concerns we held that the new book would just be an excuse for the publisher to claim a superficial and exploitative sense of credibility with readers of Latino descent were largely mitigated by his responses: Kreisberg spends the interview talking about Vibe as a superhero like any other, not as a super-powered token minority “representative,” and Rogers, to her credit, avoids asking the obvious and easy bullet-point questions about the character’s ethnicity or sexuality. Still, this wouldn’t be a Round-up unless we needled the hype machine for something, and so we turn our focus to this sterling excerpt (emphasis added our own):

Newsrama: I think he wasn’t given much of a chance because he was so linked to break dancing, and he also had such a dated costume. I assume those are both gone?

Kreisberg: Yeah, we have an amazing redesign on the costume [by Jim Lee]. It really echoes his original, but it’s updated to be cool. And I can make a fairly strong prediction that there will be extremely little break dancing in my run.

You know, it’s funny, because he was so born out of his time. Not to disparage the people behind creating him, but I think there was this attempt to say, “Well, here’s what’s hot and hip in the zeitgeist, so let’s create a hero to speak to that.” And with that approach, that’s why some of these characters don’t stick.

The new costume is definitely different from the original, but going from “coke-addled 1980s dayglo disco” to “mid-1990s X-Games snowboarder chic” is more of a lateral promotion than a pronounced step up in our opinion, although to be fair to Kreisberg, he does say that the book will be “owning the cheese.”

Well, that’s your NEWS Round-up for this week. Until next time: READ BETWEEN THE HYPE!
4 Responses
    • Renumbering Skull Kickers is fun. Love the adjective joke.

      In regards to Ang Lee’s film, maybe I need to go back and rewatch it. I don’t remember it being any fun at all. I don’t remember it being that coherent, but maybe its me. That film came just before everyone expected much much more from comic films. In my memory it belongs to that generation of films before Avengers that had low expectations and only occasionally worked.

      • Ang Lee’s Hulk sort of falls apart for me towards the end, but the liberties taken with the Hulk’s size aside (I remember watching a behind-the-scense feature where the modelers talked about the Hulk getting bigger or smaller depending on how angry he was), I thought the CG and animation for the Hulk looked very, very good for its time (heck, I think it’s better than a lot of current high-budget CG, and that film was made almost a decade ago) and I suppose that leads me to overlook whatever flaws the story or performances might have.

        It’s not because they were working with some secret, super-advanced, super-expensive rendering technology unavailable to other studios, either… it’s because the movie’s programmers and animators gave proper emphasis to modeling the Hulk’s physics correctly, or at least as close as possible to our intuition of how a one-ton superhuman mass of muscle would move in the real world. The Norton Hulk and the Ruffalo Hulk, by comparison, look slightly too “bouncy” to me, like they were operating under a different gravity than the rest of the cast.

        • Actually, one thing that I like is the Hulk changing size with his anger even if I don’t think it’d be terribly noticeable most of the time. The physics of those super leg jumps and the weight of that muscular frame is a bit speculative I suppose. I can see what you mean about “bouncy” but that could also be stronger leg muscles. Or not.

          Bane has the same basic problem, shifting to another news note of interest in this review. He clearly shifts size in reference not to anger but to how much Venom he dials in. My favorite Bane is the Batman Beyond Bane as an old man in a wheel chair as a burnt out drug addict with a collapsed body.

          My second favorite Bane is Young Justice with the full on luchedore flair in season 1.

          I do like how the newer comics and Avengers film clearly keep Hulk tied to the redos of the super soldier project that created Captain America. Bane has always seemed like an Anti-Captain America too with the power and without the responsibility.

          • I didn’t mind the size-changing Hulk too much myself (until the part where he got something like 20 feet tall in the underground lab), but IIRC, it was one thing that annoyed a lot of comics geeks about Ang Lee’s take on the character. The bounciness in the Ruffalo and Norton Hulks… I don’t know, I’ll have to watch those films again, but I remember thinking while watching the Avengers that even his hair and the torn fabric on his pants seemed to have slightly wonky physics. Or maybe it was just the 3D screwing it up for me (my eyes get fatigued easily watching 3D because of asymmetrical visual acuity).

            The super soldier tie-in with the movie Hulk is something they took from the Ultimate Marvel Comics, along with Sam Jackson Fury and the WWII designs for movie Cap (not a fan of Cap’s costume in the Avengers, BTW, it looks like a Jim Lee “New 52″-style update). I do think Marvel had some very good ideas with the early Ultimate Marvel books (Ultimate FF, especially) but at some point, they just became as impenetrable continuity-wise to new readers as the regular MU books, running counter to the line’s original remit as a “streamlined” newbie-friendly version of the MU.


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