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It’s that time of year again. I am very lucky to say I’ll be attending Sundance for the 4th time! Every year I have been able to attend, there have been surprises.  Whether it’s a film with an unknown director and cast breaking out, as in Beasts of the Southern Wild, or Kevin Smith picketing his own movie when Red State premiered, and everything in-between, indie movies have the chance to light up Park City with unexpected buzz. New filmmakers and actors have a chance to step into the spotlight, and movies that would otherwise never make it to a wide audience have a chance to obtain distribution, whether that’s through traditional markets or newer markets, such as Netflix.

It was just announced yesterday that 20th Century Fox has staked out a release date for the third of their new Planet of the Apes movies.  The second film won’t be out for another seven months, but the next film will come to us in July of 2016.  This is where the film industry is at today.  The studios are doing everything they can to find a film franchise that they can milk for sequels until it’s time for the inevitable reboot.  Books are skimmed to find the new Hunger Games while board games (Battleship) and toy lines (The LEGO Movie) are in play to find a property that can sustain at least a trilogy of movies.  They are so terrified of (or have no access to) original story ideas that they’re now going into their back catalogs to regenerate obsolete series from the past.  Sony is bringing Robocop back to life in the next few weeks, and as dreadful as that thing looks, the studios feel it’s easier to sell the public a title they already know than try to sell them something original.

If you read Kristine Chester’s reviews of Issue #1 and #2 of Rat Queens, you know that this phenomenal fantasy series follows four hard-drinking, hard-fighting female mercenaries, Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric, and Betty the Hippy Hobbit Thief, collectively known as The Rat Queens!

The cover for 1 Night On Earth is compelling to say the least, with gritty, faded newsprint text and an image of a woman manning a jackhammer, a night cityscape behind her. This is no ordinary construction worker, however. The cover looks more like a cover for America’s Next Top Model, where they have taken a strikingly gorgeous woman and grunged her up, safety goggles around her neck, tousled hair blowing in the wind, tight, little white top, holding a jack hammer with her chin angled to the side, as she stares piercingly into the distance. In my imagination, the cameraman lays on the ground in front to capture this shot. All of this with the comic’s promise of “5 cities. 5 Stories. 1 Night.” The message is cryptic, yet direct, and still illusive. For me? Alluring. This cover made me want to know - what’s inside? What secret, mysterious stories await my discovery?

Golden Age tells the story of Rosa, a young girl in Northern Italy in 1946 who discovers an old, anti-Nazi comic on a dead solider and proceeds to train to be the superhero in the comic. I was confused what the authors' intent for the comic was. Was this a political commentary piece? An exploration of how children cope with fear? What was the story? After Rosa finds the comic, not much action is explored other than a couple of quick training sequences with her best friend and sidekick. The comic ends with Rosa running home, so she isn’t late for dinner. It doesn’t necessarily need more violence or action, it just needs to clearly establish a purpose. For me, this did not happen. I also felt that the authors worked too hard to mimic a young girl’s voice, and, instead, the tone comes off monotone and stagnant. Golden Age has the promise to be a rich, sweet tale of childhood and coping with fears. Instead, it leaves the reader wondering what the intent for the comic was and where the authors meant to take the reader.

The third time’s a charm when it comes to WarZone Girls Volume 1, Issue 3: Take Aim & Seize the Moment, as writer Thomas Nyman assembles the S-Squad for their best story yet. It’s clear with this latest issue that Nyman and the rest of his creative team have found their stride and a clear and strong direction for the WarZone Girls series.

SPOILERS BELOW

The Almighties Origins is a short comic that fills the gaps of their adventures in The Almighties #1 and their first official job for the US White House. The President has good reason to wonder about his new team of superheroes, since not all of them have the most pure motives for fighting crime.

There is a new graphic novel out (produced by Capcom of all companies) that is worthy of note.  I’m talking about Lost Planet: First Colony, a sci-fi action/thriller which primarily takes place on an exceptionally hostile and exceptionally cold planet.  Why is this worthy of note?  Aside from Capcom, there are several reasons.  Allow me to explain.

James Marsters, Kate Steele, and John Vickery head the cast of Salomé when L.A. Theatre Works presents Oscar Wilde’s masterpiece, the story of the exotic and seductive young woman whose obsession with revenge leads this Biblical tale to its inevitable end — the beheading of Jokanaan (John the Baptist), and Salomé’s infamous dance of the seven veils. The last of Wilde’s plays to be produced in his lifetime, Salomé was fraught with scandal and considered so provocative that it was frequently banned. All performances will be recorded live in front of an audience (without sets or costumes) to air on L.A. Theatre Works' syndicated radio theater series, which broadcasts weekly on public radio stations nationwide (locally, in Southern California, on KPFK 90.7 FM) and can be streamed on demand at www.latw.org.


You're invited to join Fanboy Comics for a graphic novel signing on Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014, from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. at The Comic Bug in Manhattan Beach, CA!

The creators (Michael Poisson, Matt Jacobs, and Oceano Ransford) of The Arcs, Fanboy Comics' latest graphic novel, will be on hand to sign copies of the book. In addition, copies of FBC's previous graphic novels, Identity Thief and Something Animal, will be available for sale. Fans who stop by the store will have a chance to pick up their very own signed copies and purchase the official Fanboy Comics t-shirt, so that they can show their geek pride in style.

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