The original Cryptic Studios box art for City of Heroes
In a surprise statement yesterday, Paragon Studios announced that would be closing its doors forever. All development on its popular City of Heroes online game has been halted, and the service will close sometime before the end of 2012. It was parent company NCSoft’s decision to close its wholly owned subsidiary. No explanation for the closure has yet been offered. All recurring billing and Paragon Market purchases have ceased effectively immediately.
The players went immediately to the City of Heroes the official forums to express their shock and disbelief; the move came as a surprise to nearly everyone, as from a player’s perspective the game had been doing very well. A petition to get NCSoft to save Paragon Studios and City of Heroes has been set up at change.org, but the move may be financially motivated. The revenues City of Heroes generates may be enough to sustain Paragon, or enough to allow NCSoft to move forward with its next big project with which to grow the parent company, but not both. By the end of the year, despite the petition, City of Heroes players may be displaced by the hundreds of thousands.
City of Heroes was launched in 2004, developed by Cryptic Studios and published by NCSoft. The game was the focus of a heated copyright infringement dispute launched by Marvel Comics. Marvel’s assertion was that the superhero designer features of CoH made it possible to infringe on Marvel-held copyrights by allowing users to recreate copyrighted character designs. The suit was thrown out when it was discovered that Marvel’s legal team had fabricated its own evidence.
City of Heroes was followed by the release of City of Villians and various other spinoff titles; most recently Krypton Radio reported on a promotional effort as recently as last April for the eigth anniversary of the world’s most popular superhero MMO. Obviously, at that point Paragon had no clue that NCSoft might be planning to shut them down before the year was out.
“Rex Velvet” in real life is a wedding photographer, according to real life superhero Phoenix Jones. Jones considers him a distraction, but not an actual threat to anyone.
Oh, the irony.
In a petition posted on July 10, 2012, self-described real life supervillian Rex Velvet seeks to have real life superhero vigilantes outlawed. In the petition, targeted to Washington State governor Christine Gregoire, Velvet (who declines to state his real name and sports a bowler, an eyepatch and a fake handlebar moustache in photographs) suggests that costumed vigilante superheroes do more harm than good and, for the safety of themselves and the communities in which they operate, should be outlawed.
In the petition, he specifically targets Phoenix Jones, pointing at him as the example of why real life superheroes don’t work as intended. He describes the superheroes as “hobo snitches”, “fakes” and “problem children” who insert themselves into private disputes. He complains that Phoenix Jones in particular is asking people for donations, yet he himself is making a buck off his own notoriety by selling a line of t-shirts. While Jones’ fundraising is ostensibly used in service of the public, it’s not clear where Velvet’s t-shirt money is going.
However, while he calls for superheroes in real life being made illegal, his distaste for the immensely popular Phoenix Jones in particular is well recognized, and he resorts to insulting rhetoric instead of supporting his premise.
Comments on the online petition range generally from observations that self-styled superheroes are largely untrained and have unrealistic expectations of their ability to even survive a significant conflict, much less prevail in one, to favorable statements of support for the superheroes. One poster said that violent crime has dropped 73% since the costumed heroes had taken to the streets in Tampa Bay, Florida (this statistic could not be confirmed). This seems to be in line with the general approval Phoenix Jones has had in his home territory of Seattle, Washington – while his patrols have not been without their problems, and he was, in fact, arrested on suspicion of assault last October, the Seattle press continues to recognize and be supportive of his work with the public.
Rex Velvet’s petition was posted about six weeks ago, and in that time has only accumulated 207 “signatures”. Unfortunately such online petitions are not taken very seriously by law makers, since there is no way to verify the identity of the people “signing” them. Abuse of such online petitions is common, with creators often stuffing the ballot box with supportive votes.
SoCal Creators Unite is a unique opportunity for independent comic book artists and writers to meet, mingle and get to know one another.
The first meeting will be held on September 8th from 7:30pm-10:00pm
at Emerald Knights in Burbank.
****THIS EVENT IS LIMITED TO 20 ARTISTS AND 20 WRITERS. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED AND ON A FIRST COME BASIS****
What to expect:
This is a fast-paced and fun event for comic book writers and comic book artists at all stages of their craft to meet up with other creators looking for collaborators, work-for-hire or partner. Tables will be set up in the room with artists on one side and writers on the other. Every five minutes, all the writers in the room will rotate to a new artist. Artists will remain seated. In between you will discuss projects, show art and get a feel for one another.
Registration is required:
We require registration through this site. If the seats are full, we will put you on a waiting list. If you are unable to be part of this meeting, we will put you at the head of the registration list for a future meeting.
“How do you bring the Dark Knight out into the Light?”
Edward Nigma, otherwise known as The Riddler, asks that question as he unveils his plot to draw out Batman and turn Gotham City against him. I rarely say this, but this is one fan made film that really blows me away on not just film quality but the acting and story. If you’re familiar with the amazing phenomenon of fan made movies and television shows, then it’s possible you’ve already come across this wonderful piece of cinematic art BATMAN: PUPPET MASTER, by Director Bryan Nest and writer Chris Wiltz.
In the wake of the summer’s most anticipated film, The Dark Knight Rises ,comes a new short fan film that expands on and enhances the universe of The Dark Knight.
Following the events of The Dark Knight, Batman has become a wanted criminal after assuming responsibility for both Harvey Dent’s crimes and Dent’s murder. When Gotham P.D.’s manhunt yields no results it attracts national attention and outside law enforcement decides to step in.
FBI Special Agent Edward Nigma is brought in to assist Gotham P.D. Nigma is the best of the best – a man who has caught many of the world’s most notorious criminals, fugitives, and terrorists. He’s a man that lives for the hunt-for solving the case. Nigma’s investigation soon leads him to believe that Batman may be innocent of the charges against him, but Nigma also discovers a much greater challenge than catching Harvey Dent’s murderer. He wants to unmask the Batman. But for Nigma it won’t be enough to just catch Batman, he wants to outsmart him, he needs to be the one to figure out Batman’s secret identity – it’s the only way to prove he’s the world’s greatest detective.
For Nigma, the ends justify the means and he soon sets about playing both sides of the law in a deadly bid to wear Batman down and reveal the man behind the mask. Nigma enlists the help of a number of Arkham Asylum escapees, turning Gotham city into his own private chessboard. As Nigma’s obsession grows Batman finds himself forced to confront Nigma on his own terms in a dangerous game that could leave Gotham burned to the ground…
Batman: Puppet Master is a short fan film set in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight universe. The story is meant as a sequel to The Dark Knight and that takes place between that film andThe Dark Knight Rises. This is a film created by fans for fans and it delivers an exciting storyline that will introduce fans to new versions of Mr. Zsasz, The Ventriloquist, and Edward Nigma (aka The Riddler), who fans were expecting to appear in Nolan’s third Batman film.
I found this to be particularly engrossing, in that The Riddler has in most screen adaptations been portrayed as a games master, or a computer programer whose genius intellect and ego drive him mad when he’s wronged by some big corporation. This is a refreshing take on Nigma’s character who is expertly played by actor Wil Daniels, combined with an excellent performance by Frank Birney who stars as Arnold Wesker the infamous Ventriloquist behind Scarface, voiced by John DiCrosta. The film is not without it’s minor faults, as I didn’t find myself all that enamored with Puppet Master’s version of Batman, portrayed by Michael Connolly. I could tell that Mr. Connolly was giving a very heartfelt performance as Batman, and perhaps it’s just some bias on my part but my beloved version of Batman has always been the stone-faced type who speaks with the Kevin Conroy voice.
I’ll admit as wonderful as an actor as Christian Bale is, even his performance as Batman irked me slightly when he speaks in his version of Batman’s gruff disguised voice. Connolly’s Batman doesn’t disappoint on action at all, and shows perhaps a side of the Dark Knight that we’re not always used to seeing, Batman at his breaking point. And if you haven’t seen The Dark Knight Rises yet, that’s something you’ll get plenty of, when you witness Bane’s near destruction of Batman. Overall, Director Bryan Nest and his crew deliver a wonderful performance that I would highly recommend to any Batman fan; and I know that I would absolutely love to see Wil Daniels reprise his role of Edward Nigma with Frank Birney as Arnold Wesker in a big budget adaptation to follow Christopher Nolan’s trilogy.
I have to say that in Batman: Puppet Master, the villains really steal the show. Five out of Five Stars!
Potential spoiler alert: If you haven’t seen The Dark Knight Rises, you may want hold off on watching this video until you have.
This one was just too good to pass up. We thought it was the original actors at first, and though we don’t know a lot about where this video came from or who did it (the web site simply refers to the fact that it’s a parody and that they’re selling swag based on “No Bat Stache” and the song itself).
The production values are amazing. They nailed the look of most of the actors, and recreated the visual style of the Dark Knight Rises film for the video, so whoever did this really knew what they were doing.
This is not the first in a long line of “Maybe” parody videos, nor will it be the last. And it’s not the Batman parody we thought we needed. But it’s the Batman parody we deserve.
Ever fantasized about being a superhero? Wondered whether it’s really possible to build a suit like Iron Man’s, or what you’d have to do to become a real-life Batman? Do you think gamma radiation could really create an Incredible Hulk?
Join host Adam Weiner for an evening that will explore the “real” physics behind many of your favorite superheroes by connecting the actual science to the superhero fantasy.
His interactive presentation will analyze how the fundamental laws of physics are used, misused and manipulated by our favorite superheroes.
Taking scenes from “Superman” (1978), “Spider-Man” (2002), “The Hulk” (2003), “Spider-Man 3″ (2007), “Hancock” (2008), “Iron Man” (2008), “The Dark Knight” (2008), “X-Men: First Class” (2011) and “Thor” (2011), the program will demonstrate how the fictional world of Hollywood movies is also an effective and fascinating springboard into investigating science.
The evening will include conversations with some of the films’ creative teams, who will reveal how many of the scenes were created. Scientists will also be on hand to offer their unique perspectives on the intersection between superhero fiction and current scientific research.
Adam Weiner, author of Don’t Try This at Home! The Physics of Hollywood Movies, currently teaches physics at The Bishop’s School, a private high school in La Jolla, California.
Panelists: E. Paul Zehr – author, professor and director, Centre for Biomedical Research at the University of Victoria Spencer Cook – animation supervisor (SPIDER-MAN and SPIDER-MAN 3) Sean Carroll – author and senior research associate in physics at Caltech, and science advisor on THOR
Wednesday, August 15, 7:30 p.m.
Samuel Goldwyn Theater
8949 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Ticketed seating is unreserved.
$5 general admission/$3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID (limit 2 at the discounted price).
Tickets on sale starting July 30 online, in person at the Academy Box Office and by mail.
Now when many of us think of superheroes, we naturally tend to have images of Batman, or Iron Man, or many other spandex clad super powered people fighting crime. But when you really think about it, superheroes come in so many different forms. A lot of us call people superheroes for the sheer fact that they inspired us, or had an impact on our lives in a very significant way. One such person to have an impact on many people’s lives is none other than master artist Bob Ross. Mr Ross wasn’t a world famous comic book artist, he was a painter and a dreamer whose gentle demeanor and passion for art inspired many of us to take up the brush and get into the art world ourselves.
His fans know him from his world famous television show Joy Of Painting, where he taught his television audience painting techniques and frequently added happy little trees and happy little clouds to his works of art. Joy Of Painting ran from 1983 to 1994 on PBS, only being discontinued due to Ross having to retire and to battle cancer. Sadly he passed away in 1995, two years after his second wife had passed away, also from cancer. PBS recently released a wonderful musical tribute to Mr. Ross, featuring clips from his show, and titled it “Happy Little Clouds”.
So we thought we’d brighten up your Sunday with a happy little music video from PBS Digital Studios, featuring art legend Bob Ross.
The rise in interest in real life superheroes may have given Kevin Stark an idea – he wants to be surrounded by a sea of original superheroes next weekend. As curator of the Toy & Action Figure Museum in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, Mr. Stark is helping to spearhead what the museum is calling “International Superhero Day.” The museum is trying to set a world record for the most people in original superhero costumes in one place on August 4.
“I just want to see a town full of superheroes walking the streets like everyday citizens,” Stark said, recalling how in the 1960s “Batman” series, no one seemed surprised by Batman and Robin interacting with the city.
An important difference between this event and others like Comic-Con International in San Diego is that the point of this one is for everyone to come dressed in original costumes instead of ones based on existing characters. Stark wants to see creativity unleashed in this record-breaking attempt, as attendees will create their own characters, costumes and origins.
“I’m much more interested in that than having 100 Batmans show up or 1,000 Supermans. I want to see what people would come up with if they had a chance to be a superhero,” Stark said.
Fans can register now on the event page on Facebook. If you want to, you can register on site between 8 AM through 9:45 PM on August 4.