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Jun 202014


Welcome to Four-Color Bullet for the week of June 18, 2014.

Over at Marvel this week, the Owl sets up shop as San Francisco’s new crime boss, and the one guy who could help Daredevil take him down has switched sides, in Daredevil #4;  In the Original Sin tie-in, Nova #18, Sam sets out to help solve the murder of the Watcher, but is the Nova Corps’ youngest member getting in over his head?  And in this Original Sin tie-in, the Avengers are sent fifty years in the future, where they come face-to-face with the consequences of their actions, in Avengers #31.

On DC Comics’ side of the fence, Firestorm is in trouble, and the horrifying future is revealed to Plastique, in Futures’ End #7;  Harley gets more than her pride wounded when she starts a bar fight after a roller derby match, and she and Poison Ivy team up to find out who hired those assassins, in Harley Quinn #7; A great escape! Gumm’s death trap defeated! The Dynamic Duo, Green Hornet, and Kato parting ways?! In this week’s Batman ’66 Meets the Green Hornet #3.

The long-awaited, unedited, and complete adaptation of Harlan Ellison’s Star Trek episode,  The City on the Edge of Forever hits comic shop shelves today, from IDW.

From Valiant, the best Harbinger story ever continues, as the series makes its way to its bound-to-be-explosive 25th issue, in Harbinger #24.
And from Dark Horse this week, Dracula has double-crossed the team and he’s taken the Vampyr book … and Xander! Now, Buffy and the rest of the Scooby Gang have to get them both back before the Lord of Vampires figures out how to use the book for his own ends, in Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season 10 #4.
Written by Jason Aaron Art by Mike Deodato Jr. MARVEL

Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Mike Deodato Jr.

Marvel’s murder mystery is halfway over and the questions just keep on coming. Last issue, Bucky went rogue and did the unthinkable, Moon Knight and Gamora are stranded in space, and now, the trail leads to one impossible suspect. This series just keeps getting better, turning into one of my must-reads every month. Jason Aaron’s writing is solid, and even though I’ve complained about Mike Deodato Jr.’s shadowy art, it works really well with this particular issue. And half of the reason I’m reading this is because of the pairings of investigative teams. I love that although Dr. Strange is Marvel’s expert on magic, he still needs the Punisher around for his ballistics expertise. And I’m not much for buying every tie-in to the series, but the ones I’ve read are actually really good. Still more questions than answers at this point, but I’m enjoying this event more than anything else Marvel’s done in the last year and a half. Just a really well done, thoughtfully crafted story. Here’s hoping the center holds.

Written by Harlan Ellison, David Tipton, and Scott Tipton Art by Juan Ortiz and J.K. Woodward IDW PUBLISHING

Written by Harlan Ellison, David Tipton, and Scott Tipton
Art by Juan Ortiz and J.K. Woodward

Harlan Ellison’s classic Star Trek episode The City on the Edge of Forever is regarded as the best episode of the series by anyone who even remotely claims to be a Star Trek fan. But the version we’ve seen on television differs widely from Ellison’s original screenplay, and very few fans have ever had the chance to see the screenplay in its entirety, the way Ellison intended. Writers Scott and David Tipton, who are no strangers to IDW’s Star Trekverse, have adapted Ellison’s complete and unedited screenplay to comic book form.  Series artist J.K. Woodward does some amazing painted artwork, providing a much larger sense of wonder, especially to the mysterious entities guarding the time portal.

Ellison’s screenplay was edited for television to an episode length because it was just too long. The first issue of the comic adaptation, however,  goes much slower, and barely scratches the surface of what’s to come. But that is far from a complaint. I see it as a good thing, only because the actual episode moved too quickly, and we couldn’t really appreciate Kirk and Spock’s plight, or the moral dilemmas. Slowing it down, though, should provide lots of room for story and character development.
One final thing. Ellison cleans up something that always seemed … I don’t know … silly to me. In the original episode, McCoy injects himself with a drug that has him acting like a bumbling crackhead, practically falling all over himself through the time portal into 1930. In this version, he’s replaced by a lieutenant on the Enterprise who deserts the crew when he’s exposed as a drug dealer. So it’s easy to see why that particular scene didn’t make it into the episode, since Star Trek was Gene Roddenberry’s grand and unsullied vision of the future. No drug dealers allowed.
I think this one’s going to be good, and just different enough to keep die-hard fans of the original episode interested. There’s nothing more satisfying than reading a good story the way it’s supposed to be told.
And that is Four-Color Bullet for this week. Feel free to comment or email me at your leisure.  But before I go, it is with a heavy heart that I announce that one of my favorite books will be ending in September. IDW’s Ghostbusters will be ending with issue 20 as it concludes the Ghostbusters ’30th anniversary Mass Hysteria story. Readers of  Four-Color Bullet know that Ghostbusters  was consistently one of my favorites, and I am heartbroken to see it go. I, and the rest of the gang here at Krypton Radio, wish writer Erik Burnham, penciler Dan Schoening, and the rest of the Ghostbusters team at IDW the best as they move on to other projects.
Even with Ghostbusters ending, it’s still a good time to be a comics fan. See ya next week!
Jun 102014

by Gene Turnbow, station manager

I was completely dumbfounded when I learned of the plight of game composers under the current American Federation of Musician’s (AFM) union rules when they were brought to light yesterday in a video presentation by Grammy nominated game music composer Austin Wintory.

The American Federation of Musicians is actually attempting to fine him a whopping $50,000 for working in his chosen field, and this is the same union that is supposed to be protecting his right to work. And it’s not just Austin Wintory. It’s every union game composer and musician.  There have been no new union video game soundtrack recordings in the past two years. There is no end in sight to the prohibition of this work.

Musicians and composers have to eat. Work isn’t going to stop because somebody in a suit says so. This is people’s lives we’re talking about. It’s the art they learned and love and what they got into the music business to do in the first place. The union is asking people to discard their life’s work, their hopes and their dreams, along with their paychecks, all because they had a testosterone fit and think they own the musicians instead of being there to serve their needs. Two years ago, this union forged a new industry contract and went into effect in 2012 without any input at all from publishers or producers, or more than 90,000 musicians and composers in the union having the opportunity to vote on it. As a result it was universally rejected by everyone, and nobody has accepted the terms of this new contract.

The AFM incorrectly assumed that the rest of the industry would toe the line and accept the new contract because it was the only choice possible. What happened instead was that no producers would sign the contract, leaving the musicians and composers no choice whatever if they wanted to eat. The musicians would happily work under a contract if there was a contract under which to work. But there isn’t.

So instead of fixing the problem, the union is now suing any musician that doesn’t discard their livelihoods and stand with the union instead of paying their rent. Austin Wintory is a well known composer for the gaming industry. He’s been nominated for a Grammy once, and he’s won two BAFTA awards. He found himself in the position of having to continue working, despite the union having stalled out on fixing the contract situation. He worked on a non-union game called The Banner Saga. He wanted to use AFM musicians, but the unusable contract forced him to look elsewhere: in this case, the Dallas Wind Symphony.

Wintory is now being punished for simply doing his job under those circumstances. In an article entitled “Education and Discipline in the Videogame Industry,” AFM President Ray Hair declares, “The time has come for education and discipline … within our ranks,” as well as within the video game industry. In other words, he believes he has the right to control the lives of the people he represents. When “leader” stops meaning “helping everyone else succeed and exceed” and starts meaning “master,” there’s a problem.

“I don’t think anybody gives you anything because they like you,” said AFM President Hair recently. “In the union business they give you things because they are afraid of what you are going to do to them.”

President Hair’s statement shows that he operates in his world by fear, not love of what he does or the people he works with. He is completely unable to distinguish between friend and foe, and intends to treat everyone with the same iron fist regardless of who they are. Being tough can be a good part of being a leader, so long as it is balanced by compassion for those you protect. Being tough to everyone indiscriminately is a very, very bad idea, and leads to nothing but destruction.

Making a living as a musician is a hard thing. Musicians don’t get into it to get rich. They get into it to do what they love, and they need the unions to make sure they can do the work and get paid for it, so that they can afford to keep doing it. They need the protection of the union, and they should have no reason to expect that the union will become their greatest foe and drive them completely out of the livelihoods they’ve spent a lifetime to achieve.

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Jun 062014

facebook_-102152902On the Event Horizon this Saturday is Russ Adams, well known to the viewing public for being one of the mad creatives on Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge.  Tune in this Saturday evening at 9PM Pacific, Sunday at 4PM Pacific, or next Thursday at 4PM Pacific to hear our conversation with this fascinating talented man.

An internationally known Special FX artist and Creature Creator, Russ Adams is an award winning special effect artist and founder of Escape Design FX. Self taught, he has 15 years experience in the FX and filmmaking industry.  In 2014, he was selected from nearly a thousand applicants to compete in Season 1 of the SyFy Channel’s newest skill based reality show, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge.


His wide ranging skill set was developed over his years of experience working within the independent film and theater communities. He has been credited with over a dozen indie films in the United States and many more spanning eight countries.

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The Event Horizon - it’s Sci-Fi for your Wifi.


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Jun 052014

Hey, comics fans! It’s Four-Color Bullet for the week of June 4, 2014. Thanks for checking in. New Comic Book Day is over, so let’s get to it, shall we?

Four-Color Bullet

For Marvel fans this week, Moon Knight investigates sleep experiment subjects who are being driven insane, in Moon Knight #4;  Cyclops and his dad take an intergalactic road trip to bury the hatchet, in Cyclops #2; the end of Captain America is at hand, as the Iron Nail brutally brings down the Star-Spangled Avenger, in Captain America #21; and all hell breaks loose as secrets are revealed, the Winter Soldier, Moon Knight, and Gamora make a startling discovery far from Earth, and someone loses their head, in Original Sin #3.

At DC Comics this week, Superman fights against the Doomsday virus in Part Five of Superman: Doomed, in Action Comics #32; Mr. Terrific’s new technical achievement is revealed but it may spell trouble for the DC Universe, in Futures’ End #5; Seattle is under siege, Diggle is in the clutches of crime boss Richard Dragon, and the Queen Legacy is in danger, in Part One of Broken, in Green Arrow #32; Robbery! On a speeding train! Batman and Robin! Green Hornet and Kato! Together again! A deadly new enemy revealed! All in Batman ’66 Meets the Green Hornet #2.

Jet City comics brings us the adaptation of Hugh Howey’s best selling, dystopian tale, Wool, and BOOM! Studios teams up with horror legend John Carpenter for the continuing adventures of Jack Burton and the Pork Chop Express, in Big Trouble in Little China #1.

Written by Jason Aaron Art by Mike Deodato MARVEL

Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Mike Deodato

Original Sin  has been my favorite Marvel event to date. And there have been plenty over the past year or so. Not only am I getting a decent murder mystery, but the pairings of certain Marvel heroes as investigators has been fun to read, too. And now, in just the third issue, the top may have been blown off the pressure cooker that is the Marvel Universe.

D-list Ghost Rider villain, The Orb, a guy whose head is a giant eyeball (seriously, I had to break out my Marvel Encyclopedia for this guy), has gotten hold of one of the Watcher’s eyes, and has used it to release hundreds of the Watcher’s secrets on anyone standing nearby, a traumatic event for several of our heroes in the immediate area, to be played out in their respective books. Jason Aaron continues his good work and he has made this into an event that I’m waiting on pins and needles for with every issue.

Mike Deodato’s art, dark, rich, and beautiful, graces the pages, but the darkness of his art makes me linger on the pages a little longer than I usually might, hoping I didn’t miss anything in the shadows. And like I said above, the Marvel Universe has turned into a pressure cooker that’s about to blow, and I seriously can’t wait to see how this thing wraps. But with five more issues to go, especially after the shock-and-awe ending of this one, there’s no telling what’s going to happen. Major things happen in this issue, so if you’re reading it, you’d best be sitting down. We were promised an “Oh, crap!” moment. Well … we got it.

Written by John Carpenter and Eric Powell Art by Brian Churilla BOOM! STUDIOS

Written by John Carpenter and Eric Powell
Art by Brian Churilla

BOOM Studios,  publisher of the popular continuation of the Farscape series, has teamed up with with John Carpenter to bring comics readers the continuing adventures of Jack Burton in Big Trouble in Little China #1. Eric Powell (The Goon), who is no stranger to writing horror-comedy, takes the reins, with John Carpenter acting as Executive Producer and Creative Consultant, the same way that Joss Whedon is doing with Buffy the Vampire Slayer from Dark Horse, and Chris Carter in IDW’s Season 10 of The X-Files. And Jack Burton’s return was just as fun as I had hoped it would be.

Big Trouble in Little China #1 – The Continuing Adventures of Jack Burton and the Pork Chop Express Part One: The Hell of the Midnight Road and the Ghosts of  Storms  takes place in 1986, literally picking up where the movie left off, with Jack talking into the CB radio, waxing philosophical, when that demon clambers onto the back of his truck. The story begins when that demon-beastie makes his way to the cab of  Jack’s truck, and he finds out that the demon-beastie has taken a shine to him. Jack, always a loner, doesn’t want a traveling companion so he doubles back to Chinatown where he crashes Wang Chi’s wedding to find a way to ditch his new partner. Once there, Jack realizes that no good deed goes unpunished, and there are people who want Jack and company to pay for their part in killing Lo Pan.

It’s Carpenter’s story with Powell’s words, and Powell captures the voices of the characters perfectly. He nails Jack’s seeming inability to tell a story without turning it into a monologue. Egg Shen is also treated well. And honestly, the best part of this issue is Jack telling the story of how he met his second wife. I hope there’s some foreshadowing in there, because that was too funny to not be used. The opening story is a little zanier than the film, and I really really hope that Carpenter and Powell don’t make the mistake that most writers of licensed properties-turned-comics make. It’s easy to think that the sky is the limit since there’s no budget constraints, but lots of books end up hurting from that. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight took some serious heat for its “out there” and “cosmic” stories. The X-Files Season 10 is a great example of staying low key, even when you have the ability to do whatever you want.  Artist Brian Churilla’s art is cartoony and takes a little getting used to, but I think it’s a good fit for this book.

My only real problem with it, is that it isn’t reader friendly, as the first issue starts off where the film Big Trouble in Little China ended. And there’s really no exposition as to what came before, so if you haven’t seen the movie you may be lost. I hope the second issue will at least offer something in the way of explanation as to what has come before. As a fan of the movie and a John Carpenter ground-worshipper, I am crazy ecstatic that I get more Jack Burton. But I’m also not about alienating fans new to the awesomeness that is the Pork Chop Express. This may be the thing that puts BOOM! Studios on the map. Good for them.

And that concludes this week’s Four-Color Bullet. Comments and emails are always welcome. If you get a chance, and you haven’t seen it, go check out Big Trouble in Little China. I think you’ll like it.

It’s a great time to be a comics fan. See you guys next week!

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