by Brian LeTendre
So, our friends over at Action Lab sent over this pretty huge announcement:
Action Lab Entertainment is proud to announce that Beginning with the Action Lab hit, F1rst Hero and the Action Lab Danger Zone sexy mega hit, Zombie Tramp, all of their titles will now be released as full issue, digital first offerings through Comixology.
The entire catalog from both Action Lab and their mature readers imprint, Action Lab: Danger Zone will be available DRM Free as part of Comixology’s Digital Ownership Initiative.
Single issues will be $0.99 during the first two weeks of release, before returning to their regular price of $1.99.. In addition, books will be timed to release digitally the same month they are offered in Diamond Distribution’s retailer catalog, Previews, giving comics fans a taste of what we do and driving them to comic shops nationwide.
I love this move Action Lab. Not only do I firmly believe that $0.99 is the magic price point for digital comics, but I think that having titles available first digitally could actually boost print sales. It gets the brand out in front of people, and if the product is good, print comic readers will want the book for their collection. There are plenty of comics that I've read digitally for review and then went out and bought the hard copy. This could be a big move for Action Lab.
You can keep up with all the latest on Action lab over at www.actionlabcomics.com.
This Saturday, Trinity Methodist Church in Springfield, MA will be home to the second Bing Con!
Bing Con is a comic book show showcasing friends of ours who represent the best and most talented folks in the Western MA and Northern CT area.
Aaron Wood who has some of the best propaganda art you'll ever see - https://www.etsy.com/shop/Justonescarf
Artist Mike Valade who has done his own comic 'My Monster' as well as designed an incredible print for Brian's series of books. www.valadecomix.com
Painter and designer Ron Leary who has worked in toys, comics and last weekend worked with comics legend Neil Adams.
Marshall Complex, Tom Van Zandt and so many more are looking to entertain, dazzle and make you go WOW!
For more information on Bing Con 2014 just go to https://www.facebook.com/bingcon2014
The latest issue of Secret Identity is here to whisk your ears away on an audio vacation! Here's the rundown:
Guardians of the Galaxy rakes in $94 million
CHEW: Warrior Chicken Poyo
Ghost Rider #5
Summer Watching Project:
Attack on Titan Episodes 21-22
Creator Spotlight: Rebekah Isaacs
Matt spoke with the artist of Buffy the Vampire Slayer at Special Edition: NYC. You can follow Rebekah on Twitter at twitter.com/rebekahisaacs or check out her work on rebekahisaacs.tumblr.com.
You can listen to the episode right here in the player above, or grab us on iTunes, Stitcher or your favorite podcast app. Thanks for listening!
With one day left Brian and I are all ready to call ComiCONN 2014 a huge success! We have had an amazing time (with still one day left) and want to thank our friends Mitch, Erik and the rest of the ComiConn staff for providing a great place to meet new friends and see people we consider family.
The Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, CT is a huge spacious hockey area (home to the AHL Bridgeport Sound Tigers with easy parking... amazing parking for us but I can't say why!
As far as interviews and things you'll be hearing both Brian and I did some well received panels (some that you will be hearing) and some cool interviews with Secret Identity first timers....
William Katt - the Greatest American Hero as well as the greatest guy EVER!!!
Ramon Gil from www.scifies.com. Amazing writer who has a vision of what he wants to do...
Martin Grams, Jr. the author of the book 'The Twilight Zone - Unlocking the Door To A Television Classic'. Cool stuff...
In a future episode you'll get to hear all the details about or crazy time including the best dinner EVER!
So if you haven't come down to the show, pop on in today. The show hours are 10 AM to 5 PM which gives you plenty of time to experience one heck of a show!
by Sarah Hodge-Wetherbe
Considering the rumors and dark prophecies surrounding the Michael Bay produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film, I had pretty much zero expectations of this movie. I’ve been a fan of the brothers since I was 12 years old and watching their late 1980’s cartoon. The thing is, I’ve never left the fandom. I’m 37 and I still get a little thrill when I re-watch the 1990’s live action film (That line from Splinter “all fathers care for their sons” still gets me a little misty eyed to this day). I love the energy and the grittiness of the 2007 CGI movie. Hell, I even love the horrible cheesiness of Vanilla Ice rapping “Go Ninja, Go Ninja, Go!” So terrible, but so fantastic at the same time.
This film however, I went into for one reason. I’ll be honest. I teach a panel at conventions about the history of the TMNT. I’m teaching it on Sunday Aug 17, at InCONceivable in Northampton, Ma. The very home city of the late Mirage Studios, in fact. I had to see it to include it in the panel. The fact a friend offered free movie passes to go only sweetened the deal. Mr. Bay wouldn’t be getting a dime from me.
So was it because of the extremely low expectations that I left surprised at this film? It’s not good, not even good for a turtles movie. But it wasn’t the horrible train wreck I was expecting. It had moments that made me laugh. And I didn’t hate Megan Fox.
Oh don’t misunderstand, she’s not April O’Neil. Not at all. But she’s never given a chance to BE April O’Neil. She’s written as the focus for every sex joke in the film. (In the first five minutes, we have Fox bouncing on a trampoline in a tank top. Right there, you know what the tone around her character is going to be). She’s given a few April-like things to do. But she’s never given any real chance to try to inhabit the character. Everything about her is told and not shown.
But Fox obviously is trying, and she does her best with what she’s given. And that seems to be the problem with the human characters in this film, the worst being April. Most of them are set pieces with very little to do. Shredder only becomes really menacing when he puts on the armor, and that’s only because they basically turn him into Megatron. (Complete with the annoying Bay transformers sound effects)
The bad guys plot makes little sense. They turn the foot into a gun-toting band of mercenary terrorists that could have come from any standard action film. There’s actually very little ninjitsu in this ninja movie. Karai is there for no real reason. She does almost nothing in the whole film but stand around and shout things. The main scientist is a bait and switch character, created for this film, who seems to have very little more to do than be creepy. Hell, we already have a classic turtles character that could have done just that- Baxter Stockman- but they choose to create a whole new person who really doesn’t seem to have much of a purpose.
Even Splinter, my favorite character of the franchise, loses a lot in this film. Never mind the fu-man-chu mustache (really Bay, we’re really doing a Mickey Rourke in Breakfast at Tiffany's here?), there’s no time in the film to really establish his relationship with the turtles. He talks to April about deciding to be the turtles father at one point, but we never really see it. There’s no tenderness, no fatherly moments. There’s a scene where he punishes them for sneaking out that was funny, but it’s never balanced with anything that shows them as a family. Again, we’re TOLD they are, and so we’re expected to feel the turtles anguish when Splinter is put into jeopardy. It’s sad that a puppet showed emotion 24 years ago better than a million dollar CGI motion capture program today.
And maybe that’s part of the problem. I know Splinter is a sewer rat, but man he looks grotesque in this. It was as if the designer thought he was working on a boss for Resident Evil, and only pulled back the design at the last minute.
So what saves this movie from train wreck status? The Turtles themselves. The actors that brought them to life really seemed to understand what these characters were about. Every time they’re on screen they interact as teenage brothers would, and it’s a pleasure to watch. They’re funny, they’re at once both insecure and bold, and each shows their personality without making a caricature out of it. Oddly, they are the most human characters in the film.
My one big complaint is how Michaelangelo’s sexualizing of April. I can believe a teenage boys (or a teenage turtles) crush on a pretty lady but it’s taken too far with a few lines that go right up to the edge of George Carlin style lines. There’s a barely disguised erection joke that made me wince.
That’s another issue the film seems to have. At parts, it seems that its for kids. Pizza jokes, fart jokes, and cowabunga’s are to be found. But in other places: we have hostages, semi-automatic weapon toting terrorist bad guys shooting into crowds, and the before mentioned adult humor. It’s like the film can’t decide if it’s for the grown up fans, or the kids now just watching the Nickelodeon reboot. And in trying to please both, it fails badly. Sticking a reference in about the 1994 TMNT Christmas album is cute, but it doesn’t make for plot.
The thing about this film is, there are places where you can see what we COULD have had. If a better director was at the helm. If the stink of Michael Bay wasn’t all over this thing. If the people writing the script had wanted to write a really fun, really well-crafted film, rather than just phoning in some pop culture references. There’s so much potential here, its actually almost WORSE than if it was a complete train wreck.
My advice: Save your money. It might be worth a curiosity watch when it comes out on DVD (and you can get it for free from your local library) but even those bright moments when we see what we might have gotten for 120 minutes isn’t worth the price of the ticket.
Me, I’m going to go get out my old DVD boxset and watch the secret of the ooze again. At least that movie was MST3K fodder. This one isn’t even bad enough to be good again.
by Brian LeTendre
We met a lot of cool people this past weekend at Boston Comic Con, and some of them were fellow podcasters! Nick Surmuksnis, one of the hosts of the Heck Yeah Comics! podcast, stopped by the table and we chatted for a while about our mutual love of comics and podcasting.
Nick and his co-host David Luzader started their podcast in May of this year, and they just posted their thirteenth episode. In it, they discuss the departure of Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey from Moon Knight, the Guardians of the galaxy movie and more. If you enjoy the types of discussions we have on Secret Identity, I think you'll dig this show as well.
You can check out that episode, as well as the previous twelve over at www.heckyeahcomics.com. You can also get the podcast on iTunes.
Wowza... what a weekend!
Brian and I would like to thank Jim and his entire staff of 'minions' for an incredible show. The event was enjoined by the vendors, creators and convention goer. At this show Brian and I got to experience it as creators, press as well as fans.
As a creator I had the most successful three days of my life. I sold a whole lotta books, card and prints and was able to meet and talk to new friends.
As a member of the press (representing Secret Identity I was able to get a bunch of cool interviews including Katie Cook, Jimmy Palmiotti, Gail Simone, Adam Kubert, wrestling great Jerry Lawler, Nick Bradshaw and comic legend and personal favorite Stan Sakai! I was interviewed and also interviewed by Frank and Deshawn from the 'Real Books Don't Have Batman' podcast.
Once again the Boston Comic Con has given us an incredible time that we get to share with those who couldn't be there. The World Trade Center Seaport is a great place for a show. The set up really seemed to help with the large crowds and kept the flow moving. Each row was in a long rectangle. On the ends were some of the bigger guests (for us on one side Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Connor. The other, Tom Rainey and Jeff Smith). On one long side was us and behind was Gail Simone, Tim Bradstreet, Greg Capullo and Scott Snyder. This layout, repeated throughout the show floor, kept aisles from getting blocked and lesser known creators lost in a sea of people waiting in lines.
The DC Comics panel I hosted on Saturday featured the most talented and amazing people in the industry; Gail Simone, Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Pop Mhan and Chris Burnham. The few hundred in attendance as well as the creators had a great time as well.
Last year I called Boston Comic Con 2013 my favorite show of the year! As far as the 2014 version... looking like a repeat.