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SDCC 2015: Conan Recap: 7/10/2015

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“The Walk of Thrones”

Conan goes for the hat trick as he hosts his third live show from the nexus of the universe via Comic Con in San Diego, CA. Tonight’s episodes promise to be big as two HUGE blockbuster casts: The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones will be the special guests. I for one cannot wait. (As the kids would say these days, I can’t even.)

In the opening monologue he tells us what to expect while putting a zany spin on it of course. He pokes fun that the cast of Game of Thrones is here but they are all dead. He then says wahhh Jon Snow, prompting Andy to say “Never kill someone that’s hot.” (It’s all fun and games till a pack of fans dressed as wildlings attack.. No not really, but hey it could happen.) Conan tells us about the great panels that Comic Con hosts. The big one of course and one of the most anticipated in all the Nerd Nebula is the Star Wars panel. Conan like I, thinks ace director J.J. Abrams will do wonders with the franchise. (Go ahead and recount your billions George, I sense the Force is quite strong with this one.) In a funny yet sad point Conan points out what I’ve often wondered for years. He poses the question of “Why are there so many people at the My Little Pony panels, and why are the audiences mostly men?” To each his own I guess but its nice to see that I am not the only one who is plagued by this conundrum. Another unsolved mystery I suppose.

Next we switch gears to the topic of Game of Thrones, but more specifically it’s gargantuan author George R.R. Martin himself. Now It’s pretty well known fact that he is currently at work on the next installment of the fantasy novel powerhouse titled: The Winds of Winter, but Conan tells us that he has procured “illegal” footage of the author from his home as he rolls the tape..

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Now I must say the sight of George on his estate playing with bubbles was just hilarious! The fun doesn’t stop there as we next see him sitting in a lounge chair controlling a remote toy car. We then find George in what appears to be deep thought and just when you think he might write something, he switches modes and heads to his game room to perform a solo on his bongos. Then later on in the footage he goes mysteriously missing until a sweep of the rooms in his house shows him running from his patio wearing a bathing suit and suspenders to jump on a giant inflatable turtle! (There’s more here but I can’t do it all justice. It’s just nice to see such a big celebrity have an even larger sense of whimsy.) This was all around great. Liking the show’s pacing tonight so far.

Then of course, my praise yields because we get a ridiculous throw away bit of a fake astronaut supposedly coming back from a mission to Jupiter after his crew has been killed by aliens. (Yawn) Wait! he’s here to play us some smooth tunes on his saxophone. (Double yawn) All of a sudden an alien breaks free from his chest, just like the movie Alien and decides to play a mini sax of it’s own. (Triple yawn and super face palm. That was just terrible and dragged on too long for mine and anyone with taste, tastes.)

We return back from commercial and get a offer for another special edition Conan PoP! toy. Tonight’s giveaway is Zombie Conan and viewers need to use the code: The Walking Red to win. Besides the Batman one from the previous episode this would be the most sought after one for me.)

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Just when I thought he’d get the show back on track we get another bloated skit, with Andy showing us the weather in CA as well as almost every major fictional realm. The only part of this that was anywhere near entertaining was when he gave us the forcast for Westeros (The world of Game of Thrones) for the next 5,000 years. In short, Winter is Coming. Moving on..

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Finally after way too commercials and skits we get to the meaning of the evening and we are joined by the cast of The Walking Dead Danai Gurira (Michonne) Steven Yuen (Glenn) and Darryl himself, Norman Reedus. Once the women are done losing their minds and the squealing subsides we actually get a pretty good interview. Conan asks them about what is the level of crazy they go through now that the cast of the show is so well known. Each of them shares a brief story. Up first is Norman who says that he was on a plane recently waiting for take off when he noticed that all of the passengers were video taping him. He states he was just trying to eat his sandwich and in a moment that makes you say “Say it ain’t so Darryl!” he gets up and takes his sandwich to the airplane urinal. (Not to worry Norman, the ladies still love you, even if you eat some meals on the hopper.) Next up Danai tells us that the fans of the show are unique in that they seem to know the cast’s flight locations at all times. She shares with us a small group of fans that follow her to multiple airports on a consistant basis. (I’m a dedicated fan of the “Dead” but that’s a bit much. TSA should really screen those people. Oh wait..) Finally Steven shares with us that his inner most darkest fear is ghosts. Not because they ghosts mind you, but because they don’t play fair. (Well they been dead along time Steven, what else do they have to do?)

We then get a cool onscreen statistic about the total number of “walker kills” for each of the cast’s characters.

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(Behold the badassness)

Before the gang heads back to the walls of Alexandria, Conan asks them if they can share anything at all about the upcoming Season 6 in October. Norman tells us that there is sure to be conflict in this season. (Geesh no kidding Norman. Maybe even some Walking too?) Well those juicy spoilers are sure to whet our appetites until the Fall. Conan then thanks them all for coming and they head off. All in all, just a likable bunch of people and a good interview. October can’t arrive soon enough.

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Quick commercial break and we are back with our main even of the evening, the cast of Game of Thrones! There are clearly too many of them and the set would need a limo couch to hold them all. Conan welcomes Maisie Williams (Arya Stark), Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell), Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy), Carice Van Houten (Melisandre) Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth) John-Bradley West (Samwell Tarly) and Conleth Hill (Lord Varys) (Whew try saying that just one time fast!) Since there are so many chairs on the set Conan jokingly welcomes us to his version of “The View”. Each of the cast like the previous get to share a spicy tidbit with us. John-Bradley says fans despite all the amazing things they see on a “fantasy” show, can’t believe he’s still fat. (That had me speechless) Carice tells us she’s just happy she doesn’t have to be naked on the show all the time because it saves her from counting carbs. Maisie tells us she’s glad her character gets to actually shoot on location in a beautiful setting this season. Those were all entertaining comments but by far and away the best one of the night goes to Sophie. She tells us she’s had to grow up fast on the show and has been part of it since she was 13. Her parents asked her if they should have the “talk” with her. Her reply is epic. “Mom I’m on Game of Thrones! What could you teach me?” The cast also reveals that the writers play gags with fake scripts. As the interview starts to heat up, Conan informs us that we are out of time. What? Gee maybe because all the lame skits? If you’re going to book this, do it right. That was a rookie move.

Overall: This had such promise with both casts on board, but with the insane amount of commercials and long skits it really took something away here. Tomorrow we venture to the Final Conan Frontier and we are promised a surprise movie cast! If only we could do this one over properly..

 

 

 

SDCC 2015: Conan Recap 7/9/15

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“Everyone needs an origin sometime.”

We open up the show in a galaxy very very near. Coming to you from on location in San Diego, from deep in the heart of Comic Con it’s … Conan O’ Brien!! Conan opens with very loud reaction from the crowd to which he jokes is that a cheer or vote from them to kill him in the next installment of The Hunger Games. (Ahh forshadowing the guests, clap clap)

The rest of the monologue is rounded out with a fun not so well known fact that Comic Con has actually been around in one form or another for the past 46 years. (That is some really wild stuff, I did not know that.) He peppers in a joke about people in costume during Comic Con such as waiting in line for coffee being flanked by Darth Vader and taking a pot shot at fellow fans of The Walking Dead, by saying some could be retitled as “The Dead Who Could Stand to Do a Little More Walking”.  (Meh) The segment concludes with a weird creepy nod to Japanese Anime in which both Conan and Andy sport huge watery eyes and speak in girlish geisha voices. (ummmm. Take a look for yourself.)

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(Thanks Andy for opening up some brand new nightmares)

Conan then attempts to get serious for a moment and regale us with the awe inspiring tale (picture this said in the best Stan Lee voice) of his Origin. This was actually the best part of the show as he cleverly cherry picks from all time favorite comic origins and puts his Conan spin on it.

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First up is a poke at Green Lantern’s classic origin with Abin Sur crash landing in the site of Brookline, MA in 1972. However it is not a young Hal Jordan whom stumbles upon the ring, but rather a boyhood Conan who forsakes the most powerful weapon in the universe for the shiny allure of a single quarter. (Guess he just wasn’t a jewelry person then.)

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Next stop is 1973 New York, in the recesses of a back alley where a mugger waits in the dark. He asks the couple and their son if they are the famous wealthy industrialists, Thomas and Martha Wayne. The man simple states “No we’re the O’Briens.” The young boy points the mugger in the direction of the next alley over. (Thanks Conan, you just gave us Batman!) As we pan out we can hear the famous two gun shots that would start the single greatest comic book legend EVER. I thought this was great.

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Lastly we find ourselves transported to a remote desert in Nevada the year of 1992. On a secret base a Top Secret Government group is looking to detonate a bomb. Conan is carefree as he rides his bicycle down the path, unaware that any moment the horrible fate he’s about to confront. Poking fun at the Incredible Hulk of course, the bomb detonates and Conan wakes up in the hospital as the doctor explains he was exposed to large doses of “humor waves” and “chortle beams” in the blast. The doctor then informs Conan due to a side effect of the calamity, he is now 5,000 times funnier than Louis C.K. and Amy Schumer combined (Sure I’ll go for that) It’s at this point the skit is stopped dead in it’s tracks as Andy states to the audience that this is all b.s. and back in the day he was working on as a writer of The Simpsons and David Letterman was standing down and he just took the job. The end. Origin over. (Still better than the Ben Affleck Daredevil movie I say.)

Conan brings the audience back by saying he has an exclusive look at the new Batman vs. Superman movie which is highly anticipated next year. Let’s see..

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Once I saw this all I could picture was Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor in Superman Returns saying “WROOOONNNGGG!” This was truly dreadful. Maybe it was because I was a little bit bitter and expected an actual trailer with new footage being shown (This is Comic Con after all) but the cast of Saturday Night Live on their worst day couldn’t conjure up this poop fest. It was a skit of Batman vs. Superman in small claims court. The only watchable part was when they called Bane to the witness stand and you couldn’t understand what he was saying at all. Otherwise this was a fail of epic proportions.

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We take a quick break and we are back with the cast of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2. Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth (Or as I call him Thor Jr.) Conan asks them what is the craziest fan experience they’ve had so far and Josh points out a time where they were in Rome, they were behind four armed military guards and fans broke down a barrier. (Wow I hate to see what fans would do to the cast of new Fantastic Four movie then.) Josh accidentally dishes that there might be some future installments of the Hunger Games franchise and you can hear a pin drop on the internet. Conan also points out that there are rumblings of how Jennifer has quite the potty mouth and he pulls out a “Swearing is caring” jar that he will fill with one hundread dollars cash each time a swear shall fall out of her mouth. (Here I will take the time to point out that both my gf and I said watching this that Ms. Lawrence looked way too plastic. I have to say it was weird stuff.) Before they make their exit the cast assures us that the final movie will not disappoint. (Never heard that before) Bit of a long interview for my taste but I guess it gets the job done and the fanboys and gals can sigh dreamily for a moment.

Quick commercial break and we are brought our second Conan PoP! toy giveaway and tonight’s is Conan as Batman. (I am not ashamed to say that I entered twice. If a family member gets a mysterious package from PoP Vinyl he will be surprised. Even Ms. B entered.) Just very cool indeed. Crossing fingers…

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(na na na na na na na na I want one!)

Finally to close out the show Conan re-introduces a concept that he came up with legendary Warner Bros. Animator (as well as a personal hero of mine) Bruce Timm. That’s right the guy who made Batman so cool in the 90’s and gave us in my opinion the best animated TV show of all time: Batman: the animated series. Timm and Conan cooked up an idea for a superhero and thus they gave birth to The Flaming C.

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Flaming C’s adventures contain slapstick, action and literally toilet humor. His arch nemesis Anton Piss is trying to rule the world with technologically advanced toilets. Flaming C is able to light his left hand on fire while it is covered with an oven mitt. He can fly and has super strength. He is aided in his journeys by Intern Rachel who is a techno geek and drives a magical mini van. It’s obviously a wacky concept but it’s Conan and damn it all, it works.

Overall: While I found this episode not as enticing as the first salvo, Conan shows us his resolve runs deep. Hopefully the injection of casts of both The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones tomorrow night hit a home run. A couple bits and the long cast interview slowed it down. So while I can’t call it “Must see TV” it’s still worth a “see”. A Flaming C…

Till Tomorrow night True Believers!

SDCC 2015: Conan recap 7/8/15

 

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“Let’s go to Comic Con!”

Ahhh the words we all long to utter. The pinnacle of any geek’s existence, we dream to one day gaze upon the holy grail of all things comic and entertainment related. Make no mistake, to do so is quite an honor. Those who wield this responsibility (cough cough Brett) must do so wisely.

We open up the show with an homage to the Mad Max films with Conan playing a flaming guitar and Andy riding a hellacious rig towards San Diego creating some hijinks along the way. Solid opener and shows that the writing staff know their stuff well. It’s flashy, funny, corny and just a bit of everything.

We get to Comic Con for the show and the set is just EPIC. I can’t say enough about it. This guy gets it.

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After a booming ovation, he dives right into the typical Conan opening monologue with some pretty funny  observations and jokes. The one that definitely stuck out to me was a jab at George Lucas selling out to Disney. (Ouch) I’m sure George is wiping his eyes with a couple of billions. Tragic I know.

Conan proceeds to thank the audience for being amazing (Who doesn’t like praise?) and asks if he can take a selfie with them but he is having a slight problem fitting them all into frame with him. So he wisely enlists the help of a Cosplay Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) in which I thought was a really cool bit. (Better than having Michael B. Jordan set off the sprinklers, face it the blogs burned intensely enough this season. Flame off please.)

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Next he provides us with a little bit of slapstick by announcing that a whale has escaped his near by Sea World enclosure and all of a sudden a very suspicious looking Yoda arrives that is well over 15 feet tall. (Hey we are not Airboy, we have no room for discrimination here, not even giant creepy costumed mammals.) Following the tail end (swear I didn’t mean to) of this bit we are announced the guests for this evening: Elijah Wood (Frodo! Frodo!) and Chris Hardwick (Nerdist and Talking Dead). Also we are told in the days to follow we indeed will see the stars of franchise super giants: The Hunger Games and The Walking Dead as well as the cast of an unrevealed movie. Since I am a betting man I’m going to go with either the cast of Marvel’s Ant-Man or Warner Bros: Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Either or I’m sure my  big screen LED TV screen will go Boom.

After the previous announcement, we dive right in with confirmation that after the next installment of the Wolverine movie franchise Hugh Jackman will be stepping down (Not a sharp decision per my point of view) so we are shown auditionees that attempt to fill Hugh’s mutant mutton chops. Among the celebrity cast of caring citizens are Patton Oswalt, Larry King, Michael Sheen and Betty White. My opinion? Take Larry. Out of all the rest at least you know you will get like ten movies for the franchise out of him.

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After a quick product shill for the Conan 360 cam, the curtain calls upon its first guest hailing from the Shire himself: Frodo (Elijah Wood) Elijah gives us some insight on how hard it is to be a pop icon at Comic Con, even telling us that he needs to don a mask to avoid notoriety. A celeb being one of us. How Cool. He even goes so far to say that other members of the cast including Peter Jackson must resort to this same tactic sometimes to get to enjoy the festivities properly. (I wonder if GP press staff have the same issue?) Then in a very cool moment, Elijah whips out one of the replica prop rings from The Lord of the Rings movies to a frenzy of crowd approval. I couldn’t help but be recalled to the episode of The Big Bang Theory when they are all fighting over who gets custody of one of Peter Jackson’s fabled pieces of memorabilia. As we are drooling over the tiny golden circle, an unlikely tall Sméagol snatches the ring from our hero Hobbit and exits stage left.

A quick commercial break and we are back with Elijah explaining what it was like to revisit the character of Frodo Baggins for the Hobbit Trilogy. He states it was “A combination of going back in time, and no time passing at all.” (A perfectly good convoluted answer for a comic book crowd) Before he leaves the set he informs us that his show Wilfred on FXX has come to a close and Conan shows a clip of the new movie Cooties. It’s a movie about a zombie like plague spreading via tainted chicken nuggets (for those who thought Super Size Me, was a deterrent) through children. It also stars Rainn Wilson. Might be worth a look when it hits on Demand on September 18th.

We take another quick break, and return with a promotion for Funko POP Conan SDCC 2015 figurines. One version of the figurine will be given away over the course of all four shows at San Diego. We have Regular Conan, Batman Conan, Zombie Conan and Conan Monster. These are all pretty cool and you can enter to win at teamcoco.com/pop (I’ve already entered mine. Fingers crossed for the Batman one)

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Finally we are greated by a familiar face, Chris Hardwick in a very traditional Spider-Man costume. He informs us of some little known fopauxs when cosplaying, such as room temperature and “dong placement.” (I’m certainly choosing my spandex wisely now)

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Chris then proceeds to give Conan the “Comic Con Citizens Test” which contains a speed round of questions to prove his geek mettle. I found this entertaining besides the obvious questions like “What metal is Wolverine’s bones made out of?” (Adamantium) There was some funny ones like “If Caitlyn Jenner was on a Superhero team, what would it be called?” (The X-Men) “Who shot first? Han or Greedo?” (He said neither, it was a Jawa on the Grassy Knoll) and word association “Cosplay is not..” (Drinks with Bill Cosby, never too soon I guess) Finally he asks “What would you do if Seth Green was on the show and he attacked you with a toy lightsaber?” So of course, ask and you shall receive…

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This should happen more on talk shows, (imho) it would truly make for “Must See TV”.

We close out the final moments of the show with Chris and Conan pontificating about how there is such hatred these days when it comes to spoilers. I couldn’t agree more with their points. We are all nerds, we will see it either way. So true. So true.

Overall: This was a whole hour of network tv that whisked by quicker than a coffee travelling in Barry Allen’s digestive system. I thoroughly enjoyed it. You can tell that Conan doesn’t just pay lip service and he respects the source material. In a world where it’s cool to like anything that’s Pop Culture or trendy, it’s refreshing to see someone not afraid to wear their underwear outside their clothes to support the cause.

Till tomorrow night. Same Conan time, can’t wait to see what’s on the channel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert E. Howard’s Conan RPG Announced!

conan rpgModiphius has announced a licensing deal with Conan Properties to publish Robert E. Howard’s Conan Adventures In An Age Undreamed Of. This is a Conan roleplaying as Robert E. Howard wrote it – savage pulp adventure battling ancient horrors in the Hyborian Age! We plan to bring the game right back to its roots, focusing on the original stories by Robert E. Howard.

Modiphius has scored a leading team of Hyborian Age scribes to chronicle these adventures including Timothy Brown (designer of the Dark Sun setting for Dungeons & Dragons), award-winning Robert E. Howard scholar and essayist Jeffrey Shanks (Conan Meets the Academy, REH: Two-Gun Raconteur, Critical Insights: Pulp Fiction, The Dark Man: The Journal of REH Studies, Zombies from the Pulps!), Jason Durall (Basic Roleplaying, Serenity, The Laundry), Chris Lites (Paizo, Savage Worlds, Omni, Slate), and many more to be announced.

Players and GM’s alike will feel the might of the 2d20 game system, the cinematic roleplaying rules devised by Jay Little (Star Wars: Edge of the Empire) for Mutant Chronicles, and sharpened up for intense sword and sorcery action. The 2d20 system lets players experience the true pulp adventure of the Conan stories.

Howard expert Jeffrey Shanks will approve all content, ensuring it remains true to the spirit of the source material and brings the Hyborian Age to life. World-famous Conan artist Sanjulian (Conan Ace Paperbacks, Vampirella, Eerie, Creepy) has been commissioned, as well as Carl Critchlow (Batman/Judge Dredd, Anderson: Psi Division). Joining them are other Conan greats such as Mark Schultz (The Coming of Conan, Xenozoic Tales, Prince Valiant), Tim Truman (Dark Horse Conan, Grimjack, Jonah Hex), Phroilan Gardner (Age of Conan, World of Warcraft), Alex Horley (Blizzard, Heavy Metal, Magic: The Gathering) and many more.

Modiphius is working with other Conan Properties licensing partners including Monolith Board Games, creator of the hit Conan boardgame which has surpassed $2 million on Kickstarter, and Funcom, creator of the long-running, free-to-play, MMO Age of Conan. Modiphius plans some select supplements including missions designed for the Monolith boardgame, as well as floorplan tile sets allowing you to use Conan miniatures in your roleplaying adventures!

Modiphius is already working on the roleplaying corebook for Robert E. Howard’s Conan Adventures In An Age Undreamed Of to be released this Fall. A Kickstarter is planned for the summer to fund a larger range of roleplaying supplements, campaigns, and accessories to follow the core book.

Review: Conan the Avenger #1 (Shadows Over Kush Part One)

24691Wired recently published a fantastic article about which X-Men comics to read after seeing this weekend’s blockbuster X-Men: Days of Future Past. It is a highly recommended piece, because breaking into comics can be a daunting task (the DC Universe has multiple earths). It got me thinking about the Conan universe though, and I realized that Dark Horse Comics does an exceptional job of allowing new readers into the Cimmerian’s world. By publishing shorter runs, adapting fan-favorite novels, and mixing in new material, Dark Horse makes breaking and entering relatively painless.

Writer Fred Van Lente and artist Brian Ching‘s new series Conan the Avenger: Shadows Over Kush is no exception. We find a slightly slimmer, but equally brooding, Conan in Shumballa drowning his sorrows of a lost love in the bottom of a goblet. While almost at rock bottom (literally), he meets a Witch Hunter, Agara, hellbent on finding the soul responsible for hexing the birth of a noblewoman. Agara’s trail to the evildoer mistakenly leads to Conan…a battle indubitably ensues.

While I’ve become accustomed to Timothy Truman and Tomas Giorello‘s gold standard, this new pair is a welcomed addition to the Conan family. Van Lente takes Robert E. Howard‘s nearly century-old unpublished work, and brings a broken Conan back from the edge. Couple a haunted barbarian with Ching’s gritty sketches, and the path to Kush will undoubtedly be paved in glory and bodies. Not to get ahead of myself, and cover art aside (underwhelming for a new series), but Part Two equally matches the strength of the debut issue. It becomes evident that Conan and Agara’s quarrel  is against a more sinister force.

Are there two sets of X-Men in the same time period? Which Robin is this? Unraveling the Marvel and DC worlds can be paralyzing, even for the most ardent fans. Fear not, if you are looking for a compelling script, vivid illustrations, and a perfect starting point…Conan the Avenger is it.

Story: Fred Van Lente Art: Brian Ching
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Catch Fred Van Lente on an Archive Episode of Graphic Policy Radio

This week sees the release of Fred Van Lente‘s Action Presidents #1 as well as Brain Boy #3. Van Lente was our guest on Graphic Policy Radio where he talked about those series and more, like his upcoming run on Conan the Barbarian, Magnus: The Robot Fighter and also his current run on G.I. Joe.

You can download the episode here or listen to it below!

NYCC 2013: Red Sonja and Conan Reunite

Dynamite Entertainment and Dark Horse Comics are proud to announce the 2014 crossover of swords-and-sorcery icons Red Sonja, She-Devil with a Sword and Conan the Barbarian, a reunion that fans have asked for since their last team-up over fifteen years ago.  Two series will be published, Red Sonja/Conan and Conan/Red Sonja, by Dynamite and Dark Horse, respectively.  Acclaimed writers Gail Simone and Brian Wood are confirmed as the writers for the epic crossovers, both firmly established as valuable contributors to the Robert E. Howard fantasy mythos.

Gail Simone, current Red Sonja series writer, in a statement said:

It’s only the crossover that readers have been begging to have for over a decade: the two greatest barbarian adventurers ever created in an epic tale of blood, lust, and vengeance.  This is the kind of stuff that made me a reader in the first place, and working with Brian Wood and his amazing version of Conan?  It’s just a sword-and-sorcery dream come true.  It’s sword vs. sword, Cimmerian vs. Hyrkanian, loincloth vs. bikini, and it’ll probably be the most fun you’ll have reading a comic all year.

Brian Wood, current Conan series writer added:

Conan and Red Sonja together are a genre dream team, and I’m looking forward to not only working with Gail on the story, but creating a crossover story that is epic and huge as these things should be… and something that matters, that’s relevant, and adds something to each character’s rich history.

More information will be available in coming weeks regarding the long-awaited Red Sonja and Conan reunion event.

RSFrison

Review: King Conan: The Hour of the Dragon #3

20130726-201608.jpg Dark Horse‘s latest run of our well known barbarian hero is a worthy homage to the original 1932 Weird Tales magazine and of series past. Narrated by an aged King Conan to his scribe, The Hour of the Dragon tells the tale of how he met his beloved-and now deceased-queen Zenobia. After a group of second string royalty and a not-so-high priest awaken a long dead wizard, Conan is dethroned and imprisoned. In the bowels of a castle he meets a ravishing servant of the king who does anything and everything to help him escape. Despite her efforts he can’t help but think, is this too good to be true?

Where a recently released Red Sonja misses the mark, Timothy Truman is right on point. Oftentimes historical fantasy tales are plagued by clunky, awkward dialogue (e.g. “me thinketh that thy sayeth…”). Truman, however, interjects the right amount of old world slang to give it a historical feel without bogging down the narration. That being said, there are a handful of pages (and this might apply more to issues #1 and #2) that, due to sheer volume, draw my eyes to the captions before the artwork. Whether these can be compressed without detracting from the storyline is debatable.

Along with awkward dialogue, for me, clean lines and bright colors can bring down a historical fantasy story. Fortunately, penciler Tomas Giorello and colorist Jose Villarrubia give King Conan a gritty, almost faded appearance. There are times Conan is staring straight forward and an eye or part of his face is completely shaded, giving him an asymmetric look that completely works. It isn’t without it’s flaws though. The dungeon-dwelling primate dressed in armor that attacks Conan looked like a bizarre Planet of the Apes reference.

Three issues in and I feel like we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. I hope that Truman and Giorello continue to explore the land and people while remaining true to the Conan bloodline. They do that, and I’m on board.

Story: Timothy Truman Art: Tomas Giorello
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Dark Horse Summons Conan and The People of The Black Circle!

Dark Horse announced today that two of the hottest names in comics, writer Fred Van Lente and artist Ariel Olivetti, will reunite for a Conan epic like no other!

In Conan and the People of the Black Circle, a four-issue miniseries set a decade after the current Conan ongoing series, fans will find Conan like they’ve never seen him—fully painted by Olivetti!

Assassins, dark magic, and a beautiful noblewoman mean trouble for the Cimmerian barbarian unlike he’s ever seen in this full-tilt escapade through the mountains of Afghulistan!

With The Legend of Conan in development with Universal Studios, Dark Horse’s Conan is essential reading.

Conan and the People of the Black Circle #1 is on sale October 16 in comic shops everywhere.

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Pick of the Week: Revival #9 + 9 Other Comics

revival #9Revival is consistently one of the best comics on the market right now. While some might look at it as another “zombie series,” the comic is so much more than that. Instead, it’s more along the line of X-Files crossed with a small town police procedural series. Revival #9 out this week continues the excellent series which you should have been reading since the beginning.

  • Revival #9 – see above
  • Mara #4 – What does being a super hero have in common with being a sports star? Check out this commentary on celebrity, commercialism and sports/entertainment.
  • Daredevil #25 – Mark Waid continues to write one of the best super hero comics on the market.
  • Five Ghosts: Haunting of Fabian Gray #2 – The hot new Image series has an adventurer who can tap into the abilities of five ghosts. The first issue had me intrigued.
  • Superior Spider-Man #8 – Dan Slott has made me interested in Spider-Man, nuff said!
  • Miniature Jesus #1 – Devil on one shoulder – angel on the other. One tells you to do bad things, the other . . .  well, you get the idea. Bad news for a recovering alcoholic if the “good” one is MIA. Between a liquor-gulping demon and a mummified cat hell-bent on mucking up his fragile stability with esoteric trappings of Egyptian Gods, it’s all about to make our hero’s day hit the proverbial fan. <- Um, yeah!
  • Conan the Barbarian #15 – Brian Wood is one of the best writers out there and his Conan is just amazing.
  • Idolized #5 – A super hero comic that’s so good, I’d think it was from one of the “big two.” Do yourself a favor and check out this series you’re missing!
  • The Black Beetle #3 No Way Out – I’m a huge fan of pulp and noir and this series has nailed it so far.
  • Adventure Time #15 – A great comic for all ages captures the craziness of the television show.
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