July 25, 2014 | 8:30 a.m.

Comic-Con: Bill Finger’s Batman legacy detailed by Denny O’Neil, more

Batman’s Gotham City is a dark place, and Bill Finger’s place in that mythos has long been in the shadows. But in the character’s 75th anniversary year – also the 100th anniversary of the writer’s birth – the spotlight has found Finger. Among those helping to bring attention to the long-uncredited Bat-scribe: Denny O’Neil. After decades on Batman titles, from the 1970s and from the mid-1980s to the new millennium as an editor, O’Neil told a Comic-Con International panel crowd Thursday morning he was left with one regret: “I wish I’d tried harder to get him credit,” though he added that he understands “legalities” made that unlikely. O’Neil actually met Finger – who received a cover mention on DC’s Batman Day giveaway edition of “Detective Comics” No. 27 and is credited by proponents with largely creating the Dark Knight and […]
July 25, 2014 | 8:24 a.m.

Comic-Con 2014: George R.R. Martin says he’s the first comic book fan

George R.R. Martin (HBO)
His name may be mostly associated with fantasy these days, thanks to HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” but George R.R. Martin and comic books go way back. Way, way back. “I’m actually the first comic book fan,” Martin told the crowd at a Comic-Con panel dedicated to his comic book work on Thursday. As a young comic fan in 1964, Martin attended the first comic book convention ever held in New York City, attended by what he remembers as 30 people. He met Flo Steinberg and Steve Ditko there, but more importantly, he said, he was first in line and received a badge designated “#1.” “All of you are my children,” the author told the crowd. “God help me.” While the discussion never strayed into the current status of “The Winds of Winter,” the highly anticipated sixth book in the “Song […]
July 25, 2014 | 7:30 a.m.

Comic-Con: Frank Miller, Grant Morrison, Jim Lee, more talk Batman 75

BatmanLegendsSDCCFeatured
If anyone was wondering what has made Batman so meaningful to fans over the last 75 years, these were the people to ask. The Dark Knight comic book stories that Frank Miller, Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams, Grant Morrison, Jim Lee, Scott Snyder and Geoff Johns have variously told since the 1970s are among the most influential and bestselling to ever come out of Gotham City. So what is it? The panelists at “Batman 75: Legends of the Dark Knight” on Thursday afternoon at Comic-Con International in San Diego said it was a combination of Batman being terrifying to criminals and inspiring to law-abiding citizens, of Bruce Wayne turning the pain from a childhood trauma into a life of service. “Batman is basically a satanic figure who is on our side,” said Morrison, whose seven-year run of titles featuring the character […]
July 25, 2014 | 5:00 a.m.

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ director James Gunn prepares for liftoff

"Guardians of the Galaxy" director James Gunn. (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times )
About midway through Marvel’s new interstellar adventure “Guardians of the Galaxy,” David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream” plays over a shot of a ramshackle spaceship traveling toward a mining colony called Knowhere. The planet is actually the severed head of a fallen titan (or deity) where workers of alien races, some with candy-colored skin, collect valuable bone and fluid to ship to the outer reaches of the cosmos. The sequence could have been cribbed from the imagination of surrealist trickster Alejandro Jodorowsky, perhaps as part of his unrealized cinematic adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi novel “Dune.” Yet it’s far from the only over-the-top landscape in the film, which arrives in theaters Friday as Marvel’s riskiest venture. Based on a fairly obscure comics series, “Guardians of the Galaxy” is the first major studio film to be directed by James Gunn, a subversive stalwart […]
July 24, 2014 | 11:32 p.m.

Comic-Con 2014: Fans get first extended look at ‘Star Wars Rebels’

“Star Wars” fans got their first look at the new “Star Wars Rebels” series on Thursday at Comic-Con with a screening of the first episode, which isn’t due to premiere on the Disney Channel until October. While the animation wasn’t quite finished, and therefore not quite ready for review, it did evoke the look and feel of “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.” The exclusive clip above was screened at the panel and gave fans a feel for the lighthearted, more adventurous feel of the new series. At the show’s panel discussion beforehand, executive producers Dave Filoni and Simon Kinberg appeared before fans for the first time with the show’s cast, which includes Freddie Prinze Jr., Steve Blum, Vanessa Marshall, Taylor Gray and Tiya Sircar. The new series takes place in the “Star Wars” timeline between “Revenge of the […]
July 24, 2014 | 6:27 p.m.

Comic-Con: ‘Interstellar’s’ Nolan, McConaughey make surprise showing

Christopher Nolan and Matthew McConaughey
With this year’s Comic-Con feeling relatively light on huge tent pole movies compared with recent years, Hollywood observers wondered in the run-up to the convention whether the studios had any surprises up their collective sleeves. In its Hall H presentation, Paramount offered two fairly big ones in the forms of actor Matthew McConaughey and director Christopher Nolan, who took the stage to offer an early look at Nolan’s upcoming sci-fi epic “Interstellar.” FULL COVERAGE: Comic-Con 2014 Despite his fanboy-fave pedigree thanks to films like “Inception” and the “Dark Knight” trilogy, Nolan had never actually attended Comic-Con before. “I’ve heard a lot about this really being a place where people are most passionate about movies and popular culture in general, so I thought I’d come see what all the fuss is about,” he said. “I’m not disappointed and I’m extremely honored to be here.” Making his own first Comic-Con appearance, McConaughey […]
July 24, 2014 | 5:56 p.m.

‘Batman’: Zack Snyder tweets new portrait of Ben Affleck as Dark Knight

Ben Affleck as Batman
Zack Snyder, the director of the upcoming “Man of Steel” sequel that will bring together Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, released a new photo of actor Ben Affleck in Batman’s cape and cowl on Thursday, the opening day of Comic-Con International 2014. The close-up shot arrives one day after July 23, which had been officially declared Batman Day to honor the hero’s 75th anniversary. Set for release on May 6, 2016, “Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice” will see Henry Cavill reprise his “Man of Steel” role as Superman, with Affleck taking over as Batman and Israeli actress Gal Gadot portraying Wonder Woman. Jesse Eisenberg has been cast as Lex Luthor in the film, which will lead in to a planned “Justice League” movie that Snyder also will direct. Warner Bros. has not yet confirmed which characters will appear in […]
July 24, 2014 | 4:46 p.m.

Comic-Con 2014: Stan Lee bows out of San Diego signings due to illness

Fans hoping for a chance to meet Stan Lee at Comic-Con International in San Diego were disappointed to learn Thursday that the Marvel icon was forced to bow out of his scheduled appearances at the pop culture expo. The culprit? A case of laryngitis. In a statement released Thursday, the first full day of Comic-Con 2014, a spokesman for Lee said, “Unfortunately, Stan Lee has lost his voice due to laryngitis and is unable to attend this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, and has regrettably had to cancel his appearances. Stan is otherwise well and in good health, though he is disappointed to miss the event and wishes everyone a great time.” FULL COVERAGE: Comic-Con 2014 Lee, 91, had been set to attend the convention on Friday and Saturday. Marvel enthusiasts will, however, be able to catch a glimpse of the […]
July 24, 2014 | 2:59 p.m.

Comic-Con 2014: Benedict Cumberbatch charms the fanboy faithful

Benedict Cumberbatch attends the DreamWorks Animation panel on Day 1 of Comic-Con International 2014 on Thursday, July 24, in San Diego. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
In the first major studio presentation at this year’s Comic-Con International, DreamWorks Animation was eager to show off its upcoming alien buddy-comedy “Home” and its big-screen spinoff “Penguins of Madagascar.” But for the fans who packed Hall H for Thursday’s panel, some of whom had lined up overnight, the main attraction wasn’t cuddly extraterrestrials or adorable penguins: it was actor Benedict Cumberbatch. The star of the BBC hit “Sherlock” and last year’s “Star Trek Into Darkness,” Cumberbatch had never actually attended the convention before this year and, to no one’s surprise, he was met with a rock star’s greeting of screams, squeals and popping flashes. FULL COVERAGE: Comic-Con 2014 To ensure the focus remained squarely on “Penguins of Madagascar,” in which the actor voices a secretive and heroic wolf named Classified, panel moderator Craig Ferguson half-jokingly admonished the crowd, “I’m warning you, if anyone asks a […]
July 24, 2014 | 1:24 p.m.

‘Books of Blood’ digital comic reteams Clive Barker with composer

"Books of Blood"
Ever wonder what Clive Barker’s legendary horror series “Books of Blood” might sound like? As announced earlier this year, the celebrated collection of stories that established Barker as one of the masters of horror will be getting a release on the Madefire Motion Books platform, the interactive digital comic book company that incorporates music, sound effects and panoramic views into the reading experience. Now, Madefire has announced that composer Cris Velasco will be creating the soundtrack for the digital version of the stories. The “Books of Blood” series, originally published as six separate books in the mid-’80s, inspired Stephen King to tout Barker as the “future of horror,” and launched the author’s and filmmaker’s illustrious career. FULL COVERAGE: Comic-Con 2014 Best known for scoring video games such as “Darksiders,” “God of War” and “Mass Effect,” Velasco is no stranger to […]
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