May 20, 2015 | 3:06 p.m.

‘Star Wars Epic Yarns’: Jack and Holman Wang reconstruct the classics

'Star Wars Epic Yarns'
The original “Star Wars” film trilogy is given a new spin in the word book series “Star Wars Epic Yarns.” Created by twin brothers Jack and Holman Wang, “Star Wars Epic Yarns” breaks down each of the first three “Star Wars” films into 12 words, depicted by 12 scenes crafted in needle felt. The all-ages board book series features images of handmade needle felt versions of Luke, Leia, Han and other familiar characters staged on custom-built sets and in on-location photo shoots to reenact some iconic scenes. The brothers, who are the team behind the “Cozy Classics” series of board books, answered a few questions over email to discuss their process, the most difficult elements in creating “Star Wars Epic Yarns,” and their favorite “Star Wars” film. Obviously, the felt figures and scenes were not easy to craft. But how […]
May 08, 2015 | 6:18 p.m.

Paycheck Friday: Celebrate Joss Whedon with a trip down memory lane

Timothy White/Warner Bros.
It’s time for a new installment of Paycheck Friday, Hero Complex’s weekly roundup of some of our favorite toys, books, games and other merchandise. The news heard around the geek world this week was “Avengers: Age of Ultron” director Joss Whedon leaving the Twitterverse. Whedon eventually spoke out about why he exited the social media network, so this week’s paycheck will be spent paying tribute to his choice by celebrating the Whedon women we love. The woman who started it all, of course, was Buffy Summers. She was the one girl in all the world chosen to stand against the vampires, the demons and the forces of darkness, or so it went in Whedon’s breakout hit TV show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” This week’s first pick is “The Little Book of Whittling” by Chris Lubkemann. This introductory guide is great […]
April 22, 2015 | 7:00 a.m.

‘Last Man’ exclusive: Cover revealed for Vol. 4 in French fighting series

'Last Man Vol. 4: The Show'
Magic, a Medieval fighting tournament and a mysterious stranger set the stage for the “Last Man” graphic novel series, by French comics creators Bastien Vivès, Michael Sanlaville and Balak. “Last Man,” which won the Prix de la Serie at the Angoulême International Comics Festival earlier this year, is available in English for the first time from publisher First Second. The six-issue story follows Adrian Velba, a young fighting school pupil preparing to enter his kingdom’s gladiatorial contest. When his partner falls ill the day of the tournament, Adrian’s luck appears to improve with the arrival of Richard Aldana — a stranger who fights without magic and has little knowledge of the local customs — and the pair team up to take on the kingdom’s most legendary fighters. The tale’s first installment, “The Stranger,” was released in English in March to critical praise. “The Royal Cup,” the second issue, […]
April 02, 2015 | 1:29 p.m.

‘Game of Thrones’: George R.R. Martin teases ‘Winds of Winter’

Sophie Turner plays Sansa Stark in "Game of Thrones." (Helen Sloan / HBO)
George R.R. Martin keeps his promises. After announcing on his blog that he was scaling back on convention appearances, as well as forgoing scripting any episodes for the sixth season of “Game of Thrones” in order to focus more on writing “The Winds of Winter,” Martin delivered a gift to his “A Song of Ice and Fire” fans in the form of an excerpt from the long-anticipated next installment of his popular fantasy saga. (Those not caught up with series should beware — there are spoilers below.) Martin’s new segment was posted online under the title “Alayne,” the alias Sansa Stark has adopted since escaping from King’s Landing (and her diminutive husband) to the Eyrie with Petyr Baelish, posing as his daughter after the events of the Purple Wedding. Sansa fans can rejoice because this is the first chapter narrated […]
March 21, 2015 | 10:00 a.m.

‘Insurgent’ author Veronica Roth wants young women to see a flawed, powerful Tris

"Divergent" trilogy author Veronica Roth in Beverly Hills. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
At 26, author Veronica Roth already has penned a bestselling YA book trilogy and co-produced two films based on the tale, including “The Divergent Series: Insurgent,” which opened in theaters Friday. The film stars Shailene Woodley, Miles Teller and Kate Winslet, and is based on the second novel in the series. Chicago-based Roth wrote “Divergent” when she was a 21-year-old college senior; her wild ascent has been a surreal ride. She recently discussed the big-screen adaptation, what she hopes the story means to young women and what’s next in her writing career. Hero Complex: You saw “Insurgent” several weeks ago, but now everyone else gets to see it. Veronica Roth: I’m looking forward to seeing it again with my mom and my stepdad and my husband there. HC: Do you feel different about showing your work to your family as […]
Feb. 03, 2015 | 3:31 p.m.

‘The Sculptor’: Scott McCloud molds a tale of art, love and death

"The Sculptor" (featured image)
If you could trade decades of your life for the chance to achieve your dreams, would you? It’s the deal that Death offers a young artist named David in Scott McCloud’s new graphic novel,  “The Sculptor” — 200 days to live in exchange for unfettered creative ability. David is granted the power to sculpt with his bare hands “at the speed of thought,” McCloud explains, and the intensely focused protagonist races against his death countdown to create something lasting and important. But when he struck the bargain to end his life, he didn’t expect to fall in love. In “The Sculptor,” which is out today from First Second, McCloud inks a heartbreaking tale of the meaning of life, the impact of art and the transformative influence of love in gorgeous black, white and blue. The Eisner and Harvey Award-winning author […]
Jan. 13, 2015 | 7:30 a.m.

Exclusive: Kate Beaton to follow ‘Hark! A Vagrant’ with ‘Step Aside, Pops’

'Step Aside, Pops' by Kate Beaton (featured image)
Cartoonist Kate Beaton, the author of 2011’s acclaimed “Hark! A Vagrant” and the wildly popular webcomic on which it is based, is announcing a follow-up to her bestselling debut. “Step Aside, Pops,” due out in September from independent comics publisher Drawn & Quarterly, will feature Beaton’s sharp wit and cheeky takes on literary and historical figures — Ida B. Wells, the Black Prince and Benito Juárez are just a few. “Step Aside, Pops,” named after Beaton’s cartoon featuring a feisty velocipedestrienne, boasts more than 150 pages of her work, mixing new material and cartoons previously published on the webcomic she began in 2007. Beaton started posting her comic strips online to show her friends, but rapidly gained devoted followers (nearly 100,000 on Twitter alone) drawn to the Canadian cartoonist’s offbeat and irreverent humor. Her illustrations have also appeared in The New […]
Jan. 08, 2015 | 6:00 a.m.

Exclusive: Ben Hatke’s ‘Little Robot’ cover revealed

'Little Robot' (featured image)
“Little Robot,” an upcoming graphic novel from Ben Hatke, is the tale of an unlikely friendship between a lost, childlike robot and the little girl who helps him explore the world. The all-ages graphic novel is due out Sept. 1 from First Second, and Hero Complex readers get a first look at the book’s cover, which features the diminutive heroes. Hatke is best known for his bestselling “Zita the Spacegirl” graphic novel series, which introduced a galaxy-trotting superheroine on a mission to save her best friend from an intergalactic doomsday cult. Hatke has also contributed to the “Flight” anthology series and is the author of the children’s book “Julia’s House for Lost Creatures.” In “Little Robot,” which began as a series of watercolor cartoon strips Hatke published on his website, a curious robot befriends a shy girl who’s handy with […]
Dec. 05, 2014 | 8:58 a.m.

Holiday gift guide: ‘Hobbit,’ Batman, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ more

Hero Complex Holiday Gift Guide 2014
Ho, Ho, Ho(dor)! It’s the time of year for geek-friendly holiday shopping. Whether you’re shopping for fans of “Game of Thrones,” “Star Wars,” Batman or Captain Marvel, the annual Hero Complex holiday gift guide has you covered. This year’s selections include some family-friendly video games for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Wii U; gorgeous hardcover books celebrating the anniversaries of Marvel Comics, Batman, the Teen Titans, “Alien” and Hello Kitty; a Godzilla toy that’s probably bigger than your dog; and a quadcopter camera drone, among other selections. Click through the gallery above for a peek at our selections. Items are listed below, sorted by cost. Under $25 “Living Language Dothraki,” $3.99 app, $19.99 audiobook, $30 online course: Athchomar chomakaan! The Khal or Khaleesi in your life must command the Dothraki language before commanding the troops, and thanks to Living Language’s new course (offered as an app, CD and guide […]
Oct. 31, 2014 | 9:00 a.m.

Halloween read: P. Craig Russell takes on Gaiman’s ‘Graveyard Book’

Neil Gaiman, author of the “The Graveyard Book,” didn’t have to think twice before choosing an artist to adapt the sweet and spooky coming-of-age tale into a graphic novel. “It wasn’t like I had a shortlist,” Gaiman said. “I went to [P.] Craig Russell and said, ‘Craig, how would you like to do this?’ And he did. … The reason I love working with Craig is Craig knows what he’s doing and is so brilliant.” Russell, the Ohio-based illustrator and graphic novelist (“The Ring of the Nibelung,” “Night Music,” “Elric”), and bestselling fantasy author Gaiman (“American Gods,” “Stardust”) have collaborated on half a dozen projects, beginning with the 50th issue of Gaiman’s “Sandman” comic (“Ramadan”) more than 20 years ago, and including “Coraline” and several short stories. “The Graveyard Book: Volume 2,” out this month from HarperCollins in time for Halloween, […]
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