May 08, 2013 | 5:13 p.m.
“Odd Duck,” by Cecil Castellucci and Sara Varon, chronicles the quirky friendship between two ducks — Theodora, who swims with a teacup balanced on her head, and her scruffy neighbor Chad, who loves astronomy and snow angels. The tale is a celebration of strangeness, says Castellucci, who admits to being a bit of an odd duck herself. Castellucci has made a name for herself across media as former indie rocker (then known as Nerdy Girl and Cecil Seaskull), filmmaker, opera libretto writer and award-winning author of books and graphic novels, including “The Plain Janes,” “The Year of the Beasts” and “First Day on Earth.” For “Odd Duck,” the Canadian writer teamed up with artist Sara Varon (“Robot Dreams”) to create the story’s whimsical format — a sort of hybrid between comic and picture book (take a peek in the gallery […]
April 27, 2013 | 11:00 a.m.
REVIEW Golden-age publisher EC Comics’ rise and fall was tied to its horror titles “Tales From the Crypt” and “The Vault of Horror,” which were so sharply written and beautifully drawn that they quickly became fan-favorites in the early ’50s — while also freaking out some authority figures, who were bothered that these stories were so gory, so irreverent, so effective. When comics fans sum up the EC saga, the focus is usually on how the company excelled at twisty tales of murder, then had to tone that down in the wake of congressional investigations into the link between comics and juvenile delinquency. Eventually, EC survived the furor by turning to humor, becoming a success again thanks to Mad magazine. Yet EC in its heyday was about more than just violent criminals and the shambling undead. The company was also […]
April 19, 2013 | 5:23 p.m.
What if Darth Vader had been a loving and devoted father? Comic writer and artist Jeffrey Brown answered that question last year with his charming book “Darth Vader and Son,” which imagined the endearing Sith Lord’s struggles and tender moments with young Luke Skywalker. Now Princess Leia is getting the same treatment in “Vader’s Little Princess,” due out Tuesday. Brown, whose previous work includes “Clumsy,” “Bighead” and two adorable cat books, received an Eisner Award nomination for best humor publication for “Vader and Son.” Unlike that book, which focused on Luke’s early childhood years, “Vader’s Little Princess” follows Leia through her adolescence and rebellious teen years, leaving Vader to worry about his daughter’s wardrobe, driving (should we say piloting?) abilities and boyfriends, including one scruffy-looking Han Solo. “I think part of what was so fun about this idea is like, […]
April 14, 2013 | 8:00 a.m.
With his new book, “Peter Cushing: A Life in Film,” out on Tuesdsay, author David Miller charts in detail the rich and varied career of the distinguished English actor, who perhaps remains best known to American movie fans for his roles opposite Christopher Lee in the many horror movies produced by Hammer Films in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, and of course, for his turn as Grand Moff Tarkin in “Star Wars.” Miller’s account not only spends considerable time on the Hammer productions, but also chronicles Cushing’s early years in Hollywood, his work on BBC teleplays, including an adaptation of George Orwell’s “1984,” and other memorable performances — he played the famous Time Lord in “Doctor Who and the Daleks” and “Daleks’ Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.,” not to mention Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic investigator, Sherlock Holmes. Hero Complex recently caught […]
March 27, 2013 | 9:39 a.m.
Superman is turning 75. When Superman first leaped (not flew, mind you) onto the pages of “Action Comics” No. 1 in 1938, the Man of Steel heralded the beginning of the superhero comics genre, paving the way for Batman, Spider-Man and many more spandex-wearing crime fighters. But there is only one Superman. His super-speed, super-strength and a noble devotion to truth, justice and the American way have helped make Superman the most enduring figure in comics, inspiring several landmark portrayals in television, on stage and in film, including the upcoming “Man of Steel,” in theaters June 14. “It’s precisely because we have so many dark heroes (Batman), and fraught ones (Spider-Man), that we’re aching for a big blue Boy Scout who knows right from wrong instinctively, and never wavers from the light or is sidetracked by anxieties,” said Larry Tye, who wrote […]
March 25, 2013 | 12:22 p.m.
“World War Z” has unveiled a chilling new trailer and movie poster for the zombie apocalypse thriller. Instead of run-of-the-mill images of brain-eating zombies, we see disturbing images of infected, nearly rabid humans, like ants, swarming and surging toward their next feast. “World War Z,” slated for a June 21 release, is based on author Max Brooks’ bestselling book about a worldwide zombie epidemic. Directed by Oscar nominee Marc Forster, it stars Brad Pitt as Gerry Lane, a United Nations fact-finder and devoted dad who frantically hopscotches around the world in a desperate bid to determine the origin of the zombie pandemic and save humanity. Brooks’ book revolves around an interviewer collecting firsthand recollections of what happened when the zombies took over. The film scraps that POV to present a more Hollywood-friendly approach that features nonstop action, though director Forster has promised […]
March 20, 2013 | 8:10 a.m.
“The Host” premiered Tuesday night at Hollywood’s Arclight theater, with novelist Stephenie Meyer on hand along with the film’s costars Saoirse Ronan, Max Irons and Diane Kruger. “The Host” is Meyer’s follow to her “Twilight” blockbuster, and it will be tough for her new series of sci-fi books-turned-films to top the success of that vampire phenomenon. The “Twilight” films have a domestic box office total of nearly $1.4 billion, according to Box Office Mojo. Meyer’s latest is a sci-fi love tale. The novel, published in 2008, is aimed at more of an adult audience than the “Twilight” books and tells of a frightening future in which aliens take over the world — and our bodies. You can tell the body snatchers by their piercing blue eyes. Over at Goodreads, reviews were mostly positive for the book, although some slammed it […]
March 11, 2013 | 9:53 a.m.
Douglas Adams’ 61st birthday is being marked with a Google Doodle that would make the author of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” proud. But “Don’t Panic” if you looked at the Google Doodle and wondered … “what is that supposed to be?” The interactive doodle draws on several allusions to the late English humorist’s writing, down to the rumpled towel said to be an important part of any trip. There’s a cup of tea, a packed back, a manuscript, the galaxy whizzing by outside the window. You can also see Marvin the robot by clicking on the sliding doors to the left, and you can tap the e-reader’s keyboard for several inside references. Most of it, though, will likely be lost on those unfamiliar with the author, who died at the age of 49 from a heart attack. He […]
March 08, 2013 | 12:46 p.m.
International Women’s Day is being honored today with that singular cultural touchstone: a Google Doodle. The doodle drawing of faces of women around the world artistically honors the advancement of women’s rights — one of the chief goals of International Women’s Day — and the fact that a woman’s work, it seems, is never done. Hero Complex is celebrating International Women’s Day in the best way it knows how: with a photo gallery of women from film, TV, games and comic books who embody female empowerment and, let’s face it, kick booty. (Yes, we said “booty,” but only because the L.A. Times censors made us.) Beyoncé as Wonder Woman? Now we know there’s a long list of complaints about women in genre. Chiefly, that they are hyper-sexualized sidekicks who do little more than bust out of their curve-hugging costumes. And, […]
March 08, 2013 | 9:54 a.m.
“The Wizard of Oz” is one of the most beloved movies of all time, so it’s a bold move to try to step inside those ruby-red slippers. Disney has done just that with its new film “Oz the Great and Powerful,” a prequel of sorts to the 1939 classic. Although reviews have been mixed, many agree that the Sam Raimi-directed film starring Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz and Mila Kunis, and James Franco as a con-man magician swept away to Oz, is visually stunning. But no one would dare to say that “Oz the Great and Powerful” surpasses the original, even if they believed it, right? (That would be sacrilegious!) We dug into the Los Angeles Times archives to bring you — above –some images tied to “The Wizard of Oz.” Starring Judy Garland as Dorothy, the film is the most watched movie […]