April 25, 2014 | 1:57 p.m.
“Star Wars” obsessives got some good news and bad news Friday when Lucasfilm officially announced the fate of the “Star Wars” Expanded Universe, the loosely interlocked series of books, comics, video games and other ancillary products that have served to fill out the imaginary universe George Lucas established in his six original films. First, the bad news: Fans can forget trying to decipher the future of “Star Wars” from the hints of the past. Lucasfilm is officially writing off all Expanded Universe properties that have been produced to date. While many of the books and stories will remain available, they now will be labeled with a “Legends” banner. Despite the popularity of the Timothy Zahn-authored novels set in the years after “Return of the Jedi” or the “Dark Empire” comic books, those stories will have no bearing on what happens […]
April 21, 2014 | 1:21 p.m.
Sunday’s episode of HBO’s sprawling series “Game of Thrones” dealt with the fallout from the much-discussed Purple Wedding, but the installment also managed to churn up its own controversy on Twitter. (If you haven’t seen the episode, “Breaker of Chains,” you should probably stop reading now.) The hour was packed with grizzly drama but nothing quite like the dismal encounter between Cersei (Lena Headey) and Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), the incestuous brother-sister pair whose relationship has sunk to a new low. To say it plainly: Right next to the dead body of King Joffrey, their doomed love child, Jaime Lannister rapes his sister as some sort of twisted punishment for being a “hateful woman.” Ever since Jaime returned to King’s Landing, with a stump where his sword-fighting hand used to be, Cersei has given him the cold shoulder. For some reason, Jaime […]
April 17, 2014 | 5:52 p.m.
Disney is releasing a new series of children’s books based on the original “Star Wars” trilogy, starting with a collaboration between bestselling children’s author Tony DiTerlizzi and the late iconic concept artist Ralph McQuarrie. The “Star Wars Saga” series will hit stores beginning with DiTerlizzi and McQuarrie’s picture book “The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight” in October, Disney Publishing Worldwide announced Thursday. Three subsequent books will follow, leading up to the highly anticipated December 2015 movie release of “Star Wars: Episode VII.” The additional titles include retellings of “A New Hope” by R.J. Palacio (“Wonder”), “The Empire Strikes Back” by Adam Gidwitz (“A Tale Dark and Grimm”) and “Return of the Jedi” by Tom Angleberger (“Origami Yoda” series). The books will be illustrated by “Star Wars” concept artist Iain McCaig and published under the Disney-Lucasfilm Press imprint. DiTerlizzi, best known […]
April 14, 2014 | 4:07 p.m.
If it’s doom and gloom you’re looking for, then look no further than Sigur Ros’ version of “The Rains of Castamere.” The tune is a calling card of death on HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and it showed up most recently on Sunday’s episode, “The Lion and the Rose,” which featured the demise of one major player, possibly the series’ most-hated character. If you missed the installment, you might want to stop reading now. Though the song might have been King Joffrey’s idea of a cheery number, “The Rains of Castamere” shouldn’t be played at any wedding, unless you’re trying to get your guests to leave. The Icelandic trio — drummer Orri Pall Dyrason, bass player Georg Holm and singer Jonsi Birgisson — appeared for a brief moment playing their funereal version at the wedding of King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) and Margaery […]
April 14, 2014 | 2:09 p.m.
Talk about just desserts. Last night’s episode of “Game of Thrones,” “The Lion and the Rose,” elicited a rousing celebration from Twitter; as the tweets piled up around the #purplewedding hashtag, it was clear that the death of a key character at the wedding of King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) and Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) produced one long, slow clap from the Internet. If you still haven’t seen the latest twist in HBO’s fantasy series, you should stop reading now. The highlights? Well, the wedding was a white-knuckled affair even before Joffrey was fatally poisoned. Indulging his own twisted ideas of entertainment, he’d brought out a troupe of dwarfs to act out the so-called Battle of the Five Armies, referencing both Ned Stark and Robb Stark’s murder to the horror of Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner). Not content with this base-level humiliation, Joffrey baited his […]
April 09, 2014 | 1:43 p.m.
In 1978, twentysomething artist Mimi Pond dropped out of art school and worked in an Oakland greasy spoon, serving punk rockers, hippies and the occasional prostitute. She never forgot her time there: “I knew from the moment I stepped through the door that it was a story.” Fast-forward several years, in which Pond racked up experience writing for “The Simpsons” (she penned the debut episode), “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” and “Designing Women,” all while drawing cartoons for the Los Angeles Times and Seventeen magazine (not to mention raising two kids with her husband, the artist Wayne White). Finally, some 25 years later, she turned her attention to writing about Mama’s Royal, still a pit stop for Bay Area artists to this day. This month, the resulting fictionalized memoir, “Over Easy,” hits the shelves from Drawn & Quarterly. For lovers of tawdry tales from the ’70s, told […]
April 07, 2014 | 2:25 p.m.
“Game of Thrones” returned to HBO last night and the 8th kingdom of Twitter took notice. The fourth season premiere of the sprawling fantasy series adapted from George R.R. Martin’s bestselling novels delivered blood, guts and Valyrian steel to its devoted fan following — an average of 6.6. million total viewers turned in to watch the episode, according to Nielsen, giving HBO its biggest audience since 11.9 million viewers watched the finale of the mob drama “The Sopranos.” There was so much demand to watch the premiere online that the network’s online streaming service, HBO GO, crashed. Technical difficulties aside, it was a sweet homecoming that included a number of memorable moments — anyone who has not yet seen the episode might want to stop reading now. Among the highlights? Arya proved herself in battle alongside the Hound; Daario (now […]
April 07, 2014 | 1:12 p.m.
The second installment in Hayao Miyazaki’s memoir is out Tuesday, offering a glimpse into the legendary animation director’s career of more than three decades, and Hero Complex readers get an exclusive sneak peek. “Turning Point: 1997-2008,” from Viz Media, traces the Japanese director’s most successful years, which saw the release of “Princess Mononoke,” the Oscar-winning “Spirited Away,” “Howl’s Moving Castle” and “Ponyo.” During this time, Miyazaki’s work received critical acclaim and began to garner an international audience. The 452-page tome includes Miyazaki’s essays about Japan’s animation culture, the differing perspectives of children and adults, and his memories of youth, among other topics; interviews with various publications and panels, including one with Roger Ebert; illustrations for Studio Ghibli holiday cards and films; and even poetry, written to aid composer Joe Hisaishi. “Turning Point” is the companion second volume to 1996’s “Starting Point: 1979-1996,” which […]
April 03, 2014 | 3:47 p.m.
The Chinese tradition of ghost marriages — weddings performed for deceased bachelors — serves as the inspiration for “The Undertaking of Lily Chen,” the latest graphic novel from author Danica Novgorodoff. The ancient practice sought to partner recently deceased singletons for their journeys into the afterlife, but a modern resurgence of the macabre tradition in contemporary China has led to grave-robbings and even killings — setting the stage for Novgorodoff’s tale. “Lily Chen,” from First Second Books, follows a young man named Deshi whose elder (and more favored) brother dies in an accident. Deshi’s parents hold him responsible and send him on a quest to find a corpse bride so his brother won’t have to enter the afterlife alone. When he meets the eponymous Lily Chen, a sharp-tongued and impulsive young woman trying to escape an arranged marriage, he sees […]
March 27, 2014 | 4:34 p.m.
George R. R. Martin, whose “A Song of Ice and Fire” fantasy book series is the basis for the hit HBO show “Game of Thrones,” has released a chapter of his forthcoming book, “The Winds of Winter.” The book, with a release date yet to be determined, will be the sixth installment in the series and is a long time coming after 2011’s “A Dance With Dragons.” Martin has said the series will contain a total of seven books, with the final installment — “A Dream of Spring” — also forthcoming with no definite release date in sight. Martin released the chapter, titled “Mercy,” on his website, replacing a previously released excerpt titled “Arianne.” The new chapter, Martin wrote on his blog, “is actually an old chapter” that was written “a long time ago,” before previously released samples of the […]