July 23, 2014 | 9:00 a.m.
Lots of kids love comic books. But Scott Dunbier’s passion went beyond the four-color fantasies on the spinner rack — to their artists’ original black-and-white pages. As a teenager living in Woodland Hills, he tracked down Jack Kirby’s phone number and called the co-creator of Captain America and the X-Men to ask for some original artwork, as he had with other artists he admired. But Kirby went further than mailing back a sketch, suggesting that Dunbier’s mother drive him to the artist’s Thousand Oaks home for a weekend lunch — mentioning that he should bring some comics to have signed. “I brought like 50 comics,” Dunbier says with a laugh. “I didn’t know that was kind of not good etiquette. He signed every single comic. He answered all my questions.” More than three decades later, Dunbier has crafted a unique […]
June 18, 2014 | 1:56 p.m.
Muggles: Have you booked your tickets for Florida yet? In its second phase, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the theme park experience based on J.K. Rowling’s saga, will open its Diagon Alley experience on July 8. The Diagon Alley attraction, modeled after the famous shopping thoroughfare visited by Hogwarts students and their magical families in the books and films, also will be home to a new ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, designed to take patrons through the vaults of the famous Goblin bank. The new area will double the size of the Wizarding World already found at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, expanding the themed environment across that and the Universal Studios Florida park. Guests can journey between both lands aboard the Hogwarts Express. FULL COVERAGE: Harry Potter through the years At Diagon Alley, visitors will be […]
June 02, 2014 | 3:26 p.m.
There’s no shortage of lessons to be learned from the crushing end of Sunday’s “Game of Thrones” episode “The Mountain and the Viper.” It’s hard to say who was more horrified by the turn of events — the viewers who took to Twitter with their outrage, the Red Viper’s partner in PDA, Ellaria (Indira Varma), or Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), who might have the lousiest luck in Westeros. If you haven’t caught up on the latest installment of HBO’s bloody saga, stop reading now before it gets ugly. Last night’s show culminated with the battle we’ve all been waiting for: Tyrion’s ostensible defender, Oberyn (Pedro Pascal), versus the burly and merciless Mountain (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson), Tywin’s most formidable henchman. The Red Viper, who was avenging his sister’s rape and murder at the hands of the Mountain, was in the lead for the majority of the fight, […]
May 20, 2014 | 9:00 a.m.
The July 11 release of “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” can’t come soon enough. In the meantime, get your fill of ape-on-human warfare with “Firestorm,” the official “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” prequel novel written by Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver. Hero Complex has an exclusive excerpt of the book’s first chapter, in full below. “Firestorm,” due out from Titan on May 27, promises to bridge the gap between the upcoming sequel and the 2011 hit film “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” directed by Matt Reeves (“Cloverfield,” “Let Me In”), is set 10 years after the earlier movie, a reboot of the sci-fi franchise inspired by Pierre Boulle’s 1963 novel that brought in more than $480 million at the worldwide box office. The new film from Warner Bros. posits […]
May 14, 2014 | 4:46 p.m.
Tony DiTerlizzi is no stranger to stumbling into fantastical worlds — as a writer and artist he co-created “The Spiderwick Chronicles” and created the “WondLa” trilogy of children’s books (the final book, “The Battle for WondLa” was released earlier this month). But when he got the call to write a children’s book retelling the original “Star Wars” trilogy, to be illustrated with Ralph McQuarrie’s original concept drawings, he found himself entering a real-life magical realm: Lucasfilm. “I visited the Lucasfilm archive at the Skywalker Ranch,” DiTerlizzi said during a recent event at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles benefiting his favorite charity, Starlight Children’s Foundation. “I thought it would be a room with a bunch of flat files of art. No, the Death Star was there. R2-D2 was there. There was the lost Ark of the Covenant. Indy’s hat. Willow. Ten-year-old Tony’s […]
May 12, 2014 | 9:08 p.m.
The bravest lion in the Seven Kingdoms has roared. Sunday’s episode of “Game of Thrones,” titled “The Laws of Gods and Men,” saw Peter Dinklage, the esteemed actor who plays Tyrion Lannister, the cunning black sheep of Westeros’ ruling family, deliver his most showstopping, awards-worthy speech yet. (He already has an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his work in the series.) HBO’s top-rated fantasy series surprised TV audiences earlier this season by killing off sadistic King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson), who was poisoned at his own wedding feast. Despite protesting his innocence, his uncle Tyrion was accused of the crime and banished to a cell to await a trial, overseen in part by his own father Tywin (Charles Dance) — who has long held his dwarf son in open contempt. (Those not current with the show might be advised to stop reading […]
May 05, 2014 | 3:07 p.m.
“Game of Thrones” is now halfway through the fourth season, and judging by last night’s relatively low body count, HBO’s sprawling drama is pacing itself — for the moment. Twitter fans tamed their blood lust and praised Sunday’s episode for its clever plot machinations. Of course, moderation only goes so far where George R.R. Martin is concerned: “First of His Name” didn’t skimp on the grisly details. Brain skewers, anyone? (Ahem, now would be the time to stop reading: spoilers ahead.) Westeros already seems a little kinder, now that Tommen Baratheon (Dean-Charles Chapman) is officially king. As he sits smiling in the Iron Throne, his mother calls him “a good boy, a decent boy,” seemingly the opposite of his late rageaholic brother Joffrey. Cersei (Lena Headey) and Margaery (Natalie Dormer) have a friendly chat about all the weddings (a.k.a. bloodbaths) coming up. She hints that Margaery, once her competition, wouldn’t be a bad sidekick for […]
April 28, 2014 | 1:53 p.m.
The fourth episode in the fourth season of HBO’s fantasy epic, “Game of Thrones,” dished up some of its grimmest fare yet last night — and that is saying something on a show that spills blood like it’s beer at a frat house. If you haven’t seen “Oathkeeper” yet, beware: spoilers lurk ahead. Not only did the latest installment of “Game of Thrones” show us what the White Walkers have been doing with all those Craster infants — freezing them into little baby zombies — viewers got another rape scene, adding to the show’s brewing controversy. This time the victims were anonymous young women at Craster’s Keep, at the hands of the brutal mutineers from the Night’s Watch. Like the last scene with Cersei and Jaime Lannister, where the two fought near Joffrey’s dead body until Jaime overpowered her, the sequence wasn’t taken directly from […]
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 […]