Sept. 30, 2014 | 9:02 a.m.

‘Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo': See Adam Muto’s story notes

"Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo" (featured image)
Fans of Finn, Jake, Marceline and the rest of the zany cast of “Adventure Time” are invited to a Los Angeles release party Thursday for a new book about the show’s art. “Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo” offers interviews with the show’s creator Pendleton Ward and its writers, storyboarders, animators and voice actors, as well as an extensive look at concept art, storyboards, early character sketches, background paintings and the series’ show bible. Hero Complex readers get an exclusive preview of some of Adam Muto‘s illustrated story notes for various episodes of the Cartoon Network juggernaut. Check them out in the gallery above. The lavish, 352-page volume, authored by artist and animator Chris McDonnell, is due out Oct. 14, but will be available at Thursday’s release party from 7 to 10 p.m. at the iam8bit gallery in Echo Park. McDonnell and “Adventure Time” artists Ako […]
Sept. 29, 2014 | 12:51 p.m.

‘Afterlife With Archie': Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa talks horror, movie plans

"Afterlife with Archie" No. 1. (Archie Comics)
The spotlight was on Riverdale’s dark side during the “Afterlife With Archie” panel with writer and Archie Comics chief creative officer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa at Long Beach Comic Con on Sunday. “I’ve never felt like we should dial back the horror, but the challenge is, as horrific as the events get, at the core it is an ‘Archie’ book,” said Aguirre-Sacasa in a discussion with Hero Complex’s Blake Hennon at the weekend expo. Among the topics explored were Aguirre-Sacasa’s history with Archie Comics, the origins of “Afterlife” and what readers can expect in future issues as well as his upcoming “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” series. “Afterlife With Archie” chronicles Riverdale’s zombie apocalypse, which was instigated when Sabrina the Teenage Witch attempted to bring back Jughead Jones’ dog, Hot Dog, from the dead. The consequence: Jughead is the first human casualty […]
Sept. 29, 2014 | 12:16 p.m.

‘SNL’ spoofs Marvel success with ‘Guardians’ star Chris Pratt

(NBC / screenshot)
Is Marvel so successful that it can do no wrong in the eyes of moviegoers? Maybe, according “Saturday Night Live.” In the show’s premiere this weekend, “Guardians of the Galaxy” star Chris Pratt joined the “SNL” cast in a satirical trailer poking fun at Marvel’s ever-expanding roster of superhero films and their apparent box-office invincibility. The faux trailer begins with images from “Guardians,” which has earned some $644 million at the worldwide box office, and a voice-over explaining that, after the success of a film based on “a super-obscure comic book” and the hype surrounding the studio’s eagerly anticipated “Ant-Man” (“It’s about a guy who talks to ants. What? Yeah!”), Marvel doesn’t need comic books anymore. “We made a superhero team by pointing at a bunch of random words in the dictionary,” the trailer deadpans, introducing “Creatures of the Cosmos,” […]
Sept. 29, 2014 | 9:00 a.m.

Long Beach Comic Con: Lois Lane and the advancement of women in comics

LoisLaneLBCCfeatured
Lois Lane may be the most famous woman in comics, and the fearless Daily Planet journalist got her due from several “Ladies First: The Impact of Women in Comics” panelists during a wide-ranging discussion Saturday. Barbara Randall Kesel, a writer and editor who has worked at DC Comics, said the character’s portrayal “rises and falls with what is happening with women in the real world” – from being a “spitfire” like new career women in the ’30s and ’40s, to being diminished to “comedic foil” for Superman as women were being encouraged to relinquish jobs and focus on their husbands in the ’50s, to becoming a more feminist character as the equality movement has advanced. Lane is “a superhero without any powers,” popular artist Amanda Conner, who co-writes DC’s “Harley Quinn” series, said. “She’s got that assumption of authority – […]
Sept. 28, 2014 | 7:51 p.m.

Long Beach Comic Con: Cosplay photos, from Deadpool to Pinkie Pie

Waylon Wilkerson, 33, poses as the Wolverine at the Long Beach Comic Con at the Long Beach Convention Center. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Photographer Genaro Molina headed down to Long Beach this weekend to capture the cosplay on display at the 2014 Long Beach Comic Con. Click through the gallery above for a look at some of this year’s more colorful Comic Con attendees. In its sixth year, the convention featured a showroom floor filled with booths offering clothing, toys, artists’ drawings and comic properties, movie item replicas and numerous cosplay how-to sessions for fledgling costumers. Panel discussions and in-depth conversations with creators — including in the convention’s 104 A auditorium, which this year was redubbed the “Hero Complex” theater for the weekend — were also a part of the convention’s programming. Discussions of race and gender in comics and spotlight sessions devoted to “Hellboy” mastermind Mike Mignola, Man of Action Studios, 75 years of Batman and the zany minds behind “Robot Chicken” […]
Sept. 28, 2014 | 9:00 a.m.

Long Beach Comic Con: Mike Mignola happy to dwell in hell with Hellboy

Mike Mignola has gone to hell with Hellboy, and he has every intention of staying there. “I find the hell that I’ve created very, very cozy,” he told a crowd at Long Beach Comic Con on Saturday afternoon. “I don’t want to leave it.” So what’s so great about the “Hellboy in Hell” underworld where Mignola plans to spend most of, or maybe all, of the rest of his career? “If you could look inside my head, this is the world that’s in there,” the Hellboy creator said. “It’s entirely made out of the things I like,” which include old buildings and forests and exclude cars, planes and the pressure of trying to illustrate real places. “I just want to draw that world,” he continued. “The trouble is, that world’s really big, so it’s going to take a really long […]
Sept. 28, 2014 | 8:00 a.m.

Batman 75: Toasting Robin(s), Batgirl, Batwoman at Long Beach Comic Con

Batman75LBCCfeatured
Much has been made of Batman in marking his 75th anniversary, and the comic-book talents gathered Saturday at Long Beach Comic Con for a panel celebrating the Dark Knight had plenty to say about various versions of him – but they also toasted the heroes he’s inspired. A highly anticipated new take on Batgirl, Bruce Wayne’s cousin Kate Kane (a.k.a. Batwoman) and a couple of different Robins all came up in the conversation among writers and artists who have told – or will tell – those characters’ tales, as did opinions about Ben Affleck’s casting as Batman, choice Bat-obscurities, fan passions and possible future projects. PHOTOS: 75 enduring images of Batman Babs Tarr, the new artist on the redesigned “Batgirl,” which begins with the Oct. 8 release of No. 35, said she’d been warned by her writer collaborator Cameron Stewart […]
Sept. 27, 2014 | 6:00 a.m.

‘Smarter Than You’ is a battle of wits, arrows, swords and lies

A look at the animation and rules of mobile game "Smarter Than You." (EightyEight Games)
THE PLAYER The very name of the game is like a glove slapped across the face. “Smarter Than You,” released this week for Apple’s mobile devices, is a taunt and a challenge. Bold words for a game that, on the surface, is essentially a virtual match of rock-paper-scissors. And yet “Smarter Than You,” a free game with a minimalistic presentation that asks little of its players, manages to carve its way into a rather complex psychological head space. That’s because it’s partly a game about the little ways in which we casually lie — to strangers, friends and loved ones. So maybe, depending on your level of cynicism, “Smarter Than You” is also a game about the ways in which we communicate. “You don’t have to tell the truth,” the game tells us in its opening tutorial, spelling out what […]
Sept. 26, 2014 | 11:11 a.m.

Marvel settles dispute over superhero rights with Jack Kirby estate

One of the most contentious court battles in comics has come to an end. Marvel and the members of Jack Kirby’s family issued a joint statement Friday to announce that the long-running legal case over royalties related to characters created or co-created by the legendary pioneer has been settled out of court. The short statement read in full: “Marvel and the family of Jack Kirby have amicably resolved their legal disputes, and are looking forward to advancing their shared goal of honoring Mr. Kirby’s significant role in Marvel’s history.” During his decades in comics, Kirby created or co-created Captain America, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Iron Man, Doctor Doom, the Silver Surfer, Magneto, the Black Panther, Ant-Man, the Red Skull, Galactus and dozens of other comic book characters, helping define Marvel Comics during the Silver Age. The issue had been […]
Sept. 26, 2014 | 10:59 a.m.

Steven T. Seagle returns to comic book superheroes for ‘Imperial’

'Imperial' No. 3
Steven T. Seagle is getting back to basics for his new four-issue Image series “Imperial,” which follows an everyman named Mark who has been selected against all odds to pick up the crown and role of Earth’s superhero, Imperial. Both parties seem less than thrilled at this latest twist of fate. Mark’s got other things to worry about, like his upcoming wedding. And Imperial isn’t impressed with Mark at all. Seagle, who will appear at the Long Beach Comic Con this weekend with his writing collective, Man of Action — a quartet that also includes Duncan Rouleau, Joe Kelly and Joe Casey, recently chatted with Hero Complex about his aims with “Imperial.” The series’ third issue will be released Oct. 8. Hero Complex: Your last few comic book projects have not been superhero stories. Were you itching to get back […]
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