May 19, 2015 | 5:06 a.m.

Joe Casey breaks superhero mold with ‘Valhalla Mad’ and ‘Sex’

Joe Casey's 'Valhalla Mad" and 'Sex'
Joe Casey doesn’t remember a time when comic books weren’t in his life. A writer who has worked on some of the most popular characters in superhero comics, including Superman, the X-Men and the Avengers, Casey grew up as an unabashed fan of the medium, and the works of Jack Kirby were some of the very first books that caught his attention. During his trips to local drugstore spinner racks, Casey discovered Kirby’s work through random issues of “Eternals,” “Devil Dinosaur,” “Black Panther” and “Captain America and the Falcon,” and it made an impression that has significantly influenced Casey’s development as a comics creator. “[Kirby] was a bit out of fashion at that point, as I later learned, but … he was never not great, as far as I’m concerned,” Casey said. “Once I really dove into the medium — […]
May 18, 2015 | 11:23 a.m.

‘Game of Thrones’: Fans outraged by brutal Sansa Stark scene

Sophie Turner, left, as Sansa Stark and Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Bolton in "Game of Thrones." (Helen Sloan / HBO)
This post contains “Game of Thrones” spoilers. Poor Sansa Stark can’t catch a break. And fans are taking to social media to express their outrage following the latest atrocity inflicted on Sansa in last night’s episode of “Game of Thrones.” Sansa, portrayed by 19-year-old Sophie Turner, has survived horror after horror in the hit HBO fantasy series. From losing her direwolf Lady, to witnessing the beheading of her father Ned Stark, to suffering the brutality and humiliation inflicted by Joffrey Lannister, to being attacked by a riotous mob, Sansa’s lot only seems to worsen over time. And after fearing sexual assault by Joffrey, by the Hound, by the mob, by Tyrion and potentially even by Littlefinger, Sansa is raped on her wedding night by her new husband, the psychotic Ramsay Bolton, as a tearful Theon Greyjoy, a.k.a. Reek, is made […]
May 18, 2015 | 5:23 a.m.

Shanghai Comic Convention: China is the new frontier for con organizers

A cosplayer poses at the Shanghai Comic Convention.  (Nick May / For the Los Angeles Times)
SHANGHAI — Two sexy female Captain Americas, a Superman, a Catwoman and Japanese anime schoolgirls come to life were milling around the second floor of the Shanghai Convention & Exhibition Center when Yang Wanjing emerged from a curtained booth, trembling. Unlike many of her counterparts at the first Shanghai Comic Convention, she had decided to forgo a costume. But the 23-year-old automotive quality-control clerk nevertheless was living out her personal fantasy, plunking down $115 — 20% of her monthly salary — for a fleeting meeting with her idol, Mads Mikkelsen of the NBC show “Hannibal.” Bashfully clutching photographic proof of her star encounter (“I look terrible next to him,” she lamented), Yang struggled to compose herself. She seemed unsure of whether she had just made the best decision of her life — or the worst. “All fans are idiots, in […]
May 15, 2015 | 5:40 p.m.

Paycheck Friday: Add some ‘Mad Max’ flair to your workspace

A scene from "Mad Max: Fury Road." (Warner Bros.)
For this week’s installment of Paycheck Friday, Hero Complex’s roundup of some of our favorite toys, books and other geek merchandise, we turn to the post-apocalyptic world depicted in “Mad Max.” Now in theaters, “Mad Max: Fury Road” follows Mad Max Rockatansky’s (Tom Hardy) quest for survival in a desert wasteland after civilization has collapsed. It is a world where, as director George Miller described to The Times in a previous interview, “all the bad things we see in the news come to pass: all the economic collapse, oil wars and water wars, even stuff we never see coming.” With that in mind, this week’s paycheck goes to re-creating a scaled-down version of this post-apocalyptic world to liven up your workspace. First, to set the appropriate mood, we recommend picking up the “Mad Max: Fury Road” soundtrack. While the standard […]
May 15, 2015 | 1:59 p.m.

‘Shadowhunters’: Alan Van Sprang to play villain in ‘Mortal Instruments’ TV series

Alan Van Sprang, shown above center as King Henry II in "Reign," has been cast as the villainous Valentine in "Shadowhunters." (Joss Barratt / The CW)
“Shadowhunters” has cast its villain. Alan Van Sprang (“Reign,” “Survival of the Dead”) will play Valentine in “The Mortal Instruments” TV series, ABC Family announced Friday. Based on the bestselling YA urban fantasy book series by Cassandra Clare, “Shadowhunters” follows 18-year-old art student Clarissa “Clary” Fray (Katherine McNamara) as she becomes entangled in the world of so-called Shadowhunters — human-angel hybrids who hunt down demons — after her mother is attacked and taken by a demon. In order to save her mother, Clary must immerse herself in a world of faeries, warlocks, vampires and werewolves, uncover family secrets, and tap into powers she never knew she had. Van Sprang will portray the mysterious and cruel Shadowhunter Valentine, a “brilliant, cunning and dangerously handsome” man who wields “immense power,” according to a character description in an ABC Family press release. “His […]
May 15, 2015 | 12:07 p.m.

‘Downer from Down Under’: Read the original ‘Mad Max’ review in L.A. Times

Mel Gibson in 1979's "Mad Max." (MGM)
“Mad Max: Fury Road” is revving into theaters this weekend, accompanied by rave reviews and high box office predictions. But when the original “Mad Max” film arrived in the U.S. in 1980, film critic Charles Champlin of the Los Angeles Times called it “a textbook example of how not to make a film.” Champlin criticized nearly everything about the movie, including young lead Mel Gibson (“boyishly bland”), the villains (“indistinguishable vrooming beings”), the set, the supporting characters and the “inappropriate” soundtrack. “You are left with a lot of burnt rubber and bent metal and little evidence of creative imagination,” Champlin wrote. Champlin certainly wasn’t the only critic who wasn’t impressed by George Miller’s low-budget, post-apocalyptic action flick. The New York Times’ Tom Buckley criticized its “flimsy” plot and said the film was “ugly and incoherent, and aimed, probably accurately, at […]
May 15, 2015 | 9:00 a.m.

Exclusive: See DC Bombshells variant covers for ‘Batman,’ ‘Catwoman,’ more

'Catwoman' No. 43
DC Comics has announced that August will be DC Bombshells month, and Hero Complex readers get a first look at the variant covers for “Batman,” “Catwoman,” “Detective Comics” and “Superman/Wonder Woman.” For the uninitiated, Bombshells is a line of collectible statues that reimagines classic DC characters in the vintage style of World War II-era art. The Bombshells line has expanded to other items such as posters, apparel and accessories, and DC made it the variant theme last June, with titles such as “Batgirl,” “Harley Quinn” and “Superman” receiving the Bombshells treatment. DC Bombshells variants: ‘Batman’ No. 43 | ‘Catwoman’ No. 43 | ‘Detective Comics’ No. 43 | ‘Superman/Wonder Woman’ No. 20 DC has also announced a new Bombshells comic book series written by Marguerite Bennett with art by Marguerite Sauvage. “DC Comics Bombshells,” which begins in July, will be an […]
May 14, 2015 | 2:51 p.m.

Trailer: New ‘Lego Jurassic World’ video game lets you play as a dinosaur

'Lego Jurassic World" will feature familiar faces from all four "Jurassic Park" movies. (TT Games)
It’s dinosaurs, dinosaurs and more dinosaurs in the new trailer for “Lego Jurassic World,” the video game set to hit shelves June 12. Just as it plays out in the 1993 film “Jurassic Park,” the first dinosaur we see in the trailer is a Brachiosaurus. Among the other familiar dinosaurs depicted are a Compsognathus, a Tyrannosaurus rex, a Triceratops and Velociraptors. Even the Indominus rex from the upcoming “Jurassic World” film makes an appearance. “Lego Jurassic Word” features over 20 different types of playable dinosaurs (that’s right, you can play as a dinosaur), and while the title is pegged to the upcoming film, all four movies from the “Jurassic Park” franchise are represented in the game. Developed by TT Games, “Lego Jurassic World” is the newest franchised Lego game joining other titles such as “Lego Lord of the Rings,”” Lego […]
May 14, 2015 | 1:33 p.m.

Throwback Thursday: Original ‘Mad Max’ kickstarted a cult classic franchise

Mel Gibson in 1979's "Mad Max." (MGM)
With “Mad Max: Fury Road” crashing into theaters Thursday evening, this week’s Throwback Thursday column recalls the first installment in the “Mad Max” series. Australian director George Miller’s dystopian tale starred Aussie actor Mel Gibson as protagonist Max Rockatansky, a widower on a quest for vengeance, and introduced the young actor to an international audience. “Mad Max” made its debut Down Under on April 12, 1979; American audiences had to wait until May 2, 1980. Though critics were split, public reception was positive and the film grossed nearly $100 million worldwide and earned a nomination for best original screenplay (by Miller and James McCausland) from the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts. The film was also nominated for best film and direction and won for editing, original music score and sound. Not everyone was impressed. Los Angeles Times movie […]
May 14, 2015 | 11:22 a.m.

Sony to remake ‘The Craft’ with director Leigh Janiak

Fairuza Balk as Nancy in "The Craft." (Peter Iovino)
Ready for another round of light as a feather, stiff as a board? Sony Pictures is currently working on a remake of “The Craft,” Hero Complex has confirmed. Leigh Janiak will direct and co-write the film with Phil Graziadei. The 1996 teen supernatural thriller starred Robin Tunney as a transfer student who arrives at a Los Angeles Catholic school and befriends a group of misfit amateur witches played by Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell and Rachel True, completing their coven. Tunney’s character, Sarah, is a natural witch, whose power comes from somewhere more pure than those of her self-taught friends. This eventually leads to conflict as the other witches strive to increase their magical powers. The original film was directed by Andrew Fleming, who co-wrote the film with Peter Filardi. Janiak made her directorial debut with the 2014 horror film “Honeymoon,” […]
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