Sept. 20, 2011 | 11:47 a.m.
This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details. In time for the latest big-screen incarnation of “The Thing,” which hits theaters Oct. 14, Dark Horse Comics is releasing a digital comic set in the same universe — “The Thing: The Northman Nightmare.” The first installment of the 29-page book, written by Steve Niles with artwork by Patrick Reynolds, goes live Wednesday on Dark Horse’s website, but Hero Complex readers get a sneak peek at the first eight pages, above. Niles, best known for his comics “30 Days of Night” and “Criminal Macabre” (and more recently for his vampire expertise on the vamps vs. zombies “Deadliest Warrior” finale), has his hands full these days. His latest comic, “Criminal Macabre: No Peace for Dead Men,” just hit shelves. He’s writing “30 Days” again after a nine-year hiatus. […]
June 21, 2011 | 1:08 p.m.
San Diego’s Comic-Con International remains the biggest pop culture confab in the country, drawing thousands of people to the city’s convention center for four days and five nights of fan-favorite movies, TV, games, memorabilia and, yes, comic books every July. But this year a new, somewhat feistier comics event will set up shop directly across the street. Indie-minded artists, storytellers and comics creators have banded together to form a pop-up space called “Tr!ckster” that will celebrate the spirit of DIY and creator-owned work. Spawned by Pixar story artists-independent cartoonists Scott Morse and Ted Mathot, “Tr!ckster” will feature a combination retail shop-art gallery-event space in the San Diego Wine and Culinary Center that will run for six days, from July 19-24, coinciding with the Con. “We’re celebrating people who make, own and control their own work,” Morse said. “In a world of movies […]
May 03, 2011 | 9:23 a.m.
Free Comic Book Day in L.A.: Geoff Johns, Robert Kirkman, Mike Mignola, Steve Niles signings [updated]
It’s Geoff Johns’ universe, we just live in it. That’s how it feels these days for DC fans who find the prolific and passionate creator playing a key role in the feature film (“Green Lantern,” which hits theaters on June 17), on television’s (“Smallville,” which ends it decade-long run on Friday), in cyberspace (DC Universe Online) and, of course, the comics, where he’s filled entire bookshelves with tales of Flash, Green Lantern, Superman and many, many others. If you want to meet Johns, here’s the brightest day to do so: Saturday is Free Comic Book Day and the chief creative officer of DC Entertainment will be appearing at Earth 2 in Los Angeles from noon to 2 p.m. at the Sherman Oaks location (15017 Ventura Blvd.) and from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Northridge location (8967 Reseda Blvd.). He’ll be signing a special edition of “Green Lantern,” […]
Jan. 24, 2011 | 8:09 a.m.
Slash of Guns N’ Roses fame is launching a film company called Slasher Films with an initial announced slate of four films — and one of them is an adaptation of “Wake the Dead,” the Steve Niles and Chee horror tale that put a modern riff on Mary Shelley’s 19th century bookshelf classic, “Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus.” I got a series of text message from Niles on Sunday from the Sundance Film Festival where the news was announced. The writer, who says his “30 Days of Night” series made the leap from comics to the silver screen, sounded positively giddy about the new venture. “We want to recapture the quality of horror like they made them in the ’70s,” Niles said via text. “Horror where you care about the characters and story. With ‘Wake the Dead,’ Jay Russell, Slash and I […]
Dec. 23, 2010 | 4:45 p.m.
In comic books today, there’s no scarier name than Steve Niles. The New Jersey native took vampires to a new snowy frontier in “30 Days of Night” and carved out an unexpected new niche — the first tough-guy-junkie-ghostbuster-in-L.A. character — with the Cal MacDonald adventures in “Criminal Macabre” (think “Rockford Files” and “Shaun of the Dead” but with an injection of “Permanent Midnight“). Niles also collaborated with one of his own heroes, the horror-comics titan Bernie Wrightson, for “Dead, She Said,” a nasty bit of retro horror that was equal parts Lew Archer and George A. Romero. Now Wrightson and Niles are taking a lighter approach to their dark impulses with “Doc Macabre,” which features a young, eager specialist in supernatural investigation who hires himself out to anyone with a poltergeist problem or life issues involving the undead. We caught up with Niles, who lives in Southern California and […]
Jan. 19, 2010 | 5:51 p.m.
Next month marks the 70th anniversary of “More Fun Comics” No. 52, which brought a strange and enduring apparition into the page of DC Comics: The Spectre, that scowling avenging force from beyond the grave. The supernatural being scared the bejesus out of me when I was a kid; when I 5 or 6, I got a hold of a Spectre story in which the spooky hero turned some bad guys into wood and then ran them through a sawmill. Wow, if Superman had that kind of finish-the-job attitude, Lex Luthor wouldn’t keep breaking out of prison, would he? The core premise of the Spectre has changed through the years, but the most recurring concept is that Jim Corrigan, a hard-bitten cop, was murdered but then came back to the living world with a connection to a powerful undead spirit. That classic story foundation is back […]
July 18, 2009 | 7:30 p.m.
This is a longer version of my story that is running Monday on the cover of the Los Angeles Times Calendar section. Even when the movies ended up bad — and they usually did — crime novelist Donald E. Westlake never had a problem taking Hollywood money for his ideas. But with his signature creation, the ruthless career criminal known simply as Parker, Westlake insisted that the names be changed to protect the guilty. Westlake, who died at age 75 this past New Year’s Eve, saw seven movies made from his Parker novels (which were all published under his pseudonym Richard Stark), but in each film the main character’s name was changed; even when Lee Marvin, Robert Duvall or Mel Gibson was in the role, Westlake wouldn’t entrust his favorite brand name to anyone else. That changed, though, in the final months […]
Dec. 08, 2008 | 12:48 a.m.
Barry Levine is focused on Hollywood aspirations these days, but he came up in the music world as a photographer for KISS and Mötley Crüe, so he knows a gold rush when he sees one. Crüe was part of the 1980s Sunset Strip metal scene that stirred an industry craze just as Liverpool and San Francisco had done in the 1960s and Seattle would in the 1990s. “Right now in Hollywood, the rush is on, comic books are the new sensation and they are not going away,” Levine said with an insider’s assured nod at he sat in front of a plate of pasta at a Los Angeles sidewalk café. “What’s happened already is impossible to ignore but what’s happening now and what’s going to happen next is even more interesting.” The past-tense statement was a reference to “The Dark […]
Aug. 19, 2008 | 6:54 p.m.
I just got a copy of "The Darker Mask" in the mail, and I’m really looking forward to checking it out this week when I hop on a flight to Florida. The book is part of percolating subgenre right now: Comics-inspired tales that tell their stories without pictures. So it’s pure prose, but the spirit is out of the four-color cousins with the word balloons. This is hardly a new idea, of course. "Hellboy: Odd Jobs," an anthology of short stories about Big Red, came out eight years ago, and waaay back in 1990 was "Words Without Pictures" (a hard-to-find book now), which was edited by Steve Niles and had wonderful work in it by Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and Jon J. Muth others. Those are just two I can see sitting on my bookshelf from where I’m sitting. Anyway, […]
July 23, 2008 | 9:34 p.m.
Horror fans should drop by fearnet.com to check out the first chapter in a six-part mini-movie called "30 Days of Night: Dust to Dust," which stars "Saw" scream-queen Shawnee Smith. Each chapter of the vampire tale "Dust to Dust" picks up after "Blood Trails," a FEARnet miniseries last fall that the website says was viewed more than 5 million times. There’s a limited edition "Dust to Dust" tie-in comic book (only 10,000 copies printed) and poster that will be given out at Comic-Con International in San Diego. Shawnee Smith and others involved in the project will be signing stuff at the Sony Pictures Entertainment booth (#4313) on Saturday at noon. Here’s the lowdown on "Dust to Dust" from the press release: ‘Dust to Dust’ continues the New Orleans storyline from Blood Trails where fans first met George, an ex-junkie who, […]