Category Archives: Comic Books/Graphic Novels

Epic Covers: Nightwing #50

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

So yeah, they shot Dick Grayson in the head. That’s one of the latest stunts over at DC. Hey, at least he wasn’t a Heroes in Crisis casualty. Don’t think they wouldn’t have done it.

The gunshot wound leaves Dick with amnesia, and no memory of his life as a superhero. It’s too early to tell if this story is going to be any good. But it does have a lot of potential to make a statement about what Dick means to the DC Universe, not to mention the Batman family as a whole.

This cover is low-key epic. Amidst all its colorful competition, it didn’t exactly jump off the rack. But once you get a closer look, you see that it’s all in the details. Specifically, the scar itself…

I’m hardly an expert on scar tissue. Specifically as it relates to bullet wounds to the head. But this was convincing enough to convey that impact and awe that the cover is shooting for. The texturing, the look of the fold in the skin, the colors. It’s striking.

The big drawback? For the cover, they made the scar look like the Nightwing insignia. Lame.

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TMNT Fan Series Back in the Shell – Just One Question…

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Falling down a social media rabbit hole yesterday, I stumbled across this little treat. A behind the scenes look at an upcoming six-episode Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan series called Back in the Shell

The series is coming to us courtesy of the folks at Nerdbot. The Turtle suits are coming from Prop Shop Garage, who make some stellar looking TMNT costumes akin to the ones in the old ’90s flicks, which¬† Back in the Shell is obviously trying to capture the spirit of. (As if that track from Spunkadelic wasn’t a dead give-away!) A teaser is is being advertised for next week. You can officially call me intrigued, dudes and dudettes.

I do have one question, though.

This is a fan-series, undoubtedly made with a fraction of the money used to make the Paramount/Nickelodeon TMNT movies. So how is it that this, a teaser for a teaser, can get me more excited than those two movies did? Not individually, mind you. Combined.

The answer is pretty obvious to me. But I’ll let you decide for yourself.

For more on Back in the Shell, check out its official Instagram page, as well as Team Ninja Turtle on Facebook.

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Panels of Awesomeness: All New X-Men #1 by Stuart Immonen

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

CREATORS: Brian Michael Bendis (Author), Stuart Immonen (Penciller), Wade von Grawbadger (Inker), Marte Gracia (Colorist), Cory Petit (Letterer)

THE SCENE: Beast cries out in agony as his body undergoes yet another physical mutation.

WHY IT’S AWESOME: Lately, in making selections for “Panels of Awesomeness,” I’ve tried to think back on specific panels, pages, and images that have stuck with me. Things that, for whatever reason, I still remember after long periods. Great art does that, after all.

All-New X-Men #1 is more than five years old. And yet, this image of Beast breaking the fourth wall and reaching out at the reader is somehow burned into my cerebral cortex. It seems like a pretty simple trick, doesn’t it?. You just draw the hand going over the panel gutter. And yet it creates the most memorable moment in the issue.

Not that I should be the one to say whether a piece of art is “simple” or not. I’ve tried my hand at sketching before. But I’ve never been good at it. God only knows what I’d turn in if tasked with something like this.

I’m actually amazed that this whole “original X-Men come to the present” thing is still going on. Beyond the first several issues of Bendis and Immonen’s original All-New X-Men series, the concept never did much for me. Especially once the younger X-Men started branching out into different books, a la Champions, Jean Grey, etc. I always wondered if they left themselves an out for this whole thing when the story started. For everybody’s sake, I hope so…

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Astonishing Art: Hulk Hogan/Ultimate Warrior by Matt Ryan Tobin

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Ah, the blessed naivete of childhood. When we were all blissfully unaware of what racist comments and family scandals would do to Hulk Hogan’s career. And while we may have had some idea that the Ultimate Warrior was raving lunatic, we couldn’t know just how weird it would get, or how low he would stoop.

But for ’80s kids the world over, Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior were, and to a large extent still are, childhood icons. So when they went head to head at Wrestlemania VI, it was like two superheroes facing off. And at some point, you had to make a choice. Which hero do you root for? Hogan or Warrior?

Everything great about the epic and flamboyant collision that was Hogan vs. Warrior is captured in the above piece by Matt Ryan Tobin. Is he the first artist to do the whole “Hulk’s opponent as the tearing shirt” thing? If so, I’m amazed it’s taken more than 30 years to make it happen. But even if he’s not, he’s clearly eclipsed any of his predecessors.

Everything about this just screams ’80s cinematic glory. From the way the figures are drawn and lit, to the lightning, even down to some of the typography. It actually looks like the art for a VHS tape box. Except old school WWF fans never had it this good back in the day!

More of Matt Ryan Tobin’s art, including a pair of epic TMNT movie posters, can be found on his official site. He can also be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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Dan Schoening Easter Egg Hunt: John Candy and the Rottweilers

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Before Little Shop of Horrors, Spaceballs, or Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Rick Moranis pestered Dana Barrett and became the Keymaster in Ghostbusters. After more than 30 years, his performance still makes us laugh. (“Yes, have some!”)

But the Louis Tully character could have been very different. Legend has it that Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis originally wanted Louis to be played by none other than John Candy.

In the pages of Ghostbusters: The Ultimate Visual History, producer Joe Medjuck explains that the character was originally supposed to be more flamboyant, much like Candy’s SCTV character Johnny LaRue. But seemingly not wanting to go that route, Candy suggested something that in hindsight seems downright bizarre: Giving Louis a thick German accent and two pet rottweilers.

Decades later, Erik Burnham, Dan Schoening, Luis Delgado, and the IDW Ghostbusters crew gave us a hell of a “What if?” moment in the pages of Ghostbusters #4.

Naturally, the first arc in the series used a lot of familiar elements from the movies. Case in point, in issue #4 we once again find ourselves at 55 Central Park West, as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man stomps through the city. Ray races through the building, frantically trying to get in position to deploy the “megatrap.”

Ray kicks down the door to room 2206 (Dana’s old apartment), and who does he find but a portly German fellow with two pet rottweilers and a very familiar face.

While you can’t take anything away from Erik Burnham’s script, Luis Delgado’s colors, or anything else the IDW team brought to the table, Dan Schoening was really the star of this page. One of the things that sets his take on the Ghostbusters apart from everyone else’s is his distinct style. It’s obviously cartoony. But he incorporates enough of the actors’ likenesses to make it feel like you’re watching an extension of the movies. John Candy gets the same treatment here. It’s so plainly him, and it really warms your heart.

It’s enough to make you wonder what it would have looked like seeing John Candy become a terror dog…

For more Dan Schoening Easter Eggs, check out Martin Short and Grandma Winslow, and Eddie Murphy at Ghostbusters HQ.

Email Rob at PrimaryIgnition@yahoo.com, or follow Primary Ignition on Twitter.

Panels of Awesomeness: Batman #51 by Lee Weeks

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

CREATORS: Tom King (Author), Lee Weeks (Artist), Elizabeth Breitweiser (Colorist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer)

THE SCENE: As he recovers from Selina Kyle leaving him before their wedding, Bruce Wayne’s emotions overcome him while he’s serving jury duty.

WHY IT’S AWESOME: I actually debated on whether to spotlight these pages for “Panels of Awesomeness.” But it’s been awhile since Batman #51 hit the stands, and I still find myself coming back to it. That moment where Bruce Wayne pulls the urinal off the wall and screams out at the reader is branded into my brain. Maybe it’s because of the sheer unusualness of a man ripping a urinal out of the wall.

But in talking about the awesomeness of that page, it’s important to factor in the previous one. Our hero is in full-on Bruce Wayne mode, when he feels this seemingly unprovoked emotional outburst coming on. More than versed in keeping secrets from the world at large, he maintains his calm, excuses himself, and lets loose.

For yours truly, this¬† “Cold Days” story has been one of the highlights of Tom King’s Batman run. It’s evocative of the Batman stories Greg Rucka or Ed Brubaker wrote in the early to mid 2000s. Think Gotham Central, Officer Down, etc. It’s got a police procedural/courtroom drama feel to it, along with that emotional undercurrent we see in Bruce. Furthermore, it’s got a heck of a finale. Even if you’re not into the whole Batman/Catwoman marriage thing, it’s worth checking out.

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MMPR: Shattered Grid: 25 Morphinominal Moments, Part Five

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

As it turns out, these last five moments from Shattered Grid all happened in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #30. So a major tip of the hat to author Kyle Higgins, penciller Daniele Di Nicuolo, inker Simona Di Gianfelice, colorist Walter Baiamonte, and letterer Ed Dukeshire.

Furthermore, we need to send a major thank you to Ryan Parrott, Dan Mora, and everybody at Go Go Power Rangers. That series is great in its own right. But it’s provided some really nice supplemental material for our main story.

And thanks to everybody at BOOM! Studios for giving us better Power Rangers comics than we ever could have hoped for!

With that, it’s back to action!

(Part One. Part Two. Part Three. Part Four.)

26. Zordon and Rita

We’re starting on a subtle note here. Zordon and Kruger come to ask for Rita’s help in stopping Lord Drakkon. Rita responds as you might expect. But in trying to convince her, Zordon says something I didn’t expect…

“We have known each other for millennia, Rita. I would not be here now if I believed there was another way.”

What gets me about those lines is the sentence about them having known each other for so long. I doubt Kyle Higgins meant for it to stand out. But hearing Zordon appeal to his long-standing familiarity with Rita was interesting. Remember, these are two enemies. He’s the one who trapped him in a time warp, and he’s partly responsible for her being locked away in a dumpster for 10,000 years. And yet, in this hour of dire need, Zordon essentially uses their rivalry to appeal to her better judgment. It almost makes you look at the franchise’s original mentor and villain in a new light…

27. Rallying the Troops

Before the climactic battle begins, Jason gives a big rah-rah speech to all the Rangers who’ve come to help. Admittedly, it didn’t do much for me. What did, however, was this shot of all the Rangers and Megazords. There’s a lot of history in this panel…

28. Kimberly and Tommy
While Tommy obviously has a crucial role in Shattered Grid, let’s not forget that the Tommy Oliver of the BOOMverse, the Tommy our heroes knew and fought alongside, was killed. Plus, Kimberly held him as he died. Pretty heavy stuff. So when Jason hands her the Draggon Dagger, and puts her in charge of the Dragonzord, it’s a nice moment. But this has appeal in a larger scope as well.

From a character standpoint, there’s an argument to be made that Tommy should have given his powers to Kimberly at the end of “The Green Candle.” Obviously, the show was limited by the Japanese footage it had to work with. So it ultimately had to be Jason that got them. But it would have made a lot of sense for Kimberly, Tommy’s love interest, to be the one he passed his powers on to. All these years later, this is a nice tribute to a character fans still love and remember.

29. Enter Serpentera
Serpentera was essentially the Death Star of the Power Rangers universe. It was Lord Zedd’s personal zord, and had enough power to annihilate a planet. And it was huge. One of the biggest zords in the show’s history. As you can see at left, it could literally hold a Megazord in its massive jaws.

As any PR nut knows, Serpentera went out like a chump in “Forever Red.” But it gets a nice chance to shine during the big battle in Shattered Grid. We don’t see much of the actual zord, but that’s half the beauty of it. It’s so big, it can’t even fit within the confines of the comic book!

30. Siphoning the Power
We end on yet another reminder of just how much history we’re mining for Shattered Grid.

Lord Drakkon’s big plan is to steal morphers from each Ranger team, and get inside the Morphin Grid itself. In the above panel, we can see he’s assembled some kind of power siphoning device and plugged it in to the various morphers he’s collected. Represented are in Space, Lost Galaxy, Dino Thunder, Megaforce, Dino Charge, among others. I absolutely adore the attention to detail. This is as much an indicator as any of what a labor of love Shattered Grid is.

So once again, thank you to everyone involved. I can’t wait to see how it ends!

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