Thursday, February 25, 2010

TOY NEWS: STORMTROOPER SUPER SHOGUN



"EARLY BIRD" PREORDERS BEGIN FOR SUPER7'S STORMTROOPER SUPER SHOGUN



Super7 is set to begin accepting preorders for the Star Wars Stormtrooper Super Shogun in the manner of the original Star Wars collectibles: as part of a special "Early Bird" program. Preorders begin at 12:00pm Noon PST (3pm EST) this Friday February 26th at the website STARWARS.SUPER7STORE.COM

"Early Birds" will receive the following benefits:

* FREE SHIPPING of the mammoth toy - a $30 savings! (This offer applies to continental US only.)
* An exclusive EARLY BIRD commemorative certificate
* Guaranteed to receive the STORMTROOPER SUPER SHOGUN itself before any other customer

The retail price is $299 , and is scheduled for release on Saturday May 29th. The Early Bird preorder benefits will be offered for a limited time only.
The Star Wars Stormtrooper Super Shogun stands a whopping 24 inches tall, and includes all of the features that you expect from an authentic Jumbo: free rotating wheels on the bottom of his feet, and a spring-loaded Rocket Punch firing fist.
Utilizing the same techniques implemented by Japanese toy manufacturers in the 1970s, the Super Shogun is constructed from durable, blow-molded polyethylene with a painted vinyl helmet. The figure is articulated at the neck and shoulders, and includes a removable, highly-detailed BlasTech E-11 laser blaster, which even features a posable stock that unfolds from below the barrel. This marks the first authentic Super Shogun produced in over twenty-five years. For more information, please visit the dedicated website STARWARS.SUPER7STORE.COM.



ABOUT SUPER7
Founded in 2001 as a magazine devoted to the obsessive-compulsive world of Japanese toy collecting, Super7 embarked on a mission to become the premiere outlet for information and reference for the obscure oddities of the toy universe. The success of the magazine immediately led to Super7 collaborating with Japanese toy manufacturers to create exclusive toys and various special editions, evolving over time to Super7 designing and manufacturing its own collectible toys.

Super7's philosophy is to make products- toys, books, magazines, t-shirts, and even their own retail store in San Francisco- that its collector founders would want, resulting in Super7's products being recognized by fans as original, unique, and most of all, genuine.
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COMIC NEWS: COMICSPRO'S EXCLUSIVE IMAGE



Image Comics' makes an exclusive appearance at this year's ComicsPRO annual meeting, featuring Robert Kirkman!



Many of the nation's top comic book retailers will converge on Memphis, TN this April for ComicsPRO's Annual Members Meeting, and WALKING DEAD creator and Image COO Robert Kirkman will be delivering the keynote speech. Image Comics will also be making an exclusive appearance at the 2010 retailer event.

"While reviewing our options for the 2010 calendar, Image Comics has decided to put its focus for retailer events on ComicsPRO," said Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson. "We feel the organization does a massive amount of good for the comics industry and with the ever-growing amount of competing events, we felt the need to reaffirm our support for our retail partners by making our appearance at this year's annual meeting our sole retailer event for 2010."

ComicsPRO is the only trade organization for Direct Market comic book retailers. Their goals are not that different from trade organizations in other industries: to promote advocacy, education and opportunity for their members. Each annual meeting focuses on the many issues this unified, yet independent retailer organization faces and works towards building a stronger future. In addition to Kirkman, Stephenson and Image PR & Marketing Coordinator Joe Keatinge will also attend. The company's decision to so strongly support this year's annual meeting has been met with great enthusiasm by members of ComicsPRO's Board of Directors.

ComicsPRO President and Flying Colors Comics owner Joe Field added: "When a key supplier like Image Comics decides that their time, energy and focus are best spent meeting with ComicsPRO retailers in Memphis, it highlights the dedication Image has to professional, dedicated comics specialty retailers. We hope more retailers notice this and make plans to join us for the only retailer-directed trade event in the comics' business."

"What I admire most about Image Comics is its commitment to creators and their independence," ComicsPRO Board of Directors member and Comix Experience owner Brian Hibbs said. "It's amazing to see that same level of commitment and passion being brought to bear for the benefit of the independent comic book retailer as well. This energy and support can't help but make the best retailer-focused event that much better!"

The ComicsPRO Annual Members Meeting is March 24-27th, 2010 at the Hilton Memphis. For more information on the meeting, visit http://comicspro.org/meet10.html



Image Comics is a comics and graphic novels publisher formed in 1992 by a collective of best-selling artists. Since that time, Image has gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. There are currently five partners in Image Comics (Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino), and Image is currently divided into four major houses (Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline, and Image Central). Image comics and graphic novels cover nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable, offering science fiction, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor, and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit www.imagecomics.com.
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COMIC NEWS: IDW Launches Star Trek® Movie Adaptation Comic



Six-issue series offers exclusive scenes not in film



With a record-breaking run at the box office and huge sales of the tie-in comic books, fans proved they can’t get enough of the blockbuster film Star Trek. Now, director J.J. Abrams and screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman have teamed up with IDW Publishing to present Star Trek: The Official Movie Adaptation. This six-issue miniseries details every pivotal moment from the film, including scenes from the original screenplay that were not in the final movie. The same creative team that brought fans the New York Times bestselling Star Trek: Countdown will again make Trek magic.

With issue #1 available in stores this week, the Star Trek: The Official Movie Adaptation offers yet another layer to this already complex and engaging new reality. “Everything about this movie was great, and when you have so much amazing material, not all of it can make the final cut,” said IDW Star Trek Editor Scott Dunbier.

Working closely with screenwriters Orci and Kurtzman, and with the consultation of Abrams, Countdown writers Mike Johnson and Tim Jones again join forces with renowned artist David Messina on the movie adaptation.

"We are excited to bring fans a unique way to experience the movie again," said Johnson and Jones, "especially with the amazing David Messina on board. The band is back together."


Star Trek: The Official Movie Adaptation #1 (of 6; $3.99, 32 page color; a licensed product of CBS Consumer Products) is now available in stores. Diamond order code #DEC09 0908.



© 2009 Paramount Pictures Corporation. ® & © 2009 CBS Studios Inc. STAR TREK and related marks and logos are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

About IDW Publishing
IDW is an award-winning publisher of comic books, graphic novels and trade paperbacks, based in San Diego, California. Renown for its diverse catalog of licensed and independent titles, IDW publishes some of the most successful and popular titles in the industry, including: Hasbro's The Transformers and G.I. JOE, Paramount's Star Trek; Fox's Angel; the BBC's Doctor Who; and television's #1 prime time series CBS' CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. IDW is also home to the Library of American Comics imprint, which publishes classic comic reprints; Yoe! Books, a partnership with Yoe! Studios; and is the print publisher for ComicMix.

IDW's original horror series, 30 Days of Night, was launched as a major motion picture in October 2007 by Sony Pictures and was the #1 film in its first week of release. More information about the company can be found at IDWPublishing.com.
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COMIC REVIEW: TRANSFORMERS #4 (IDW)



IDW's new Transformers comic series is shaping up to be the most satisfying piece of Robots in Disguise storytelling since Transformers Animated. The plot is moving slowly and inexorably in unpredictable directions with traditional characters and factions being played against each other and old loyalties fraying in the aftermath of disastrous events and tragedy. In a world where all cybertronians are humanity's enemies, Autobots and Decepticons have split off into subfactions for survival and escape.





This issue is bookended by narration from the Decepticon jet, Thundercracker. It's nice that they have managed to give this character a little bit personality as he has always been a bit of a generic Decepticon. Here we see him broken and coming to some important realizations of humanity and earth life.

Hot Rod has become the de facto leader of a group of Autobots and Decepticons who are attempting to build a ship to escape the earth. Smooth-talking Combaticon, Swindle, is clearly buttering him up for something and even talks him into taking the name "Rodimus Prime." It's great that the writers have chosen to feature Swindle so heavily as his character has been memorable in all of his previous incarnations.

The appearance of Ultra Magnus raised the stakes and forces Rodimus farther down the path that he has chosen. Old Ultra Magnus doesn't hold with working with Decepticons, nor many other things that are against all of his regulations. He is written to be appropriately old-fashioned and inflexible. His inevitable return to the cybertronian camp, promises more conflict between the Autobots and Rodimus' camp.

IDW's Transformers is shaping up to be a fresh new spin on the well-explored G1 Transformers mythos. I am also really enjoying the art, which is a happy medium between the 80's animation style and the ridiculously complicated movie aesthetic. It manages to be modern and "cool" without sacrificing character or clarity.

Patrick Garone
Senior Reviewer
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DVD NEWS: Two-time Emmy winner James Woods voices Owlman for Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths



TWO-TIME EMMY AWARD WINNER JAMES WOODS
GIVE EVIL A SUBTLE TOUCH AS OWLMAN IN
JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS





Nobody captures villainy quite like James Woods. The two-time Emmy Award winning actor steals his every scene as the voice of Owlman in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, an all-new DC Universe Animated Original PG-13 Movie now available from Warner Premiere, Warner Home Video, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation.


Two-time Emmy Award-winning actor James Woods, pictured at the World Premiere in New York City on February 16, is the voice of Owlman in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, the next DC Universe animated original movie. The film is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, OnDemand and for Download from Warner Home Video.


In Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, a “good” Lex Luthor arrives from an alternate universe to recruit the Justice League to help save his Earth from the Crime Syndicate, a gang of villainous characters with virtually identical super powers to the Justice League. What ensues is the ultimate battle of good versus evil in a war that threatens both planets and, through a diabolical plan launched by Owlman, puts the balance of all existence in peril.

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Woods was the lone member of the cast not to record his lines in the presence of voice director Andea Romano and producer Bruce Timm, instead setting up shop in Providence, Rhode Island to record via ISDN line. You’ll never notice. In Owlman, Woods has crafted an affecting, subtly evil performance that brings forth a truly memorable villain in a film packed with the world’s most famous super heroes.

With two Emmy Awards and two Oscar nominations, Woods has drafted an impressive resume, capturing audiences’ imaginations with one memorable performances after another. In addition to Academy Award nods for his roles in Salvador and Ghosts of Mississippi, Woods’ list of films includes The Onion Field, Once Upon a Time in America, Against All Odds, The Hard Way, Diggstown, Casino and Contact, to name a few. Woods is featured in the upcoming remake, Straw Dogs. Woods’ television work has included his recent primetime series, Shark, as well as Emmy nods for Rudy: The Rudy Giuliani Story, Indictment: The McMartin Trial, Citizen Cohn and a guest role on ER. He received Emmys for his performances in My Name is Bill W. and the Hallmark telefilm, Promise.

Woods has spent more than his share of time bringing characters to animated life, parlaying his devilishly hilarious role as Hades in Disney’s 1997 film Hercules into its 65-episode television series follow-up. Since then, Woods has also voiced roles in animated film from Surf’s Up and Final Fantasy: The Spirit Within to Recess: School’s Out and Stuart Little 2. He has also had a recurring role on Family Guy and Disney’s House of Mouse.

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths is an original story from award-winning animation/comics writer Dwayne McDuffie (Justice League). Bruce Timm (Superman Doomsday) is executive producer, and Lauren Montgomery (Wonder Woman, Green Lantern: First Flight) and Sam Liu (Superman/Batman: Public Enemies) are co-directors. The full-length animated film is now available from Warner Home Video as a Special Edition 2-disc version on DVD and Blu-Ray™ Hi-Def, as well as single disc DVD, and On Demand and Download.


Owlman fires a shot at Wonder Woman during an action-packed scene in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, the next DC Universe animated original movie. James Woods provides the voice of Owlman. The film is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, OnDemand and for Download from Warner Home Video.


Woods chatted after his recording session – and at the New York premiere of the film last week – about the collaborative aspects of animation, his aspirations to play villainous sidekicks, the importance of super heroes for today’s society, and his inclination never to develop a super power. Stick around, it gets better …


QUESTION:
What makes Owlman a great character?

JAMES WOODS:
Owlman is a very, very modern character. He's really the doppelganger of Batman who, himself, of course, is a very Dark Knight, torn in his motivations, wanting to avenge the death of his parents. Ultraman is the leader of the Crime Syndicate, but he’s just a tough guy who solves things more with the blunt end of a bat. He’s all brute force. Owlman is the brains of the organization, and he is a thinker, which is ironic in that his greatest strength is really his ultimate undoing.

Owlman is a very calculating, dangerous individual because of his extraordinary brain power. And at the same time, it causes him to have incredibly dark, existential reservations about his acts. He’s very self-destructive and self-loathing. The whole future of the multiverse may be in his hands in our story.


QUESTION:
Knowing all of that, how did you choose to implement those characteristics into the vocal performance?

JAMES WOODS:
You know, this process of creating a comic brought to life is very interesting, especially a sophisticated comic like this story. I had a thought of his being a very sardonic, almost charmingly sarcastic character. But I started to think that that was a little bit like Heath Ledger's wonderful performance in The Dark Knight as the Joker. And I must say that Andrea (Romano) and Bruce (Timm) were very helpful in helping to interpret the character. We settled on a very existential, depressed man, almost like a Jacobian character, who sort of feels that nothing matters. And there's nothing more dangerous than a man who has his finger on the trigger and believes that nothing matters.

It's a wonderful character to work on because you have to do certain things with your voice. I'm a very passionate, animated actor. There are people like William Hurt, a wonderful Academy Award-winning actor, who are great at being very spare in the use of their voice. I am a guy who's a little more dynamic, so for me to repress myself, it leads to a kind of different character than I usually get to do. It's a lot of fun for me to play something that's not innately or instinctively what I would do. And then the great collaboration comes from these wonderful artists, including the director, the producer, the writer. Everybody has an artistic vision of how things should be and, when you work together, you come up with some confluence of ideas that creates a unique character. I really think we came up with something nice.


QUESTION:
Can you elaborate on the romantic side of Owlman?

JAMES WOODS:
In our story, Owlman and Superwoman have this strange, power-hungry kind of, I won't call it love affair, but certainly a strange attraction. And it is the dark side of love, so it involves all kinds of power and domination. Owlman really makes her need him without giving her any kindness. That's the nature of a dark, dark character like this. So they have this really brutal, bitter kind of love. And to get that kind of tone into it was kind of strange, because it's not what love would be about. So you have to do things that are kind of counterintuitive, but it's fun to try it.


Owlman flies into battle in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, the next DC Universe animated original movie. James Woods provides the voice of Owlman. The film is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, OnDemand and for Download from Warner Home Video.


QUESTION:
What's the joy for you in playing a villain, particularly this type of cerebral one?

JAMES WOODS:
Villains are the best characters to play because the possibilities are really quite endless. A hero has certain things that we expect of him or her, while a villain can be pretty far out there. Owlman wants to destroy everything, and yet is fascinated by how the world became so awful, in his mind. And he blames it on man and on choice.

All the things that we as civilized human beings celebrate – the freedom of being able to choose and to have free will – Owlman sees as the source of chaos throughout the universe and the alternate universes. He sees everything wrong in all of these universes as being a permutation of choice. I think most people would agree that choice has allowed people to create, to put man on the moon and write Hamlet. And people can aspire to do good. Owlman see the opposite -- he sees the celebration of evil as a way of asserting one's meaning in life, and the way to have meaning is to have things be meaningless. It's a strange, strange thought, but there are pretty sophisticated 20th century existential philosophers who've said the same thing. It’s pretty impressive to realize that comic books get that fundamental in terms of a philosophical understanding of the human condition. It's much more sophisticated than you expect when you get involved with doing an animated super hero movie.


QUESTION:
Is that a direct reflection of why comics are so popular?

JAMES WOODS:
Comics have never really talked down to their audience. The comics have always respected what the audience wants. I have always said that one of the greatest faux pas made by the denizens in the film business is that they tend to want to put their own personal points of view – whether they be political, spiritual, religious, whatever – on their stories and promote their own agenda rather than respect what the audience is looking to hear and see. We should get into their wheelhouse and not be ashamed to sell a hero to people who love the idea of good versus evil. You know good versus evil worked great for Sophocles? It worked great for Shakespeare and it certainly works great for Batman and Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern … and Owlman.


Owlman (voiced by James Woods) gets the upper hand on Batman (voiced by William Baldwin) in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, the next DC Universe animated original movie. The film is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, OnDemand and for Download from Warner Home Video.


QUESTION:
Was there a stash of DC Comics on your nightstand as a kid?

JAMES WOODS:
I don't know anybody in America who didn't read Superman and Batman. I was young enough that I actually watched George Reeves on television, and when he took off, I would believe it like any other kid. It was amazing that he was flying around in that black and white television. He used to hop and probably crash on a set of cardboard boxes right off the camera. But to me, there he was – Superman – flying around, saving the day.

I actually liked the idea of Superman because it was so pure. I liked the guy who was kind of away from his own home and, in a kind of way, a little lonely, but trying to do good in a place where he was always kind of an outsider. Batman always disturbed me because he was so dark and so full of sadness and rage. It's interesting because playing Owlman is full of an emotion that is actually probably less angry and vengeful, and almost demonic in its passion than Batman. Owlman’s darkness is such an empty void of soullessness.

And yes, I’ve always been a fan of the comics, especially in their reflection of the times. Our country has gone through enormous cultural changes in the past 50 years, and DC Comics was always very hip to those changes. They weren't afraid of them. They just wanted to ride with them. They know their audience.


QUESTION:
Would you like to be a super hero?

JAMES WOODS:
I like the idea of being Owlman. He’s got it made. Think about it. The dark side of all these superpowers is that, as a super hero, you’re always inclined to use them for everybody else. What makes that so great? You're sitting around, the clicker in hand. You're in your nice old pajamas, you’ve got your Uggs on, you just settled in to watch Gladiator for the 58th time. You got some popcorn, the pizza just arrived – it's gonna be terrific. And suddenly it’s “Oh crap, they just blew up the U.S. Mint!” And I’ve got to put on that rubber suit – and don’t forget the talcum powder – and rush into action. Who wants to wear latex all the time? Harvey Fierstein? Not me. I don't want any superpowers. If they offer, I’ll politely decline.


QUESTION:
You’ve played a lot of characters in both live-action and animation. What role are you still waiting for?

JAMES WOODS:
I would like to do a doofy henchman. I'm always the guy in control. I'm always going to destroy the universe and then I'm gonna go get a sandwich. (he laughs) I’d like to be the guy who says “Hey, I can go and get the sandwich for you while you destroy the universe, and then we can go get some key lime pie.” I'm so tired of being the “A” personality in the villainy department. Give me the goofy henchman. I think that would be fun.


QUESTION:
When you portray real life figures like cops and lawyers, you can research, you can talk to cops, you can talk to lawyers. In playing a superhero, what kind of research did you do before you stepped into the booth?

JAMES WOODS:
That is an interesting thing that people don't understand about animated work. The voice actor does a lot to create the character. It's amazing. I mean, obviously the writers and the directors and the producers have set up months or years of work to prepare it. But I've been in situations where, unfortunately, maybe an actor was replaced, not because he was doing a bad job, but because it just wasn't working somehow. It's a very unique thing. For all these big animated movies, no matter who you are, you audition. Mel Gibson at the height of his career, had to audition. Everybody does – because they want to hear the voice, and sometimes you come in with a slant that will bring the character to life. I did a television series called Shark. I played a very sophisticated lawyer, a very dark guy. We had a former Dream Team district attorney as one our technical advisers. Five of the writers were lawyers. So we had all the resources to make the characters real. But there’s no place you can go to ask how a super hero behaves. You don't get to ask those questions. You kind of have to figure it out. So you go in with an open mind and things kind of just come to you.

Sometimes you really fall flat on your face, and I'm sure we all have. But by and large, usually everybody figures it out together. And it's fun. Really fun. I love doing these animated films because I think the actor has a great deal more input into the creation of the character than he or she does when you're doing a real-life film, even though there's a lot more acting involved when you're being photographed. In animation, you have the possibility of improvising. We work alone and use a great deal of imagination, and rely just on our instincts to create the character.

QUESTION:
Was there any particular scene in the script that stood out for you?

JAMES WOODS:
There's a wonderful sequence in this story where Owlman and his opposite spiritual twin, Batman, have a confrontation about the future of the multiverse, all the universes, all the earths that were created. And it was a very sophisticated conversation about the existential meaning of life. I'm reading this thing and thinking, “This is a comic book character talking?” I mean, it was very sophisticated, and I found myself wondering how you would do that.

I thought, this is like The Remains Of The Day with Anthony Hopkins -- it's that kind of character. He's a character speaking with such a loss of any ability to dream for anything good. It was all about a dark, empty void of the meaningless existence. When you read something that deep, you find yourself instinctively going to a better level of performance. So it wasn't a challenge so much as an invitation to be unique and maybe better.


QUESTION:
Have you had any reaction from your fans – or the legions of fanboys – to your playing the role of Owlman?

JAMES WOODS:
They talk about fanboys and the Comic-Con audience and so on, calling them geeks and such. But I have to tell you – those guys know what they like, and they embrace the hard work that goes into these stories. And it's really fun to give them what they want, because I'm a fanboy at heart. I'm much older than the usual base, but I have to say – I love these characters. And I love being one of them. I would be Owlman forever. I love the concept.


QUESTION:
Why do you think super heroes important today to people?

JAMES WOODS:
I think there aren't a lot of heroes in the world today because there aren't a lot of clear cut battles. It's really hard to know who the enemy is today. I don't know who the enemy is. I know we are at war, but I don't know who the enemy is. And I don't think anybody else does. It's like the enemy is famine and despair and the banality of evil. In comparison, World War II was easy. Hitler was a good enemy – a dark character who did heinous things to millions and millions of people, and enlisted the help of others who may or may not have been inclined to do so until he inspired them to be at their worst.

But in this day and age, there are people who hate people that other people completely admire. And the people who admire that person are decent people. I think our politics are so divisive in this country and so bitter because I don't think anybody on either side of the political divide has a bad intention. I think they want things to be good, they just see a very, very different way of going about it. And yet they're so hard on each other. I'm always disappointed by how negative and petty people are on either side of the equation in politics. And that's a symbol of how disruptive our spirituality is right now in the world. I think that's why super heroes are important because, in the long run, at the end of Act III, their triumph is something that fills us with joy because their triumph is a clear cut victory in a world where almost nothing is clear cut.


For more information, images and updates, please visit the film’s official website at www.JUSTICELEAGUECRISIS.com.
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