Friday, October 22, 2010

Since We Last Spoke

BOO!! Just in time for Halloween, PLANET GRIFFIN has returned! (Even in it's 1.5 status)...  Since we last spoke, I've made mention of how I've been working towards bringing the pirate blogcast back full force... Considering how long these posts have been coming along, I must apologize to all the followers who have waited (and waited, and waited, and... you get the idea...) patiently for the world of The NEXT 100 to return.  Of course, yours truly, The Infamous RodBuddah, has been moving silently among you, gathering the tools I need for the new 2011 venture ( which will require a terrabyte just to archive it)--- I've been bursting at the seams to say it aloud, but have been forced to play it all close to my chest. I will say that on top of the FIERCE CREATURES OGN (which may top out at 320 pages with all the trimmings), a new series that's guaranteed to draw out the Modern Warfare junkies (the cat's coming outta the bag slowly... There WILL be pics to follow up), and the voice...

Yes, the voice of The Infamous RodBuddah himself, as I will be hosting an upcoming podcast (the title to be announced, seeing as how it will be titled something entirely new and I don't have the time to screw around with those who like to hold domain names 'hostage' just for the hell of it!).  It's all been a WHOLE LOTTA WORK, but in true RodBuddah fashion, I LOVE THIS WORK THAT I DO!  To ALL my indie bretheren out there, NOW is the time to get your act together!  If WE don't do everything in our power to bring the masses back to the shelves, the corporations will raze this industry to the ground!!!  Yes, I said it--- look at Marvel and Disney--- if they don't change that attitude within the coming year; price changes AND content,  it's gonna become a smaller world than you think!

BACK TO WORK FOLKS!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Gaining New Orbit (Once The Hyperdrive Is Fixed...)

It's been a long time, I shouldn't have left you, without a quick
word to step to. Of course, the one and only pirate blogcast, PLANET
GRIFFIN, is still under construction (this time due to technical difficulties,
Nothing too major, though), and yours truly, The Infamous RodBuddah, is still
hard at work repairing and preparing for the ridiculous amount of rants, raves,
and NEXT 100 goodness you've come to expect... In the meantime, don't hesitate
to go back through the PLANET archives and see what it's all about, recommend your
friends, family, enemies, etc. to experience the madness of the indy rebel and stand
by for what's to come (new artwork, new NEXT 100 news, and the future of what this
blogcast is prepared to follow up with--- trust me, you're definitely gonna want to
be around when it jumps off!). Until then, like the Millenium Falcon, she'll still
make the Kesel Run in less than 4 parsecs--- just gotta fix the hyperdrive...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Planet Griffin Public Service Announcement

Once again, returning to your atmosphere, the pirate blogcast known as PLANET GRIFFIN is here! Just a word of note today--- while making a few changes on the site, I inadvertently erased the Network blogs link to the page... To those of you who linked up to the site through that application, I'm still appreciative to you for signing in. I may put it back up later.

Relax--- PLANET GRIFFIN is still here (in fact, it's about to spawn some new tricks to which I'm very excited about... In the world of show and tell, I'd rather show it and let it speak for itself.)

Stay tuned, True Believers--- more to come shortly!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

THE BIG BUZZ: Grindhouse Uncovers The Missing Reel


*REEL MISSING* SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE* -The Management


I stumbled upon this from NEXT 100 member JAY POTTS over at The World of Hurt... Needless to say, as a fan of the Grindhouse/Blaxploitation era, I had to throw this one out there to those who follow the pirate blogcast known as PLANET GRIFFIN!
KURT LLOYD and DAVID WALKER took their love for 70's grindhouse and did something about it, creating a 10 minute show for the love of the genre! THE MISSING REEL examines 3 movies from the sub genre and points out their place in the context of Hollywood lore. Complete with all of the bad jump cuts, commercial trailers, and griminess of the time period without a single loss of life for being there. Kurt and David developed a pilot for the hope of getting distribution, but they need the continued support of those of us who still love the genre, so be sure to check'em out on their facebook page. New episodes are planned, so stay tuned for the next episode! This is THE BIG BUZZ!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Don't Take My Word For It

"Something that Pope brought up got me thinking. Basically he was saying that one reason he did his Batman 100 was in order to get the DC readers. Kind of hits a sour note with me ---I mean, I have mixed feelings about it-- I fully believe that living off of your art is a hustle and you have to pull some scams and do shit to get by but then there's the idea that I think it kind of hurts the culture of comics that so many good creators live in the shadow of DC/Marvel.

And even if I'm less hyped on Pope's batman than his other work, maybe it was something he really wanted to do and I'm sure it payed better than self publishing. I just think Pope is a lot better than Batman, and where a lot of dudes can do a decent batman comic, he's the only one that can do that specific mix of cool enough for girls thick, black batter ink comics that I miss on the shelves. That's a big part of this rant, I wish Batman 100 was years more THB or another Buzz buzz.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think creators have a lot more power than waiting for DC/Marvel to call. I always joke that if I needed them to co-sign my career I'd still be waiting."
-Brandon Graham

"MC's should have OTHER WAYS of getting money
That's to say learn other things beside music
Make money elsewhere, Hip-Hop you won't abuse it
Too many MC's, just emcee/
so their longevity, is based on an Uncle Tom
at the record company"
-KRS-1

"The creators who have done amazing work for the “industry” – literally created masterpieces and future corporate properties – who as employees of said “industry” were then cast aside, CRUSHED. Oh, y’know, Siegel, Shuster, Simon, Kirby, Ditko, Whitney, Rude, and then all the freelancers who were popular once, or just “got work” forever but now haven’t worked for years – like Tom Grindberg who can’t get work these days because his Neal Adams-like style is just out of style…"
-Frank Santoro
Boom. Here's to the 4th of July.

Ghettomanga Contest Serves Up The Goods


Independence Day stands as a double meaning here at PLANET GRIFFIN... As an American holiday where we like to gather our families together to watch things explode, and the boiling point of underground indies as they begin their creative march on the mainstream--- a march I plan to buy the tickets to!

Speaking to NEXT 100 affiliate SAMAX AMEN over at GHETTOMANGA, I've learned of two contests he's promoting and wanted to make sure the word got heard. FELIPE SMITH, formerly of MBQ fame, has long since graduated to the Manga capital of Japan, becoming the first African American to publish a major series there known as PEEPO CHOO--- a series that's captured the Japanese readers' attention in droves! Anyway, Samax got his hands on a few copies of the recently released translated version of the series and is giving them away ahead of the American release date of JULY 13th.

CONTEST #ONE: Send an email with your name and mailing address to contests@ghettoManga.com to enter the drawing. Just make sure to put PEEPO CHOO MANGA CONTEST in the subject line to get counted! You must be 18 years or older to enter, since the Japanese has a far stranger tolerance of over the top sex and violence than most american parents...

CONTEST # TWO:
GhettoManga presents The Felipe Smith Fan Art contest! Just draw one or more characters from Peepo Choo or MBQ or even a drawing of Felipe himself, and the winner will cop a free copy of the PEEPO CHOO vol 1! Any medium is fine... draw, paint, and even cosplay with photographs, just make sure to put FELIPE SMITH ART CONTEST in the subject line AND include your mailing address to enter! You can enter both contests or one at a time, but make sure you include the correct info to each contest you enter.
Both contests end Friday, July 9th!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Black & Blue DIY: Guerilla Filmmakers On The Rise



A couple of years ago, a young collective of guerilla filmmakers from North Carolina became disheartened and bored as hell with some of the genre garbage that Hollywood continued to churn out and decided to make their own movies. By 2008, the group quickly burst onto the independent film circuit (including CANNE) with a modest budgeted flick known as THE DOGS OF CHINATOWN, a martial arts actioner that quickly turned heads with it's outrageous stunts and innovative techniques that follows in the DIY tradition of directors like ROBERT RODRIGUEZ...
Of course, it was merely a warm-up to what they were really planning next.

Under the banner of ALL ACES MEDIA, the director/producer/writer craziness of MICAH MOORE and BLAKE FAUCETTE have been tirelessly gathering up some of the best up-and-coming fight choreographers around and began shooting test footage for something completely different... BEAT DOWN BOOGIE is currently in it's raw stage (the first run footage you see above was shot with a handheld camera), but the buzz that's being generated right now has earned AAM the label of 'New School Guerilla Filmmaking At It's Best', as this mix of JACKIE CHAN meets SAMURAI CHAMPLOO for the hip hop set continues shooting through the summer.

Stay tuned to PLANET GRIFFIN and catch more coverage on their BeatDownBoogie production blog.


Dogs of Chinatown Opera Trailer from All Aces Media on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

FIRST LOOK: The Green Hornet Strikes Again!

"... Another challenge for the Green Hornet, his aide, Kato, and their rolling arsenal, The Black Beauty. On police records, a wanted criminal, the Green Hornet is really Britt Reid, owner/publisher of The Daily Sentinel... His dual identity known only to his secretary and the district attorney. AND NOW, to protect the rights and lives of decent citizens, rides The Green Hornet..."
After surviving the personal double whammy that was my birthday as well as Father's Day (yes, I belong to BOTH clubs, thank you...), I personally want to say thank you all for the well wishes and support you have given, as well as acknowledge the fact that the pirate blogcast has swelled its ranks in such a short period of time--- to all of you, allow me to personally welcome you to PLANET GRIFFIN!

When George W. Trindle first developed the show as a companion piece to the mega successful Batman series back in 1966, even he would never have imagined the impact his creation would have decades later. Come JANUARY 14, 2011, Trindles' vigilante hero returns with Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Christoph Waltz, Cameron Diaz, Edward James Olmos, and Tom Wilkinson. From the looks of the newly released trailer, this flick looks to be a winner!


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bulletproof Summer: NEXT 100 Alum Preps New Heat

Man, if you folks aren't paying attention to this NEXT 100 member, it'll cost you! PLANET GRIFFIN covered the introduction of ASARU MUSHAVU over a year ago (don't believe me? check here), and within that time, he's been tucked away in the lab, putting the finishing touches on his latest weapon of mass construction: The fearsome femme fatale known as TEFLON.

The finished piece above made it's debut yesterday, and already the blogspace has been buzzing of his arrival on the scene--- of course, if you've been keeping up with PLANET GRIFFIN and THE NEXT 100 scene, you'll have long been anxious to see what Asaru's been cooking on that art table! Check out his gallery over at DeviantArt to see more, and stay tuned to the Planet for more upcoming news on the new gun in town!

As a side note, today's post makes for an interesting present as yours truly, the Infamous RodBuddah, celebrates yet another birthday, so if you get a chance, raise a toast for me!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The New Nostalgia Pt. 1



GEOFF JOHNS has really been proud of his latest character over at DC--- so much so, that he's anxious to unveil AQUALAD not only in the upcoming BRIGHTEST DAY 4 storyline, but also his animated debut in YOUNG JUSTICE on Cartoon Network... Now, this image, while it looks great, is raising the hackles on a lot of fanboy necks, further adding fuel to the current DC fire... What is that you ask?
Welcome back to PLANET GRIFFIN.

There has been a growing rumble concerning the 'whitewashing' of DC Characters (Chris Sims over at Comics Alliance referred to this as 'Regressive Storytelling'), where ethnic characters are being killed off, or seriously 'misplaced', to replace them with their original white counterparts. At this past HeroesCon, Senior story editor Ian Sattler was asked about the dilemma---

"It's so hard for me to be on the other side because it's not our intention. There is a reason behind it all. We don't see it that way and strive very hard to have a diverse DCU. I mean, we have green, pink, and blue characters. We have the Great Ten out there and I have counter statistics, but I won't get into that. It's not how we perceived it. We get the same thing about how we treat our female characters."


--- Needless to say, the overall impression gave many in the audience a reason to pause. Many DC fans centered their attentions on DC's Creative Director Geoff Johns himself, who was primarily responsible for taking characters like Green Lantern, The Flash, The Atom, Legion of Super Heroes, and Aquaman back to 'the good old days'--- attempting to recapture those nostalgic memories creators fondly remembered as kids. Sims says '...We're in an industry right now that wants to constantly reset itself, running on nostalgia rather than innovation, moving backwards instead of moving forwards, it seems to be what the majority of comics readers want...' I agree.

Strange it seems that while Johns' is not considered racist in his motivations, he's rushing to PROVE that he's not racist in giving us his latest creation (the latest addition to the animated series, as told by one source, was actually last minute to the staff during pre-production), which puts him in that position of 'damned if you do, damned if you don't'. The subject of race in comics is nothing new, neither is the treatment of the subject nothing new--- in fact, it's considered business as usual... Which also explains why the industry's been in a drag for so long. The only thing that needs to be kept in it's proper place is the idea of nostalgia itself.

Everything else should be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the future.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Downloading 'The Marvel Way'

Rummaging through the recent news, I came across an announcement from MARVEL concerning the upcoming release of the 80 page INVINCIBLE IRON MAN ANNUAL #1 by Fraction and Giandomencio... Marvel's idea is to release the print edition and the digital app the same day of release. Now, while some bloggers are touting this as '... taking the BIG TWO battle to another level in serialized comic distribution...', it does come with a slight hitch (and while some may see this as nitpicky, the economy gives us all a reason to pause)...


In it's printed version, the book will retail for $4.99 (like standard issues aren't expensive enough), in it's digital version, it will come in 3 parts via the Marvel app at a standard price of $1.99 per chapter, making the app more expensive than the print copy. While the advantage in digital distribution makes books supremely less expensive, Marvel's additional charges kinda defeats the purpose of wanting to support their new digital initiative. While this is only one title, this is definitely a precursor of what's coming.

From a business standpoint, the entire Marvel initiative makes sense: Disney owns Marvel... Steve Jobs, that creator of fine iPad technology, sits on the Board of Disney Directors (due to the sale of Pixar)... Marvel saddles up for the 'new digital frontier' (via the Apple iPad store) to charge more for 'less expensive distribution'--- which also explains why the winning the lawsuit against the Kirby heirs is so vitally important--- but that is another story.


THE BIG BUZZ: The Rising Of A Black Sun



Hi, PLANET GRIFFIN here, following up on all the chatter out there concerning this little piece of High Friction Science Fiction--- back in mid May, a little company known as BLACK SUN ENTERTAINMENT released a CGI concept short called AZUREUS RISING. Produced and directed by DAVID WEINSTEIN, the short has recently won Best Short Film from the Malibu Film Festival--- basically, this is high concept sci-fi that ROCKS!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Feel The Magic, Feel The Roar...

Looks like Lion-O may get the last laugh after all... Warner Bros. announced today that an all new THUNDERCATS series will debut in 2011 as Anime house Studio 4°C will create a 'reimagining' of the popular Rankin/Bass show which ran from 1985 to 1990. WBA says that though the show will remain true to the original in some ways, it won't be another carbon copy of what came before... If so, then CARTOON NETWORK may have struck new gold in a previously mined out spot!


Friday, May 28, 2010

Comic News And The Latest Fashion

Ah, this old chestnut... WEDNESDAY COMICS has finally been released as a hardcover... Given the state of the industry since the last time you saw this image on PLANET GRIFFIN, and given the discounted prices to which it can be obtained, this edition is worthy of your bookshelf... Better make it count, seeing as how DC has announced it's price hike of $3.99 of standard comics across the board beginning in August...

July 8th is X-MEN DAY with the release of X-MEN #1 by Paco Medina. Marvel touts that this is the first #1 issue of X-Men in almost 20 years--- apparently, we forgot...

... Lastly, TOM SPURGEON over at CBR raised a few questions concerning what arguments should be had across comic internet blogs... I've decided to attempt a few of my own answers to the questions he posed... Just to get it started...

Does reprinting archival comics have a moral component?
Not really. While this particular area of the genre owes a great deal to those creators who came before us, the companies that hold the rights to said works rarely kick back royalties in a timely fashion, so while a moral component does exist here, it's not necessarily adhered to.

Why are so many Direct Market shops still female unfriendly?
For the same reason that comics have been male oriented for so long---comics have long been considered exploitive power fantasies for young geeks who couldn't find an audience with the very same female crowd they longed for... Some of those geeky kids grew up to run said businesses that never sought to scare the females away, they just didn't know how to approach them. Despite the fact that times have changed and some progress has been made, that age old stigma of geeky guys who grew up to become geeky men who still don't know how to approach the female audience at large... I mean, have you ever walked into one of these shops to find Brad Pitt behind the glass?

What are all these superhero comics really saying?
In such a general term, what can they say? The same recurring themes have been recycled for decades by the Big 2; not sure whether to go with innovation or nostaglia (and by the way fellas, one cannot serve two masters). It's still cool to have the big guns, big fights, and big breasts, as long as there's a different way to present it. The phrase 'Everything's derivative' exists for a reason... And not to get it twisted, but even though superhero movies may produce big numbers at the multiplex, why is it that the comics these movies are based on don't produce the same in the Direct Shops? Think about it.





Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Flowing In The Breez



Checking out Brandon Graham's RoyalBoiler Blog (What IS that kid on?! I want some, whatever it is!), I came across a blurb featuring a recent reading done by BREEZ EVAHFLOWIN--- I can't even view comics in the same light after seeing this! Twisted brilliance!

Friday, May 21, 2010

All The Rage For Rachel: Volume 2 Debut!



As some of you may know by now, original NEXT 100 member JOHN ASTON released RACHEL RAGE VOL. 2 this past Tuesday... The indie cult hit is quickly hitting it's stride as the South Carolina writer/creator's moving into his second story arc, SHORT TIME WOMAN. (Check out the OldeTowneComix link on the sidebar to order Volume 2, as well as Volume 1- HEARTLAND)
Volume 2 compiles 3 supplemental stories to the Rachel universe which were previously seen and one tale, The Big Caged Bird, that's new to print, unseen on the website (another reason to purchase the book since that tale not only introduces a new character integral to the Rachel Rage storyline, but also bridges the 2 volumes).

Also included within Volume 2 are pin-ups showcasing the established indie players (like NEXT 100 alums SAMAX AMEN from GHETTOMANGA.COM and multiple award winner JAY POTTS of THE WORLD OF HURT) as well as the new upstarts (the incredible debut of ERIK WILLIAMS, DEREK DAVIS and RAYMOND SANDERS)--- Of course, I save my own contribution for last, but certainly not least.

John Aston's work is definitely cut out for him as he preps the next chapter installment of STW for the site, as well as other surprises planned for later in the year (more on that later, but I can personally GUARANTEE that you'll want to be here for the exclusive first word!). After reading the work for yourself, you too will be celebrating the arrival of the new queen of the grindhouse set: RACHEL RAGE!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Heroes Are Dead. Long Live Heroes.


Well, now that HEROES has been cancelled due to low ratings, it seems that the Great-Networks-That-Could are looking to do it again. Looks as though the comic genre for television isn't dead yet. Of course, you be the judge... They could be onto something here...If they get them right...

NO ORDINARY FAMILY



THE CAPE

Thursday, May 13, 2010

You Cannot Fake What You Do...

"To be a cartoonist, you must actually make cartoons. I bring this up because I've met a lot of people who say they want to be cartoonists, but they don't have any cartoons..."
- Kyle Baker


"Most comics publishers are kind of dumb and don't have a lot of money. They publish a lot of bad stuff. They turn down a lot of good stuff. Sometimes it's for stupid reasons. Other times it's for reasons that make good economic sense but still suck. There are two ways to deal with this situation. One is to draw the kind of comic that appeals to comics publishers. This is a great way to go, except for one thing: you can't fake it. A cartoonist who cynically crafts a comic to fit a market can never compete with a cartoonist who draws a comic about the same thing because he genuinely loves it. You know why Scott Pilgrim and Penny Arcade are blockbusters? Because those guys genuinely love jokes about Super Mario. You know why their dozens of imitators are less successful? Because they're imitators."
- Shaenon K. Garrity, editor VIZ Media

Coming back to broadcast depth to remind you that comics in particular and art in general is NOT dead, I've been checking out the recent STUMPTOWN COMICS FESTIVAL and came across audio of their SELF PUBLISHING LIKE A ROCKSTAR panel in its entirety. Very informative and definitely worth sharing to those of us who believe in the stories we create, shape, and prep for the world at large. Take a few minutes and give a listen...

Self-Publishing Like A Rockstar from Erika Moen on Vimeo.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Iconism Doesn't Need Words



PLANET GRIFFIN pays the tribute to those who have long since been just due.

FRANK FRAZETTA. LENA HORNE. Salud.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The New Machete Movement





AIN'T IT COOL NEWS has been flooding the market since yesterday, spreading the word of the release of ROBERT RODRIGUEZ' new cut of the MACHETE trailer--- and it ROCKS! The real kicker is it's special message to the administration of Arizona! In response to this, the New Machete Movement is now in full swing, and you can't BUY press like this! PLANET GRIFFIN fully supports the Movement, so enjoy!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Your Mind Is Not Yet Ready For Something This Big...

CHRISTOPHER NOLAN has nurtured the idea of what can only be described as 'The Existential Heist' for the better part of a decade... Looking back on Nolan's track record, almost everything he's done has been the equivalent of 'Slight of Hand Storytelling'--- from the mindbending, backward-stylings of MEMENTOto finding 'true magic' between 2 illusionists in THE PRESTIGE to the success application of 'Chaos Theory' in the now legendary THE DARK KNIGHT--- Nolan has positioned himself to now introduce his biggest trick yet. The sci-fi actioner INCEPTION has been, without a doubt, one of the closest kept secrets in Hollywood.

Even then, seeing has how Nolan has also proven to be a master of misdirection, knowing anything about the project at this stage can realistically be considered purposeful. Welcome back to PLANET GRIFFIN.

Sporting an international cast with locales to match, INCEPTION is about the next unexplored level since plugging into the MATRIX--- dreams. DOM COBB (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a master thief, though not of physical trinkets or money... Dom specializes in stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious mind during its most vulnerable point--- the dream state.

In the world of corporate espionage, Cobb's viewed as a Morpheus figure; an international fugitive that the world's not ready for... Of course, Cobb's offered a shot at redemption if he can pull off the impossible: Inception. Rather than steal an idea, Cobb and his team must plant one.
Like all impossible missions, nothing is ever what it seems, and Cobb and company must now fight an enemy that seemingly knows their every move... An enemy that only Cobb could've seen coming... Hence, the movie's infamous tagline: Your mind is the scene of the crime.

Personally, I can't wait for July 16th when the film opens... And once you realize Nolan's track record has yet to see one disappointment, you too may bear witness to the next big thing!

Friday, April 30, 2010

PLANET GRIFFIN WEEKEND EDITION: Picking The Right One



The novel is massive, rich with backstory and subtlety that didn’t make it even to the very subtle and beautiful Swedish film. So we want to expand upon the world of the Swedish film by drawing upon the material from the novel. I think it’ll allow us to do things impossible in either of the previous incarnations. We’re planning a big program, with a unique scope to it.” Since the comics will not be a straight adaptation, readers would see episodes taking place both before and after the familiar events of the film, continuing the adventures of Eli and Oskar.
- Scott Allie, Dark Horse


Whoops!

Not too long ago, DARK HORSE COMICS and HAMMER FILMS announced several projects slated for future release, including a comic based on the US remake of the Swedish vampire movie known as LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (The American remake will be titled Let Me In). Dark Horse has also been looking at the original source material, the original novel by creator JOHN AJVIDE LINDQVIST. The problem with all of this is that no one from the DH camp cleared any of this with Lindqvist himself, who learned of this deal only after the fact.

Again... Whoops!

When interviewed by the Swedish Metro News, Lindqvist has already completed a prequel of his own slated for a future publication, and voiced his disapproval on the matter:

...Nobody has asked me about this and I think that the project stinks. I am looking into this matter and hope that they have no right to do this...

I've read the novel and watched the original film ( a violently bittersweet tale between a misunderstood, 12 year old outcast named Oskar and his chance meeting with his new neighbor, Eli, a vampire girl who was bitten at a very young age. Try to imagine a bloodier version of Twilight without the teen angst.), and found both media to be masterworks in their own right. To remake either of these seems pointless, and based upon the situation at hand, it would seem that Dark Horse may have to deal with future litigation... Only goes to show that if you don't work harder at developing original subject matter, it could come back to bite you... So to speak.

Special thanks to Warren Ellis

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

THE BIG BUZZ: Finally, THE ROCK Has Come Back !

Maybe it was the dismal returns of TOOTH FAIRY and RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN... Maybe it was the weak productions of ensemble flicks like DOOM, BE COOL, and the remake of WALKING TALL... (there was also SOUTHLAND TALES, but that's a weirdo bomb in a class by itself.) Maybe, just maybe, it was the total recall of passing Arnold in a crowded club in THE RUNDOWN, as a metaphoric gesture of saying, "It's your turn..." Whatever the reason, it appears that DWAYNE 'THE ROCK' JOHNSON is out to make good on his return to the hardcore action genre. Oh yes, PLANET GRIFFIN returns with THE BIG BUZZ!

VARIETY recently went on record to say that the upcoming film, FASTER, definitely promises to deliver the Rock as, what many people once assumed, the next great action star, as well as reveal the actor in a completely different light from his previous films.

Looking for absolute payback in the murder of his brother 10 years earlier, The Rock plays the double crossed ex-con willing to move hell and earth to find his brother's killers. Meanwhile, CARLA GUGINO (SIN CITY) and BILLY BOB THORNTON (SLING BLADE) play the detectives who turn out to be equally determined to to stop him.

MAGGIE GRACE, MOON BLOODGOOD, ADEWALE AKINNUOYE-AGBAJE
, and OLIVER JACKSON-COHEN round out the cast when FASTER hits theaters NOVEMBER 19th.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sandbox Spaghetti West: Rockstar Returns With A Vengence

Now here's something cool to sink your teeth into! In the world of videogames, the most hotly anticipated game of the year comes from the innovators of 'sandbox' gaming, ROCKSTAR GAMES... This time, instead of the urban blight of Liberty City, the setting is sent through the wayback machine to the daze of the Spaghetti West--- RED DEAD REDEMPTION is now ready for platform release of May 18th.
As an added bonus, Rockstar has even enlisted Director JOHN HILLCOAT to helm a 30 minute trailer of the game utilizing machinma (Machinma is a creative narrative using the video game's assets, which is basically an in-game animated film). Hillcoat, who reinvigorated the western genre with THE PROPOSITION, has finished a current edit which turned out to be so good, the trailer has been upgraded to broadcast--- the 30 minute short will air on FOX Saturday, MAY 15th.

Judging from the overall look of this platformer, Rockstar games has really done its homework, consuming seemingly every italian spaghetti western ever made--- from the panoramic vistas of SERGIO LEONE to the over-the-top violence of SERGIO CORBUCCI.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Glimpse Into The Future

PLANET GRIFFIN LABS brings you another behind-the-scenes glimpse into the making of the FIERCE CREATURES OGN, which has been slowly getting back on track for mass production after dealing with everything else that life seems to throw at us all. As a shirt design, it's already showing mighty promise (of course, getting the materials together is difficult when your 9 to 5 grind is more demanding than most)... Keep your dreams alive and it will reward you highly in the end!

THE BIG BUZZ: Building A Better B-Movie

















During the days of the release of GRINDHOUSE, Co-Creator ROBERT RODRIGUEZ held a video contest during the SXSW film festival 2007 in honor of the faux 70's flick to see who could come up with the best mock exploitation trailer. The winner came in the form of a broken down hobo who takes the law into his own hands with his nickels and dimes in one hand, and a big frakkin' shotgun in the other... Despite how cheesy this may sound, HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN not only took first prize in the competition, but it put Canadian writer/director JASON EISENER on the map!

Utilizing the same creativity that Rodriguez put into his first feature, EL MARIACHI, Eisener began showing his works to the filmmaking community at large, wowing the crowds at film festivals worldwide... This past monday, Eisener took his HOBO creation one step further.

Shooting for the full feature version of HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN began shooting in Nova Scotia with legendary actor RUTGER HAUER in the title role, replacing the original HOBO, Canadian actor DAVID BRUNT (who'll still cameo as a dirty cop in the film version). The trailer, already the stuff of cult legend in Canada, has drawn the interest of directors and stars within the Hollywood community as Hauer is reportedly playing up the role with the same manic energy he created in the cult classics THE HITCHER (the psychotic John Ryder) and BLADE RUNNER (the iconic replicant Roy Batty). Oh yes, the miasma of 70's grindhouse is getting a kickstart again, and the idea of 'building a better B movie' is getting better by the minute!

This is PLANET GRIFFIN and THE BIG BUZZ!


Monday, April 19, 2010

SHOTGUN MESSENGER: NEMESIS #1

PLANET GRIFFIN has received a few emails regarding the critical state of the comic industry (Keep'em coming gang! Planetgriffin@gmail.com), and with the timing of certain comics-turn-media properties, I decided to introduce a new rant/comics critique section on the PLANET, now known as SHOTGUN MESSENGER!
(Named after the George Yepes painting) Today's double barrel is trained on the newly released post KICK ASS comic, NEMESIS, as well as news and reactions to some of the crap that has yet to flush...

In the world of comics, it seems lately that no one's getting more press copy than MARK MILLAR, who just announced on the opening of his latest property-turned-celluloid reality, KICK ASS, that HE himself will be directing his next comic adaptation in his native Scotland, slated to begin production this summer, as well as following up with WANTED 2, which is already in active development. To top it off, Mark made a related statement, stating that Kick Ass was "...The reinvention of super heroes..."

Boom.

Not since the likes of FRANK MILLER, ALAN MOORE, and NEIL GAIMAN has anyone reached the tipping point of success on two fronts as Millar has. He says that his goal is to have the same type of impact as STAN LEE had in the 60's, but for a modern audience. Millar states that he's been approached by several directors, hungry to adapt Nemesis, even before anyone had seen the story or artwork (Millar calls them 'pompous vultures')! The writer says that he'll hold out until he can be sure of the quality director that he feels Nemesis warrants.

Millar's been catching alot of flack lately about tooting his own horn, which has raised quite a few hackles on the necks of many. ("...I don't like him because he toots his own horn...", "I think he's buying into the hype...", etc....) Quite frankly, I don't see the big deal in it... He's merely 'getting in touch with his inner 15 year old', right? Therefore, he's doing the triumphant dance that a 15 year old would do, so let him dance. Some of this is actually coming from RETAILERS, which makes no sense to me--- the books are SELLING like hotcakes, DESPITE your opinion of it, not to mention the fact you're pimping this title WHILE you trash it, so that makes you look somewhat STUPID for it. Good grief, folks: YOU HYPED HIM!

But I digress.

Anyways, NEMESIS is nothing more than a simple flip of a tried and truly tired concept: What if Batman had the mindset of the Joker and fought the law rather than uphold it? DC is up in arms on the subject (and despite what you may have read on the contrary online, my source inside DC says 'the higher ups are grinning through clenched teeth on the subject'), which I think boils down to the fact that MARVEL FINALLY got a Batman archetype of their own, and DC can't touch them... (The idea is super simplistic in the same way that Seth MacFarlane dumbed down the Simpsons formula to create Family Guy... 150 million and a multimedia franchise later... Same thing here.)

After reading the first issue in less time than it takes to fry eggs, I cannot see what all the lambasting is about... Really. Okay, let's look at the story itself, since McNIVEN earned his money on the interiors...

NEMESIS opens with a little bit of simple misdirection--- Tokyo's best cop is held hostage by the titular villain, with the cavalry rushing into a building to save our hero. In fact, the cavalry is looking in the wrong place, as their entry is cut short by enough explosive to level the building in which they stand. Our hero is actually liquefied by an oncoming bullet train which happens to be on time.

Fast forward to Washington DC where we meet our next target, CHIEF BLAKE MORROW, putting down an armed robbery single handed. Shortly thereafter, he learns that he's been targeted by the Nemesis in the form of a small card detailing WHO will die, WHEN he dies, and HOW he dies. Meanwhile, high above the city, Nemesis stands on the wing of Air Force One ( a la the gremlin from Twilight Zone, with the President acting as John Lithgow), preparing his forced entry into the plane by way of solid slugs from a railgun! Now, one blogger went so far as to call this particular sequence as '...The silliest thing he's ever seen...' C'mon man, we're talking about COMICS here! Besides, if Batman can do it--- my point made.

The book ends with Nemesis making a televised announcement to his new opponent that the game is about to begin, and just to drive the point home, the camera pulls back to reveal his latest hostage--- the United States President! (Not Obama, who's been in enough bandwagon-riding comics to last me a lifetime!)


Nemesis in 23 pages... The 24th page is devoted to Millar himself. It's here that I see audiences' nitpicking. Sure, he's cocky to the point of a confidence that most DON'T have (But again, he's smelling his own ass right now, and unless you're the ones holding his ass cheeks open, then let the man inhale!). Mark exclaims,
"... we're literally working for free in order to own the rights entirely (Keep in mind, McNIVEN is the only one working for free, while Mark is STILL riding that WANTED paycheck... Hey Mark, what happened to your collaboration with TONY HARRIS and WAR HEROES?! Tony got stuck holding the bill and suffering foot-and-mouth disease following YOUR lead) and believe me, there is no greater feeling in the world than owning your own creations. (So true.) It's glorious and very satisfying and maybe just exactly what we need right now in an industry where sometimes we rely a little too much on the work and ideas of other people. (Yeah Mark, it was called your entry into this business) It's also worth remembering that without our predecessors we wouldn't even have the kind of deals we have at places like ICON (Owned by MARVEL... That deal was made lip blistering special for your chapped ass, dude... Think about how you pitched Nemesis in the first place and tell me you couldn't smell rival opportunity in the room...?) and it's to the men and women who paved the way for creator-owned comic books that I'd like to dedicate this series."

Immediately following that statement, he concludes: " Fucking hell, that all actually sounded worryingly sincere."


Now, these things are only pompous if you allow them to be. PLANET GRIFFIN can also see the humor in it, so we can't nitpick to hard with these things. As long as Mark never forgets that his livelihood is based on those who BELIEVE in his works, he should be okay... Of course, his spoken demeanor and his written voice are two completely different things... Judge wisely in divining such words...

But what do I know?! I talk it like I walk it, and that record's spun daily! This is PLANET GRIFFIN, where the orbit doesn't change on account of bad weather!



THE BIG BUZZ: The Return Of The Wrong Mexican

GrindHouse (noun): American slang term for a particular genre of 70's films and the theaters that ran them. Known for it's non-stop lineups of double and triple billed B movies, grindhouses ran mostly exploitive films that weren't usually found in the A-list theaters; with film prints often shown in the poorest quality (severely scratchy negatives, clipped dialogue, etc.)... The home video boom of the 80's rendered the grindhouse set obsolete, but the thematics of the genre still holds true to this day (The Direct-to-DVD Market, B Movie indies, Mixed subgenres, etc.) . The subgenres that spawned from grindhouse (blaxploitation, Women-In-Prison, Cheap horror, Kung Fu quickies, Italian crime, Euro-trash, Spaghetti Westerns, etc.) are still considered among the most memorable moments in film history--- considering that many A-list blockbusters today still borrows from those 70's elements.

Okay, enough of that.... Let's get on with the BIG BUZZ, shall we?



PLANET GRIFFIN, that pirate blogcast of pop culture and the bane of profane elements of mainstream fare, brings you yet another edition of THE BIG BUZZ. Since appearing as a trailer in the ill-fated, yet still appreciated, GRINDHOUSE back in 2007, fanboy audiences everywhere have wondered when creator ROBERT RODRIGUEZ will deliver on the full length treatment--- Dimension Films announces on SEPTEMBER 3, the bloody revenge tale of the Mexican Federale will finally be told, and with the buzz of the all star cast (Jeff Fahey, Robert DeNiro, Cheech Marin, a post prison Michelle Rodriguez, Jessica Alba, a moment of clarity filled Lindsay Lohan and a Pre-sex slave scandal Steven Seagal), the emergence of the new Mexploitation cinema appears to be eminent!

Rodriguez, along with directing partner Ethan Maniquis, will produce the film while finishing up his follow up film, PREDATORS (yes, that one)--- after that, Rodriguez may well turn his attentions back to the Machete property as Dimension Films made a follow up announcement that they seek to complete MACHETE as a trilogy! (Hence, the mexploitation franchise begins)

Here's the breakdown:
A former renegade Federale (Trejo) wanders the backstreets of Texas after the shakedown of a local drug lord (Seagal). Offered a job to assassinate a corrupt senator (DeNiro), Machete is double crossed by the man that hired him (Fahey), resulting in the payback fuelled rampage which involves a taco slinger (post Fast & Furious alum Rodriguez), a gun wielding socialite (Lohan), the Padre (Marin), and the ICE agent Sartana (Alba) who's mysteriously connected to Machete.


As a longtime fan of the 70's grindhouse set, I will be in full 42nd street mode for this one, fighting my way in line to the theater, taking my life in my hands along with scores of like-minded fans--- which is exactly what the grindhouse experience is supposed to be.

Stay tuned for more PLANET GRIFFIN and THE BIG BUZZ!

Fraction Brings New Math This Summer

Back in 2006, I remember the first time I met MATT FRACTION--- a little bundle of pop culture energy who took time to match knowledge, blow-for-blow, with yours truly. He began to tell me about a tale he scripted, smashing together all of the things he loved about the spy genre (and a curious love for a little italian fumetti called DIABOLIK ). He signed a first issue copy and gave it to me... The book was called CASANOVA.

Casanova Quinn, debaucherous playboy thief for hire, is kidnapped from his reality and 'switched out' in an alternate reality where his 'other self' is a 'super secret agent' working for his father (in a S.H.I.E.L.D. kinda way) and the mighty E.M.P.I.R.E. --- forced to act as a double agent under the evil iron fist of NEWMAN XENO ( a supercriminal archetype WORTH the ink he's printed with), Casanova is caught between a rock, a hard place, and an even harder time as he struggles to stay alive in a reality that he now knows he CAN'T escape--- even as the walls begin closing in...



The 16 page, B+W IMAGE comic detailed the exploits of a thief-turned-international man of mystery-turned-multidimensional double agent turned the genre on its head, and gave comic audiences a swift kick in the cerebellum with a new smashgenre of Spy-fi Sci-Fi. With now acclaimed superstar artist GABRIEL BA (and later, his brother FABIO MOON on Volume 2) doing the 'dirty brush dance' on art duties, Matt managed to restore my faith in comic geekness once again.

Later, before the release of his equally popular Volume 2, Fraction and I would sit down at the con table together again--- this time, he produced a signed hardcover copy of LUXURIA (the collected volume 1) and gave it to me. (Of course, upon the release of my own OGN, I owe him a signed copy in return, as that was part of our arrangement) Volume 2 took a completely different turn, introducing an entire second arc of the story WITHOUT the title character (Cass went missing somewhere between the end of Volume 1 and the beginning of 2); once again defying convention and forcing audiences to go along for the ride... Of course, the storyline would float off into limbo as Fraction began to turn his scripting pencil to the boys at Mighty Marvel, reinventing their IRON FIST and IRON MAN titles, getting so busy he no longer had time for phone calls... It seemed that the questions surrounding Casanova would go unanswered...

... Until now.

Matt Fraction shall return to the groundbreaking spy equation this July, now to be published under the MARVEL ICON imprint, along with the FULL COLOR re-release of the original series (A move Fraction says would take full advantage of the new prestige arrangement between Marvel and Hachette ). The re-releasing of the two former volumes is a set up for the grand release of Volume 3, which will see the return of Gabriel Ba on art chores and Fraction finally getting around to adding up all the loose ends he left hanging for quite a while.

I seriously urge those of you who have yet to crack open this brain warping slice of spy-man skullduggery to do so. It'll definitely change your perceptions of what a good comic should be!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

And Now, A Special Announcement...

Tonight, PLANET GRIFFIN takes a moment to recognize a dear friend and family guy. ADARRYL GRANT not only celebrates his 35th birthday, but provides proof that angels truly exist as his little girl shines, as if to say, "... I know..."

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AD-ROCK FROM PLANET GRIFFIN!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

And These Are The Breaks...


Here at PLANET GRIFFIN LABS, I've been slowly getting back to the art table to continue my work while I fight the daily grind of 'sustaining and maintaining'. Believe me, it's easier sometimes to do blog posts than it is to set up the art table and get to it. But, of course, this is all academic. This page is part of the Chapter breaks within the upcoming OGN--- it's little more work, but I also believe in giving the maximum to those that are willing to pony up their hard earned dollar, therefore instead of supplying a pin-up in-between books, I would add 'break pages' in-between the chapters.

Hope you like it. Back to work, folks.

THE BIG BUZZ: D.I.Y. Guerilla Filmmakers





Staying on task to continue bringing you the cool oddities of pop culture, PLANET GRIFFIN brings you another taste of THE BIG BUZZ! The Planet came across this little 7 minute short tribute film to the ruling king of First Person Shooting platforms, MODERN WARFARE 2. NIKO PUERINGER and SAM GORSKI share directorial duties for their film 'FROZEN CROSSINGS', which cost them only $209.42 to make, and has made quite an impression on YouTube after scoring over
1 million views
in only 6 days!

The digital effects overall are pretty impressive considering what these guys have had to work with. The dynamic duo are already planning a Part 2 to this series and have already begun turning heads in all the right places. This film is just another great example of the growing number of DIY go-getters who believe that if you want something new, you have to create it yourself! Given more of a budget and more story, I'm positive these guys can give the Hollywood heads a run for their money!

Stay tuned to more PLANET GRIFFIN and THE BIG BUZZ!



Monday, April 12, 2010

Diamond In The Rough


Following the news wire, I was surprised to see that a 19th century mansion went up for auction at the Baltimore County Courthouse in Maryland over the weekend... The historic home formerly belonging to Diamond Comic Distribution CEO, STEVE GEPPI. The foreclosure sold for 7.7 million, with an outstanding mortgage debt of 3.25 million.

Geppi originally purchased the 8 bedroom, 9 fireplace, and 9 acre estate back in 2004 for 4.8 million... Not bad for a man who made a great living from his love of comics and controlled the movement of the industry for the last 3 decades. As of late, the 'Rupert Murdoch of Comics' has been struggling to keep control of a market that's beginning to slip away from him as of late. After being sued over various investment properties, failing to renew the Disney comics license, and suffering from 'glitches' in a software meant to keep track of Diamond's massive inventory (orders improperly shipped; whole orders getting lost, etc.) , the late year has definitely not been a good year for Geppi.

One of the biggest concerns to Geppi and his comics distribution empire is the emergence of the iPad. Since previous e-readers like Kindle and Nook can't provide the full graphics package that the iPad can, MARVEL jumped at the chance to be among the first to develop an iPad app (Apple even features Marvel among the iPad special features on their online store.)... Comics in HD.

By buying digital versions directly from the creators, middlemen like Geppi begin to feel the pinch.

Now, with that said, PLANET GRIFFIN brings you the news: When Geppi won the distributor wars back in the early 90's, the industry was already undergoing massive change... IMAGE hit the scene like a runaway train, the speculator boom began, and Marvel was about to undergo a massive overhaul after a junk bond scandal threatened bankruptcy for the company. Diamond was out to capitalize fully on ALL of it. Slowly, but surely, Diamond began setting the standards: A review panel whose job it is to determine what books would sell and what wouldn't (if you had a 'name' artist or writer attached to your book, it passed automatically without review), a sales cap minimum on what book had to sell in order to remain viable (a 'show and prove' tactic for indies since 'The Big Two' had the cash to maintain), and the ever-increasing price hikes that forced many independents and underground magazines to close up shop or merge with what Diamond considered 'legitimate' studios... With Diamond's stranglehold claims of 'the best game in town', it seemed as though many self-starting creators were forced to pony up business-closing sums of cash in order to get their products exposed to a mass audience.

Remember when Marvel attempted their OWN distribution house, HEROES WORLD? Marvel boasted BIG about breaking away from Diamond, only to return to 'Geppi's House' after it failed in it's FIRST quarter of business! (Diamond bored no hard feelings, they merely printed an INSERT catalogue separate from their own Previews guide.) Keeping that in mind, it would make sense that the House of M would embrace the iPad format so readily... After all, kids make out far better downloading a digital version for $1.99 than buying the brochure for $4 bucks--- only AFTER dropping $500+ for the iPad itself to do it. With Disney backing M.U., the conglomerate merger can ultimately sidestep Geppi altogether in time. The retailer, already fearing from low sales and lost orders (i.e., Marvel, DC, etc.), see the new digital frontier as yellow banner tape across their doors and began looking to other distributor outlets (in the return of Diamond's former rival, COLDCUT rechristened as HAVEN).

Lastly, the indies were already creating an alternate avenue long before the iPad was even introduced in the form of webcomics, the advent of Digital Distribution Sites (like Drive-Thru), and venturing into the much more lucrative foreign markets where indies are viewed in a completely different light... The state of the industry in light of all this has created some rather dangerous real estate that we can't afford to buy, nor want to. With all this in mind, you could almost pity Geppi for having to sell his mansion home.

Almost.

UPDATE: It was released earlier today that effective September 1, 2010, Marvel will move it's graphic novels and trades (notice I didn't refer to them as OGN's, Joe wouldn't like that...) business away from Diamond's Direct Market Book Distribution and begin it's new business relationship with the HACHETTE BOOK GROUP, (Hachette's news website announced the deal this morning) ending the speculation of industry observers of Marvel making their move away from the Geppi empire, despite the fact that Marvel will continue to run their monthly comics through Diamond for the foreseeable future ( just in case, y'know... Heroes World an all...) M.U. hopes to up their sales figures in one of the increasingly important markets for comic sales in North America--- the TRADE Market (hey, Joe caught on.).