First Colbert, and now his predecessor! Jon Stewart has announced that he will be ending his tenure on The Daily Show. Source: The Daily Show
Scribd, described as the Netflix service for books, has added 10,000 comic books to its subscription list. Sign me up! Source: Scribd
Marvel is searching for a “high-school aged” Spider-Man, but are open to a Miles Morales. I know this probably won’t happen, but “baby I’m your hero, #donaldforspiderman.” Business-wise, the Spider-Man character will be sort of shared between Sony and Marvel, with both production companies being able to use the same character, but not getting any revenue from the other’s movie. Source: Variety
Excited for Fifty Shades of Grey this weekend? No? Well, how about 50 Shades of Buscemi? Check out the trailer, reenacted with scenes from various Steve Buscemi clips. If only it were real. Source: EW
A new New Suicide Squad team has been announced, consisting of Parasite, Black Hand, Poison Ivy, Reverse-Flash, Cheetah and Talon. If you thought the previous team was a mish-mash, this is a giant bowl of what-the-f***. Source: back of DC Comics publications this week.
Based off the toy line of the same name, a straight-to-DVD Batman Unlimited movie will be released in May called Batman Unlimited: Animal Instinct, and it looks a whole lot like it should be called Batman:Beast Wars. Also, details on the Combo-Pack are included. Source: ComicVine
The DVD of Justice League vs. Bizarro League came out yesterday. You can find all the other retail goodness on our Geekly Forecast here.
Straight from the mouth of Rome’s mayor, it looks like Zoolander 2 will begin filming in Italy sometime this Spring. Of all the comedies in the last 10-15 years, this is the one I was most excited for a sequel. Source: Bad Taste (get your Google Translator ready!
According to DC, February is Harley Quinn month. Check out all the variants coming out, and ways you can show her some Mad Love. Source: DC Comics
A Kickstarter campaign has launched or a Ghostbusters board game, created by Cryptozoic (makers of the DC Comics Deck-Building Game) and backed by Sony. The price of the game runs a little steep ($88), but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t interested. Source: Kickstarter
Another year is in the books, and we here at Hush Comics couldn’t pass at the chance to rank our favorites of this year’s releases in all types of mediums. Some of the winners will surprise you; heck, some of the results surprised us. The results are completely subjective, and therefore were chosen with infallible logic. We would love to hear your opinions on what we have chosen, or if you thought we missed anything. This should be a fun review before we gear up for 2015.
Best Independent Film
Grand Budapest Hotel
Hector and the Search for Happiness
Wish I Was Here
WINNER – Grand Budapest Hotel
Wes Anderson graced us with his genius this year, bringing audiences The Grand Budapest Hotel. A simple story about a hotel manager and a faithful lobby boy, this film warms the heart and makes you laugh throughout. All the quintessential Wes Anderson elements are present – the unique cinematography, the clever dialogue and narration, Bill f***ing Murray – it’s all there. What impressed me most about this film is how star-packed the cast is. Along with BFM we get Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Jeff Goldblum, Jude Law, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton and others. It seems that with each passing Wes Anderson film more stars (and fans) want a piece of these great films. If you’re unfamiliar with Wes or his work The Grand Budapest Hotel is a great starting point. If you’re not smiling by the time credits role, then you may want to see your doctor about that. – Taylor
Second Place – Chef
Being your own man is a hard road to take. Head Chef Carl Casper, played by Jon Favreau, is being choked creatively by restaurant owner Riva (Dustin Hoffman, who gives Casper the ultimatum of leaving or doing things by the owner’s book. I can’t praise enough how inspiring this movie was, or how hungry it made me. Traveling the country with family, doing what you love and making money doing it can be more than just a dream. I also love how social media is portrayed as a useful tool for small businesses. And if this film had an actual soundtrack, I would have bought it; for now, I will settle for the New Orleans marching band rendition of “Sexual Healing.” Chef reminds us that the easiest way to touch people and make them feel a connection is through food. – Sherif
Third Place – Snowpiercer
I saw Snowpiercer. I was pretty well blown away by it. It starts off almost like a comet; very fast paced and filled with bizarre visuals. The action started off in an almost gonzo Middle Earth kind of way in which the sense of danger is muted being instead traded for a sense of adventure and exploration. Then the turn comes when they confront a hundred angry leathered men wielding axes in the confined dimensions of a box car as it passes through the dark of a train tunnel. At that moment the movie becomes brutal and brutal again as the surroundings get more and more bizarre, until the moment the movie is overcome with the bizarre and, literally, goes off the rails. – JH (an exerpt from his full analysis, which can be found here)
RUNNER UP – Wish I Was Here
Who has time to watch movies anymore? There’s so much to do, so many errands to run and meetings to attend and money to make and – just shut up. Turn everything off. Remember a time when you enjoyed your life, were passionate about something and dared to dream big. Being poor doesn’t hold a candle to running out of reasons to loving life. I can’t explain how much this movie means to me. It made me look at my career, my wife, and my family in ways that I have been neglecting to for years. Couple that with an insightful soundtrack and Zach Braff’s X-Factor, and you have yourself the most meaningful films to hit the theaters since The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. – Sherif
RUNNER UP – Hector and the Search for Happiness
This little indie film is based off a short book of the same name written by Francois Lelord and the film itself had a very limited release here in the U.S. despite the book being popular. The film itself stars an absolutely amazing cast with Simon Pegg (Star Trek, Shaun of the Dead) as Hector, Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl, Jack Reacher) as his loving but frustrated girlfriend; it also stars Christopher Plummer, and Jean Reno in memorable cameo/supporting roles. The film itself is about a psychiatrist who discovers he is unhappy and cannot help his patients and because of this he sets out on a worldwide trip to discover what makes people happy in every aspect around the world. Hector and… was an eye opener for me at a time in my life where I was really struggling with finding happiness myself and the reason this film was my favorite of the year is it gave me a push to work harder at the things I love, to love the things I love more, and be more passionate about the things that matter. I left feeling uplifted and good about a lot of bad aspects of my life that came to be this past year. Now the film itself is not some magnificent eye opener for everyone and if you go in expecting it to change your life it wont be what you are looking for but it was absolutely perfect for me, my sense of humor and the writing and acting made everything equal out to be the one film of the year I have recommended everyone to see. – Jacob
Another year is in the books, and we here at Hush Comics couldn’t pass at the chance to rank our favorites of this year’s releases in all types of mediums. Some of the winners will surprise you; heck, some of the results surprised us. The results are completely subjective, and therefore were chosen with infallible logic. We would love to hear your opinions on what we have chosen, or if you thought we missed anything. This should be a fun review before we gear up for 2015.
Best Drama of the Year
The Fault in Our Stars
The Normal Heart
WINNER – Birdman
Everyone loves Michael Keaton, or at least they should, and Birdman was an amazing way for the world to be reminded of that. It was sweet and sad, and Keaton’s portrayal of an actor known for playing a super hero who’s fallen off the map is not only bitingly reminiscent of the real man but it hits a soft spot for all nerds who once loved an actor just for playing their favorite character. The movie is dynamic and has a great cast of characters – some you love, some you hate, and all that confuse you at varying times. Birdman tells a great story that makes you really sad at times, but it’s edgy and funny and honestly that’s how I think all dramas should be. And I don’t care what anyone says, Keaton was the best Batman, even if he sounded like Beetleguese at times. – Keriann
Second Place – The Fault in Our Stars
Like I said in my review of The Fault in Our Stars back before the film came out, this story holds a very special place in my heart. Based on the bestselling novel by John Green, I have seen Hazel (Shailene Woodley) and Augustus’ (Ansel Elgort) journey with cancer and love five times, three of those times on the big screen. Every single viewing I end up sobbing, not only because I am grieving for the characters I love, but because this story has come so far. The online community of Nerdfighters feel extremely connected to this story, having been infatuated with it since before it was even released. As the little guys, seeing TFIOS hit the big screen feels like a giant slap in the face to anyone whoever told us we were weird for being the outcasts. TFIOS was extremely successful this Summer, beating out Tom Cruise’s Edge of Tomorrow in the box offices with $ 304 million worldwide and being the number one film during its opening weekend. – Charlotte
Third Place – Fury
A group of elite tank cavalry hold off the German war machine so the rest of the allied forces can push into Europe. Fury is like the last scene of Saving Private Ryan but with more tanks and for the entire film. It’s exciting it’s dramatic and it’s extremely well put together. The cast is one of the strongest put together for most films. Brad “Wardaddy” Pitt leads the brilliant cast with a stellar performance. The rest of the tank crew is made up by Shia LeBeouf, who despite being a little nutty in real life is excellent here, Logan Lerman, the new to the crew young kid whom I’d like to see more of, Michael Pena, as good as ever, and Jon “Bring back Shane” Bernthal. Drama, action, and an outstanding cast, there aren’t more reasons necessary to see and love Fury. – Scott
RUNNER UP – Noah
I think I’m maybe one of five or seven people on the planet that liked this movie. The problem is too many people saw it and thought, “Rock monsters? I don’t remember any rock monsters in the story of Noah,” and hated it. However, this is an Aronofsky joint, and he likes his weird. Additionally, he might have invented the style of the rock monsters (or nephilim as they’re called), but almost all his extra content was culled from extra-biblical sources, most coming from the Book of Enoch. I can’t say enough about Aronofsky and his cosmic vision of the world. – JH
RUNNER UP – The Normal Heart
Everyone has AIDS. AIDS, AIDS, AIDS. Also known, apparently, as gay cancer. In all seriousness, though, this movie will destroy you emotionally. Mark Ruffalo and Jim Parsons star as part of a group of gay men in New York City fighting desperately both for recognition as a people coming under a deadly new virus, and to fight their stigma as second-class citizens. There’s really nothing happy about this movie; it’s meant to alarm you. The early 90’s were a time of progression, but there was a whole other civil rights movement going on that never got any attention. – Sherif
After a relatively quiet June, the summer really heats up with a slew of sci-fi thrillers, as well as a few comedies and independent films sprinkled in. If you’re a movie buff, you won’t be bored this month. Check out what we have to say about July’s films:
July 2 – Earth to Echo
Starring: Teo Halm, Brian “Astro” Bradley, Reese C. Hartwig, Ella Wahlestedt
There is no way anyone can watch this preview and not feel a bit of a squeal emerge from their throats. There could be a way, but you have no heart. Earth to Echo follows a group of tweens who find “Echo,” an alien who looks like the cutest owl ever, and just happens to be the target of some things the group of kids aren’t ready for. The kids are sure to learn some lessons about themselves and about life. Earth to Echo may be this generation’s E.T. and is sure to be the family movie of the Summer. – Adrian
July 2 – Tammy
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates, Dan Aykroyd
O.K., I’ll admit it. As soon as I saw Melissa McCarthy walking through a parking lot to “Gangsta’s Paradise,” I immediately spat out whatever I was drinking and simultaneously snorted. While the teaser shows her sticking up a fast-food joint with her finger, the movie is about a woman caught between a rock and hard place. She just lost her job and her husband has been cheating on her. What better time than now to road trip with her grandmother, played by Susan Sarandon? Tammy looks hysterical. I just hope the film lives up to the hype of the trailer. – Adrian
July 11 – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Starring: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell
The much-anticipated sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes is finally here! We pick up years after the last film and Caesar and the apes have made a city for their own but a virus wiped out a ton of humans, which will ultimately create a ton of enemies through out time. After a while of peace between Apes and Humans, a war starts to begin that will ultimately reveal whether or not Humans are actually more powerful than Apes – or if it is the other way around. The Planet of the Apes films of past and present have always intrigued me because of how realistic they can be, even though the idea is far-fetched, much like zombies. It obviously is not a film for most kids as you may never be able to take them to the zoo again, but ultimately, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is going to be one of the most popular films this summer and there is already a sequel being planned, which usually disappoints me when a film has not even been released, but is definitely awesome to me. – Jacob
July 11 – A Long Way Down
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collete, Imogen Poots, Aaron Paul
A Long Way Down is based on the best selling novel by Nick Hornby, which follows the story of a band of four suicidal individuals coming from all walks of life. There’s Martin, the middle-aged, newly divorced celebrity, Maureen, the 51-year-old single mother, politician’s daughter Jess, and American immigrant JJ, all which meet on top a building one night, ready to jump. Deciding not to jump, they make a pact to keep living until Valentine’s Day. When the story is picked up by the media, they decide to put their own twist on what happened. Being the daughter of a therapist and having dealt with mental illness for several years, this intrigues me. I only hope they don’t romanticize suicide, but rather tell a story that shows how people with depression can find solace in one another. Knowing Nick Hornby, this dark comedy will probably do just that. I’m excited for this movie and will try to squeeze in time to read the book beforehand so I can get more out of it. – Charlotte
July 18 – Jupiter Ascending
Starring: Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Sean Bean
Jupiter Jones (Kunis) is a unfortunate janitor until she discovers her previously unknown genealogy destines her to greater things beyond Earth. Alongside genetically engineered interplanetary warrior Caine Wise (Tatum), she battles her way across the galaxy to take her rightful place at the throne of the House of Abrasax. This movie marks The Wachowskis’return of original screenplays and the science fiction genre. This movie looks to take place in a very complex world, the details of which aren’t likely to be skimmed. Douglas Booth, who plays a supporting role in the film, describes it as a cross between Star Wars and The Matrix. This makes the film seem promising and I’m interested to see how it will be received. My only fear is that it may be rather predictable, but the trailer leaves much to the imagination, so it’s hard to really say. – Charlotte
July 18 – Planes: Fire and Rescue
Starring: Dane Cook, Ed Harris, Stacy Keach, Julie Bowen
Last year, Disney/Pixar tried their best to capitalize on their success with the 2006 hit Cars by basically giving all of the characters wings and making them fly. Planes was not nearly as well-received as Cars, so for whatever the reason, they decided to make a sequel, Planes: Fire & Rescue. In this continuation, Dusty Crophopper, played by Dane Cook (that should be a red flag for most people) realizes he cannot race anymore, so he chooses to pursue more noble endeavors to become a firefighter, helping to put out forest fires with the help of a rescue helicopter named Blade Ranger (Ed Harris). Unless you have kids that really enjoyed the first Planes, you probably won’t be seeing this one. I’m sure that it has appeal to the much younger crowd, and like every other Disney/Pixar movie, there will be bones thrown to the adults and parents who happen to be taking their children, With veteran voice actors like Patrick Warburton, Regina King, and Brad Garret filling in the gaps in casting, there is at least some assurance that some of it will be funny. In the end, I’m not exactly chomping on the bit to buy a ticket to Planes: Fire and Rescue. But I also don’t have a kid who would be old enough to enjoy such a film. Although if you saw the first Planes and enjoyed it, there is no reason you shouldn’t head out and take this one in as well. – Scott
July 18 – Sex Tape
Starring: Jason Segel, Cameron Diaz
Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz star as a couple who, in an attempt to reignite their love life, decide to make a sex tape. However, instead of deleting this video, they unknowingly upload it to the Cloud. They make a desperate attempt to try and get the video off the internet. Apparently nobody told them that there is no way to get something off the net after it has been uploaded. Watching this preview kind of reminded me of Road Trip. I also wondered what the point of trying to get this video off the net after the majority of the people they know have already seen it or why they didn’t make it on an actual video recorder. But this is a movie and there is no room for logic here. This should be a pretty funny movie and definitely looks like it would be worth seeing. – Robert
July 18 – The Purge: Anarchy
Starring: Frank Gillo, Carmen Ejogo, Michael K Williams
Even though the reviews for the first Purge were mixed, they still managed to surpass their budget by a very large margin. This time around instead of one story, we are given three separate stories that have people from all over the city coming together to try and survive the night. I was genuinely surprised when I saw that there was going to be a sequel to the original, I hadn’t realized that it had done that well sales wise. I can’t honestly see this being that great but I guess there is a market for these types of movies. I still haven’t seen the first one, so maybe I will rent that…….. and then wait for this to come out on Blu-Ray and rent it. – Robert
July 18 – Aftermath
Have you heard of this movie? Neither have I. But do not despair, according to the movie we are all going to die anyway, from what I’m not too sure. It could be some infection, a nuclear explosion, crazy people out in the world; our death is still somewhat unclear. Based off the trailer I really can’t give an accurate description of what we all need to start training for. This film seems to be one that you movie hop over to if the times fit with your first or second movie. I can’t really judge this movie though (I’m totally judging) because I am not a horror film kind of person. Director Peter Engert pulls together Edward Furlong (where the hell has that guy been the past ten years?), Monica Keena, Andre Royo (who played Bubbles in The Wire), and several other starts to create this horror film. With all the characters being stuck together in a barn or cellar, and just trying to survive, things are probably going to get a little crazy and bloody. Survive what, I’m not too sure still. This low-budget, post-apocalyptic film seems to have all the qualities of an good “B film”. So if any of you out there know exactly how were are supposed to die based of this movie, be kind and let the rest of us know. – Evan
July 25 – Hercules
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, John Hurt, Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Rebecca Ferguson
IF YOU SMEEEEELLLLLL… WHAT HERCULES… IS COOKING, get your butt down to your local movie theater on July 25th because he is serving up some giant lion mane, some giant warthog meat, and a healthy dose of awesome. This film, directed by Brett Ratner, looks really cool. At first, I was skeptical of another Hercules movie; however, once I heard that Dwayne Johnson was going to be playing our very own demigod, I was on board. Hercules looks as though it is going to be a thrill-ride of non-stop mythological madness, and I am completely okay with that. This action also seems that it will have a darker side to it that fits perfectly in with the story of Hercules. After enduring the 12 labours and losing his family, Hercules seeks only the pleasure of battle. Being praised for his battle skills, the King of Tharce hires the demigod to trains his warriors to be just as rootless. Is it possibly that this may lead to some deep insight and perspective? I’m confident that this movie is going to lay the smackdown on the box office’s candy ass! (3 Rock references. Yes. I. Did.) – Evan
July 25 – Lucy
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Analeigh Tipton
This film is probably going to be categorized as a super hero film as it is a about a person with super human powers, but this film is so much more than that. It is set in a world that is run by criminals of all kinds and Lucy (Johansson) is a woman in Taipei, Taiwan who is used by these criminals as a drug mule for one of the mobs. But this is where everything goes bad for anyone who considers themselves a bad guy as the drug get released into Lucy’s system which opens up her mind to use more than just 10% of it at a time which gives her incredible memory, the power to move objects with her mind and she feels no pain and she obviously uses these powers to take down the mob and everyone in her way. Although the film could definitely be good I feel with the amount of advertising and word of mouth around the film it will likely be forgotten like Hancock, the last original super hero film I remember. – Jacob
July 25 – Wish I Was Here
Starring: Zach Braff, Donald Faison, Kate Hudson, Ashley Greene, Jim Parsons
A year and some change after Zach Braff became the poster boy for Kickstarter, Wish I Was Here is finally coming out in theaters. Reaching its goal of a $2 budget in three short days, it’s clear that this is a movie that plenty of other people want to see. Those unfamiliar with Braff’s work need only look at Garden State. Braff’s latest film is guaranteed to fill you with warm fuzzies, but not without a few tears along the way. The story revolves around Aidan (Braff), a mid-thirties dad who is trying to figure life out, while trying to keep his family afloat financially. To avoid the terrors of public school, Aidan home-schools his children – and in an attempt to teach them, he learns even more about life. Unless the genre is a no-go for you, this movie should be a sure thing. – Sherif
Click on the link to take you to all of our Denver Comic Con 2014 articles
Panel Name: Reading Rainbow – LeVar Burton
Topic: Reading Rainbow Kickstarter, Q&A
Featured Guests: LeVar Burton
Imagine the thunderous roar of a room full of twenty-somethings as the panel opens with, “Butterfly in the sky…” The crowd chimes in, “I can fly twice as higgggh!” LeVar Burton, whether or not he wants to take credit for it, has helped raise a generation of readers. The revolutionary show Reading Rainbow lasted over twenty years and 150 episodes; each episode was comprised of a guest reader, who would read pages from a children’s book, and field trips, where LeVar would take kids to explore various careers or investigate the moving parts that make everyday activities so interesting. To this day, I’ll always remember the bowling alley episode, where Burton’s explanation of an entire mechanical part of the back room blew my little mind. For most of the 90’s, RR was like my Sesame Street, my Dora the Explorer. I could go on for hours about how great Reading Rainbow is, but I think the rest of the world already knows.
Late May 2014, LeVar Burton headed a Kickstarter campaign to make the Reading Rainbow app more accessible to children. The initial goal of $1 Million was intended to bring Reading Rainbow back to schools. Yes, back – we all remember when the teacher would roll in the TV/VCR cart into the classroom, and nurse a hangover while LeVar Burton took the class on a fantastical journey. What a lot of people didn’t know, us included, is that the Reading Rainbow app for tablets had been around for two years. The app works off a subscription basis and instantly gives kids access to hundreds of licensed books, accompanied by virtual field trips and other neat additions to the story to give kids the complete revamped Reading Rainbow experience. With the Kickstarte-funded project, a new app – specifically designed for classrooms – would be able to fund year-long subscriptions for over 1,500 classrooms. The thought of bringing a premium service to mostly under-privileged schools, whose students’ parents may not have the technology at home, made this an easy sell.
Even with over a month-long period to reach the goal, Burton was a little worried it would not get funded. When the Kickstarter went live on May 28th, it reached it’s goal a mere 11 hours into the campaign. LeVar said that he cried when he got the news. He was so endeared that a generation that grew up watching his show is now helping fund the show for the next generation of readers. Now with 15 days left of the campaign, Reading Rainbow’s goal of $5 million is certainly a reachable one, but it will be close. With this new goal, which they are approximately 75% of the way to fulfilling, will give children universal access. That means the app will be available on mobile phones, gaming consoles, OTT boxes – you name it. It also means putting it in the hands of public libraries, who have been seeing book collections shrink and digital media catalogs increase. While Burton did not eliminate the possibility of bringing back the TV show, he was focused on the direction that the app (existing and new) was headed. “To reach today’s children, you need today’s technology.” It’s hard logic to argue with – and the fact that he will be trying to bring it back to the schools and libraries backs up the plan for streamlined service. A good point that somebody in the audience led Burton to was that while the app is ideal for 3-9 year old readers, it works wonders for ESL students.
The panel wasn’t all Kickstarter, though. A lot of questions were aimed at LeVar personally. LeVar shared that he is always reading, and that his summer reading is his “escape” reading, so he always science fiction in the summer. Right now, he’s reading Octavia Butler’s The Goldfinch. He also revealed that his family loves to read books aloud to each other, and stated that the best way to get your children to read is to read in front of them. Burton even gave us an insight of what he used to read his daughter: Goodnight, Moon and Harry Potter. The two books he recommends most are: Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman for girls and Enemy Pie by Derek Munson for boys. The panel wasn’t even all about reading, as Burton told the audience that he wasn’t even there. He was still with Troy on Community, fighting off pirates on the Gambino. Burton called Donald Glover “one of the most talented people on Earth,” which was just kind of a twist of the knife already in place that Community has been cancelled and Donald Glover left the show before it was over. Glover’s moments on the show with LeVar Burton were some of my most cherished.
Most of those attending the panel had already contributed to the Kickstarter, or were familiar with the what the campaign was trying to accomplish. This panel was all about The House that Love Reading Built. I was astonished at how many teachers and writers and volunteers were directly affected by having this show in their life. Question after question was full of love and a few of those throwing up questions were brought to tears just by getting up to the mic. One of the most sentimental to me was a young lady who had been home-schooled growing up in a poor learning environment. When she got to public school in 8th grade, she had a 2nd grade math level, but a college level reading level – thanks to Reading Rainbow instilling a love for reading. She graduated high school on time and now has a career in writing. That’s just one example of many touching anecdotes we heard at the panel… But you don’t have to take my word for it! We have the full panel on YouTube below.
Continue to follow us, as we share the happenings of Denver Comic Con 2014.
In this consumer-based industry, it can be easy to forget the years of hard work that the people in the business put in. Behind every panel, it takes a skilled writer, artist, inker and colorist to make the product complete. Behind each scene goes hours of preparation. Hush Comics’ weekly article “Respect My Craft” will dive into the history of these comic book and pop culture greats that will hopefully give a new perspective on how the men and women behind the pen (or stylus) contribute to the collective awesome-ness of the nerd world, or at least give you a reason to invest in their work.
Name: LeVar Burton
NotableWork: Roots, Reading Rainbow, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and recently raising nearly 3 million dollars to bring back Reading Rainbow in 2 days.
The “Roots” experience was one where I really was schooled on the power of the medium: television. My life was changed in two nights of television. I watched a nation be transformed around the idea of slavery and our relationship to that part of the American story. It was like ‘Wow.’ The opportunity to do “Reading Rainbow,” to do half an hour of television in the summer when kids are spending most of their time in front of the TV and try and steer them back in the direction of literature made all the sense in the world to me. My mother was an English teacher, so it was really a no-brainer. ” -LeVar Burton in an interview with the HeroComplex at the L.A. Times
LeVar Burton has been a household name since the ’70’s. However, depending on your generation, you may know him from something different than your parents. You may know him as Kunta Kinte from Roots, or if you were born in the ’80’s, you may know him as the host of the children’s literacy show Reading Rainbow, or as Geordi La Forge in Gene Rodenberry’s Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Burton was born on an Army Base in Germany in 1957. His mother, an English teacher, moved to Sacramento when Burton was a child. When he was 13, he decided to join a seminary to become a priest. Yeah, Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge was almost a priest. After some soul-searching and reading different philosophies, Burton decided not to be a priest and enrolled in the Theater Program at University of Southern California. Burton began his acting career when he was a sophomore in college.
Burton auditioned for Roots, his first Hollywood audition, and got the part of Kunta Kinte, a name now synonymous with slavery and race relations in America. Roots was the first mainstream slavery story to be told through the eyes of the enslaved man. Kunta Kinte was a man from Gambia and a slave who never forgot where he came from. Kunta was badly abused. At one point, after trying to escape, part of his right foot was cut off. The visual images that came with Burton’s role as Kunta are still prevalent in American culture today. Roots is highly regarded as a turning point in how black people and white people viewed each other. Burton can be quoted as saying, “Roots wasn’t just art for art’s sake. It was art as a way of moving the culture forward” in an interview last year with Vulture. Burton’s portrayal of Kunta in Roots earned him an Emmy nomination for Best Actor in 1977.
His groundbreaking role garnered a lot of attention. Burton hosted the last season of the children’s show Rebop. He starred in the TV movie One in a Million: The Ron LeFlore Story as Ron LeFlore, the baseball player who was recruited to the MLB out of prison. Burton was in a myriad of other movies and had a guest spot on Fantasy Island once. Then, in 1983, LeVar Burton became of the host of Reading Rainbow on PBS. It was from that moment on that children across America learned to read. Ok, ok, I am exaggerating. I really hope (and on some level, I know) kids could read before Reading Rainbow was on the air. The show took kids on “field trips” to different places in America and then an awesome celebrity guest would read a book to us as the pages were shown on screen. Then kids would recommend books they liked. I can honestly say that Reading Rainbow was one of my favorite shows growing up. I was, and still am, a bookworm, and I truly believe Reading Rainbow and LeVar Burton were major catalysts in my love of reading (my grandmother and father were huge roles, too, just in case they read this). Reading Rainbow‘s original run was from 1983 to 2006. Now, LeVar is bringing Reading Rainbow online to the kids of the digital age. He famously launched a Kickstarter campaign, raising over 1 million dollars in 11 hours. In the last day, the campaign’s goal has expanded to 5 million dollars. The plan for Reading Rainbow is to not only be a full-fledged website, set up similarly to the television show, but a tool for teachers, particularly in underfunded schools, and to provide it all for free. If you would like to contribute to the cause for literacy, click HERE.
In 1986, Burton was cast as Geordi La Forge, a blind pilot, in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Burton grew up watching Star Trek, so working on the show was a dream come true. Geordi was a character who inspired many fans. Because of his “disability”, he wore a VISOR, which gave him the ability to see things even the human eye couldn’t. That prop wasn’t the best thing though, according to Burton. He has stated it obscured 80 percent or more of his vision while filming, causing him to trip or lose balance often. He also felt that without the audience being able to see his eyes, a large part of his acting skill was limited. He has also stated that he hopes that the technology of the future would be more advanced than the VISOR for blind people to be able to see. Since the series ended, Burton has been fairly vocal about the lack of a love life La Forge had. He has noted that Star Trek is generally better than to stereotype people, but that La Forge was stereotyped because he was a nerd and a black man. He says that everyone has a sexual identity, but that was denied to his character, something he would have changed. Burton was eventually able to direct an episode of TNG, and continued to do so, even beyond the TNG franchise and on to Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise. To date, Burton has directed the most Star Trek episodes than any other actor from the show. His career as Geordi La Forge lasted 7 television seasons and continued in 4 Star Trek movies. You may wonder if Geordi La Forge inspired me, the way Reading Rainbow did. I do admit to being a Trekkie when I was a kid. I had a Geordi action figure and often walked around my house with a headband over my eyes. I was an odd child, but it has made me a pretty cool adult, and I’d like to think Burton and Star Trek had something to do with it.
Most recently, Burton has been a staple, whether on screen or not, in Community. Burton was Troy’s idol and caused him to go catatonic at one point because of his presence. LeVar Burton also happened to be the man who took Troy away from the study group and on Pierce’s boat the “Childish Tycoon.” However, the boat was then taken by pirates, so who knows what happened to LeVar and Troy? He has also appeared in The Big Bang Theory as himself. Burton is the voice of Doc Greene in the Hub Network series Transformers: Rescue Bots. He has said he believes it was one of the few children’s shows that portrays pro-social behavior. Burton believes all television is educational, but wonders what we are trying to teach our children. Currently, Burton is a regular on TNT’s Perception as Paul Haley, anthropologist best friend to Eric McCormack’s character who is a paranoid schizophrenic who helps the FBI investigate difficult cases. In addition to all his acting endeavors, Burton has been working as the “Curator In-Chief” for the Reading Rainbow website and campaign with business parter Mark Wolfe and revolutionizing how kids learn to love reading. I’d say, LeVar Burton is a pretty big deal. Live long and prosper, folks.
None of the media in this article belongs to Hush Comics; it all belongs to their respective properties. Join us tomorrow as we continue our countdown to Denver Comic Con as we spotlight author Kevin J. Anderson!
Oh my stars and garters, Hushsters!We’ve skipped an entire week of news. In our defense, we were a little busy. We took a trip to Houston to visit Taylor Lowe, where we went to Comicpalooza. Not only was it a great time, but it was also kind of a milestone moment for us. We went as press for the first time, interviewed Batman artist Greg Capullo (also a first), met Stan “The Man” Lee, geeked out at the Buffy panel, and lots more. Check back on the site, or here for more of our Comicpalooza stuff, including a James Marsters panel and an in-depth synopsis of the weekend.
LeVar Burton is Kickstarting to relaunch Reading Rainbow. Will it work? Hell yeah it will; the campaign is “flying twice as high,” already shattering it’s $1,000,000 goal in less than 24 hours. “Take a look; it’s in a book. Reading Raaaainbow!”
X-Men: Days of Future Past was released this past weekend. It was “cool,” but we weren’t really that impressed. Here is my full review (SPOILER FREE) of the movie. On the bright side, they’ve released what the special edition Blu-Ray set will look like (August release?) and we will definitely be picking that up.
Sad times, as we lost one of the world’s greatest poets and civil rights’ activists in Maya Angelou.
A bunch of peeps are being cast for Season 5 of Game of Thrones. If you’re a book noob like me, then you probably don’t know who any of these guys are.
My most anticipated game of the summer came out yesterday. Watch Dogs promises to be an open world adventure of hacking goodness – the game has already broken the company’s record for single-day sales (the same company that owns Assassin’s Creed, mind you). The release hasn’t been smooth sailing, though, as bomb threats and crippling glitches have slowed it down. Hopefully we can sit down and murder this game to have a review to you in the next couple weeks.
DC Comics has gone through quite the transformation since they launched 52 new books in 2011… but here we are in 2014, and they’re close to canceling 52 books in three years. Yikes.
The guy who played Barry Allen in the 1991 series has been cast as Barry Allen’s father in the new Flash TV Series.
Comic book legend Alan Moore is launching a mobile app called Electricomics, designed to help self-publish independent creators. This could be the answer to what creators do after ComiXology was acquired by Amazon earlier in the year.
Ben Templesmith is releasing his Kickstarter-backed The Squidder, a four issue series post-apocalyptic tale.
In this consumer-based industry, it can be easy to forget the years of hard work that the people in the business put in. Behind every panel, it takes a skilled writer, artist, inker and colorist to make the product complete. Hush Comics’ weekly article “Respect My Craft” will dive into the history of these comic book greats that will hopefully give a new perspective on how the men and women behind the pen (or stylus) contribute to the collective awesome-ness of comic books, or at least give you a reason to invest in their work.
Name: Gail Simone
NotableWork: Batgirl (New 52), Birds of Prey, Tomb Raider, The Movement (New 52)
“Right now there are so many wonderful female things in comics; characters, creators, commentators, editors, convention organizers, store owners and readers. They don’t threaten anything in the industry, they add to it.” – Gail Simone
When you make a list of top-tier writers in the comic book industry right now, Gail Simone should always be brought up. Her great dialog and story vision has made Batgirl and The Movement two of DC Comics most intriguing titles, and garnered a strong fan-base along the way. Simone’s beginning are far simpler than the juggernaut writer she has become, though. Simone began as a blogger – well, I suppose they weren’t really known as bloggers in the late 1990’s. Through Comic Book Resources, Simone wrote a periodical called “You’ll All Be Sorry!” with a group of collaborators, writing satirical stories (one of my favorites was the “Bizarro Preacher” article, written on my birthday). The stories must have given her the courage to piss off a whole lot of people when she launched Women in Refrigerators in 1999.
Women in Refrigerators was originally meant to poke fun at an industry flaw, not incite rage – the same way we hoot and holler when Laurel starts making pouty faces on Arrow, chastising it for being too “C-Dub.” Anyway, the joke behind WIR is that women are constantly being used at plot pieces for either the development of male characters, or the deconstruction of the female ones. This wasn’t just some wild accusation either. On the site, which looks a whole lot like a 90’s Geocities page I made when I was in junior high, had a whole list of characters that fit the bill of expendable women in comic books. The most shocking thing about the list of that many of these characters – Storm, Supergirl, Wonder Woman – are prominent characters in the comic book world. She may not have made many friends by openly criticizing the industry, but it’s where Simone got her first job in the industry.
She began writing for The Simpsons in 2000, and covered several outlets for them. From the main title, to a Bart-based and Treehouse of Horror mini-series to the Sunday morning comic strips in the papers, Gail Simone was breaking out in a big way. Her work on The Simpsons led her to a job with Marvel on the Deadpool and Agent X series, where she was able to show off her humorous side – which has always been a strong suit of hers. It wasn’t until Simone got a gig writing Birds of Prey that things really took off.
It was with DC Comics that Simone would really get the opportunity to spread her wings. Spanning 52 (heh heh, DC loves its 52’s) issues from 2003-2007, the Birds of Prey are a group of crime-fighting women working as a team. At this point in the story, Barbara Gordon AKA Oracle is confined to the seat of a wheelchair after the grueling fallout of The Killing Joke. Physically limited, yes, but Oracle is one of the team’s most valuable assets with her technical savvy. After runs on Secret Six, Gen13, Villains United and other short runs, Simone really turned heads with her long run on Wonder Woman and The All-New Atom. Even with all that under her belt, it wasn’t until her second run on Secret Six that Gail Simone was a name that made me a fan for life.
The Secret Six are a ragtag group of villains, led by the likes of Bane, that try to work as a team on contract to kill another villain. Simone was able to breathe a lot of life into these characters, most of which were unknown to casual fans. In fact, before the New 52 relaunch, Secret Six was one of the most beloved books on the shelves. The way Simone was able to turn these despicable villains into misunderstood heroes. After 36 issues of Secret Six, the series was canceled and Simone was brought on to write the new Batgirl series.
Batgirl has ben one of my favorite books, and it’s because of the development of Barbara Gordon. The Batgirl from the first few issues is hardly recognizable to the Batgirl in issue #28. I love that her character is strong, yet shows vulnerability to the reader. That’s the result you get when you have a writer who is as passionate about the characters she or he is writing about. In a time where DC was criticized for its a lack of diversity (out of all the New 52 books released in 2011, hers was the only one written by a woman), Batgirl gave all leaders a better sense of identity. Her other DC story, The Movement, is loosely based super-hero version of the Occupy movement – once again giving a voice to those who cannot do so themselves. Unfortunately, the series will be canceled after the 12th issue in May. Lately, Simone has expanded her scope to write for other publishers now that her exclusive deal with DC Comics has ended. She has been writing the new Red Sonja series, as well as a brand new Tomb Raider. She hasn’t stopped there, either; Simone will be heading the Savage Wolverine series starting in May.
From Killer Princesses to her upcoming Kickstarter project, Leaving Megalopolis, Gail Simone writes women characters that are capable, intelligent, and convincing. Her career in the industry started very much the way ours has – just a group of awesome friends typing out their love for comic books. Gail Simone is constantly on the floor at comic book conventions, and engages her fans via social media (Twitter, Tumblr). It might have started out as a joke, but her Women in Refrigerators piece was great commentary on the industry’s need to represent women better. One woman can’t change the world view alone, but with a work ethic like hers, you have to respect her craft!
Checked out her bibliography and still want more? Check this out:
Gail Simone lights up the social networking with her witty, honest and often hilarious Tweets.
You can find paperback collections of her “You’ll All Be Sorry” articles on Amazon for less than $5.
I wanted to point out that none of this art is mine; it is all credited to the original publishers (Marvel Comics & DC Comics) . Thanks for all the love and support for You Nerd Like A Girl. Look to us next week for more “Respect My Craft!,” featuring the industries most talented contributors.
The Toy Fair 2014 is happening this weekend in NYC. Unfortunately, we aren’t there, but have already decided to blow all of our money on the cool stuff displayed. Good-bye future paychecks. See what made us drool here, there and everywhere.
Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy join acting forces in the BBC show Peaky Binders, a gangster drama set just after WWI. Peaky Binders is often compared to Boardwalk Empire. Should viewers wonder if the water supply will be poisoned?
The Assassin’s Creed franchise is going to release a strategic board game. It seems like a board game version of the online play as players race over each other to get kills. It sounds exhilarating.
Ellen Page came out. And grown men wept. But we say, good for her!
Jed Whedon finally spoke up about the sequel to Dr. Horrible. He was incredibly specific, too.
Attention Litchfield inmates: Orange is the New Black season 2 has an official premiere date and teaser. It’s safe to say that fans of the dramedy should take June 6th off, because let’s face it, you will veg on your couch and watch all the episodes in one sitting.
Nike is releasing the power laces from Back to the Future next year. 2015 happens to be the year the shoes are from, so how cool is that?!
Kickstarter was hacked. Perhaps the hacker had an account to fund his hacking? Too soon?
The animated series Star Wars: Rebels will introduce a new character named Kanan. Check out the cowboy Jedi here.
Alyson Hannigan and Tom Papa are going to star in a comedy written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. We don’t really know what else to say. It just seemed important to report.
UDON is releasing an impressive-looking Street Fighter comic book for Free Comic Book Day this year.
Goosebumps is gonna be a movie. Starring Jack Black, this film should be insta-nostalgic for all mid-20 somethings.
Coming soon to Mac: Marvel Heroes. Being a Mac has never been cooler.
In Forever Evil, the demise of Power Ring sent his… power ring… in search of a new owner. Well, thanks to Geoff Johns’ interview with IGN, we know who is filling those shoes.
Give an emotional and adolescent Kryptonian a Red Lantern ring, and you are looking for trouble. Check out issue #28 of Supergirl to find out more.
The Walking Dead is on right now. Check out our review later tonight!
With the expansion of Hush Comics, we have decided to give bi-weekly news updates. Anything we find news-worthy will be posted here bi-weekly. Have anything to add? Post it in the comments!
R.I.P., Shirley Temple. May the afterlife be full of maraschino cherries and lemon-lime soda.
Jimmy Palmiotti, DC Comics writer, is trying to launch an independent graphic novel through Kickstarter called, get this, Denver. Set in a future where Denver remains the last city in a world submerged by water (now tell me Global warming isn’t real!), Denver is about a whole new type of apocalypse. Check out this interview detailing the process.
If you weren’t sold on a Tarzan reboot that star’s Alexander Skarsgard, Samuel L Jackson and Christoph Waltz, the inclusion of The Wolf of Wall Street‘s Margot Robbie as Jane will have your jaw on the ground and your wallet in the air.
Speaking of Sam Jackson, this BAMF went all Black History Month on Sam Rubin during a TV interview for mistaking a commercial Laurence Fishburne did as Jackson’s. While I think that Rubin was just a victim of circumstance – the circumstance being that he told the angriest black man in Hollywood that he looks like another famous black man, it sheds some light on the portrayal of black celebrities among the media. Do you remember when George Stephanopoulos mistook Celtics’ legend Bill Russell for Morgan Freeman?
The hilarious Englishman John Oliver or Daily Show and Community fame will be getting his own HBO show called Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. It sounds like it will be the same format as Jon Stewart’s show, but with more foul language and obscenities – just the way we like it.
The Protector 2, starring Muy Thai legend and actor Tony Jaa, will be released March 27th (date varies). If you don’t know who Tony Jaa is, take ten minutes out of your day to watch this. This guy is 38 years old and still kicking ass. Oh yeah, Wu-Tang legend The RZA will also be acting in the film!
All-New Ghost Rider is coming out in May, and it’s not the Johnny Blaze we know. Check out this feature on the amazing new approach to a classic Marvel character.
For people looking for a reason to cut out cable/dish, Apple TV may be releasing a version that can stream live TV. I’m pretty skeptical, but it sounds like we’re on the right track.
Stephen King’s It was one of the scariest films I’ve ever seen. Alright, I have have been seven when I saw it – give me a break. A reboot has been in the works for almost two years, but director Cary Fukunaga (True Detective) has confirmed that it’s happening.
Now that Nikita is over, lead actress Maggie Q has found a new gig as a Chinese pirate queen Ching Shih in the limited series Red Flag. Shih was a real pirate in the 1800’s who rose through the ranks as a prostitute (they don’t call ’em working girls for nothing). This is in addition to her role of Tori Wu in the upcoming film-adaptation of Divergent.
Guess what Batman: Arkham Origins fans? WB Games has heard your complaints, and they don’t care about your problems. They’re too busy making the next Mr. Freeze DLC. It’s an added frustration to a game that has been riddled (get it?) with issues since it launched in October.
Mob City no mo.’ The TNT mini-series centered around mob life in LA during the 30’s and 40’s has been cancelled. It bums me out because John Bernthal (Shane from The Walking Dead) and friends acted their butts off in this noir Frank Darabont production, and I felt the show could have gone a lot further if renewed.
DC Comics and Robot Chicken are teaming up, once again, to release DC Comics Special: Villains in Paradise. There will also be accompanying variants for special DC Comics issues in March. Check em out here.
There have been several additional castings for Fox’s Gotham show, including: Alfred Pennyworth, Oswald Cobblepot (Penguin), Captain Sarah Essen (Gordon’s coworker and eventual spouse), and Barbara Kean (Gordon’s spouse-to-be and soon ex-spouse).
In the upcoming Flash series (just a pilot at this point), Tom Cavanagh will play Harrison Wells, genius physicist of S.T.A.R. Labs. It’s a huge jump from his portrayal as the title character of Ed, or as JD’s brother in Scrubs, but I think it’s a good call. Also, the original Flash from the 1970’s series will be making an appearance on the show. Our bet is that he will play the first Flash, Jay Garrick.
They just can’t let How I Met Your Mother go. A lead character has been cast for the spin-off, titled How I Met Your Dad. With HIMYM ending on March 31, I think it’s too soon to be moving on to a spin-off.
Joss Whedon and Co. have begun filmingAvengers: Age of Ultron, slated to hit theaters in May 2015.
New York’s Fashion Week displayed some of the freshest dresses this side of the galaxy. Check out the Star Wars-themed dresses here.
Would you sleep with Scarlett Johansson, even if it meant being trapped in goo and preyed on by an alien? What, did I lose you after “Johansson?” Well then, you might want to check out Under the Skin, coming to theaters everywhere April 11. Leave you girlfriends at home.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, along with their 50/50 director Jonathan Levine, will reunite to bring holiday cheer back to the world in Xmas.
Yee-haw! Star Wars fans, saddle up and get ready for Kanan, the cowboy Jedi (although, aren’t they all space cowboys?). Voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr., Kanan will debut in the upcoming Disney animated series, Star Wars: Rebels.