The Awesome List: Hercules, Wild West King Arthur, pirates, Picoult’s Wonder Woman, more Bourne, Hulk toys, and more

Hercules and King Arthur of the Wild West

There’s a new comics publisher in town called Radical Publishing. Their first two books are a dark, 300-esque vision of Hercules and a Western retelling of the King Arthur legend called Caliber. The art for both looks great and they’re offering the first issue of each for only a buck. Definitely gonna have to try these out.

Pieces of Eight

Komikwerks has a new webcomic about pirates.

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Technophobiac Sci-Fi has a review of Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D starring Brendan Fraser.

Fast Ships, Black Sails

Night Shade books has a pirate anthology coming out later this year. Contributors include Michael Moorcock and Elizabeth Bear.

Defending Jodi Picoult

I don’t know if it’s the desire to give a best-selling novelist the benefit of the doubt or what, but it’s in vogue lately in blogland to excuse Jodi Picoult for writing a lousy run on Wonder Woman. I’m honestly not trying to pick on Picoult here, because for all I know she’s a very talented writer. She just wasn’t the right one for Wonder Woman. And it’s not because DC editorial tied her hands.

And I’m not trying to pick on Heidi Meeley either. She’s the one who got me thinking about this again, but she’s also just the latest to excuse Picoult’s not understanding the character and put the blame on Amazons Attack. But a good couple of issues before she started having to work in the Amazons Attack story, Picoult was portraying Wonder Woman as a self-doubting, fish-out-of-water character. Yes, forcing a lame crossover idea on Picoult only made it worse, but let’s not pretend that she would’ve been great for the series if only she’d been left to her own devices.

Fourth Bourne

Universal’s contemplating another Bourne sequel.

Marvel Adventures: Super-Heroes

Marvel’s Marvel Adventures line for kids are some of my favorite comics right now. They’re not so stuck in trying to be all “epic” and “relevant,” but are focusing more on just being big, fun, and adventurous. So, news of a new MA title showcasing “characters that don’t have their own book, or team-ups of characters that do” is welcome news indeed.

Hulk toys

Remember that Comics Reporter post I liked so much? Here are some other, just-as-questionable, Hulk toys coming out at the same time.

March Theatrical Releases

Okay, March looks a lot better than February did.

March 7

10,000 B.C.: By all rights, this should be Beyond Awesome with all the cavegirls and ancient civilizations and sabretooth tigers and domesticated mammoths. But I’d be lying if I said that “From the Director of Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow” didn’t make me nervous. Independence Day was a fun, but disposable movie and you couldn’t have dragged me into The Day After Tomorrow with all the domesticated mammoths in the world.

The Bank Job: Jason Statham. Bank heist. ’70s detectives and criminals. Government conspiracy. They got me.

Snow Angels (limited release): Kate Beckinsale is all I need to know about this movie, but the rest of it looks pretty good too. Olivia Thirlby is even cuter here than she was in Juno.

Okay. Yes. It’s all about the girls with me on this one.

March 14

Doomsday: Speaking of Kate Beckinsale, I really thought that was her in the trailer for this. Makes me much less nervous about Rhona Mitra’s taking over for Kate in the next Underworld film. And even though it’s not Kate here, the Road Warrior/Escape from New York vibe is strong enough to make it my most anticipated movie of the month.

Horton Hears a Who: I’d about had it with big screen adaptations of Dr. Suess books, but going animated is a step in the right direction. I’m not convinced that they can pad it out to feature length without making it feel like padding, but it’s one of my favorite Suess stories, so I’m willing to give it a try.

March 21

Drillbit Taylor: Owen Wilson was painfully unfunny at the Oscars, mostly because he wasn’t even trying to be funny and that made me sad. He’s one of my favorite comic actors and I’m worried about him. Not every movie of his is great, but this one written by Seth Rogen and Kristofor Brown, based on a concept by John Hughes, and produced by Judd Apatow has all the ingredients it needs to be hilarious.

March 28

Superhero Movie: I’m expecting very little from this, but it has Leslie Nielsen in it, so I’m guaranteed a laugh or two.

Flawless: Michael Caine. Bank heist. ’60s detectives and criminals. No government conspiracy, but they still got me.

The Awesome List: Dr. Syn, Eleventh Hour, Sheena stickers, Coraline movie, Atomic Robo, and Kill All Monsters!

Dr. Syn, Alias The Scarecrow

I’ve mentioned before how much I love scarecrows. I also love The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. (No, not the movie version. Gag.) And I love dark, masked antiheroes with big guns. And I’m quite a big fan of adventure stories set in the 18th century.

So, when Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill started talking about a 1780’s version of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and I saw that it included a dark, masked antihero in its ranks, I was curious to learn more. Imagine my excitement when I learned that though you can’t really tell it in O’Neill’s drawings, Dr. Syn is actually dressed like a scarecrow.

Now imagine how I feel that Disney is finally releasing their classic Dr. Syn TV series on DVD. I don’t know if it’s any good, but I aim to find out.

Eleventh Hour

Know who else I love? Rufus Sewell. Ever since Cold Comfort Farm and Dark City.

And now he’s going to be in a TV show about a “special science advisor” to the government who saves the world from mad scientists every week with the help of a “feisty female bodyguard.” It’s like they’re making TV just for me now.

Sheena stickers

I’ve experienced mixed results from Devil’s Due’s comics output, but man if I’m not excited about their new line of comics-related merchandise. I’m gettin’ some of those Sheena stickers.


Neil Gaiman’s posted a teaser trailer for his next movie: a 3D adaptation of Coraline.

Atomic Robo

I’ve already told you how to get your hands on free Atomic Robo in May. What I didn’t tell you is that that’s just the beginning of new Atomic Robo adventures. According to the press release I got:

“Red 5 Comics is pleased to announce that starting this fall, Atomic Robo will return as a continuing series, with (co-creators Brian) Clevinger and (Scott) Wegener on-board for over twenty issues of Robo exploits over the next three years.

“‘We couldn’t be happier to be able to share more of Robo’s adventures,’ said Clevinger. ‘I can promise more explosions and more punching, but the two are probably unrelated. Punching things until they explode is just bad strategy, even for a robot.’

“On the success of Robo, Wegener waxed, ‘It was Mark Twain who said, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” The first time I drew Robo in a pair of cargo pants and muddy combat boots it was instant BFFs. Thank God other people seem to like the idea too.'”

Kill All Monsters! gets it wrong

In Kill All Monsters!, Jason Copland and I have humanity building giant robots and mecha suits to fight giant monsters. Robotics expert Daniel Wilson explains why that’s a bad idea. I hope he doesn’t mind my stealing homaging some of his suggestions, because burrowing, explosives-laden suicide robots are exactly what the comics industry needs.

Princess of Thieves (2001)

I don’t know how I didn’t know about this. It’s Keira and Robin Hood: two great tastes that go great together. But I didn’t until it showed up on TNT or wherever TiVo snagged it from. And it’s really very good.

Keira plays Gwen, the daughter of Robin Hood, who’s an old guy now though still very active. Mom Marian is long dead – maybe in childbirth; I don’t remember – and Rob has given Gwen’s care over to Friar Tuck who now runs an abbey or something. Gwen loves her dad, but resents that he’s never around. Rob doesn’t do so much stealing and giving anymore, but he’s still very busy supporting King Richard in the Crusades and running back to England on the occasional mission.

Robin’s latest mission involves protecting Richard’s bastard son Philip. Richard is dying and rather than hand the throne over to Prince John, he wants Philip to reign. Philip is half-French though and no one’s ever seen him, so it’s going to be a tough sell. Plus, of course, there are Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham (deliciously played by Malcolm McDowell) who would love to see Philip dead.

Against her dad’s orders, Gwen leaves the abbey, cuts her hair into a hot bob, dresses like a guy, and goes to work trying to protect Philip in her own way.

Let me get my one complaint out of the way, because I want to spend most of my time gushing. The fight choreography sucks in this movie. The sword fights aren’t very exciting and the actors are all obviously pulling their punches trying not to hurt each other. It’s high-school theatrical fighting at best. But other than that, Princess of Thieves is everything a Robin Hood movie should be. There’s robbing from the rich, giving to the poor, sneaking into castles, confounding of authorities, lots of treachery by said authorities, an archery tournament, arrow-splitting, butt-kicking holy men, disguises, jail breaks, and ah! romance.

And don’t think that it’s all Keira either. It’s definitely Gwen’s story, but Rob and Will Scarlet never fade into the background like I kept expecting them to. They may be older, but they’re never portrayed as anything less than a viable, deadly threat to Prince John’s continued rule.

Philip is also an important character. Sort of the male Maid Marian to Gwen’s Robin Hood. He’s charmingly played by Stephen Moyer who reminded me a lot of Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You. And it’s appropriate that I was reminded of teen romantic comedies, because there’s definitely that quality about Princess of Thieves. Gwen is our heroine, Philip is the rich jock who also happens to be a nice guy, and there’s even a geeky best friend whom Gwen either can’t or doesn’t want to see is completely in love with her. If that sounds like I’m suggesting it’s a Bad Thing; you don’t know me very well. I’m a sucker for a good, teen romantic comedy.

The following video contains spoilers, but’ll give you a good idea of what you’re in for in the movie. Except for the Michelle Branch part. There’s no Michelle Branch in Princess of Thieves.

Four out of five Keira Knightleys.

(Hm. I just realized I should rate everything in Keira Knightleys.)