Nerd Alert!! New TMNT Toys + Sailor Moon, DBZ, and 20 Years Of Spawn
Nickelodeon, having acquired the rights to our Heroes in a Half-Shell, will be bringing us a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles CGI-animated series this Fall (with a sneak peek episode airing after the Kids’ Choice Awards on March 31). Of course, no cartoon would be complete without some toys to market to all those children (and adults!) out there watching!
Playmates Toys will be bringing us the collectible goods with some new toys based on the new series that will be available this Fall! Playmates and Nickelodeon gave MTV Geek an exclusive look at some of their offerings, some of which you can check out in the gallery below.
Personally, I’m excited most for just the standard figures. I really like the style of this latest incarnation of Turtles and I like that each Turtle will be rocking his own mold with figure heights ranging from 4.25″ to 4.75″ to better differentiate between each brother. From these preview images they look to be well detailed from the features to the paint with decent articulation. I can say for sure I will be picking up all four when they hit shelves this Fall, and perhaps the new version of the classic Party/Turtle Van, the Shellraiser, for sheer nostalgic enjoyment!
Sailor Moon Returns as #1 Graphic Novel in U.S. Bookstores (Updated)
The third volume of Naoko Takeuchi's Sailor Moon manga topped Nielsen BookScan's top 20 graphic novels in American bookstores for January. It was the fourth time in five months that the manga ranked #1 on the chart since the manga returned in September.
In addition, Takeuchi has two more books in the top 20: Sailor Moon volume 2 at #10 and volume 1 at #16.
Naruto also had three books in the top 20: volume 54 at #3, volume 53 at #8, and Naruto: The Official Character Data Book at #19.
The retail news source ICv2 lists Rosario + Vampire Season II volume 7 at #4, followed by Black Bird volume 12 at #6. Black Butler volume 8 (#7) and the manga-influenced Maximum Ride volume 5 (#9) round out the top 10.
The 27th and final volume of Fullmetal Alchemist landed at #12, and One Piece volume 60 was at #15. Highschool of the Dead volume 5 makes the list at #20.
The BookScan rankings represent sales at Barnes & Noble and other book chains, independent bookshops, and online purchases — but not sales at comic book stores, Walmart, and some other venues.
"Dragonball Z: Dragon Box 7": A Fit Finale
The evil Majin Buu is the epitome of terror. With most of the Z Warriors turned to candy and the rest of humanity killed on attack, the scant few remaining heroes must scrounge together enough of a fight to justify one last stand. Will the final hero be Gohan, newly powered by the gods? Can the merged form of Goten and Trunks triumph where neither could before? How about the dead Saiyans of Goku and Vegeta? With humanity on the ropes and the Earth near its end, the battle will escalate to the afterlife, where no souls are safe! Does the end of Dragonball Z do right by the franchise?
One consistent problem with the story of the franchise is that it never goes where it seems to want to. Buu himself has multiple forms over this box set, and three heroes are all proposed as legitimate endings to his meanness. Goten and Trunks, in their combined form of Gotenks, could defeat the monster … but they're a little too cocky in the gestalt. Gohan, powered up by the mystical energies of the Old Kai, seems to be set up as a the revived hero the series has always set him up to be, but more episodes are spent building him up than actually having him fight. Goku and Vegeta seem to be set up for the final battle by sacrificing their individuality, but the fight goes too soon, and the team decides to vow to never permanently merge again. This is a recurring trend throughout the franchise, as Toriyama's original plans always were skewed by Toei and the fans.
The best episodes in this set are the ones set beyond the actual Buu fight. The final three episodes skip a large amount of time, showing the heroes where they are in the future. Goten and Trunks are teenagers, Gohan has married Videl, with the pair both having a daughter and defending the earth as costumed adventurers, and other natural evolutions in their makeshift family dynamics of the Z Warriors. It's these rare peeks at the world at peace that remind the viewers just what in fact the heroes are fighting for.
For the series finale, things are wrapped up tight enough. The short Uub arc basically sets the characters in a place that would be fine enough for a happy ending, which is only humorously dashed by the last episode ending with a promo for Dragonball GT's first episode. Still, these final episodes are the last story lines mastered and largely drafted by Akira Toriyama, who only contributed in part to Dragonball GT (character designs, pitches, etc.), and did not form any sort of manga to base the sequel series off of. The storyline has to leave things open enough for the sequel, but with the last scenes having Goku fly off from his family to train a new hero, it's fitting for the character, and almost expected that he'd abandon his home life just for a good fight with someone who could be the hero of the universe in the future.
The only glitches come from the translation from Japanese to English, and one of them is a style choice. The villainous pink-puffball is named "Buu", and his heroic revival is "Uub". The dub spells it out as such, but the subtitles spell it as "Boo" and "Oob". While that oddity is a style choice, the repeated and random lack of audio during certain "Next Episode" previews in the Japanese track is likely a technical error of omission (given the location of the error, it wouldn't be surprising if the audio was lost during promotional events or such). Once again, these minor glitches are largely ignorable and do not damper the excellence that is this set.
For the final time, the legendary Dragonbook is released in America (unless Dragonball GT gets the treatment in America, which FUNimation has remained mute on). It continues the trend of episode-by-episode breakdowns, relationship charts, character bios, and new design guides, this time for the final episode's time jump. The unique parts to this are focusing on the couples in the series and Goku's ever increasing power, and beyond a few Honneamise BluRay releases, is the height of pack-in extras for Japanese animation in America.
The Dragon Boxes have been the definitive release of the series in America, and will likely remain that way. While FUNimation might find profit and advantage by rereleasing the series in high def, recut, remixed, or rewhatever, the Dragon Boxes are the purest and, honestly, fanciest release this series will get. As they're price appropriate for the content, fans of Dragonball Z can consider them definitive.
Spawn 20 Years Later: Looking Back at the Quintessential '90s Comic Book
In stores this month is Spawn Compendium Volume 1, a gargantuan tome collecting the first fifty-ish issues, marking the 20th anniversary of Spawn's creation. At 984 pages, this collection may even be as heavy as the subject of Todd McFarlane and his most popular creation. Marty McFly heavy. It's a metaphor. When the series debuted it was an amazing success, becoming the highest-selling independent comic book of all time, but it's impossible not to see Spawn now through the lens of time. For those read the comic during its initial publication, the Spawn Compendium is a virtual time machine, whooshing us back to the joy and confusion of our teens. For entirely new readers it must be like studying artifacts. Spawn is the quintessential '90s comic, inseparable from the trends and events that lead to its creation, and its subsequent impact on the industry.
In the late 1980s, Todd McFarlane quickly worked his way up the ranks at Marvel. After a high-quality but tumultuous run on The Incredible Hulk with Peter David, and a mega-popular stint on Amazing Spider-Man with David Michelinie, he convinced editorial to give him his own series. Spider-Man, written and drawn by McFarlane, sold 2.5 million copies in its debut, aided by the sudden comics collecting boom, a willing direct market that included national retailer Wal-Mart, and Gold, Silver, and Platinum variant covers. With the money rolling in for his comics at Marvel, McFarlane began to wonder why he didn't get a bigger piece of the pie.
Conversations with other highly popular artists like Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld lead to the realization that they were in the same boat: drawing comicbooks that were regularly selling in the upper six figures, but without any claim to a share of the rewards. When they organized and demanded more, Marvel said that it didn't matter who the artist was, it was the property that got big sales. Rightfully so, McFarlane and the others took offense, and elected to leave Marvel and form their own company. In all, there were seven creators -- Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Marc Silvestri, Erik Larsen, Jim Valentino, and Whilce Portacio -- and the result was Image Comics.
The anticipation cultivated by the grand announcements and sheer gall of the move practically guaranteed Image's early success. It was the biggest story in the comics community at every level. It was what the pros discussed, it was all the expanding journalistic level could write about, and it was all the fans could talk about. Everybody and their comics-collecting uncle knew they would be buying first issues of Spawn, WildCATS, and Youngblood long before they actually got a look at them. It was inevitable. Just how popular was still in question.
Spawn #1 sold over one million copies. 1.7 million, actually. That's how popular. Though several thousand of those copies were certainly unread collectibles, doubles, bagged-and-boarded and furrowed away forever, there were still around one million people reading Spawn, an independent comicbook featuring a creator-owned character. Wheels were set in motion for toys, animated series, and movies in short order. Everyone was reading it -- the metal kids, the jocks, the cool teachers, and several others who didn't normally read comics. The TMNT phenomenon had returned, dunked in blood and guts and adorned in chains.
The first issue of Spawn showed a darker side McFarlane had only hinted at in Spider-Man. Spawn was a resurrected agent of Hell sent wandering and brooding through the violent streets -- and lightning-kissed Gothic cathedrals -- of New York City. It was the grim and gritty movement amplified through an overdriven Marshall and blasted across splash pages.
McFarlane had great influences that he wasn't afraid to wear them on his sleeve, and the first nine pages of Spawn #1 practically list them off. After a seriously decompressed opening heavy on the Frank Miller, there's a single page of an Alan Moore nine-panel grid, then a few pages paying tribute to Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and Jim Steranko. Spawn's introduction to the world ends with a splash page into a two-page spread. And there's even a "removable" poster stapled into the center of the issue. 'Twas only the beginning of the full-page heroic pose phenomenon, though. 'Twas.
At the time, McFarlane's visuals were state-of-the-art: striking, dynamic, and fast-paced, but still fluid and cartoony. Subtlety had no place in McFarlane's looping, nasty layouts. On Spawn, he shed all the formal conventions of figure and perspective and just went for it. The results were mixed. Constant full-page poses -- which sold for much higher on the original art market -- threw off the story's rhythm. Some pages, even full issues, look last-minute and dashed off. But as the series went on, there was a definite progression to his approach, and several issues justify his status as a superstar artist. There was just something about his pages that made you want to look at them.
As a writer, McFarlane had a decent skillset; he had an artist's sense of pacing, knew how to strike a mood, and even in that first issue we saw some snappy dialogue, especially with Sam and Twitch, the detectives on Spawn's trail. But his plotting skills left a lot to be desired, and Spawn's internal monologue comes off like a weak imitation of Miller that for some reason breaks into second-person for no reason at all. Perhaps that was a deciding element in his decision to draft several high-profile guest writers for a run that may be one of the most significant nexus points in recent comic history.
Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Dave Sim, and Frank Miller four of the most-celebrated writers of the 1980s and early 1990s, took over Spawn from issues 8 to 11. Each contribution is significant and controversial in its own way. Moore was first, with "In Heaven", a basic Alan Moore Swamp Thing-like tale of child molester Billy Kincaid's trip through the Spheres of Hell. Not ground-breaking, but it served as Moore's re-entry into superhero comics, which he had sworn off a few years before in favor of works like From Hell and Big Numbers. From here, Moore went on to work on Jim Lee's WildC.A.T.S., Rob Liefeld's Youngblood, Glory, and Supreme. Supreme was easily his best work in Liefeld's "Awesome Universe," an analogous take on Superman with masterful art by Rick Veitch that revived the thrill of invention of the Silver Age.
The next issue, written by Neil Gaiman, is the source of a long-running legal dispute between Gaiman and McFarlane, which concluded this week. The dispute centers around the ownership of the characters Angela, Medieval Spawn, and Cogliostro. Though Gaiman has always maintained they were created by him specifically for that one-issue story, McFarlane added them to Spawn lore when Gaiman wasn't looking. These were recurring characters, and ones that got their own toys, and appearances in the animated series and 1997 film. McFarlane's image as a champion of creator's rights was seriously tarnished, which was particularly ironic considering the subject of the next issue.
Dave Sim can be called many, many things, almost all of them true. In 1993, the word most-often used to describe the writer/artist was "genius." (Or Genius. Inside joke.) His then-fifteen-year-long, self-published Cerebus was the independent comic book of the era: beautiful, intelligent, experimental, and at a higher readership than ever before. Spawn readers had no idea. Sim's contribution to the Spawn legacy is easily the most compelling of the lot, delivering a story that is both dreamy and articulate. "Crossing Over" is an emotional/metaphysical plea for creator's rights that breaks the plane between fiction and reality.
After some of McFarlane's best work on the series in the depiction of Creator's Hell, Sim appears as Cerebus to extol the virtues of self-publishing to Spawn/McFarlane. There was a big response for the story, and somewhat prophetically of the title, many readers did in fact cross over to begin reading independent comics. Cerebus's readership jumped, and at just the perfect time: about a year before the infamous issue #186, which cemented Sim's reputation as a misogynist and cut his fanbase in half. Essentially, it gave Sim a bigger audience for his meltdown.
The last of the guest-written stories is issue 11, by Frank Miller, a collaboration that led to the Spawn/Batman crossover written by Miller and drawn by McFarlane. Even in retrospect, it exceeds expectations, and reads like a war poem performed by a coked-up caveman. While working on the project, McFarlane handed the reins over to Grant Morrison and Greg Capullo for three issues. In doing so, he became an administrator, and began his journey to entrepeneur.
He never needed to work another day in his life. Certainly not in comic books, anyway. The Spawn property had eclipsed comics; there was the movie to think about, McFarlane Toys to consider. He took the Stan Lee route. He drew a few more issues, then went on as writer and inker to Capullo's pencils for a couple years, then left the series completely. He did contribute to the 200th issue "bi-Spawntennial," but not much, and it did not receive good reviews.
Time creeps up on you. Perception shifts and tastes change, and things that once got your heart beating make you hate yourself now, but Spawn is still important. It drew new readers in, and then sent them outward. Those four issues especially provided an entry point into better comics for many readers, myself included. It inspired the wave that ruined superhero comics, and the resultant backlash in the late 1990s that has resulted in better storytelling even today.
Spawn got people to read comics. And then encouraged them to read better comics than Spawn.
The Superbowl is tommorrow you guise!!!! I will leave you with a rather memorable performance :')
Poll #1816665 Fav Turtle
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Poll #1816666 Fav Senshi
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Happy Saturday ONTD!!! I hope your weekend is fun so far :D :D
2morrow is The Superbowl :D :D GO GIANTS!!!
Stay pressed luvthatdrtywata I still love yew <3 < 3
oh yeah and this is a nostalgia post btw