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Bytes: Tennant Leaving Doctor Who
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Empress Eve   |  @   |  
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  • David Tennant will reportedly leave the BBC series DOCTOR WHO in the middle of the show’s fourth season. Tennant is currently filming the show’s third season, which will air in the UK in the spring. [Link]
  • George Lucas will be the Grand Marshall on New Year’s Day in California at the 2007 Tournament of Roses Parade, which will also feature a “Star Wars Spectacular.” [Link]
  • George Lucas said that filming of the long-awaited fourth INDIANA JONES movie will begin next year, and that he and Steven Spielberg recently finalized the script for the film, which will feature Harrison Ford reprising the title role. [Link]
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In Memoriam 2006
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Empress Eve   |  @   |  
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As the year comes to a close, the G.o.D. remembers the artists and celebrities who died over the past 12 months. Here is a list of the notable deaths of 2006.

JANUARY

Shelley Winters
Actress, died January 14, born August, 18, 1920
Won her first Oscar for the 1959 drama THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK; played “Nana Mary” on TV’s ROSEANNE; third Oscar nomination for her role in the original THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE.

Chris Penn
Actor, died January 24, born October 10, 1965
RESERVOIR DOGS, younger brother of Sean and Michael Penn.

FEBRUARY

Al Lewis
Actor/author/politician, died February 3, born April 30, 1923
Played “Grandpa” on THE MUNSTERS; ran for governor of New York.

Franklin Cover
Actor, died February 5, born November 20, 1928
Played “Tom Willis” on THE JEFFERSONS.

Phil Brown
Actor, died February 9, born April 30, 1916
Played “Uncle Owen” in STAR WARS.

Peter Benchley
Writer, died February 11, born May 8, 1940
Wrote the novel and screenplay for JAWS.

Andreas Katsulas
Actor, died February 13, born May 18, 1946.
Played “G’Kar” on BABYLON 5; “Tomalak” on STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION

Don Knotts
Actor, died February 24, born July 21, 1924
Played “Barney Fife” on THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW; “Mr. Furley” on THREE’S COMPANY.

Dennis Weaver
Actor, died February 24, born June 4, 1924
GUNSMOKE; MCCLOUD

Darren McGavin
Actor, died February 25, born May 7, 1922
THE NIGHT STALKER; A CHRISTMAS STORY

MARCH

Ronald Anthony Cross
Writer, died March 1, born September 12, 1937
Wrote the ETERNAL GUARDIANS series.

Dana Reeve
Actress/singer, died March 6, born March 17, 1961
Wife of the late Christopher Reeve, who played the title role in the SUPERMAN movies.

Richard Fleischer
Director, died March 25, born December 8, 1916
Directed 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA; SOYLENT GREEN; CONAN THE DESTROYER, and RED SONJA. His father was animator Max Fleischer.

Stanislaw Lem
Writer, died March 27, born September 12, 1921
Polish science fiction writer, best known for SOLARIS (which was adapted for the big screen and starred George Clooney).

MAY

Paul Gleason
Actor, died May 27, born May 4, 1944
Played the high school principal THE BREAKFAST CLUB; the trader who ends up in the cage in TRADING PLACES.

JUNE

Tim Hildebrandt
Artist, died June 11, born January 23, 1939
Half of the fantasy art duo known as “The Brothers Hildebrandt” along with his brother Greg known for their late 70s JRR Tolkien LORD OF THE RINGS calendars and STAR WARS posters.

Aaron Spelling
Producer, died June 23, born April 22, 1923
TV producer, THE LOVE BOAT; T.J. HOOKER; BEVERLY HILLS 90210; CHARMED

Moose (Dog)
Animal actor; died June 26 at age 16.
The lovable Jack Russell terrier that played “Eddie” on TV’s FRASIER.

JULY

Syd Barrett
Singer/songwriter, died July 7, born January 6, 1946
Original member of PINK FLOYD.

Mickey Spillane
Writer, died July 17, born March 9, 1918.
Created the Mike Hammer detective novels.

Mako
Actor, died July 21, born December 10, 1933
PEARL HARBOR; CONAN movies.

David Gemmell
Writer, died July 28, born August 1, 1948
Fantasy novelist, LEGEND; TROY: THE LORD OF THE SILVER BOW.

AUGUST

Mike Douglas
Television show host, died August 11, born August 11, 1925
Hosted popular daytime talk and variety shows, most notably THE MIKE DOUGLAS SHOW, for more than 20 years.

Bruno Kirby
Actor, died August 14, born April 28, 1949
CITY SLICKERS; WHEN HARRY MET SALLY; THIS IS SPINAL TAP; son of Bruce Kirby.

Joseph Stefano
Writer/producer, died August 25, born May 5, 1922
Wrote the screenplay for PSYCHO and co-created THE OUTER LIMITS; he also wrote for the TV series STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION and SWAMP THING.

Glenn Ford
Actor, died August 30, born May 1, 1916
Played Clark Kent’s adopted father in SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE; GILDA; The Blackboard Jungle

SEPTEMBER

Steve Irwin
Television show host, died September 4, born February 22, 1962
CROCODILE HUNTER; ANIMAL PLANET

Edward Albert
Actor, died September 22, born February 20, 1951
BUTTERFRIES ARE FREE; played “Mr. Collins” in POWER RANGERS; son of Eddie Albert.

OCTOBER

Jane Wyatt
Actress, died October 20, born August 12, 1911
Played Mr. Spock’s mother in STAR TREK television show and movies; FATHER KNOWS BEST; the original LOST HORIZON

NOVEMBER

William Styron
Writer, died November 1, born June 22, 1925
SOPHIE’S CHOICE; CONFESSIONS OF NAT TURNER.

Jack Palance
Actor, died November 10, born February 18, 1919
SHANE; CITY SLICKERS (Won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar).

Jack Williamson
Writer, died November 10, born April 29, 1908
Science fiction writer, LEGION OF SPACE

Robert Altman
Director, died November 20, born February 20, 1925
Director of M*A*S*H, THE PLAYER, and GOSFORD PARK; won an Honorary Oscar in 2006.

Dave Cockrum
Artist, died November 26, born November 12, 1943
Comic book artist best known for his work on LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES and UNCANNY X-MEN.

DECEMBER

Martin Nodell
Artist, died December 9, born November 15, 1915
Co-creator of Green Lantern comic book superhero.

Peter Boyle
Actor, died December 12, born October 18, 1935.
Played Raymond’s father on TV’s EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND; memorable roles in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN and JOE.

Mike Evans
Actor/writer, died December 14, born November 3, 1949
Played the original role of “Lionel” on ALL IN THE FAMILY and THE JEFFERSONS; co-creator and writer for GOOD TIMES.

Joseph Barbera
TV cartoon creator, died December 18, born March 24, 1911.
Co-creator of YOGI BEAR; TOM AND JERRY; THE FLINTSTONES. Made up half of creative team HANNA-BARBERA.

James Brown
Singer/songwriter/performer, died December 25, born May 3, 1933

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Bytes: All Bets on Harry Potter
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The Geeks of Doom   |  @   |  
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  • A British bookmaker is accepting bets on whether fictional boy wizard Harry Potter will die and if so, who will be his murderer in the seventh and final book in the popular children’s series by author J.K. Rowling, HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS. [Link]
  • The teaser trailer for FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER is now available for viewing here at the Apple trailers site. [via Link]
  • Christophe Gans said that he will be working a sequel to his recent adaptation of the horror video game SILENT HILL, along with the film’s screenwriter Roger Avary and author Neil Gaiman. [Link]
  • Margaret Weis Productions is reportedly set to release a pen-and-paper role-playing game based on the SCI FI Channel series BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. [Link]
  • NECA posted images of its four Series I Action Figures based on 300, the film adaptation of the Frank Miller graphic novel. [Link]
  • Judd Apatow, the mind behind FREAKS AND GEEKS and THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN, shares five of his all-time favorite DVDs and talks about the life of TV’s FREAKS AND GEEKS from cancellation to box-set, in this NPR interview. [Link]
  • An interview with Stan Lee on how the comic book creator brought realism into the fantasy world of superheroes. [Link]
  • The ABC Family channel will run an all-day marathon on New Year’s Eve of all 11 episodes of the hit ABC series UGLY BETTY. [Link]
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Comic Review: Red Town
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T.E. Pouncey   |  
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Red Town

Chibi Comics
$3.00 (and available on-line)
Script, Layouts, inks — by Mike Murphy
Script, pencils, coloring, lettering — by Celina Hernandez

A lot of independent comics these days look like marketing gimmicks. You get the feeling the creators are just throwing in stuff they think might look good on a Slurpee cup or as a Happy Meal toy. So when creators like Mike Murphy and Celina Hernandez create something as a amazing as Red Town, it’s a reason for celebration among those who like story-driven comics that have something to say.

Red Town is a series of inter-related stories occurring in Hedgewiisch — a place the residents call “Red Town” because a serial killer snuffed 40 people in 24 months. The killer was never captured.

And that’s just the sub-plot…all kinds of other interesting things happen that are dramatic, sad, sweet and even a bit surreal.

In the last few issues we’ve met Anna Walters, who used to be a movie star and lives in house full of furnished by hand-me-down dreams; her ex-husband Jacob Wazinski, who lives in a third-rate nursing home; Darrel, a nursing home attendant that may be Jacob’s only friend; Ben and Sarah, a couple of evicted junkies, and Jessica, a little girl who imagines her doll is eaten by a werewolf.

Examining the dark underbelly of small-town America was been done by many creative forces including David Lynch and William Burroughs. What makes Red Town so compelling is that it merges a complex and interesting story with art that looks deceptively simple.

All the foreshadowing, all the guessing about which — if any — of the characters may be the serial killer, all anxiety and strangeness, is complemented perfectly by the easy, graceful art that moves the plot along but never upstages the story.

This is “American manga” style art at its finest. Celina and Mike have created an appealing style that is easy to read, easy to follow, moody without being dark and shadowy — film noir under florescent lights.

And just when you thought lettering was a lost art in indie books, here we have crisp lettering that doesn’t interrupt the flow of the story or bump against the art.

Like all good comics, each issue leaves you wanting more. You can relate to the lives of the various characters and identify with their quirks. I check the Red Town MySpace page frequently to see if there’s anything new.

After reading a few issues, so will you.

...continue reading »
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Bytes: First Look at Silver Surfer
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Empress Eve   |  @   |  
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  • USA TODAY has a first look at the The Silver Surfer from FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER, which hits theaters June 15. Audiences can preview the teaser trailer this weekend before Ben Stiller‘s NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM. [Link]
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar has joined the cast of TMNT, the computer-animated TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES movie. [Link]
  • Here’s a photo of Keith Richards decked out in pirate garb for his role as the father of Johnny Depp‘s Captain Jack Sparrow in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 3: AT WORLD’S END. [Link]
  • Jason Bateman is close to a deal to star opposite Will Smith and Charlize Theron in Peter Berg‘s superhero drama TONIGHT, HE COMES. [Link]
  • Dark Horse will issue the variant limited-run ornament “Serenity in Disguise” based on Joss Whedon‘s 2005 film SERENITY. [Link]
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Best of 2006: The Movies
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The Geeks of Doom   |  @   |  
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It was a tough year to compile a list of the best movies — even tougher to pick the best geeky movies. Why? Because most of the movies of ’06 sucked. Didn’t you notice? These 10 genre movies, however, didn’t make us wretch — in fact, in most cases we actually enjoyed ourselves. Here are the best geek movies of 2006. Drum roll, please…

10. The Illusionist

This would have been crowned the best magician movie if only The Prestige hadn’t come along (see #4). Even so, Edward Norton shines as the title character who proves he’d do anything to get the woman he loves.

9. Nanny McPhee

Who knew that watching a magic-wielding, wart-ridden nanny torture seven bratty kids into behaving properly could be so endearing?

V for Vendetta

8. V for Vendetta

V was the coolest looking hero to grace the silver screen in ’06. But beyond the coolness factor, V for Vendetta is one of the smarter comic book adaptations to come along in a long time.

7. A Scanner Darkly

Cool animation, brilliant performances, and faithful to the original Philip K. Dick novel. Now we can forgive Keanu Reeves for The Lakehouse.

Superman Returns

6. Superman Returns

Director Bryan Singer brings over his X-Men magic and delivers a wonderous addition to the Superman franchise. Now we can finally put Superman IV behind us.

5. Casino Royale

James Bond is back and he’s more badass than ever. Daniel Craig gives a riveting performance. Now let’s see some more.

4. The Prestige

Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale shine as rival magicians. This movie has twists and turns you definitely won’t see coming, but the magic of this film is what’s left to the imagination.

3. Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man’s Chest

It’s got everything you want in a swashbuckling blockbuster: action, adventure, battles, treachery, intrigue, supernatural monsters — and PIRATES! Oh yeah, and a little someone named Johnny Depp.

Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest

2. X-Men: The Last Stand

You can’t help but love the mutant X gang in action, even when they’re fighting each other. This third installment has some of the best display of mutant powers in the franchise, especially when Dark Phoenix rises.

1. Borat

Borat is hilarious, shocking, irreverent, and like nothing you’ve ever seen in a mainstream American movie. Others will try to make a funnier movie, but they don’t have much of a chance. Chenquieh, Sacha Baron Cohen!

Borat

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
Slither, Happy Feet, Nacho Libre, Monster House

BEST NON-GEEK MOVIE:
Little Miss Sunshine

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Harry Potter 7 Title Revealed!
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Empress Eve   |  @   |  
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J.K. Rowling announced on her official Web site today that the title of the final Harry Potter book will be HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS.

The author, who previously said that at least two characters will die in the seventh book of the popular children’s fantasy series, is still in the process of writing the book.

“I’m now writing scenes that have been planned, in some cases, for a dozen years or even more,” Rowling wrote in her online journal. “I don’t think anyone who has not been in a similar situation can possibly know how this feels: I am alternately elated and overwrought. I both want, and don’t want, to finish this book (don’t worry, I will.)”

Rowling also wrote that she previewed 20 minutes of the upcoming fifth movie HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX, which opens in theaters July 13, 2007, and stated that it “looks fantastic.”

No publication date has been set at this time for HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS.

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Best of 2006: The TV Shows
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The Geeks of Doom   |  @   |  
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It was a good year to be a geek TV viewer. Here is TV’s best of the best.

10. Smallville

The arrival of Green Arrow breathes new life into this Superman series.

9. Robot Chicken

Cleverly mocking all the pop culture you hold dear.

8. Entourage

Cool, funny, plenty of chicks. What more could you want?

7. The Colbert Report

Political humor was never this funny.

6. Dexter

A serial killer who kills serial killers. Now that’s some serious s*@t right there. And some good TV, too.

5. Doctor Who

Who doesn’t like the good doctor? Not any geek worth his salt.

4. South Park

Darth Chef. Enough said.

3. Heroes

Dramatic television for geeks — and anything else with a pulse.

2. Lost

The king of suspense TV. Still!

1. Battlestar Galactica

The king of sci-fi TV. It’s the frakking truth!

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
Jericho, Assy McGee, Lucky Louie

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Bytes: Patrick Stewart Joins Turtles, Prisoner Redux
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The Geeks of Doom   |  @   |  
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  • Patrick Stewart will voice the character of Max Winters in the upcoming animated film TMNT, a new TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES movie, which opens March 30, 2007. [Link]
  • Master of horror Stephen King will be the guest of honor at the 2007 New York Comic Con. [Link]
  • Joe Barbera, half of the Hanna-Barbera animation team that produced such beloved cartoon characters as Tom and Jerry, Yogi Bear, and The Flintstones, died Monday. He was 95. [Link]
  • Comic book writer Brian K. Vaughan (RUNAWAYS, EX MACHINA) been hired as an Executive Story Editor for the television show LOST. [Link]
  • Doug Jones, who played the role but did not provide the voice of Abe Sapien in HELLBOY, said he voice will be used for the character in the sequel HELLBOY 2: THE GOLDEN ARMY. [Link]
  • Cary Elwes (SAW) will star in PSYCH 9, a horror thriller about a haunted hospital. [Link]
  • Director Robert Rodriguez (SIN CITY) will produce MADMAN, a film based on Michael Allred‘s comic book. [Link]
  • The first project from director Sam Raimi‘s new television production company, Ghost House, will be a mini-series adaptation of Dean Koontz‘s THE TAKING.
  • A remake of the ’60s cult TV show THE PRISONER will hit AMC in 2008.
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Best of 2006: The Video Games
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Slayve   |  
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10. COMPANY OF HEROES

One of the best-looking real-time strategy games I’ve ever seen. The campaign offers a nice mix of mission types, and the focus on combat instead of resource management and base building keeps you in the thick of the action. A no-brainer for any RTS or WWII buff.

9. ELITE BEAT AGENTS

This is hands-down the weirdest rhythm game around, but it’s also one of the most compelling. Who knows what the hell is going on? It’s so awesomely fun, you simply won’t care.

8. THE SHIP

You’ve probably never heard of it, but this online multiplayer game is a combination of Clue, Murder on the Orient Express, and Doom. With fantastic art direction and some of the most complex gameplay I’ve ever seen in an online game, The Ship is innovative, funny, and well worth a try.

7. DEAD RISING

More zombies than you can shake a boomstick at, and more ways to dismember them than you’ve ever imagined possible. My personal favorite is the lawnmower; but with so many zombicidal possibilities, there is something for everyone.

6. CONDEMNED: CRIMINAL ORIGINS

The friend who recommended this game to me said, “It’s the only game that comes to mind that even adequately — and it does more than just that — simulates melee combat in the first person. The staggering blows you receive, the big wind-ups with a fire axe or a head butt, all put you right there — 100% immersion, baby.” It’s also creepy as all hell. Be sure to empty your bladder before playing.

5. TOM CLANCY’S GHOST RECON ADVANCED WARFIGHTER

Another Tom Clancy series that was starting to show its age got a major next-gen tune-up this year. Everything from the realistic character animation to the incredibly detailed HUD make this one of the most immersive combat sims of recent years.

4. TOM CLANCY’S RAINBOW SIX VEGAS

The R6 games were starting to get a bit stale for me, but Vegas blew the doors off this dusty old franchise, sometimes literally. The graphics are stunning, the new cover mechanic is arguably better implemented than in Gears of War, and on the Xbox 360 you can map your own face onto your character. Do you hear me, people? You can use your own damned face!

3. HITMAN: BLOOD MONEY

Half the fun is in comparing your strategies with your friends, because each mission can be completed in so many different ways. The missions themselves are cleverly written and often quite funny. As good as Splinter Cell: Double Agent is, Hitman wins for best stealth game of the year.

2. LEGO STAR WARS II: THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY

It’s amazing that what seems like just another Star Wars game could melt this cynical old gamer’s icy heart, but LSW2 did and I’m a better man for it.

1. GEARS OF WAR

As I wrote in my review, this game isn’t quite the Second Coming most reviewers make it out to be. It is, however, the best game of the year.

Honorable mention:

PSYCHONAUTS: This is one of the best games ever made. Even though it came out in 2005, I’m mentioning it because it was just made backward compatible for the Xbox 360. If you haven’t played it, do yourself a favor and go pick up a used copy. Trust me.

written by Slayve (who would like to thank his friends from WTF Clan, Mopap and Komar, for their help in compiling this list)

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