Zack Snyder Fans to be Treated to 13 Minutes of ‘300’ Sequel

300Warner Bros. has chosen ten major cities, one of them being Boston, to treat fans to the first 13 minutes of 300: Rise of an Empire at special screenings of Zack Snyder’s 300 on Tuesday, Feb. 4. These events are in celebration of the release of the sequel to 300, which arrives in theaters on March 7. Both films are based on the work of renowned graphic novelist Frank Miller. The 13 minutes of the new movie will be complete and uncut in 3D IMAX.

The chosen theater in Boston is the AMC Boston Common Theater. The Feb. 4 event starts at 6:30 p.m. To obtain tickets to this special fan event, visit Facebook.com/43KIXBoston.

ABOUT 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE:

Told in the breathtaking visual style of the blockbuster 300, this new chapter of the epic saga takes the action to a new battlefield—on the sea. 300: Rise of an Empire pits the Greek general Themistokles against the massive invading Persian army, ruled by their God-King Xerxes, and led by Artemisia, the vengeful commander of the Persian navy.  Knowing his only hope of defeating the overwhelming Persian forces will be to unite all of Greece, Themistokles leads the charge that will change the course of the war.

Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures present, a Cruel and Unusual Films/Mark Canton/Gianni Nunnari Production, 300: Rise of an Empire.  The action adventure stars Sullivan Stapleton (Gangster Squad) as Themistokles and Eva Green (Dark Shadows, Casino Royale) as Artemisia.  Reprising their roles from 300 are: Lena Headey as the Spartan Queen, Gorgo; David Wenham as Dilios; Andrew Tiernan as Ephialtes; Andrew Pleavin as Daxos; and Rodrigo Santoro in the role of the Persian God-King Xerxes.  The main cast also includes Hans Matheson as Themistokles’ closest friend and advisor, Aeskylos; Callan Mulvey and Jack O’Connell as father and son soldiers, Scyllias and Calisto; and Igal Naor as the Persian King Darius.

The film was directed by Noam Murro, from a screenplay by Zack Snyder & Kurt Johnstad, based on the graphic novel Xerxes, by Frank Miller.  Gianni Nunnari, Mark Canton, Zack Snyder, Deborah Snyder and Bernie Goldmann produced the film, with Thomas Tull, Frank Miller, Stephen Jones and Jon Jashni serving as executive producers.

The behind-the-scenes creative team was led by includes director of photography Simon Duggan, production designer Patrick Tatopoulos, editors Wyatt Smith and David Brenner, and costume designer Alexandra Byrne.  The music is by Junkie XL.

Opening on March 7, 2014, the film is being released in 3D and 2D in select theatres and IMAX, and will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.  300: Rise of an Empire is rated R by the MPAA forstrong sustained sequences of stylized bloody violence throughout, a sex scene, nudity and some language.

An Outing to Boston Comic Con

An Outing to Boston Comic Con

By David Price

I had no intention to attend Boston Comic Con this year. My son’s girlfriend, Amy, had brought it up a few weeks ago, but no plans were made to go. On Friday night, however, she was over visiting and brought it up again. My son, Devon, had no desire to go either, so she was doing her best to convince him. Now, I haven’t been to a comic con in many years, but the prospect of going piqued my interest. I pulled up the website and checked out the details. There was going to be 74 featured guest artists there. 74! Wow, these things have gotten much bigger since the last time I went.

I use to collect comics. I stopped pretty much cold turkey back in the nineties, when all those endless crossovers became big. They drove me nuts, interrupting the ongoing story lines of your favorite series and also forcing you to buy books you didn’t want, just to keep up. It was a sales gimmick that I quickly grew to despise and drove me away from comics completely. I’m still a fan, of sorts. I see every comic book based movie that hits the screen and I’ve been pretty happy with Hollywood’s attempts to bring some of my old favorites to life. I still have probably thirty boxes of comics in storage. It’s like the fan in me is in hibernation, I guess, like my collection.

So when I looked over that list of 74 artists, I didn’t recognize quite a few of them. I’m guessing there are many who have entered the business since my comic collecting days. But still, there were a few that really caught my eye, like Bernie Wrightson, for instance. Wrightson is an artist I have admired since I started reading and collecting comic books. You see, what first drew me into comics were horror comics. I was reading them for a couple years before I even noticed the super hero books. Maybe it was growing up watching Creature Feature on Channel 56, but I’ve always had this fascination with monsters. Wrightson was of course, an illustrator on many of the horror comics that I grew up loving. These had titles like, House of Mystery, House of Secrets, Tales of the Unexpected, and Vampirella. Did I mention he was the co-creator of Swamp Thing? Yeah, that too.

Wrightson didn’t stop with comic books, though. He did an illustrated version of Frankenstein, which is absolutely beautiful. Later in his career, he went on to do some illustration for my favorite author, Stephen King. Mr. Wrightson illustrated The Cycle of the Werewolf, The Stand, and even did some work on the Dark Tower series. Needless to say, I was excited at the chance to meet him.

Also on the list of artists, I noticed the name Bill Sienkiewicz. Wow! There was another guy who had impressed the hell out of me with his art. You see, Sienkiewicz brought a style unlike any other I had ever seen when he entered the comic book industry. In 1984, Sienkiewicz took over as the artist for the X-Men spinoff, New Mutants and brought an expressionistic style that was mind-blowing. I’m not sure it was for everyone, but I know he gained quite a bit of recognition and managed to work with some of comicbook greats at that time like Frank Miller and Alan Moore.

There were a couple other names that stood out to me like Bob Layton of Iron Man, Kevin Eastman of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Simon Bisley whose work I remember from Judge Dredd and Lobo. It was enough for me to want to go. To top it all off, my twelve-year-old daughter, who to my knowledge has never read a comic book, begged to go. Between my son’s girlfriend and my daughter, they managed to convince Devon to give it a try. I was happy to drive, so the plans were made. My daughter invited her cousin, Roberta, so she would have someone the same age to tag along with her.

Saturday morning, I picked up Amy and brought her back to the house. She was carrying this trash bag full of costumes because apparently the three girls were determined to dress up. They had the idea that people went in costume to these cons and they wanted to participate. I certainly wasn’t going to put a costume on, but I didn’t mind if they did. There wasn’t a lot of planning involved here, so my daughter Kay ended up as Alice in Wonderland, Roberta was a sort of Victorian age vampire, and Amy wore a Pink Floyd shirt and flag as a cape. With the girls dressed up and ready to go, we headed off to the Hynes Convention Center in Boston.

The first problem encountered is that the Hynes is near Fenway Park, and the Yankees were playing the Red Sox that day. Finding parking was an adventure. As we passed the Convention center looking for a parking garage, we saw this ridiculously long line outside of the building. That couldn’t be the line to get in, we said. Spotting several people in line dressed as comic book characters confirmed our worst fears, though.

The line moved quickly, however, and we probably only waited thirty to forty minutes to get in the building. None of us were prepared for what we found inside. It was wall to wall with people. You really couldn’t get anywhere without fighting your way through the zombie-like horde of comic book fans. At first, this really bothered my daughter. She complained to me quite a bit. I reminded her that she begged me to bring them. After a while, we all just got used to it.

Devon and his girlfriend went right over to the Newbury Comics table to check out The Walking Dead books. My family is a fan of the show, but none of us have read the books. He grabbed the first few, which was okay with me, since I wanted to read them, too. Amy grabbed a few things that she was really excited about, including a Doctor Who book as a thank you present to me. We stopped at an artist who did a portrait of my daughter and niece in anime style. This put them both in happier moods. When we hit the back row, I saw the line for Bernie Wrightson. I stepped up and he asked if I had anything to sign. I knew I had forgotten something. Oh well, he had some prints from his work on Frankenstein, so I bought one of those. More importantly, I got a picture with him.

Bernie Wrightson and David Price at Boston Comic Con.

We fought our way through the mob and did our best to take in the whole thing. I had just about given up on finding Bill Sienkiewicz when we finally stumbled upon him. I got another cool picture and my daughter got an autographed Cat Woman print. We tried to find another vendor called Madknits, who had these handmade stuffed little monsters, on the way out, but after bumping our way up and down a bunch of aisles, we gave up and decided to call it a day. The kids were hot, tired, and feeling a bit claustrophobic.

All in all, Boston Comic Con was very cool, but it definitely needs to find a bigger venue. The Boston Convention and Exhibition center on the waterfront is much bigger and more suited to something that attracts as many people as comic con does. They should probably consider upgrading, even though I heard that this was an upgrade from previous years. We all had fun, which was the most important thing. Well done, Boston Comic Con.

V for Vendetta’s Alan Moore, David Lloyd Join Occupy Comics

This article originally appeared on the website, Wired.

V for Vendetta’s Alan Moore, David Lloyd Join Occupy Comics

by Scott Thill

Alan Moore joins the Occupy Comics movement. Just don’t hold your breath on Frank Miller. Image courtesy of Vertigo/DC Comics

Nearly 30 years after publishing V for Vendetta, writer Alan Moore and artist David Lloyd are throwing their support behind the global Occupy movement that’s drawn inspiration from their comic’s anti-totalitarian philosophy and iconography.

Moore will contribute a long-form prose piece, possibly with illustrations, to the Occupy Comics project. His writing work will explore the Occupy movement’s principles, corporate control of the comics industry and the superhero paradigm itself.

Lloyd signed onto the growing Occupy Comics project last week, as did Madman’s Mike Allred and American Splendor’s Dean Haspiel. Occupy Comics will eventually sell single-issue comic books and a hardcover compilation, but an innovative arrangement with Kickstarter means that funds raised through pledges of support can be channeled directly to Occupy Wall Street’s populist ranks now.

“It’s fair to say that Alan Moore and David Lloyd are unofficial godfathers of the current protest movement,” said Halo-8 founder and Occupy Comics organizer Matt Pizzolo in an e-mail to Wired.com. “It’s really amazing to see two creatives whose work was inspiring to street protesters join a creative project that is inspired by the street protesters. It’s a pretty virtuous cycle.”

Some activists ‘folded like bitches’ last century, according to Alan Moore. Will this century be different? Image courtesy of Gavin Wallace/Hoax

Tireless activist Moore has long lamented our disturbing creep toward totalitarianism, exploring the topic in V for Vendetta — which unleashed the ubiquitous, grinning Guy Fawkes mask that’s been worn by members of Anonymous and the Occupy movement — as well as in Watchmen and most recently The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century: 1969, which darkly closed out the surreal yet optimistic ’60s to make way for a dispirited, destructive ’70s and beyond.

Moore knows more than many how much the Occupy movement means to those who watched as last century’s activist spirit was siphoned away by mindless consumption and militarism.

“My actual feelings about the ’60s are that, yes, of course we had limitations,” Moore told Wired.com in an extensive July interview ahead of LXG: 1969’s Comic-Con International premiere. “We talked a lot of shit, and we didn’t have the muscle to back it up. For the most part, we had good intentions. However, we were not able to implement those intentions. And when the state started to take us seriously and initiated countermeasures, the majority of us folded like bitches. Not all of us, but a good number. We weren’t up for the struggle that had sounded so great in our manifestos.”

‘Moore has largely vacated the comics business, but his works continue to resonate. Miller on the other hand has retroactively destroyed more childhoods than George Lucas.’

Predictably, that struggle has cropped up again in the wake of last century’s overlooked political and economic inequities, as well the still-new century’s uniquely dystopian nightmares. (Infinite detention for Americans? WTF, Congress?) Moore has rarely missed the chance to lend his name to righteous causes, as his recent support for the late, great Harvey Pekar’s memorial, as well as an excellent takedown of Frank Miller’s Occupy paranoia, illustrate quite nicely.

Moore’s support for Occupy Comics is another worthy piece of the 99 percent’s overdue payback.

“Moore elevated the discussion beyond Miller’s crude vilification to critical topics like governing systems, the madness of derivatives markets, and how currency is used to control populations,” Pizzolo said. “The juxtaposition of the two points of view is fascinating, because it’s so obvious that Moore and Miller are operating on different intellectual planes.

“Moore has largely vacated the comics business, but his works continue to resonate and wire the thinking of generations,” Pizzolo added. “Miller on the other hand has retroactively destroyed more childhoods than George Lucas. Many are reassessing what Miller was telling us when we were kids, because he, Moore and more had as much influence on us when we were formulating our worldviews as our teachers, political leaders and probably anyone outside of our parents. Comics are such a personal medium, so it’s easy to overlook how much they can affect young minds just starting to piece together a global perspective.”