Marvel No Way!

For years Marvel Comics has had a big problem. While they have made a ton of money from their movie properties, they seem to have an issue with selling . . . comics.

Just over 20 years ago, Marvel shipped over 8 million of copies of X-Men #1 to retailers. Now the only comics that sell well for Marvel are their special events and major crossovers.  The Avengers Vs X-Men crossover sold  around 175K copies an issue in July.  Standard top-tier titles haven’t fared anywhere near as well.  The next best-selling title for the month of July was Uncanny X-men which sold 66k issues.
The Avengers movie grossed over 600 million dollars.  In July the comic book sold 63k copies.

Marvel has tried to find a way to turn sales around for a while and just haven’t been able to accomplish it.  They relaunched Ultimate Spider-Man about a year ago.  Issue #12 sold 42k copies in July.  They tried it with Fantastic Four as well with two different comic titles (Fantastic Four, and FF), both of which sold well under 40k copies.

Despite the poor sales, for years Marvel was the #1 selling comic book company . . . until this past year.  DC took a huge gamble a year ago and rebooted the DC Universe with the what they called “The New 52”.   Since they made the change DC has outsold Marvel consistently, but not by much.

The DC Pew 52At NYCC in 2011 I was hoping to hear something exciting from Marvel.  I went to the X-Men panel hoping that they would revamp the line, and cut some titles.  Instead they announced more titles.   I think Marvel had something like 17 different X related titles getting released, which is just way too many [ed. Agreed!].  As a lapsed comic book reader that used to love the X-men I was looking to jump back in, but at $4 an issue and 17 different titles why would I bother.

The changes Marvel made last year just weren’t enough to help their bottom line.  To combat this Marvel has announced Marvel Now! which at first glance looks like a relaunch of the Marvel Universe.  They are canceling most of their top-tier X-Men and Avengers books and relaunching them with different costumes and creative teams.  The list of titles that Marvel is canceling and replacing can be seen at the Marvel NOW! wiki page.

Unfortunately this isn’t what Marvel needs to do.  Marvel needs to cancel EVERYTHING and start again.   They need to give lapsed readers a clean slate to come on board with. To make things worse they are adding extra titles.  So instead of making the Marvel Universe easier to follow they added even more complexity to the situation. The major plot point involving the Marvel Now! involves time travel . . . yeah, that’s going to go well.   As a lapsed Marvel reader this isn’t what I want to see happen.

This whole Marvel Now! initiative feels like an event mini series that will have everything back to normal next year with another major event.  Perhaps Marvel will eventually have the balls to do what needs to be done and reboot the universe with less titles.

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron Video Game review

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is a follow-up/sequel to Transformers: War for Cybertron ​by High Moon Studios.  It uses the original characters from Transformers Gen 1, but changes the story up.  Both games take place before the Ark crashes on Earth which makes them prequels to the original 80’s cartoon.  Unfortunately they made story decisions to the game which would completely alter cartoon continuity.

​If you were a huge fan of the cartoon then some of the changes they decided to make, like  Shockwave creating the Dinobots on Cybertron,  might bother you a bit.  That being said, getting to smash everything in sight as Grimlock is an awesome experience.

High Moon might have realized they were going to upset some fans with certain choices they made, but they made up for it with all the fan service.  There were probably at least 10 different quotes I recognized that were the original animated movie.

The graphics and sound are a good improvement on what was already a good start from War for Cybertron.  They also made improvements on how open the world feels in some levels.  In War for Cybertron I always felt a bit on rails as far as where I could go and when.  This game still has a bit of that, but the Starscream level stands out as feeling very open world.

Another great addition is the upgrade system.  You can now collect different weapons and upgrade them via Teletraan 1.  Once I finally got Megatron’s cannon, I was a destructive force, but once I unlocked all the upgrades I felt unstoppable.

However, it’s not all Roses.  This game has some issues with interacting with items.  If you are too close to something you need to interact with it won’t give you the option.  You often need to stand in an exact spot for it to work.

The story felt a bit disjointed at times.  There were a few plot holes that just didn’t get completely resolved, but for the most part you can forgive them because they aren’t that relevant in the end.

The game takes about 6-8 hours to beat which means that if you have no interest in multiplayer you can rent the game and go through it in a weekend.  The game was hard to put down so you can go through it pretty quickly.

I hope they create a third game, but I don’t know exactly where they can go from here without completely destroying the G1 continuity more than they already have.  If you are reading this site, you should at least give this a game a try, but you probably already know that.

Ave Atque Vale!

Written by: Christopher Lee

Hello and Farewell!

Hello to our new host at WordPress, and farewell to our old host on Tumblr.

The nerd-base.tumblr.com account will remain active, but it will act more like most tumblr accounts do, reposting relevant articles and pictures from other blogs, as well as serving as a community presence there.

With the move, we now have the option for comments and discussion on posts, a more well-fleshed-out follow system, a larger community base, better site customization, and best off, an easier option to finally get more contributors to the site (which you’re TOTALLY open to email me about if you’re interested!!).

So, here’s to looking forward to better things!!

Don’t forget, the Nerd-Base crew (okay…so far it’s just two guys, maybe three if he ever decides to post, hehe) are going to be at Pi-Con in Enfield, CT this weekend. If you’re going and you want to meet up, email me from the site and we’ll sort something out!

Follow the Nerd-Base! Still looking for contributors!

This Song Sends Love Through

 

Written by: Christopher Lee

From “Rock & Rule” – 1983 – Nelvana Studios

Odds are, even if you are in your mid-30’s+, you may not have seen or remember this movie. But if you have and you love it, you’re a better person in my book.
If you haven’t, there’s never a better time than now to check it out. I still kinda holds up I think. Even if it didn’t, the music is definitely amazing with contributions from punk, rock, and new wave legends of the 70’s & 80’s like Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Blondie (Debbie Harry), Cheap Trick and Earth, Wind & Fire.

Rock & Rule poster

As the opening dialog reveals

“The War was over, the only survivors were street animals, dogs, cats, and rats. From them a new race had evolved. That was a long time ago.”

From there, we’re told that aging rock legend “Mok” (himself looking like a conglomeration of Iggy Pop and Mick Jagger), has been researching the means to open the door to a dark dimension. At this point, he has everything he needs, save a single, special voice….and now, his search has led him back to his roots, in “Ohmtown”. There’s plenty of futurism in the movie playing on the themes of apocalyptic tech and electricity, but that just lends to the films wonderful atmosphere.

If nothing else, Mok is a good host.

From here we meet our “heroes”, Omar & Angel, and their sidekicks, Dizzy & Stretch (effectively whose characters are sort of tropes of Donatello from TMNT and Shaggy from Scooby Doo). They’re a band, and they’re performing at a seedy little club and having a bit of tension. This is what you see in the clip I posted.
Mok has found his voice.

Our heroes!

The movie itself is a big-budget remake of a 1978 Nelvana cartoon called “The Devil and Daniel Mouse”, which had been a Canadian Halloween special, itself, if you traced back the inspiring tales, a retelling of the story of “Faust”.

“Rock & Rule” had started production in 1979 and was in constant peril over the next 4 years of it’s inception due to constant rewrites (from the studios, not certain what to do with the film, shelving and un-shelving it), a high turnover (over 300 animators worked on the film) and almost bankrupting the company (it ended up costing Nelvana around 8 million dollars, unheard of for the studio at the time, which had yet released a film produced for English-speaking audiences), was finally release 4 years later in 1983 to unfortunately lackluster reviews.

Their hadn’t really been a film like this. A (relatively) big budget animated film aimed at adults. It had drugs, bad language, “sexual situations” and what is/was considered “satanic” imagery.
In 1983, cartoons were still considered “kiddy fare” even with the underground and fairly obscure movies like “Heavy Metal” or Ralph Bakshi films like “Fritz the Cat” and “Wizards” running the back alley theater and midnight movie circuits. Unlike them, however, “Rock & Rule” had a distinct quality to it. Above par animation, a soundtrack featuring some of the bigger artists of the time. I mean, c’mon, Blondie practically DEFINED the early 80’s. Still, the film had trouble. The studios didn’t know how to market it. The theaters didn’t know when to show it. The public didn’t know what to make of it. It sort of faded away.
Had it not been for late night showings on cable TV stations like HBO and Cinemax, it may never have developed it’s following. Thanks to them and the growing convention circuits, it had become a Cult Film phenom, with copies of the hard-to-find home video versions and bootlegs of the very rare laser discs, making their way into circulation. As a matter of fact, there were two versions of the film to hunt down! The theatrical version, and the American release with a bit of editing (ohhh…we love editing don’t we?) and some different voice acting. The VHS release is actually included on the DVD released a few years back by Unearthed Films.
For me, it was always so exciting to find someone else who loved the movie, much less knew about it. Honestly, it’s sort of still like that today. I’m okay with that.

So, long story short, do yourself a favor. Go out and grab the DVD. It was released as a double disc collector’s edition that includes different versions of the film AND the original “Devil and Daniel Mouse”, along with a booklet telling a more detailed history of the production.

Here’s some AMAZING fan art by Deviantart user, Fpeniche!

Rock & Rule fan art

 

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A sports post in a "nerd" blog? Th' heck?!

Written by: Christopher Lee

Swimmin' Voldy

If you look up just about anything on the Olympics today, you’re bound to see any one of the litany of sites offering “Top <insert # here> Pictures of Olympic Synchornized Swimmers Frightening Faces”.

I often enjoy a little bit of leisurely photo-manipulation, so here’s my contribution to the fold.

I’ve opened up photo reply, so feel free to show me your versions!!

When I started this blog, I had every intention of it being a sort of “full-bodied” geek blog. Where I (and any contributers that I may find, still lookin’ guys…) could really just post anything that I could be nerdy/geeky about. That could honestly be ANYTHING. It’s a very large misunderstanding that all geeks are into naught but Comics, Video Games, RPG’s and the like. But truth be told, some of us are into other things. I could sit here and go on and on about music, movies, and yes, I get really into the Olympics. I used to play basketball in H.S. Sports aren’t really as bad as some more “traditional” nerds & geeks make them out to be. I mean, you won’t find me watching foosball, but if someone says, “Hey man, wanna go out and play baseball/basketball/hockey/ect…” I’ll probably say yes. It’s fun!

So there you have it. A little insight into me (Chris) and what I intend this blog to be. I may not update it as often as I’d like, but sometimes you just hit a rut. THAT’S why I am still asking for contributers/writers. 

I plan to be porting over to WordPress within the next month/month 1/2. Anyone who could lend a hand is more than welcome. You can email me at nerdbasego@gmail.com.

THANKS!!!

Follow the Nerd-Base! Still looking for contributors! 

RIP Joe Kubert

Written by: Christopher Lee

Although I’ve only met you as a fan, you ran a school that honed the amazing skills inherent in a good handful of my friends, and the friends I’ve met through them, that they met through you. 
That being so, you’ve sort of vicariously filled my life with a good many talented artists that never cease to impress me with their imagination and skill, I thank you for giving me that wonderful sense of pride in people I care about. 
It may seem a weird tribute, but it’s an honest one, and one I can attribute to him on a personal level.

Just to give you an idea of the level of talent this legend of comics had. Well, for one, he ran the Joe Kubert School of Art here in NJ that many of my friends have gone to.

Aside from that, check out a couple of his “quick sketches”… (little known fact, although Kubert didn’t create Hawkman per se, he was instrumental in creating the Hawkman as we know his character today)

Joe Kubert - Hawkman

One of the awesome old weird covers of the golden age!

a lil’ Batman for ya…


Joe Kubert, thought, yes, you will be missed, your legacy will live on in the art of every student coming out of your school, and of course, all the wonderful art and imagination you’ve left in your wake.

Thank you.