Archive for the 'Comics' Category

Creating super soldiers

Darpa project sounds like the origins of the Captain America comic book hero.

Mark Roth never expected his research to have military applications. He was a biochemist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, studying how chromosomes move during cell replication. Then, about a decade ago, his second daughter, Hannah Grace, died of heart failure at the age of 1. Her death sent him down a much stranger path. “I became interested in immortality,” he says. Roth knew that some animals hibernate — slowing their metabolisms until environmental conditions improve. He also knew that some cells can enter a kind of dormancy and then spring back to life — essentially, they go into suspended animation. Roth wanted to better understand this “metabolic flexibility.” He started testing various chemicals that slowed metabolism, like heavy water and tetrodotoxin (puffer fish poison, used in Haiti to turn people into zombies). Nothing worked. But then Roth found a loophole in one of nature’s seemingly absolute rules: Animals need oxygen. But some creatures, like nematodes, fruit flies, and zebra fish, don’t die if oxygen levels drop. Instead the critters suspend. Their hearts stop beating for up to 24 hours. They don’t breathe. And they don’t die. Wounds stop bleeding; nearly any injury becomes survivable, and the brain shuts down without damage. “If you were shot, this is exactly what you would want,” Roth says

Buffy rules the world

Australia’s version of The Onion, the The Chaser, features a story on a grad student with a Buffy the Vampire Slayer problem:

Her still incomplete thesis, entitled The perverse in the Buffyverse: RE:reading Performative Gender Roles and their subversion in Buffy The Vampire Slayer, has become something of an embarrassment to her.

“When I was finishing my Masters in Gender Studies, critical engagement with Buffy was all the rage,” said the 29-year-old industrial music enthusiast.

“I’m going to finish just in time for it to be completely passé. All the important, exciting work now is being done on Angel.”

Five years ago, Wasserman believed that Buffy was a “uniquely nuanced cultural text”, a view she now believes was prompted solely by her enthusiasm for the popular TV show. “I thought that Buffy was a new type of cultural apparatus that could establish the co-ordinates of a more fluid, less repressive form of gendered indentity,” she says. “But looking back, I think I just had the hots for Giles.”

Funny stuff well worth reading in its entirety.

Meanwhile, iFMagzine falls in love with Joss Whedon comic book graphic novel Buffy Season 8’s premiere.

This issue is a great read, and the art is exceptional. Whedon’s writing is as strong as ever, and I can’t wait to see where SEASON EIGHT is going to go. I’m hoping that at least in comics we can have a continuing storyline for Buffy and crew that is creator approved and considered cannon. Plus I hope this is just the first of many new “seasons” ahead.

Stephen King at New York Comics Con

From Comic Book Resources:

The Special Events Hall at the 2007 New York Comic Con was filled to capacity for the Marvel Comics “Dark Tower” panel on Saturday afternoon. And the man everyone was there to see was the last to take the stage. Marvel EIC Joe Quesada moderated the panel, and introduced artist Jae Lee, Robin Furth, Peter David, Ralph Macchio, Richard Isanove and Chris Eliopoulos. Quesada then welcomed to the stage “one of the greatest creators of the last 50 years, maybe ever,” Mr. Stephen King. The vaunted novelist took the stage to thunderous applause, and a standing ovation, and a pair of Imperial Stormtroopers were forced to keep order with the mountain of photographers. “If you keep calling me Mr. King, I’m gonna kick your ass,” King warned Quesada.


King admitted that he’s a very intuitive writer and doesn’t work from outlines. As a result, his stories unfold as he writes them. “You job is just to stand back and let it be what it is.” As far as he’s concerned, the “Dark Tower” series is just a “first draft,” because now that he’s finished it he sees things that he wish he’d done differently in the earlier books. Lee jokingly admitted that he’s still doing revision on the already-released first issue of “Dark Tower.” David invoked the famous words of Leonardo DaVinci: “Art is never finished, it’s only abandoned.”

Watching X-Files with no lights on

Bare Naked Ladies: One Week. Anime version.

Stephen King’s Dark Tower

The Marvel Comic adaption of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series is about to premiere. From Comic Book Resource:

Expanding on the epic hero of King’s creation, Roland Deschain, Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born delivers an all-new comic by Dark Tower expert Robin Furth, New York Times Best-Selling author Peter David, and eye-popping art by Jae Lee and Richard Isanove. Stephen King fans and comic fans do not want to miss this instant classic!

More on ‘War of the Undead’

Comic Book Resources has the latest news:

When dealing with these famous creatures with histories, powers and abilities well known to most any fan, how will the creatures be portrayed in the comic book? “We’re pretty much sticking to the lore of these three monsters,” said Flannigan, “except for this one cool idea that Bryan had where he threw in whoever removes a vampire’s stake would have control over the creature.”

With all the focus on these famous creatures, can we expect any appearances by other monsters? “Yeah,” said Flannigan. “Besides Dracula, The Werewolf and Frankenstein’s monster, we have in the book: the mummy, tons of zombies, weird-ass costumed Nazis and in the prelude comic, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde make an appearance.”

Pierce Askegren: an appreciation

The Washington Post published an obituary of Buffy the Vampire Slayer paperback writer Pierce Askegren:

Until a few years ago, he made his living as a technical writer for government contractors in the Tysons Corner area, producing training manuals and educational material.

His friends said that he enjoyed being in the office with colleagues and learning about new technology but that his true passion lay elsewhere, represented by the collection of comic book action figurines peering from his bookcase.

In the mid-1990s, he began writing short stories published in anthologies of comic book characters. His stories appeared in “The Ultimate Silver Surfer” (1995), “The Ultimate Super-Villains” (1996), “Untold Tales of Spider-Man” (1997), “The Ultimate Hulk” (1998) and “The Chick Is in the Mail” (2000).

Around the same time, he wrote or co-wrote novels featuring Marvel Comics characters. He was a ghostwriter for the 1996 “Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk: Rampage”; co-author with Danny Fingeroth of “Spider-Man and Iron Man: Sabotage” (1997) and with Eric Fein of “Spider-Man and Fantastic Four: Wreckage” (1997); and author of “Marc Miller’s Traveller: Gateway to the Stars” (1998), “Fantastic Four: Countdown to Chaos” (1998) and “The Avengers and the Thunderbolts” (1999).


Working out of his apartment in Annandale, Askegren produced reams of manuscripts. One of his biggest writing projects was the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” novel “After Image,” which came out last year. He spun a tale about the teenage heroine and her trusted friends tangling with a werewolf and a mysterious stranger at a newly restored drive-in theater in fictional Sunnydale, Calif.

Perhaps better known is his “Inconstant Moon” science fiction trilogy: “Human Resource” (2005), “Fall Girl” (2005) and “Exit Strategy” (2006). The character-driven series, about power and corruption in corporate colonies on the Moon, received favorable reviews in Analog Science Fiction and Fact magazine.

He was 51 when he died on Nov. 29. Rest in peace.

Let the Battle Begin

War of the Undead

This sounds promising:

The year is 1945. The place is East Germany. Hitler has succumbed to suicide and the war to end all wars is all but finished. A secret cabal of Nazis has concocted an insane plan—a plan to resurrect Hitler’s soul from Hell and place it within an earthly vessel. In order to achieve their gruesome goal, the Nazis must first gather the world’s most fearsome monsters—Dracula, the werewolf, and Frankenstein’s monster. The old adage that “War is Hell” has never been truer.

From vampire comic to film

Blood on the Tracks hasn’t even been released yet.


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