Yakuza Apocalypse (極道大戦争) : First Look - Zombie of the Week

All-out Yakuza war, with an added element of vampire crime-lord. And a kung-fu fighting, ass-kicking frog mascot with the creepiest pair of mascot eyes we have ever seen. Consider us onboard with cul film-maker Takashi Miike's latest film, Yakuza Apocalypse .
Yakuza Apocalypse (極道大戦争) : First Look - Zombie of the Week

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: First Look - Zombie of the Week

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains." Brace yourself, Victorian era, and all Jane Austen fans. The first trailer of the live-adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith's mash-up of Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, is here.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: First Look - Zombie of the Week

Universal’s Classic Monsters by Nicolas Delort & Dark Hall Mansion - Undead Monday

Ahead of the impending All Hallows' Eve, we take a look at French artist Nicolas Delort's renditions on the very icons of Halloween themselves, the Universal's Classic Monsters, courtesy of Dark Hall Mansion.
Universal’s Classic Monsters by Nicolas Delort & Dark Hall Mansion - Undead Monday

Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Final Trailer

"It's true. All of it. The Dark Side, the Jedi. They're real." A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.... The Force Awakens! Bid farewell to your mundane, functional life as Disney and Lucasfilm unleashed the third and final trailer of J. J. Abrams' Star Wars Episode VII during the halftime break of Monday Night Football.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Final Trailer

Suicide Squad: New Images

Say you want some new shots of Jared Leto's upcoming incarnation of The Joker in David Ayer's Suicide Squad? Courtesy of the latest issue of Empire Magazine, you will get that and more. Taskforce X Assemble!
Suicide Squad: New Images

Sadako vs. Kayako (貞子 vs. 伽椰子): First Look - Undead Monday

What started out as an April's Fool joke is now an absurd horror film reality. Move away, Freddy vs. Jason. Brace yourself for Sadako vs. Kayako (貞子 vs. 伽椰子) as the two most deadly spirits that redefined J-Horror face off.
Sadako vs. Kayako (貞子 vs. 伽椰子): First Look - Undead Monday

R. Sikoryak's The Unquotable Trump

Hot on the heels of Mark Hamill's nefarious and downright realistic take on Donald Trump's tweet, we now have the Presidential Elect's most infamous tweets further glorified to iconic status courtesy of artist R. Sikoryak's The Unquotable Trump.
R. Sikoryak's The Unquotable Trump

Star Wars Portrait Series by Mike Mitchell & Mondo

FA long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.... Los Angeles-based artist Mike Mitchell collide with the world's largest franchise at the Mondo Gallery.
Star Wars Portrait Series by Mike Mitchell & Mondo

Roberto Carlos' Phenomenal Free Kick Explained!

Posted by Grey

One of football's most amazing phenomenons explained. By physicists. And French physicists, to be exact.

In 1997, Brazil's free-kick expert, Roberto Carlos scored an arguably, his most amazing goal in an unbelievable free kick during the inaugural match of the Tournoi de France, a friendly international football tournament that was held in France ahead of the 1998 World Cup, leaving French goalkeeper Fabien Barthez absolutely stunned in his track. The shot, first motioning to the right, curved impossibly sharp leftwards to clinch the goal, achieving what many pundits referred to as "the goal that defied physics".



However, the French physicists, perhaps while in a process of figuring a scientific explanation on why the French international team absolutely sucked at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, have discovered the physics equation to proved that the goal was no fluke. And the feat can be repeated, again and again, should someone mastered the particular spiral trajectory, as indicated in a study published in the New Journal of Physics.

On to the scientific jabberwocky, thanks to the ever-diligent BBC:

"We have shown that the path of a sphere when it spins is a spiral," lead researcher Christophe Clanet from the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris told BBC News.



Dr Clanet described this path as a "snail-shell shaped trajectory", with the curvature increasing as the ball travels.

Because Roberto Carlos was 35m (115ft) from the goal when he kicked the ball, more of this spiral trajectory was visible. So the apparently physics-defying sharp turn of the ball was actually following a naturally tightening curve.

Dr Clanet and his colleague David Quere were studying the trajectory of bullets when they made their sporting discovery.

They used water and plastic balls with the same density as water to "simplify the problem".

This approach eliminated the effects of air turbulence and of gravity and revealed the pure physical path of a spinning sphere.

"On a real soccer pitch, we will see something close to this ideal spiral, but gravity will modify it," explained Dr Clanet.

"But if you shoot strongly enough, like Carlos did, you can minimise the effect of gravity."

The crucial aspect of the wonder strike, according to the scientists, was the distance the ball had to travel to beat Fabian Barthez.

"If this distance is small," said Dr Clanet, "you only see the first part of the curve.

"But if that distance is large - like with Carlos's kick - you see the curve increase. So you see the whole of the trajectory."


So it seems, with Carlos' countless similar goals, successful soccer players might just kick any physicist's collective asses on any given days.

Source: New Journal of Physics via BBC

Star Wars: The Old Republic - Deceived Cinematic Trailer

Posted by Grey

The Force is with this Jedi/Sith ass-kicking trailer.

Informed by Kotaku with their feature article on the remarkable video game trailer factory, Blur Studio, let's check out this insanely awesome trailer to the upcoming MMORPG, Star Wars: The Old Republic that have been out for sometime already but has unfortunately escape our undead feelers so far. And yes, it surpassed even the excellent "Hope" trailer that was released earlier at E3 2010.

Not only is this clip a strong contender to the title of the most kickass trailer in video games history, but is in fact, bar none, the best Star Wars sequence since The Return of the Jedi. And that's something very sad, Mr. Lucas.

Iron Man 2's Alternate Opening

Posted by Grey

Remember all those online rumors (here, and here) about how Iron Man 2 will open with Tony Stark throwing up in the toilet while in full Iron Man armor sans the helmet?

Well, it's true. Initially.


And you have to see it to believe it. If there's only one deleted scene you gonna watch this year, rest assured it's gonna be this one.



While I strongly believed most people out there would be familiar with the Gwyneth Paltrow's sweet "go get them, boss" scene along with the jocular "you complete me" line from Stark in the launching bay if they have caught the first official trailer. However, the completeness of this alternate opening sequence still caught me by surprise, what with the flow of gut-busting exchanges between Stark and Potts. And now we know why Potts refuse to give that "smooch of good luck" to Stark, but gave it to the helmet instead. Because he just puked.

Instead, the original version of the launching scene was changed to this, switching the opening scene to Ivan Ranko's introduction.



Personally, I find the groaning, crying and murmuring before the first scene particularly hilarious, with its suggestive undertones of a dark and gloomy opening. Perhaps the opening was removed due to overtly comedy effect. And instead we get a dark and gloomy opening with an overtly gloomy scene with Mickey Rourke's Ivan Ranko, groaning, crying and murmuring.

What a twist of fate.

Fortunately, there's always the DVD and Blu-ray to turn to.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Trailer & New Screenshots: Tokyo Game Show 2010

Posted by Grey

Having earlier covered (here, and here) on the latest installment of the critically acclaimed long-running series, Castlevania, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, let's take a look at the latest trailer from Tokyo Game Show 2010 specially edited by Hideo Kojima, complete with some screenshots from the gameplay.

Set to be released on October 5 for North America, October 7th for Europe, and December 16th for Japan, anticipation for the latest installment in Konami's world-renowned action-adventure series "Castlevania" continues to show its presence at Tokyo Game Show with an extended trailer that runs more than seven minutes, specially edited by Hideo Kojima himself.

Check out some newly released screenshots after the trailer.












Call Of Zombie Duty: Undead Confirmed For Call Of Duty: Black Ops

Posted by Grey

The Nazi zombies gets recall duty.

Any self-respecting fans of Call Of Duty franchise have to admit that the zombie mode in its last iteration, 2008's Call of Duty: World at War were pretty awesome. So awesome that the mode was adapted into an iPhone game by itself.

With Black Ops scheduled to be released on November 9, 2010 for the Microsoft Windows operating systems, the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Nintendo DS consoles, developer Treyarch has confirmed the return of the zombie-shooting mode. The mode will return as a four-player online and two-player split screen co-op mode, while limited editions of the game will offer the four Zombies maps from World At War.

Spike TV’s 2010 Scream Awards Nominees List

Posted by Grey

"Honoring the best in sci-fi, fantasy, comics, and horror", Spike TV has announced the nominees for its fifth annual Scream Awards. Let's check out the nominees list.

Wait a minute. Is it still called Scream Awards? It sure seems that Spike TV has dropped the "Awards" from the official title.

Official word: “SCREAM nominees comprise the top four grossing films of 2010, totaling a US box office of over 1 billion dollars among them, and that doesn’t even include 2009’s Avatar, the most successful film in history,” said Casey Patterson, executive producer of “SCREAM 2010” and senior vice president of event production, talent development and studio relations for Spike TV. “This October the fans, whose reverence for these genres makes them the commercial successes that they are, will once again have their night on Spike dedicated to honoring their heroes.”

This year’s nominees were selected by an advisory board that includes Tim Burton, John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Neil Gaiman, Damon Lindelof, Eli Roth, Quentin Tarantino and Joss Whedon.

That's one hell of an advisory board. While Christopher Nolan's "Inception" nabbed a stellar 15 nominations in 14 categories, "Kick-Ass" surpassed that with a total of 17 nominations in 13 categories. Over at the TV scene, HBO’s "True Blood" reign with a total of 10 nominations.

All hullabaloo aside, this is still one unique "award" show that honors the kind of zeitgeist pop culture that we here at The Daily Zombies also embraced. And they do it without the unintentional disturbing element that recent MTV Movie Awards had. For those who want to cast your votes (closing date is Friday, October 15) or check out the full list of nominees, click here.

Below are the main categories for movies, TV and comics.

The Ultimate Scream
Alice in Wonderland
Avatar
District 9
Inception
Iron Man 2
Kick-Ass
Lost
True Blood
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Zombieland

Best Science Fiction Movie
Avatar
District 9
Inception
Iron Man 2
Predators
The Road

Best Fantasy Movie
Alice in Wonderland
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Kick-Ass
Toy Story 3
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Where the Wild Things Are

Best Horror Movie
The Crazies
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Paranormal Activity
Shutter Island
Thirst
Zombieland

Best TV Show
Dexter
Doctor Who
Lost
True Blood
V

Best Director
Neill Blomkamp, District 9
Tim Burton, Alice in Wonderland
James Cameron, Avatar
Roland Emmerich, 2012
Christopher Nolan, Inception
Martin Scorsese, Shutter Island

Best Scream-play
District 9, written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
Inception, written by Christopher Nolan
Kick-Ass, written by Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman
Shutter Island, written by Laeta Kalogridis
Toy Story 3, written by Michael Arndt
Zombieland written by Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese

Best Fantasy Actress
Cate Blanchett, Robin Hood
Lily Cole, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Chloe Grace Moretz, Kick-Ass
Saoirse Ronan, The Lovely Bones
Kristen Stewart, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Mia Wasikowska, Alice in Wonderland

Best Fantasy Actor
Nicolas Cage, Kick-Ass
Johnny Depp, Alice in Wonderland
Tom Hanks, Toy Story 3
Aaron Johnson, Kick-Ass
Taylor Lautner, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Robert Pattinson, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Best Science Fiction Actress
Scarlett Johansson, Iron Man 2
Mila Kunis, The Book of Eli
Evangeline Lilly, Lost
Ellen Page, Inception
Gwyneth Paltrow, Iron Man 2
Zoe Saldana, Avatar

Best Science Fiction Actor
Sharlto Copley, District 9
Leonardo DiCaprio, Inception
Robert Downey Jr, Iron Man 2
Matthew Fox, Lost
Josh Holloway, Lost
Denzel Washington, The Book of Eli

Best Horror Actress
Julie Benz, Dexter
Emily Blunt, The Wolfman
Charlotte Gainsbourg, Antichrist
Milla Jovovich, The Fourth Kind
Anna Paquin, True Blood
Emma Stone, Zombieland

Best Horror Actor
Leonardo DiCaprio, Shutter Island
Michael C Hall, Dexter
Woody Harrelson, Zombieland
Stephen Moyer, True Blood
Timothy Olyphant, The Crazies
Alexander Skarsgard, True Blood

Best Villain
Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Krueger, A Nightmare on Elm Street
Stephen Lang as Col. Miles Quaritch, Avatar
Dieter Laser as Dr. Joseph Heiter, The Human Centipede
John Lithgow as the Trinity Killer, Dexter
Terry O’Quinn as John Locke/Smoke Monster, Lost
Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko, Iron Man 2

Best Superhero
Nicolas Cage, Kick-Ass
Robert Downey Jr, Iron Man 2
Aaron Johnson, Kick-Ass
Chloe Grace Moretz, Kick-Ass
Zachary Quinto, Heroes
Tom Welling, Smallville

Best Supporting Actor
Don Cheadle, Iron Man 2
Sir Ben Kingsley, Shutter Island
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Inception
Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kick-Ass
Mark Ruffalo, Shutter Island
Sam Trammell, True Blood

Best Supporting Actress
Abigail Breslin, Zombieland
Jennifer Carpenter, Dexter
Marion Cotillard, Inception
Anne Hathaway, Alice in Wonderland
Yunjin Kim, Lost
Sigourney Weaver, Avatar

Breakout Performance – Female
Deborah Ann Woll, True Blood
Gemma Arterton, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Morena Baccarin, V
Lyndsy Fonseca, Kick-Ass
Chloe Grace Moretz, Kick-Ass
Mia Wasikowska, Alice in Wonderland

Breakout Performance – Male
Sharlto Copley, District 9
Andrew Garfield, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Tom Hardy, Inception
Aaron Johnson, Kick-Ass
Xavier Samuel, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Road

Best Cameo
Bubo the Mechanical Owl, Clash of the Titans
Michael Caine, Inception
Rosario Dawson, Percy Jackson
Stan Lee, Iron Man 2
Bill Murray, Zombieland

Best Ensemble
Inception
Iron Man 2
Kick-Ass
Lost
True Blood
Zombieland

Most Memorable Mutilation
Body dissolved by hydrofluoric acid, Saw VI
Forced to cut off own flesh and arm, Saw VI
Heart cut out of chest, cut up into souffle and fed to people, True Blood
Scalped with a hunting knife, Inglourious Basterds
Surgically transformed into human centipede, The Human Centipede
Zombie shot in the mouth by flare gun, Survival of the Dead

Best Fight Scene of the Year
Aisha vs Clay, The Losers
Anti-gravity hotel fight, Inception
Hit-Girl vs the Drug Dealers, Kick-Ass
Final battle: Iron Man and Rhodes vs Vanko and the Drones, Iron Man 2
Final battle: Na’vi vs the military, Avatar
Perseus and the Heroes vs Medusa, Clash of the Titans

Holy Sh*t! Scene of the Year
Damon Macready shoots little daughter Mindy in chest, Kick-Ass
The destruction of Los Angeles, 2012
Dren mates with Clive, Splice
Freight train drives through city street, Inception
Head twisted 180 degrees during sex, True Blood
Paris street folds over onto itself, Inception

3-D Top 3
Alice in Wonderland
Avatar
Toy Story 3

Best F/X
2012
Avatar
District 9
Inception
Iron Man 2
Zombieland

Best Comic Book Movie
Iron Man 2
Kick-Ass
The Losers

Best Comic Book or Graphic Novel
Asterios Polyp
Blackest Night
The Boys
Chew
Parker: The Hunter
Scalped
The Walking Dead

Best Comic Book Writer
Jason Aaron (Scalped, Wolverine: Weapon X)
Darwyn Cooke (Parker: The Hunter)
Garth Ennis (Battlefields, The Boys, Crossed)
Geoff Johns (Blackest Night, Brightest Day, The Flash, Green Lantern)
Robert Kirkman (The Astounding Wolf-Man, Invincible, The Walking Dead)
Mike Mignola (B.P.R.D.: 1947, Hellboy in Mexico, Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels)

Best Comic Book Artist
Charlie Adlard (The Walking Dead)
Darwyn Cooke (Parker: The Hunter)
Fabio Moon (B.P.R.D.: 1947, Sugarshock)
Frank Quitely (Batman and Robin)
Jill Thompson (Beasts of Burden)
J.H. Williams III (Detective Comics, Batwoman: Elegy)

Black Panther Was In Iron Man 2

Posted by Grey

In keeping with our earlier report on T'Challa, AKA The Black Panther.

Just when you thought you have already figured out all the Easter Eggs in this one.


With the "Iron Man 2" Blu-ray set to hit stores on September 28th, it has been reported that one of the Blu-ray featurettes would have Director Jon Favreau discussing some of the Easter Eggs in the film (which is a hell lot). And one particular scene was loaded with an Easter Egg no one noticed: The scene with Nick Fury and Tony Stark conversing on the future of the Avengers Initiative and Stark's consultant role in a secluded SHIELD war room filled with futuristic monitors.

"If you think that anything on these monitors is not something we at Marvel didn't talk about for hours - you are crazy," said Favreau. "See, there is a map up there. If you look at those maps, each one of those locations corresponds to something in the Marvel Universe. I'm not supposed to say that."

He continued: "And if you look on each one, two of them relate to 'The First Avenger: Captain America,' one of them relates to 'Thor.' The one in Africa relates to Black Panther."


Thanks to Worst Previews for providing a high resolution screenshots of the scene with various angle. A close look on them would reveal numerous dots on a map. Iron Man is in California, Thor is in New Mexico, Hulk is in New York, Captain America is in Iceland and Europe. In Africa is Black Panther.

Click on the image for an enlarged hi-res picture.



Black Panther: The Man Without Fear

Posted by Grey

Black is the new red.

Having earlier teasing the Marvel Zombies on who would be the new Man Without Fear, as the cataclysmal "Shadowland" arc comes to a close, Marvel has finally revealed just who will be taking on the mantle of Daredevil this time (Iron Fist has his turn earlier).

Will it be the newly reborn Kraven the Hunter?
The renegade X-Man, Gambit?
The Marvel Green Lantern knock-off, Nova?
The King of Wakanda, T'Challa, AKA The Black Panther?
Captain America's occasional side-kick, Falcon?
Drum roll please... oh wait, I already ruin the surprise with the title.

Yeah, it's T'Challa filling in the role of Hell's Kitchen's nocturnal protector.

Spinning out of the conclusion of “Shadowland” event in Daredevil #512, the long-running series will be retitled to Black Panther: The Man Without Fear with issue #513, as Black Panther, sans the aid of advanced Wakandan technology, finds himself fighting crimes in downtown Hell's Kitchen. Written by award-winning novelist David Liss, and penciled by Francesco Francavilla who also contributed to the arts of the collective "Man Without Fear" teasers poster, Black Panther: The Man Without Fear promised to be one game-changer for both Marvel properties whom have had a history of sitting on a back seat of stardom.

So the question would be, is Matt Murdock gone for good? Hell no, this is superhero comics we're talking about here. It's only a matter of time for Daredevil to resume its original title with the original in place. Meanwhile, Marvel has announced at Fan Expo Canada that Daredevil: Reborn, a four-issue miniseries written by current Daredevil writer Andy Diggle, with art from Davide Gianfelice, will launch in January.

So after all, Matt Murdock just can't seemed to lay low for a while.

Anyway, check out the first two covers of the series, illustrated by Jock.




R. I. P. WildStorm (1992 – 2010)

Posted by Grey

WildStorm, from its humble yet astounding beginning in the formation of Image Comics back in 1992, to its unique imprint status via acquisition by DC Comics in 1999, has been with us for an unforgettable eighteen years. We mourned its demise while taking a retrospective look at the prolific publishing line.

On Sept 22nd, Diane Nelson, President of DC Entertainment made two major announcement:

One, being the relocation of all business functions related to and supporting multi-media and digital content production from New York to Burbank, California. DCE’s publishing operations will remain in New York.

Second, and the more affecting, would be the closure of both the WildStorm and Zuda imprint this December. The WildStorm Universe, as we know it, will effectively end with WildCats #30, the final issue of its last ongoing series "WildCats".

DC Co-Publishers Dan Didio and Jim Lee have this to say via DC's The Source blog:

"After taking the comics scene by storm nearly 20 years ago, the WildStorm Universe titles will end this December. In this soft marketplace, these characters need a break to regroup and redefine what made them once unique and cutting edge. While these will be the final issues published under the WildStorm imprint, it will not be the last we will see of many of these heroes. We, along with Geoff Johns, have a lot of exciting plans for these amazing characters, so stay tuned."

While Zuda, the company's webcomics imprint has been dying a slow death, WildStorm is doing comparatively fine, though understandably badly affected by the very same sales decline plaguing the entire industry.

Many creators have reacted to the sad news over Newsarama, and The Beat, with the majestic Warren Ellis making some intriguingly somewhat funny comments looking back at the latter.

My experience was that Wildstorm, particularly Jim Lee and Scott Dunbier and certainly several of the editors I worked with (John Layman especially comes to mind), looked after their creators, and kept a personal connection. They probably weren’t the best businessmen — one of the reasons I turned their STORMWATCH into THE AUTHORITY is that I found out that, despite the fact that no-one was buying STORMWATCH, they kept it going because they liked reading it in the office and wanted to keep me employed. And I felt so bloody awful about that, and at the same time had been so struck by Bryan Hitch’s STORMWATCH issues, that the train of thought that led to THE AUTHORITY began.

And I would say that their altruism and my crushing guilt worked out for them, except that 11 years later Wildstorm is being shut down. But in that time, they have published remarkable work — EX MACHINA, the ABC titles, SLEEPER, THE WINTER MEN, AUTOMATIC KAFKA, ZERO GIRL and FOUR WOMEN among others — and I hope the men and women who worked in Jim’s house can find something to be proud of in that. I’m just sad that I won’t see any more comics with the Wildstorm mark.

With that comment, Ellis somehow pointed out the nature of WildStorm. Allow me to elaborate after a brief walk down memory lane.

Originally known as Homage Studios, the studio was founded by artists Scott Williams, Whilce Portacio, Jim Lee, and Joe Chiodo in San Diego, California. From its formative years growing out of the roots of Homage and starting out with Image Comics in 1992, there is no doubt, both from then or retrospectively speaking, that WildStorm was the most ambitious line that ultimately saw through its ambitions by becoming the most formidable and influential line amongst Jim Lee's other Image partners (yes, that totally included Todd McFarlane and his never-changing Spawn. Nope, not a typo). Jim Lee, being arguably the biggest star of the Image Six, went on to create the biggest and most successful universe (something Rob Liefield totally sucked at, depsite the very brilliant Judgement Day reboot executed by the maestro Alan Moore for his Awesome Comics). In a time where superheroes are getting old and predictable, Image and WildStorm provided rejuvenated fire to the genre, offering everything from sex-ploitation (Gen¹³'s Caitlin Fairchild, anyone), top secret government conspiracy espionage a'la X-Files (the action-packed, always entertaining Team 7), to top notch works from established writers (Alan Moore surprisingly worked on an extended period on Wild C.A.T.s).

Yes, speaking of Alan Moore's unexpectedly prolonged tenure on Wild C.A.T.s. By imbuing the team with character and depth by following up on the initial premise of the Autobots/Decepticons-esque eternal war between the Daemonite and Kherubim, Moore enriched the series without major revamp and making the series more intriguing than ever, with then-up-and-coming artist Travis Charest (where are you now, Travis Charest?). Introducing the Kherubims as corrupt power-hungry politicians, underlying commentary on racism with Daemonites treated as second-class citizens, Tao, the traitorous villain, and the resolution of Fire From Heaven, a crossover particularly heavy on its continuity with the fates of Kaizen Gamorra and Spartan changed forever.

Also noteworthy at this period is the very much underrated crossover limited series between McFarlane' Spawn and the Wild C.A.T.s in an interesting spin on the Days Of Future Past concept with a time-traveling tale.

Gen¹³'s best-selling debut issue with an amazing thirteen (eventually, fifteen) variant covers brought the frustrating concept of variant covers to a new high, cementing the survival of this particularly perturbing concept till today.

Jim Lee also continued to prove his eye for upcoming breakout talents, by discovering talents like Travis Charest, Brett Booth and J. Scott Campbell. Attempts in branching out the franchise of WildStorm into other media were ultimately met with disappointment with the Saturday morning cartoon series of the WildC.A.T.s lasting only one season, while a full-length animated version of Gen¹³ was produced but never released. However, WildStorm's release of their superhero riff on Wizards of the Coast's Magic: The Gathering card game, Wildstorms, was popular enough to spun off into a crossover set of cards with Marvel.

The novel concept of setting up imprints also worked out tremendously with WildStorm. An imprint called Homage Comics was launched in 1995, focused on established writer-driven books. Titles as diverse as Kurt Busiek's Astro City, James Robinson's Leave It to Chance, Terry Moore's Strangers In Paradise to Warren Ellis' Red were published to critically acclaim.

Another imprint were then set up in 1997. Cliffhanger, a line focused on creator-owned series from then-popular artists were well-received with J. Scott Campbell's Danger Girl, Joe Madureira's Battle Chasers, Humberto Ramos' Crimson, Joe Kelly & Chris Bachalo's Steampunk, Kurt Busiek and Carlos Pacheco's Arrowsmith and Warren Ellis's Tokyo Storm Warning.

It was in 1997 that the WildStorm Universe saw a successful revamp with the help from prominent creators like Alan Moore and Warren Ellis. Ellis' work on Stormwatch cemented both the creator and the title's reputation in the comic industry.

Then came 1998, when DC Comics acquire WildStorm. And it is at this very same time when comic readers were fortunate enough to embrace a complete return of Alan Moore, with his America's Best Comics line launching from WildStorm.

While it might take some other people's inner comic geek self to make them say this, I am perfectly proud to admit that I bought the entire line. Every single title from the line was comic goodness. Promethea, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Tomorrow Stories, Tom Strong and Top 10. Every week you get a new comic book written by Alan Moore. Just think about that. So how did something that amazing come about?

Well, according to Wikipedia:

According to the interview Moore gave George Khoury in the book The Extraordinary Works of Alan Moore, when Lee first saw Alan Moore after the takeover, the tall figure of Moore holding his snake-headed walking stick impressed Lee so, he was sure Moore - who was then still ignorant of the sale - was going to beat him senseless. Moore was reluctant at first, but ultimately decided to accept his new situation as he had promised work to a number of his artist friends from Rob Liefeld's defunct Awesome Comics line. In the same interview, he said that it was better to go back against a principle for the greater good, than to have no principles in life at all.

Always the one looking out for others, Alan Moore. And no, no sarcasm when it comes to my favorite comic writer ever.

However, with WildStorm being sold to DC Comics without Moore's knowledge, the collaboration soon fell through as the feud between DC and Moore were well-documented in the industry. With the 32nd issue of Promethea, where the entire ABC Universe faces the Apocalypse, the imprint's "universe" officially ended as Moore bid farewell to an ensemble of some of the most intriguing characters ever in comic-dom.

Nevertheless, 1999 is indeed a significant year in WildStorm history, apart from the critically lauded ABC line. As mentioned earlier in Ellis' quote, the game-changing storyline from his "Change or Die" arc took Stormwatch to the next level. After a deadly encounter with the infamous xenomorphs, creatures from the Alien series of films in a crossover book with Dark Horse, WildC.A.T.s/Aliens, Stormwatch disbanded. From its ashes came The Authority, a ground-breaking series known for its uncompromising attitudes, intense graphic violence, visual flair of a "widescreen" scale created from the relentless mind of Ellis and the incredibly intricate artwork of Bryan Hitch. After twelve issues of awesomeness, Ellis handed the title to then-up-and-coming writer Mark Millar and then-relatively-unknown Frank Quitely. And the rest is history as Millar and Quitely masterfully took the already cutting edge series to the extreme and never look back. The Authority has since took over the United States of America and remain a staple feature of the WildStorm Universe, surpassing even the WildCats in its status. I would even go further to highlight the fact that Marvel's popular Ultimate Universe, in particular their most popular Ultimates (incidentally by Millar and Hitch) wouldn't have existed if not for the influence of The Authority.

And who can forget the absolute flip side of the Batman/Superman "World's Finest" partnership, with the pairing up of quite possibly the first gay superheroes, Midnighter and Apollo. And to everybody's surprise, this is one relationship that got everyone sticking behind, driving away any potential emotions of homophobia.

Ellis was a key contributor during his collaborative years with WildStorm, offering yet another critically acclaimed hit with his seminal work, "Planetary", a delightful celebration of Sci-fi pop culture, literature, and comic book history, with amazing art by John Cassaday.

By 2004, WildStorm continue to take bold moves toward a decidedly indifferent superhero future with their WildStorm Universe. Following the cataclysmal events of Coup D'Etatwhich resulted in The Authority taking control over the U.S. Government, an unexpectedly brilliant series were set up: Sleeper. At a time when Ed Brubaker is still relatively unknown in the comic industry, a finite series successfully mashing superheroics, crime, and espionage was born. While the series proved to be an internet darling and was a success with critics, the series underperformed commercially and was thus canceled after twelve issues. It was then brought back by popular demands for another twelve-issues run as Sleeper: Season Two, which ended with an unforgettably bleak ending.

Yet another testament to WildStorm's relentless scope of publishing in 2004, another landmark new series taking superheroics to yet another philosophic height were introduced. Ex Machina, created by Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris, was an intelligently piece of superhero work unlike any in the business. Interwoven with contemporary politics, ethnics, moral debates, and yes, superheroes, Ex Machina went on to took home the 2005 Eisner Award for Best New Series. For those interested, the awe-inspiring first issue is gamely provided by DC/WildStorm right here.

Gradually, after the acquisition of WildStorm by DC Comics, the DC Universe started to interact with the WildStorm Universe. The connection was further deepened after the return of the Multiverse after DC's Final Crisis, from minor signs like WildStorm's unique Bleed concept introduced to DC Multiverse to major all-out crossover like the DC/Wildstorm: DreamWar between the two distinctly different universe.

Meanwhile, the WildStorm Universe continue to experience the worst kind of crossover events you can imagine for an universe populated with superheroes. Yes, even worst than the eventual non-consequential (by comparison) Civil War that Marvel had. In 2008, after enduring one world-changing event after another (from Wildstorm: Revelations, to Wildstorm: Armageddon, to Number of the Beast), the universe jumped the post-apocalyptic shark with Wildstorm: World's End, where every imaginable bad things happened.

Wildstorm editor Ben Abernathy had this to say to Newsarama:

"This direction evolved following our WorldStorm launch a few years ago. Looking at the landscape of the industry, we realized we needed to move our universe in a different direction, something that the “Big Two” couldn’t, or wouldn’t, do for a long period of time. And we decided that direction should be toward a sci-fi/horror direction of a post-apocalyptic setting (to a degree, an almost logical extension to where the WSU has been headed for years). There have been “visions” of a devastated, bleak future in other mainstream super-hero books, but nothing with the lasting impact or direction that the World’s End books will be tackling."

Following that, WildStorm has since continue to diversify its publishing scope with licensed properties like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, World of Warcraft, The X-Files and Dante's Inferno. With expectedly sub-par results.

And here we are at the end of the road with DC making the heartbreaking announcement.

Jim Lee has since spoke out on the fall out of the event, on Newsarama.

"It’s a ways off. I don’t want to mislead any WildStorm fans. At the same time, honestly, I think taking a bit of a breather on them and then re-energizing them with some new focus and direction will be very good for those characters. I feel very confident, as co-creator on a lot of those properties and characters, that this is a very good creative move for them."

Echoing back to what I mentioned about Ellis' statement. It is well-documented of Jim Lee and Scott Dunbier's relentless enthusiasm to push the envelope of this comic industry that is simply put much smaller than we ever thought. So small that when corporate giant moves, earth trembles and small imprints like WildStorm (that has frankly speaking cheated death for longer than one might thought if you considered the history) gets the red card treatment. Ironically, while the superheroes/villains alike in WildStorm Universe took on the apocalypse in its strive, the real world is that Armageddon nobody can take on. We can already count our luck that Vertigo lives on to fight another day (perhaps, complete with enhanced superpower now that the fallout of the demise of WildStorm are certain to send some of its more cutting edge superhero titles to the mature-reader line).

Reader might at this moment felt that we are overreacting to the closure of the imprint. However, the fact that nobody is certain enough on what is on the horizon for these wonderful characters from WildStorm Universe to speak something on it disturbs me. Word is, they will be reintroduced to DC Comics as part of the DC Universe, under the supervision of probably Geoff Johns. And that disturbs me even more. WildStorm is an unique universe in itself, much like Marvel's 616, or DC's very own Earth-0, a difference not distinctly felt immediately but immediately noticeable in Kurt Busiek and George Perez's JLA/Avengers crossover. Can a pair of iredeemable ultra-violent homosexual pastiches of the World's Finest live in the same universe as the original deal? Even if the answer is yes, I'm certain what we will have then are watered-down versions of Apollo and Midnighter.

To the end of an era in comic history. We mourn the demise of WildStorm with four ironically titled "This Is WildStorm" wallpapers taken from DC's WildStorm site. Yes, it's still there. Grab it while you can.

This WAS WildStorm.






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