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By Jonathan Balofsky On 16 Jun, 2017 At 05:19 PM | Categorized As Animation, Comics/Manga, International News, Movie News, News, News, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Toei Animation sent out the following

 

Toei Animation gave the world a first-look at its highly-anticipated Mazinger Z feature film at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, the largest animation festival in the world. First announced in February with only an image, fans across the globe have waited eagerly for key details on how the big screen will adapt the revered anime series. Now – for the first time since 1974 – Mazinger Z is finally back!

 

With an introduction from Mazinger Z’s original creator, Go Nagai, and producers Ichinao Nagai and Yu Kanemaru, attendees at the Annecy International Film Festival on June 14 were treated to an exclusive look at what the talented team at Toei Animation has been working on these many months. With gasps of surprise and applause from the audience – which included famed director Guillermo Del Toro, who counts the series as a major source of inspiration – three major revelations were revealed.

 

Not An Adaptation, But A Sequel!

The film’s brand-new story takes place ten years after the final episode of the TV series.

 

Complete Synopsis

Humanity was once in danger of its downfall at the hands of the Underground Empire, which was led by the evil scientist Dr. Hell.  Koji Kabuto piloted the super robot Mazinger Z, and with help from his friends at the Photon Power Laboratory, he thwarted Dr. Hell’s evil ambitions and returned peace to the world.

It’s been ten years since then… No longer a pilot, Koji Kabuto has taken after his father and grandfather by starting down the path of the scientist.  He encounters a gigantic structure buried deep beneath Mt. Fuji, along with a mysterious indication of life…

New encounters, new threats, and a new fate await mankind.  The former hero Koji Kabuto has a decision to make about the future: whether to be a god or a demon…

This grand action film depicts the fierce battle fought by the people and Mazinger Z–once again entrusted with the future of mankind!

 

Toshiyuki Watanabe Will Score The Film!

He’s the son of Chumei Watanabe, giant of the Tokusatsu music world, known for being on the front lines of creating opening songs for Showa-era anime and hero shows, including the very Mazinger Z opening theme that Mizuki sings. A composer of music for many movies in his own right, as well as a producer for a variety of artists, ears are open and waiting for the music Toshiyuki Watanabe creates! The torch of “Z” has been passed from father to son!

 

Ichiro Mizuki Joins To Sing The Opening Theme!

The beloved opening theme of the series  returns with a sweeping orchestral version sung by Ichiro Mizuki. After 45 years, everyone’s powered up big bro is coming back to Mazinger Z’s stage.

 

…And Finally!

Previously exclusive only to Annecy attendees, the film’s complete teaser trailer is now available

 

You can see the teaser below

 

Mazinger Z is a beloved series and this new film looks great. Toei is really going all out to make this a tribute to the original and make sure fans and the material are treated with respect. As an anime fan myself, this author is extremely excited by this movie.

Fans should definitely rejoice.

No GravatarI recently had the chance to talk with one of the best comic creators working in the industry right now, Thom Zahler. We discussed his comics, his influences and his advice for new creators. have a read below.

 

 

 

 

 

JB: What were some of your favourite comics growing up?

TZ: I cut my teeth on Superman and the Justice League books. Especially when I was younger, the DC stories were 1-3 part stories that ended, which was kinder when you don’t have any control over when you buy your next book. Firestorm became my favorite because that was the first #1 I ever bought. In the world before reboots and constant renumbering, getting a #1 was special. Oddly, Firestorm was a very Marvel-style character.

 

JB: Who were your favourite artists and writers? Who had the most influence on you?

TZ: As a kid, Curt Swan and Kurt Schaffenberger. Curt drew Superman and he was everywhere. Kurt drew so slick and so perfect, his stuff was just gorgeous. Go back and find his stuff. Such a strong and smooth line, and he made simple look good. He wasn’t designed for everything, but his Shazam stuff was transcendent. And Perez took it to another level for me.

 

JB: You went to the Kubert school, what was that experience like?

TZ: I always describe it as boot camp for artists. We had two classes a day, five days a week. I did 100 assignments before I went home for Thanksgiving. Just the volume of work gets you better. I learned a bunch of new methods and materials, grew so much as an artist, and forged some of my closest friendships.

 

Ultimately, I appreciate that Joe was teaching us to be Will Eisner. I can create a book, top to bottom. It gives me a flexibility to produce books that are important to me. I don’t know how much I appreciated it when I was in school, but I’m so grateful for it now.

 

 

JB: Can you describe some of the major influences on Love and Capes?

 

TZ: Darwyn Cooke, Bruce Timm and the DC Animated art style were huge for the look of the book. A cartoony style was something I fought for a long time, but when I got on the right book and I started doing it, I realized it was my wheelhouse. All that time trying to draw like Curt Swan or George Perez and apparently my art brain doesn’t work that way. But cartoony animated stuff, that’s my jam.

 

Writing wise, Berke Brethed’s Bloom County was a giant influence. It may not seem like it, but Love and Capes had a four panel beat structure. Essentially, it was Bloom County comic strip style jokes stitched together. It was also a comedic metronome for me.

 

The banter comes from my love of TV and sitcoms. Aaron Sorkin, Friends, How I Met Your Mother all loomed large in my head. When writing. It’s hard, because words take room and you have to structure them so the cadence is right there, as opposed to delivered by an actor. But I thought I did well with it.

 

JB:  You mention in your books, some of your influences, and how you put one of your pre-professional creations into the comic. At what point did it hit you that you are a professional comic creator? That moment where you felt a sense of wow at the situation. Do you ever stop feeling like a fan, or do you just appreciate being a fan in new ways?

TZ: That’s a great question! I’m not sure. I felt like a professional artist for years, being a graphic designer for an ad agency. But feeling like I was a full-fledged cartoonist, whatever that means, probably not until IDW picked up Love and Capes. Self-publishing was awesome, but when someone else is putting their money into publishing your work, that’s a different level. And it’s been iterative. IDW made the trades, then started publishing new issues, and then hired me on My Little Pony which was my first non-creator owned writing gig. Ultimate Spider-Man was my first animated TV gig. There’s always another rung on the ladder.

 

I don’t think I’ll ever feel comfortable. But I think that keeps me hungry and growing.

 

JB:  Have you ever considered going back to Love and Capes? Maybe a spinoff featuring Charlotte?

 

TZ: I think about it all the time. Love and Capes is very special to me, but that’s also why it’s so hard to return to. The birth of their child was the planned ending for the series, and I really felt like I stuck that landing. I don’t want to overstay my welcome or go out on a false note. I think stories need to end.

 

That said, if I ever have the RIGHT story, I’ll come back in a heartbeat. It’s interesting you mention Charlotte, because she might be my favorite character. She never found a boyfriend in the series because I couldn’t manage to write anyone worthy of her. I’ve toyed around with shifting the focus to Darkblade and Amazonia, different love, different capes. But I haven’t felt that inner voice telling me “This story, right now.”

 

JB: Your comic Time and Vine is one of the most intriguing ideas I have ever seen. How did you come up with that idea? How long were you working on it before you made it a comic?

 

TZ: I blame Kurt Busiek. I seem to recall him tweeting something about a wine comic and the idea just came to me. It wasn’t the next story idea I had, but it quickly took over my writer’s brain. I was on a walk one day and the structure of the story just came to me and it was so right. Once that happened, I was committed.

 

The time travel aspect locked down pretty quickly. I knew what the story required and the rules worked pretty well. I don’t think there are any cheats or paradoxes. Magic helps a lot.

 

I hope it’s a powerful story. If I do it right, it’ll be my Up. And if you’ve heard me talk about how much I love that movie, you know what that means to me.

 

 

JB: What was it like working on the My Little Pony comic? That franchise has a very dedicated fanbase, so did that make working on the project any different?

 

TZ: I try to respect the fans for sure. I’m a huge Star Trek fan, so I know about loyal fanbases. But the best Trek movie was written by Nick Meyer, who wasn’t a huge fan. I hoped to bring that outside perspective to it when I started. Now, I am a fan of the show, and I am a fan of the fans. But, if I’m doing it right, I also have the distance from the property to write interesting stories. Using Trek as an example again, I’m not sure I would have been bold enough to write Kirk feeling old, having a child, or killing Spock. But those were all great choices… bold choices… by someone who knew what a good story was and not just what they wanted to see.

 

 

JB: What advice do you have to new writers and artists trying to break into the industry?

 

TZ: Keep learning and be persistent are the big ones. And make something. There are less middle range publishers who would pay you to do sample pages like when I broke in, so you’ve got to publish on the web, or Comixology, or self-publish.

 

But that’s the big thing to me. It’s never a static game board. The rules keep changing. I came out of Kubert with the skill of hand-lettering. But computer lettering was on the horizon. Which meant that I was riding a wave. I could get hand lettering work, but I had to decide if I wanted to adapt to keep getting more work. I’ve learned how to color on the computer, how to draw on the computer and so on. I never wanted to self-publish, but it became the solution to the problem in front of me.

 

Basically, your job isn’t being a cartoonist. Your job is being employed.

 

 

JB: What are some projects you would like to work on, licensed properties or otherwise?

 

TZ: Star Trek, Star Trek, Star Trek! I love Trek so much, and co-wrote a short story for Pocket Books. I’d love to do more.

 

And I’d love to do a traditional superhero book. I think my sensibilities are just enough off-center to do something quirky while still writing a standard superhero book. Superman, Iron Man, Firestorm… I’d love to take a shot at those.

 

 

JB:  Do you have anything you would like to say to the readers of Real Otaku Gamer?

 

TZ: I’ve got a new project that just dropped from Webtoons, too! It’s called Warning Label and it’s about a girl named Danielle who’s been cursed by her ex-boyfriend that anytime she gets asked out, they get a warning label of all the things they need to watch out for. You can check it out at:

http://www.webtoons.com/en/romance/warning-label/list?title_no=1051

 

Time and Vine is in Previews now. And I’ll have a couple more My Little Pony issues coming out this summer, too!

JB: Thank you again for doing this.

 

TZ: My pleasure!

 

 

You can follow Thom on Twitter @thomzahler

 

 

Love and Capes and Long Distance are both available at Amazon.

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 21 Apr, 2017 At 04:42 PM | Categorized As Books, Comics/Manga, News, News, NINTENDO, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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It was previously noted that a Splatoon manga series will soon begin running in Japan, and now it turns out fans here in the west need not feel left out.

Viz Media posted the following.

Splatoon has quickly become an extremely big hit and a manga is a great way to expand it. It would be great if the manga is as well received as the game was.

Will you be reading it?

By Jonathan Balofsky On 2 Apr, 2017 At 02:16 PM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, News, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarComic Fans, rejoice, There will be a new crossover between the TMNT and Usagi Yojimbo. Entertainment Weekly sat down with Usagi Yojimbo Creator Stan Sakai to discuss the project and many interesting details were mentioned. For one, although Usagi and the turtles have crossed over in the past, this crossover is between the new IDW incarnation of the turtles meeting Usagi. But Usagi remembers his previous meetings with the Mirage era turtles. How this will be explained will not doubt be amazing.

Sakai broke the story down in the interview.

The story is called “Namazu.” It’s based upon the folklore of a giant catfish that lives underneath the Japanese islands. When it moves, that’s what causes earthquakes. There’s a god, Kashima, who had trapped it, pinned it down with a huge capstone. In my story, a piece of the capstone has crumbled off centuries ago, and that has weakened it. Because of that, the catfish has gotten stronger and is able to move a bit more. Usagi and the Turtles come into possession of a fragment of the capstone, and they have to put the fragments back together to trap the catfish. Otherwise, it will literally tear the Japanese islands apart. One of my characters called Jei is on a sacred quest to destroy all evil in the world. He reasons if he destroys all people, he’ll be destroying evil. So he wants the Japanese islands to be destroyed and is preventing them from completing their mission. It’s just full of fun.

Jei is one of my favourite characters in the series, so for him to interact with the turtles is something I’ve wanted for a long time.

He also discussed the format, which will come as a one shot comic and also a hardcover version.

This story will come in a special hardcover edition. Can you talk about what goodies will be included?
The hardcover will include the preliminary drawings and notes I had done. These are new incarnations of the turtles, so they’re slightly different from what I’m used to drawing. For one thing, when I turned in the rough copy, my editor said these turtles don’t have tails. Oh, okay. There are little things like that. It will also have story notes, background. I also wanted to do a bibliography of story notes about the earthquake fish. It will have thumbnails, my story outline, pretty much the creative process.

Stan Sakai is a legendary writer and artist and this story sounds absolutely amazing. We have promises of Stan’s version of Splinter showing up ( does that mean kakaera the rat wizard?) Usagi meeting the new turtles, and more interaction. This will be amazing.

If you haven’t yet read our breakdown of the series, you can read it here.

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By Jonathan Balofsky On 22 Mar, 2017 At 09:52 PM | Categorized As Books, Comics/Manga, News, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Robert E Howard was the legendary creator of Conan the barbarian. Conan has seen several comic adaptations over the years, including comics from Dark Horse Comics that have been running for some years now. But Howard made other great characters as well, notably Kull the Conqueror, a more cerebral take on the idea of the barbarian hero. Kull has also had adaptations in the past, from Marvel Comics and Dark Horse Comics, but they have not caught on as well.

Now however, IDW Publishing has acquired the license to produce new comics based on the character. Rather than retreading what was previously done, the writers are taking things in a new direction.

“‘Kull Eternal’ is that idea — using the Howard-penned tale (and one of my personal favorites) ‘The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune’ as its foundation, IDW will take Kull on a journey through time… a strange journey that will combine modern conspiracies and political intrigue with the supernatural and sword and sorcery underpinnings of the warrior king’s past. This will be Kull as he’s never been seen before… and yet as legendary as ever. A weird tale we hope is worthy of all the fantastically weird tales that have come before.”

This is a really cool take on the character, and one I personally will have to check out. I have been a massive fan of the work of Robert E Howard for years, including the Kull stories, and so really appreciate this new take on the lore. Here is hoping IDW has a successful run with the character.

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By Kira Nance On 22 Mar, 2017 At 09:35 PM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, International News, News, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarArmy of Darkness fans rejoice! Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the beloved cult horror film Army of Darkness, Dynamite Entertainment (Red Sonja, The Shadow) has announced the upcoming launch of Ash Vs. The Army of Darkness, the next installment in the already successful comic book franchise. With issue #0 boasting a “S-Mart Special Pricing” of $0.99 Dynamite is hoping to appeal to AOD fans new and old who are always susceptible to a good “impulse buy”. The creative genius of Co-Writers Chad Bowers and Chris Sims (X-Men ’92, Awesome Hospital, Swordquest) along with artist Mauro Vargas (Crossed: Badlands, Destiny’s Fate) will lead us into the next phase of the Chosen One’s journey.  In Dynamite’s official press release, both publisher and writing duo expressed an almost childlike enthusiasm for the project.

“Army of Darkness, and really Sam Raimi’s entire filmography, is such a major influence on how we approach storytelling,” says co-writer Chad Bowers. “Being turned loose inside that sandbox and having a chance to add to the AOD mythology feels like something we’ve been working toward for years, and hopefully it reads that way, too. And I dare anybody to tell me Ash Williams isn’t the toughest ass-kicker in horror! What he lacks in brains, he more than makes up for by having a chainsaw for a hand. That’ll get you a long way in this world!”

“I saw Army of Darkness when I was nine, and I’ve literally described it as a life-changing experience. It might’ve been the most influential movie I’ve ever watched — in terms of the stories that I like and how much I love smartass everyman heroes that stumble into having to do the right thing — and almost everything I’ve written has had a variation on that idea kicking around in it,” says co-writer Chris Sims. “One of our big goals whenever we sit down to write a new story is to keep things moving fast enough that nobody has a chance to get bored, and with Ash, escalating those situations was so much fun.”

“Chad and Chris bring such vibrant life to their scripts; they translate their own enthusiasm so incredibly to the work, and they are Army of Darkness fans through and through. Teaming them with Mauro Vargas, an exceptional rising star (especially in the realm of hardcore horror), will ensure that longtime fans and curious newcomers are more than satisfied!” says Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher of Dynamite Entertainment. “Celebrating AOD’s anniversary with a 99-cent introductory-priced #0 issue is a great way for our retail partners to welcome as many customers as possible to the world of Ash Vs. The Army of Darkness with minimal risk. Put copies on your store shelves and watch as impulse buys ensue — Ash is back, and we couldn’t be happier!” 

Ash Vs. The Army of Darkness will hit the shelves in June featuring a cover by artist Nick Bradshaw (Wolverine & The X-Men). Additionally, five variant covers will be available, with artists Pasquale Qualano (Doctor Who), Reilly Brown (Deadpool & Cable, The Amazing Spider-Man) and J. Scott Campbell’s “13th Anniversary Flashback” cover edition, making contributions.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 19 Mar, 2017 At 08:43 PM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, News, News, NINTENDO, ROG News, Uncategorized | With 0 Comments

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Here is some great news for fans of Splatoon and fans of comics. As part of the 40th anniversary celebration of CoroCoro, there will be a Splatoon full color comic book featured in  an issue due out April 15th,
But that is not all. There will be a Splatoon comic series appearing monthly, starting in the June issue. This is likely to coincide with Splatoon 2, as it will be a great bit of promotion for the game. Hopefully we can get these comics in the west as well, perhaps by Dark Horse, who seem to have a working relationship with Nintendo.

 

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By Kira Nance On 17 Mar, 2017 At 10:07 PM | Categorized As Animation, Comics/Manga, International News, Movie News, News, News, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarNetflix Japan has released a teaser trailer for Devilman crybaby, a new anime adaptation of Go Nagai’s iconic manga Devilman, said to be coming spring 2018. Known for it’s graphic violence, Nagai’s Devilman has inspired countless adaptations since it’s 1972 debut. In Nagai’s story, we follow Akira Fudo, a pure of heart youth who, embracing the fight fire with fire advice of his best friend Ry? Asuka, willingly integrates with an unlucky demon to prevent an impending resurgence of demons.

To fight a demon, one must become a demon“.

The official Netflix description is as follows:

A demon possesses a boy’s dead body to do evil. But after falling in love with a human girl, he has a change of heart. Based on Go Nagai’s hit manga.”

Directing the new anime is Masaaki Yuasa (Adventure Time, Ping Pong, Mind Games) and he appears to be embracing the Devilman spirit with open arms. Yuasa is well known and respected for his off-model deranged animation as well as his use of Gainax Endings.  Produced by Aniplex and Dynamic Planning (Go Nagai), Devilman will be available in 190 countries/territories, dubbed in 9 languages, with subtitles in 25.

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By otakuman5000 On 17 Dec, 2016 At 02:25 PM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, Featured, Indie Spotlight, News, ROG News | With 1 Comment

No GravatarI had the pleasure of exchanging emails with the creators of the new indie comic Godhand, and boy, do they have a story to tell. Conrad Iwanicki is the writer of the comic and the artist is Ronald Nelson. Together, they have with a uniquely compelling story about a deeply “flawed” individual, along the lines of Deadpool and Batman.  Please take the time to check it out. What drives Conrad was the suicide of his mom, who is a Disabled Veteran two years ago.

KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED FOR “GODHAND” Partial Proceeds to Benefit Veteran Mental Health Organization, Give An Hour Sneads Ferry, NC, December 16, 2016– Effective immediately, the official Kickstarter campaign has been launched for ‘Godhand’, a graphic novel. A relevant story propelled by an average guy going through the mundane motions of the corporate world. The lead antagonist, Bryce Powers (i.e. “Godhand”) finds himself at a fork in the road where he ultimately becomes the anti-hero. Written to substantiate that all who walk this world aren’t out of redemption’s reach, “Godhand” touches on a variation of descriptions: contemptuous, witty, poignant, cheeky, and harrowing. This graphic novel written by first-time author Conrad Iwanicki and illustrated by established American Manga artist Ronald Nelson, known for his work on (H)afrocentric, is, above-all-else, relatable, significant and noteworthy amongst modern comic literature and prose. While the ultimate objective is to self-publish and create a franchise with staying power, the story behind “Godhand” is both somber and inspiring. Iwanicki found the inspiration to create “Godhand” upon the recent suicide of his mother, Carrie Iwanicki [1962-2014]. A veteran of the United States military, she found herself in a compromising position, one familiar to countless veterans of our armed forces: lacking proper mental health care, disheartened, disconnected, suicidal. Page | 2 “My mom had a heart the size of the ocean, she truly lived to help others. Her suicide was senseless and fairly ironic considering a person that would help anyone couldn’t get the help she needed. With the success of ‘Godhand’, not only can I continue her legacy of selflessness, but hopefully I can do my part to stem the tide of 22 veteran suicides a day, so no other son or daughter has to experience the needless loss and sorrow I have.” -Conrad Iwanicki, Author Piecing together his personal relationship with the effects of the mental health of those who so selflessly give their services to our country and their families, Iwanicki will be donating proceeds from “Godhand” to the non-profit organization Give an Hour, “a national network of mental health care providers who give an hour of their time each week to help members of the military and their families cope with the “unseen wounds” associated with military service.” [www.giveanhour.org] A sample of dialogue and concept art can be obtained and viewed, respectively, at the website, www.godhandcomic.com. This project is in need of immediate funding to successfully reach its ultimate potential; more information on “Godhand” and how you can help is available on the Kickstarter campaign page now: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1092670955/godhand-a-graphicnovel/description.

Please check it out and share this article with any veterans in your family. The free sample of the story can be found here.  Also check out and donate to Give an Hour.

Here are some concept art:godhand-bryce-turnarounds-page-001_1_orig godhand-punch1 godhand

By Jonathan Balofsky On 9 Sep, 2016 At 11:07 AM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, Featured, News, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Alan Moore, the legendary writer of such classics as Watchmen and V for Vendetta, has announced he is retiring from comics

After writing some of the most famous and critically acclaimed comic books of all time, including Watchmen, V for Vendetta, From Hell and The League of Extraordinary Gentleman, Alan Moore has confirmed that he is retiring from the medium.

At a press conference in London for his latest work, Jerusalem, a weighty novel named after William Blake’s poem exploring the history of Moore’s native Northampton through several lives, Moore said he had “about 250 pages of comics left in me”.

He added: “And those will probably be very enjoyable. There are a couple of issues of an Avatar [Press] book that I am doing at the moment, part of the HP Lovecraft work I’ve been working on recently. Me and Kevin will be finishing Cinema Purgatorio and we’ve got about one more book, a final book of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen to complete. After that, although I may do the odd little comics piece at some point in the future, I am pretty much done with comics.”

The decision came, Moore explained, when he realized he felt too comfortable in the medium. “I think I have done enough for comics. I’ve done all that I can. I think if I were to continue to work in comics, inevitably the ideas would suffer, inevitably you’d start to see me retread old ground and I think both you and I probably deserve something better than that,” he said.

Moore wrote some of the greatest comics around, including “The Killing Joke” and “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” and “For the Man Who has Everything”, and his presence in comics will be missed.

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