Badass Comic Book Cover: Action Comics #30

Posted by Admin - April 5th, 2014

badass-actioncomics30

Every week, I’ll be bringing you a comic book cover that I feel eclipses others out there—to the point I might just have to own it!

The BadAss Comic Book Cover for this week is for Action Comics #30. Why do I love this cover? It shows the perils that confront the Man of Steel. All lines lead to the central character of the piece—Superman—and those lines are missiles. They come from all directions but the Man of Steel is ready for them, waiting, with a look on his face that says, “I am coming for you, Luthor!”

The other great thing about this cover is the “DOOMED” storyline that is promised. Doomsday is returning and the first few pages HERE show the beginnings of what I hope to be a new take on the villain!

Here is a bit more about Action Comics #30:

Art by: Aaron Kuder
Cover by: Aaron Kuder
Written by: Greg Pak
Series: ACTION COMICS 2011
U.S. Price: 3.99
On Sale Date: Apr 2 2014
Volume/Issue #: 30
Color/B&W: Color
Trim Size: Comic
Page Count: 32

The Story: Following the events of FOREVER EVIL, Superman confronts Lex Luthor – but the world has turned around for these two. The hero has become the villain and the villain the hero as forces beyond these two gather to destroy the Man of Steel, beginning with a dormant Doomsday who has crossed over from the Phantom Zone!

Action Comics #30 is in fine comic book stores now!

More next Saturday! In the meantime, go visit your local comic book store…


speakman-shawnShawn Speakman is the author of The Dark Thorn, an urban/epic fantasy hybrid novel bestselling author Terry Brooks calls, “a fine tale by a talented writer.”

He is also editor and contributor of Unfettered, a fantasy anthology featuring some of the best writers in the genre. When Shawn isn’t lying for a living, he runs The Signed Page and Grim Oak Press.


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Here’s Your Remote Control Flying, Fire-Breathing Dragon

Posted by Admin - April 3rd, 2014

fire-breathing-dragon-2Forget the jet pack: The future is here and it brought a dragon! Who wants one? Only K!

Grab one at Hammacher.com:

This is the remote controlled jet-powered dragon that soars through the air at up to 70 mph and belches propane-powered flame when on the ground. Proving its prowess before take-offs or after successful raids, the dragon’s LED eyes can be commanded to glow red while it emits a fiery 3′ blast of flame from a cleverly concealed (and flight-disabled) propane tank and igniter built into its toothy maw. A miniature turbine engine built into the beast’s chest provides thrust that exits the rear at 500 mph, and uses 1/2 gallon of jet aircraft fuel or kerosene for 10 minute flights. With a head that swivels in the direction of turns, the dragon can climb and dive via wing ailerons and elevators built into its V-tail rudder, controlled with the 2.4GHz radio remote. Four clawed feet each house a 3″-diam. rubber wheel for braking and steering while on the ground. Its aerodynamic outer shell is constructed from a Nomex core sandwiched between two layers of epoxy glass with internal structural formers made from high-grade plywood for lightweight and optimal flight performance. Special conditions and guarantee limitations apply. Please call 1-800-227-3528 for details. 9′ L x 9′ W x 20″ H. (40 lbs.)

Via Laughingsquid.com


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George R. R. Martin To Publish Only ONE Copy of The Winds of Winter

Posted by Admin - April 1st, 2014

No, this is not THE WINDS OF WITNER cover, you pranked Imp!The murder from A Game of Thrones may become all too real.

In a masterstroke of evil genius or psychopathic disregard for humanity, bestselling author George R. R. Martin is publishing only one—that’s right, one—hardcover copy of his next novel, The Winds of Winter.

Martin is best known as the writer responsible for the bestselling fantasy series A Fire & Ice Song, which ultimately led him to international stardom when HBO began adapting the series. Billions of his fans are eagerly awaiting the penultimate installment of A Fire & Ice Song, The Winds of Winter, and how it will lead into the final volume of the series. In the past, A Fire & Ice Song novels have been released with hardcover print runs in the hundreds of thousands along with a simultaneous ebook release. Not with The Winds of Winter. There will be one copy created—one copy only. It will be hidden in an Amazon big-box bookstore of Martin’s choice. And from there chaos will erupt around the globe.

When asked about why he has decided to publish only one copy of The Winds of Winter, Martin seemed less than worried.

“I want people to know… to really feel… what it’s like to live in Westeros,” Martin said from his home in King’s Landing. “The one copy of The Winds of Winter will be a beautifully crafted piece of art, made with Lannister gold filigree, Targaryen dragon hide, and ink supplied from Stark blood. The true battle for the Iron Throne is about to begin!”

“It’s clear George has lost it. Absolutely lost it,” long-time friend and editor Anne Groell stated from her office in New York City. “No good can come of this. World War IV? The Apocalypse in the Bible’s Revelation? Aliens visiting Earth for Obamacare? These events are not the end of times. The Winds of Winter will be. I put a lot of time into these books. And now this?! This aberration of editorial nature will be the death of all we know! Of all we know, I tell you!”

Fans are already frenzied by the news. Economic Maesters are unanimous in their belief this could destroy the world’s economy—and even prompt a life-time of winter.

Actor Peter Dinklage, who plays the role of Tyrion Lannister on the HBO show, did not want to comment. “If I comment and share how I really feel about this, George may kill my character off. He’s a bloody bastard that way. Bloody. Bastard. Like that Joffrey kid. Fans love Tyrion. They want to see him survive the game of thrones and ride a dragon. That can’t happen if he’s dead because I open my mouth. Plus, I like having a job.”

When asked where he got the idea, Martin just smiled. “Two words: Wu-Tang. The Winds of Winter will show the world how humanity really is—cut throat and willing to do anything for these books. I cannot wait for the bloodbath to ensue!”

There is no news yet about how the last book in the series, A Dream of Spring, will be published. Martin did not seem worried by the question.

“I sit the Iron Throne! Me! Myself! My own! Preciousss!”


speakman-shawnShawn Speakman is the author of The Dark Thorn, an urban/epic fantasy hybrid novel bestselling author Terry Brooks calls, “a fine tale by a talented writer.”

He is also editor of Unfettered, a fantasy anthology featuring some of the best writers in the genre. When Shawn isn’t lying for a living on April Fool’s Day, he runs The Signed Page and Grim Oak Press.


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RIP Dungeons & Dragons Artist Dave Trampier: 1954 – 2014

Posted by Admin - March 31st, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-03-28 at 10.27.09 PMSlowly but surely, we’re losing the men and women who brought us Dungeons & Dragons. The game’s co-founders, Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, passed away in 2008 and 2009, respectively. Now comes more sad news: Artist David Trampier died on the morning of March 24 at Helia Healthcare in Carbondale, Illinois. He was 59 years-old, and allegedly in poor health.

Trampier, a native Missourian, first came to work for Dungeons & Dragons publisher TSR in 1977. Along with fellow artists David C. Sutherland (d. 2005), and Erol Otus, he was  instrumental in defining the visual style that came to define Dungeons & Dragons in its early years. Where fellow artist Otus brought a surreal and even psychedelic tone to his work, and Sutherland a hard-lined, high contrast comic book style, Trampier’s contributions were memorable for their grimy pseudo-realism and dramatic use of chiaroscuro. Trampier’s drawings and paintings often portrayed the game’s fighters, magic-users, thieves, and clerics as the scoundrels as they were most often played by the game’s fans. Trampier’s subjects were disreputable sell-swords, sorcerers, cutthroats, and tomb breakers: opportunistic rogues on the make rather than knights in shining armor.

Of Trampier’s many works, perhaps the most iconic was the painting that graced the cover of the first edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Players Handbook.  The scene it depicted of a group of adventurers arguing over a map while two of their compatriots work to pry a jewel loose from a massive demonic idol stands as a perfect example of Trampier’s rogueish aesthetic. The fiery reds and golds of the idol drew the eye and provoked endless speculation from those sitting at the gaming table: What happened to those adventurers? Was the idol trapped? Did the map signal that they were lost, or were they just selecting the next target to plunder?

Like his Players Handbook cover, many of Trampier’s other large pieces told stories – or at least encouraged other people to do so. One of the most provocative was “Emirikol the Chaotic”, a full-page pen and ink illustration from the Dungeon Masters Guide that portrayed a black-clad warlock on horseback blasting medieval townsfolk with eldritch bolts of energy. Who was Emirikol, and why had he come to the city? Can we find him?

The Players Handbook cover was only one among many contributions from Trampier. His spot illustrations for the game’s Monster Manual are among the finest in the book. It is unlikely that he knew it then, but Trampier’s drawings of Displacer Beasts, Wererats, and Basilisks were to become canonical entries in the literature of Dungeons & Dragons. Trampier was the first to take the text descriptions of these beasts and render them into drawings. In doing so, Trampier didn’t draw a Displacer Beast; he drew the Displacer Beast, and set standards from which future artists would take their lead.

In addition to his work on Dungeons & Dragons and other TSR games, Trampier also wrote and illustrated Wormy: a light-hearted comic strip about the life and times of a cigar-smoking, billiards-playing dragon. Wormy began to appear in TSR’s fledgling gaming magazine The Dragon in 1977. The comic was a perfect outlet for the artist’s sense of humor, shadows of which was evident in many of his “straight” illustrations. (Among other things, he was fond of inserting himself into his drawings. Look carefully and you’ll see his bearded face in several of them.) Wormy won Trampier legions of fans, and after about a decade of publication TSR began to discuss putting together a collection of the comic strips. Sadly, this was not to be: In 1988, Trampier vanished. New Wormy strips stopped coming in, and checks sent to his last known address were returned to the publisher. TSR was left with no choice but to announce that Wormy would not continue in future issues.

Trampier’s disappearance was utter and complete, and included not only the gaming industry but also his friends, colleagues, and family. Attempts to locate him were unsuccessful, and after many such attempts, rumors began to spread that he had died. Trampier’s brother-in-law, fellow game designer and illustrator Tom Wham, put these rumors to rest in the nineties, stating that the artist was alive and living somewhere in Illinois. He also added that he had not had contact with him since 1982. Stories began to circulate that Trampier may have been suffering from mental health issues at the time of his disappearance, and that he had ended his relationship with TSR over an argument about property rights associated with the Wormy comic strip. Regardless of the reasons, Trampier was gone.

Although he was missed, the gaming world moved on in Trampier’s absence. Several editions of Dungeons & Dragons came and went, and so did the game’s players. Many of the players who remembered Trampier’s work had grown up, gotten jobs, and started families of their own, and in the process many became too busy to play the game. Younger gamers learned to play the new editions of D&D, or skipped it altogether in favor of collectible card games like Magic: The Gathering, or video games like World of Warcraft. Trampier might have lived the rest of his life in anonymity, were it not for a tiny article published in The Daily Egyptian, the student newspaper of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale

The article “Coffee, Cigarettes and Speed Bumps: A Night With a Carbondale Cabby” was a straight-forward feature piece describing a night in the life of David Trampier, a local cab driver who had recently moved back to the area from Chicago, where he had also driven a cab. This Trampier didn’t talk about gaming, or art, or much of anything else besides his late night adventures as an independently-employed, coffee-swilling, chain-smoking cabby. He only worked the night shift, he told Daily Egyptian reporter Arin Thompson, and the job suited him. The story, along with a photo of Trampier and his cab, ran in the February 22, 2002 issue of the paper. There’s no way of knowing if Trampier had any idea that the little ride-along with the college student might end his anonymity, but end it, it did.

News of the article spread among Trampier’s old fans and colleagues, and once they knew he was in Carbondale, some of them tried to make touch. Those who succeeded probably went on to wish that they had not. Trampier wanted nothing to do with art or gaming, and it would seem that included his fans and industry professionals alike. He wanted his privacy, and was not at all shy about making that understood to anyone who intruded upon it. Trampier still harbored a lot of anger toward his old employer TSR, and even Wizards of the Coast, the company that had bought out nearly bankrupt TSR in 1997. He wouldn’t accept new commissions or sell his old work, and refused offers from publishers interested in publishing a Wormy anthology.

The world had discovered David Trampier was alive, but David Trampier wanted nothing to do with the world. The old rumors about mental illness surfaced again, and those curious enough about Trampier to attempt to contact him were emphatically warned against doing so. Anecdotes about phone calls that had ended with Trampier shouting and abruptly hanging up were common. Others reported that he was polite but firm in his requests that he not be called again. There were those who took offense at the reclusive artist’s reputed belligerence, but given no choice, they respected his privacy.

The gaming world was changing again in the late 2000′s. A new movement in gaming had risen in response to the controversial fourth edition of Dungeons & Dragons: The “Old-School Renaissance”. The OSR , as it was commonly known, looked to the early days of fantasy role-playing as inspiration, and that included the work of early artists like Trampier. OSR gamers resumed – or never stopped – playing older games like Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, and even creating new supplements and rule books for them. Some of these OSR enthusiasts became successful publishers, or at least successful enough to commission new artwork from classic artists like Erol Otus. Suddenly retrospectives, fan pages and appreciation sites devoted to these early artists of the hobby started popping up everywhere online, and that included ones devoted to Trampier. New artists began to work in styles clearly influenced by his and others’ work, and artistic homages to famous Trampier pieces like “Emirikol the Chaotic” appeared in old school-inspired new games like Dungeon Crawl Classics and Hackmaster. It seemed like Trampier’s work was everywhere again, even if he was not.

If Trampier knew about his new legions of online admirers, it wasn’t enough to make him reconsider his self-imposed exile. However, that might have been about to change, according to the owners of Carbondale, IL game store Castle Perilous. In a March 28 entry to the store’s blog, “The Castle’s Ramparts”, blogger “Sthorne” wrote that Trampier’s rising medical expenses had prompted him to revisit publishing a collected Wormy volume, and that he had come into the store a couple of months ago to ask for assistance in finding a publisher. He had also agreed to be a guest at Egypt Wars, a local gaming convention. Trampier had suffered a stroke, and was recently been diagnosed with cancer, but had believed that his health was improving. Sadly, that would not be the case.

It is sad to think that Trampier might have found the financial assistance he needed if only he would have reached out to his fans. Surely he must have been in dire straits to reconsider selling Wormy, a proposition that had allegedly been part of the reason he cut off ties with the gaming world in the first place. Had he given it another chance, he would have discovered that the gaming industry had changed in a lot of ways that might have suited him. Advances in self-publishing, crowdsourcing, and social media have all made the world a friendlier place for independent game publishing, and many of the men and women working in that world have been, and continue to be, inspired by Trampier’s artwork.

Trampier is gone now, and beyond the reach of whatever demons may troubled him in life. Before we judge him too harshly for those demons, perhaps we should consider whether Trampier’s artistic legacy would exist today without them.


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Never Tell Me The Odds! How A Bet With George Lucas Made Steven Spielberg Millions From ‘Star Wars’

Posted by Admin - March 31st, 2014

20130211-george-lucas-306x-1360601228We all know now how successful Star Wars has been, but once upon a time, Saga creator George Lucas wasn’t so sure that it would find an audience. According to his friend and fellow blockbuster movie director Steven Spielberg, Lucas was so convinced that Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope would be a flop that he offered to trade 2.5% of profit earned from the film for 2.5% profit from Spielberg’s own soon to be released science fiction film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The future would show that neither man had anything to worry about: Both films were successful, but A New Hope would soon outpace Close Encounters and become one of the biggest box office hits of all time.

Lucky for Spielberg, he took Lucas up on his trade, and according to an article published by Business Insider, that decision has probably netted him million and counting from the film.

Read the full story at Business Insider!


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Andy Serkis Talks ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ and ‘The Jungle Book’

Posted by Admin - March 30th, 2014

The fine folks at Collider managed to grab famed motion-capture actor Andy Serkis to discuss his role as Caesar in the new Planet of the Apes sequel as well as his directorial debut with a new adaptation of The Jungle Book. Check it out!


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No, There’s Not Going To Be An Indiana Jones Reboot

Posted by Admin - March 27th, 2014

6The crew at Latino Review broke a story – or rather started a rumor – that everyone’s two-fisted archaeologist was about to receive a Hollywood makeover: Yep, that’s right, an Indiana Jones reboot, supposedly starring Bradley Cooper (Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy) as the new Indy. It was all the rage on the web for about four hours today, until the rumor was quashed by Huffington Post, among other publications:

Because not every big casting rumor involves “Star Wars: Episode VII,” Latino Review reports that Bradley Cooper is on a wish list of names to replace Harrison Ford in the “Indiana Jones” franchise. According to the site, which previously broke news about Cooper voicing Rocket Raccoon in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” it’s still unclear if the fifth Indiana Jones film will feature Ford as the adventuring professor or a new actor picking up the baton, a la the James Bond franchise.

UPDATE: According to a source close to the production, Cooper is not under consideration to star and there are no plans to reboot the franchise with another actor. HuffPost Entertainment has also contacted representatives for Cooper and “Indiana Jones” producer Frank Marshall for official comment on the casting rumor. This post will be updated again if they respond.

I’m not super crazy about the idea of an Indiana Jones reboot. I have pretty good memories of (most of) the original films, and Indy is one of those roles that Harrison Ford just owned. I don’t think I’d be interested in seeing a new one. I could see movies starring an actor playing a younger Indy, but a complete reboot? No thanks.

I think we dodged a bullet here. What about you?


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‘Prometheus’ Sequel Confirmed

Posted by Admin - March 25th, 2014

prometheus1yearPrometheus has to have been one of the most divisive science fiction films to have been released in the last five or ten years. Most people either loved it or hated it with few falling anywhere between. Well, get ready to slug it out with your friends again: “Multiple sources” have told industry site The Wrap that Prometheus 2 will be heading into production soon, with an expected release date of sometime in March 2016.

According to The Wrap, Michael Fassbender will be returning to reprise his role as “David”, the synthetic human beheaded by one of the series’ Engineers. If you recall, David’s head was still functioning at the end of the film when it and Noomi Rapace took off for the Engineer homeworld. The big twist is – presuming that The Wrap’s sources are trustworthy – that Fassbender will be playing multiple Davids. The same sources are quoted as saying that Green Lantern script writer Michael Green will be rewriting a draft script originally authored by Jack Paglen, and that the next movie is going to be scarier and closer to Alien in tone.

What do you think? Will you be seeing the movie?


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Brilliant Teacher Threatens to Spoil ‘Game of Thrones’ for Misbehaving Students

Posted by Admin - March 23rd, 2014

Detention, demerits, or extra homework? Forget them. This German math teacher really knows how to get his students’ attention: by threatening them with A Game of Thrones spoilers. And it wasn’t an idle threat, either. Evidently this teacher is a fan of the series and has read all of the books. I’m assuming his students haven’t.

Via Metro:

One day while teaching in a noisy classroom, the educator asked who watched Game of Thrones, to which the majority raised their hands.

‘Well, I’ve read all the books,’ he told them. ‘If there is too much noise, I will write the name of the dead on the board. They are enough to fill the whole year and I can even describe how they die,’ reports nieuwsblad.be.

Read the rest at Metro. No Spoilers!


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50 Page Fridays: Cleve Lamison

Posted by Admin - March 22nd, 2014

Every Friday, we here @ Del Rey Spectra will place a 50 page excerpt of a selected title on Suvudu. Whether it is science fiction, epic fantasy, alternate history, horror, urban fantasy, paranormal, the possibilities are endless.

This week we’ve featured the first 50 pages of Cleve Lamison’s debut, FULL-BLOOD, HALF-BREED. In this hard-hitting debut, two young men divided by an intense hatred—yet marked with a common destiny—have the power to save the world . . . or destroy it.

Check out the synopsis here:

It’s been two thousand years since the bastard spawn of the god Creador lost their war to enslave humankind, transforming the Thirteen Kingdoms into a violent world where the martial arts are exalted as sacred gifts from the gods—and honor is won through arena blood sport.

Paladin Del Darkdragón, a sixteen-year-old warrior-in-training, is a “half-breed.” His battle against pure-blood bullies like Fox the Runt has forced him to master the four fighting forms. But when he blends them, he is condemned as a heretic by authorities and banished from the training temples. Seeking redemption, he enrolls in the arena games, savage trials that end in death.

This year’s games mask an old plot driven by a new prophet. With a horde of Creador’s Bastards and an army of fanatics led by Fox the Runt at his command, the Prophet will bend the world to his will or burn it to ash.

Paladin faces an impossible choice: redeem his honor in a fight he can’t hope to survive, or abandon his loved ones to perish in the sweeping holy war consuming the Kingdoms.

As always, feel free to give us feedback in the comments. Or let us know on Twitter via a direct message to our Twitter maven, Sarah Peed: www.twitter.com/delreyspectra. Or write on the wall of our Facebook page: Like us at www.facebook.com/delreyspectra

We hope you enjoy this excerpt of Full-Blood, Half-Breed by Cleve Lamison!

Full-Blood, Half-Breed by Cleve Lamison by Random House Publishing Group


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