Marvel Comics launches new ‘Star Wars’ in January

Marvel Comics launches new 'Star Wars' in January

Jason Aaron is again putting his Darth Vader carrying case packed full of vintage Star Wars action figures to good use, probably for the first time since he was a kid.

The writer and artist John Cassaday kick off Marvel Comics’ new line of comic books based on the sci-fi franchise in January with Star Wars, the first of three titles launching in 2015.

Marvel, which takes over the Star Wars license for comics from Dark Horse Comics, is releasing a pair of tie-in books to expand the universe: the ongoing Star Wars: Darth Vader by writer Kieron Gillen and artist Salvador Larroca in February, and the five-issue miniseries Star Wars: Princess Leia by writer Mark Waid and artist Terry Dodson in March.

Heading up Marvel’s first Star Wars comic in years and the first as part of the new canon led by the Lucasfilm Story Group — which is also overseeing the Star Wars Rebels cartoon and J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII next year, among other projects — is a pretty big deal for Aaron, he says. But that’s the kind of stuff that excites him as a creator.

“My desk will be a clutter of Star Wars toys but it’s all work related.”

The trio of new comics take place just after the Battle of Yavin at the end of the original 1977 Star Wars movie, and Aaron’s comic catches up with Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Chewbacca and droids C-3PO and R2-D2 a couple weeks after the destruction of the Empire’s all-powerful Death Star.

The characters are still new for one another and figuring out their roles, and Aaron is treating it like Lucasfilm hired the creative team to do a sequel — though with the foresight of knowing where stories will go in the movies The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, too.

After handing the Empire a massive defeat, the ragtag Rebel Alliance is looking to press their advantage, so they plan a sneak attack in order to not let the moment slip away, according to Aaron.

The first issue opens with the heroes staging a daring raid on an Imperial locale “that of course goes exactly as planned as their plans always do,” Aaron quips.

He considers Star Wars a team book of sorts but initially Luke is the engine that powers the narrative.

He’s riding a high after being the one in the X-Wing Fighter who took down the Death Star. Still, he’s a young guy who’s fresh off the Tatooine farm and been thrust in the midst of this a cosmic war. Luke is seeking more info about his father Anakin, but doesn’t know yet that he’s really the baddest guy around.

“He’s got a lot of questions but he can’t look at the way things are and know that at some point it’s going to come down to him having to face Darth Vader,” Aaron explains. “He looks at that and says, ‘That’s the man who killed my father. He killed Obi-Wan. I’ve got to be able to stop him,’ but he knows he’s not ready for that.

“Yeah, he blew up the Death Star but if he doesn’t figure something out, he’s going to get himself and all his friends killed.

There’s also the irony, Aaron adds, that Luke’s in hot pursuit to learn more about his father while also running from Darth Vader, who’s trying to figure who this kid is that took down their mighty space station. “You’ve got them chasing after each other without realizing they’re chasing each other.”

By the time The Empire Strikes Back begins, the bad guys are back in full force so Aaron wants to build toward that and how power shifts back and forth. Plus, he figures he’ll play with the timeline and mix up the toys when it comes to various characters, alien races and vehicles. (He also promises a Marvel-worthy “Oh crap!” moment in his first arc.)

When Marvel went out to California and had a first round of meetings with Lucasfilm, Aaron and others had a tour of the archives at Skywalker Ranch, an inspiring place with shelves of starships, blasters and Han Solo frozen in carbonite. “Within all that stuff,” the writer says, “John was quite clearly the biggest Star Wars nerd out of all of us. This is a real passion project for him. It looks and feels like Star Wars.”

Aaron figures next year will be great to be writing a Star Wars comic as the Episode VII hype machine powers up. In the meantime, he doesn’t have to look far for inspiration.

“Sometimes part of my job is just sitting at my desk staring into space, so I do have toys I play with,” Aaron says. “When it would look like I’m just sitting there goofing off, I actually am working.

“Whatever kind of childhood magic is left in those things, I want to recapture some of those same feelings that I had when I first saw these same characters on the big screen.”

Video The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Teaser

Video Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Teaser

“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” brings to an epic conclusion the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and the Company of Dwarves. Having reclaimed their homeland from the Dragon Smaug, the Company has unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world. Enraged, Smaug rains his fiery wrath down upon the defenseless men, women and children of Lake-town.

Obsessed above all else with his reclaimed treasure, Thorin sacrifices friendship and honor to hoard it as Bilbo’s frantic attempts to make him see reason drive the Hobbit towards a desperate and dangerous choice. But there are even greater dangers ahead. Unseen by any but the Wizard Gandalf, the great enemy Sauron has sent forth legions of Orcs in a stealth attack upon the Lonely Mountain.

As darkness converges on their escalating conflict, the races of Dwarves, Elves and Men must decide – unite or be destroyed. Bilbo finds himself fighting for his life and the lives of his friends in the epic Battle of the Five Armies, as the future of Middle-earth hangs in the balance.

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#Audio Damond Blue – ‘F#%k Up This Party’

#Audio Damond Blue - 'F#%k Up This Party'

Damond M. Blue, was drawn to the streets of Baltimore as an adolescent which has helped shape him, but it’s not what made him. Music was his only outlet to release his anger and frustrations and he dove into it wholeheartedly. First winning over his own city, he now turns to the rest of the nation with his god given talent. “When it’s all said and done, some people are good at rapping and a select few were born to rap”, Damond Blue falls into the later and continues to build on this reputation.

An early release from his upcoming album “The Feel”, Damond Blue gives us “F#%k Up This Party”, a hard-hitting beat blended with northern-style influences. This single gives us a sampling from what’s to be expected from the long awaited album. In his sonorous way, Damond illustrates the lengths at which he’s willing to go to protect his own. Whether it’s on the street or at a party, he’s always ready to take care of business.

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‘The Walking Dead’ season 5 gets a premiere date

'The Walking Dead' season 5 gets a premiere date

Rick and Co. are a little worse for wear in the new trailer for Season 5 of AMC’s The Walking Dead.

We last left the gang in the hands of total creepers Terminus, but in the trailer for the upcoming season, screened first at Comic-Con, our good guys seem to be making some progress in convincing Terminus not to, well, terminate them. Specifically, the gang’s case is that if they can make it to Washington, D.C., they can save the world.

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Mixtape: Malik Yusef – G.O.O.D Morning, G.O.O.D Night Deconstructed

Mixtape: Malik Yusef - G.O.O.D Morning, G.O.O.D Night Deconstructed

After appearing on fellow label mate Common’s latest project, “Nobody’s Smiling”, Chicago based artist Malik Yusef is poised to give his fans more G.O.O.D. music with his latest mixtape “G.O.O.D Morning, G.O.O.D Night Deconstructed”. This project is set to please even the most skeptical listeners with its star studded features and melodically captivating productions. The project contains two segments, “Dusk” and “Dawn”, each of which has a special meaning: “Dusk and Dawn represent the two sides to everything. That’s how we keep from making the mistake of going too far into the other. Night and Day, Ying and Yang. Everything flows into the universe and we are all a part of it.”

Malik Yusef the Wordsmyth is a 12 Time Grammy Award Nominee, 5 Time Grammy Award Winner, 6 Time ASCAP Award Winner (both POP and R&B categories), as well as an Emmy, Peabody, and Tony Winner. His most recent feat was co-writing 8 songs on International Superstar Kanye West’s 6th release “Yeezus”. Prior to that, he co-wrote 7 songs on Kanye’s Double Platinum, 5th release and Rolling Stone Album of the Year “My Dark Twisted Fantasy” and was a writer and artist on 2012 Top 10 best-selling rap album “Cruel Summer” featuring Kanye West and the rest of his G.O.O.D. Music team. Malik is also credited as a writer/producer/collaborator on Kanye’s critically acclaimed film Runaway which contains much of Malik’s music.

Malik is a key influencer in the community. His youth literacy foundation, For Yourself Foundation, seeks out and offers alternatives to youth who have mitigating circumstances similar to Malik’s troubled beginnings during his formative years. He seeks to use his star power and influence to help prevent others from making the same mistakes.

Malik’s street credibility, business acumen, and philanthropic efforts make him an invaluable icon and tastemaker in today’s global industry. His work with kids also keeps him on the cutting edge of what’s hot in music, entertainment, and fashion. Unbeknownst to the public, Malik Yusef is a world renowned Fashionista and has been instrumental in fusing European and American fashion creating a symmetry not seen in hip-hop culture prior to his artistic emergence.

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‘Sinister Six’ spinoff to come next for Spider-Man

'Sinister Six' spinoff to come next for Spider-Man

The Spider-Man franchise will detour next with a “Sinister Six” spinoff in 2016, pushing “The Amazing Spider-Man 3″ to 2018, Sony’s Columbia Pictures said Wednesday in announcing an updated schedule.

By ordering “Sinister Six” ahead of the next “Spider-Man” movie, the studio hopes to expand the franchise with the group of Marvel super-villains.

Released in May, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″ accumulated $706 million worldwide and only just surpassing $200 million domestically. That was considered a disappointing result, since it failed to top its 2012 predecessor, which made $758 million. It was also less than all of the box-office hauls for Sam Raimi’s trilogy.

“Sinister Six,” to be directed by Drew Goddard, is one of two spinoffs planned for the Spider-Man universe. No date has been set for the other offshoot in development, “Venom.”

Sony had previously pegged “Spider-Man” sequels for 2016 and 2018, but “The Amazing Spider-Man 3″ will now be pushed to 2018. In its place, Sony has slotted in “Uncharted,” an action film based on the PlayStation video game.

Classic Comics: Batman Year One

Classic Comics; Batman Year One

The story recounts the beginning of Bruce Wayne’s career as Batman and Jim Gordon’s with the Gotham City Police Department.

Bruce Wayne, aged 25, returns home from training abroad in martial arts, manhunting and science for nearly twelve years. In Gotham, he bides his time, waiting for the right moment to strike, all the while preparing himself. Gordon, meanwhile, has moved to Gotham from Chicago with his pregnant wife, Barbara Kean-Gordon, and pursues a career in law enforcement. His first time out patrolling reveals to him the disturbing nature of law enforcement in Gotham as a senior officer, Detective Flass, assaults an unsuspecting teenager for “staying out late”. Gordon is disgusted with his partner’s behavior towards all the “offenders” Jim feels that he has to straighten things out.

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#Games Madden rankings ruffle some NFL fan feathers

#Games Madden rankings ruffle some NFL fan feathers

Did Madden rank this year’s crop of players by the numbers?

Some fans are questioning the methodology of the storied franchise after seeing how the game stacked up certain high-profile players.

For instance, is Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson really just as good as Patriots QB Tom Brady? Madden says so.

Sure, Wilson played a great game in Super Bowl XLVIII – and the season preceding it, but he’s a sophomore. And Brady’s a three-time Super Bowl champ and two-time Super bowl MVP.

(You can ignore those reports claiming Madden graded Wilson above Brady, by the way. Both players scored a 93 in their overall rankings.)

Peyton Manning is still tops among QBs overall, according to the game, though his overall rating was matched this year by Aaron Rodgers. Drew Brees took the bronze spot.

Beyond the quarterback rankings, there’s another sort of fun to be found in the rookie rankings. EA gathered some of the top NFL newcomers and asked them to estimate what the game ranked them at. Then, it showed them their actual numbers.

The results … well, bruised a few egos and further inflated others.
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