You’ve Seen It! You Can’t Un-See It! – “The Warrior’s Way”

It’s probably too late to suggest a theme song for “The Warrior’s Way,” given that it opens on Dec. 3, but if we’d had a vote, we’d have thrown ours behind the Delays’ “Long Time Coming.” Writer / director Sngmoo Lee started work on his fantasy action film – cowboys meet ninjas: nuff said – wayyyyyyy back in November 2007, wrapped in February 2008, and…well, okay, in fairness, a lot of special effects went into this thing, so you can only imagine that post-production was a bitch and a half, but, wow, that’s a really long time coming. Still, it’s got a great cast (Jang Dong-gun, Kate Bosworth, Geoffrey Rush, Danny Huston, Stephen Halsall and Tony Cox), and the time spent seems to have been worth every minute, because it looks pretty awesome, as you can see from our premiere of the latest television trailer:


  

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The Avengers: A Celebration – 50 Years of a Television Classic

With “Captain America: The First Avenger” and “Thor” looming on the Hollywood horizon, “The Incredible Hulk” and the two “Iron Man” films still visible in the rear view mirror, and the utterly tantalizing thought of seeing all of these superheroes (and more) brought together for a single motion picture written and directed by Joss Whedon keeping us warm ’til 2012, it’s no wonder that most present-day pop culture enthusiasts who hear the words “The Avengers” do not immediately think of a dapper Englishman with a bowler and an umbrella and a gorgeous, leather-clad lady with formidable judo skills…even if they really should.

Fortunately, this is a problem which can now be easily remedied, thanks to a new coffee-table book from Titan Books entitled “The Avengers: A Celebration – 50 Years of a Television Classic.”

Written by Marcus Hearn and kicking off with an introduction by John Steed himself, Patrick Macnee, it’s a fantastic collection which delves into the original “Avengers” series (alas, “The New Avengers” doesn’t rate) and offers a tremendous number of photographs, many of which you’ve likely never seen before. Mainstream America never really felt the same kind of love for the series as the Brits did, and God knows the 1998 film didn’t help the situation any, but if you find yourself feeling giddy as you flip through the below photo gallery (Emma Peel does tend to have that effect), you’ll want to pick up a copy of this book for yourself…or, if your wallet’s feeling a bit light as the holidays approach, you could always add it to your Christmas list.

Then again, I’ve heard reports that Santa is actually an agent for The Ministry, so he probably already knows you want it, anyway.

  

Bob Marley and the Golden Age of Reggae

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There are some artists who transcend their musical genre, and given how many people have a copy of Legend in their CD collection without having a single other reggae disc to accompany it, it's fair to say that Bob Marley is one of those artists. If you're a fan, then you may be interested to learn that Titan Books has just released "Bob Marley and the Golden Age of Reggae," a collection of photographs of Mr. Marley and many of his musical peers, all taken by Kim Gottlieb Walker during 1975 and 1976.

Here's what Titan's press release on the tome has to say:

During 1975 and 1976, renowned underground photo-journalist Kim Gottlieb, and her husband, Island publicity head Jeff Walker, documented what is now widely recognized as the Golden Age of Reggae. Over two years of historic trips to Jamaica and exclusive meetings in Los Angeles, Kim took iconic photographs of the artists who would go on to define the genre and captivate a generation. Bob Marley and the Golden Age of Reggae features candid and intimate photographs of all of the musicians, artists and producers who brought the reggae sound to the international stage, including Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer,Toots Hibbert, Burning Spear, Jacob Miller, Third World, Lee Scratch Perry and, of course, Bob Marley. Kim's photographs include never-before-seen performance shots, candid behind-the-scenes footage of Bobs home in Jamaica, and exclusive records of key moments in reggae history, such as Bob's first US television appearance, the historical Dream Concert with Stevie Wonder in Jamaica, and Bob meeting George Harrison backstage at the Roxy in 1975.

Acclaimed rock journalist and director Cameron Crowe ("Almost Famous") introduces this volume with a rousing foreword describing the time he accompanied Jeff and Kim to Jamaica to witness the burgeoning music scene there. Reggae historian Roger Steffens writes lucidly about the significance of those early years in reggae, and describes the pivotal moments documented in Kims photographs, many of which have not been seen in over 30 years, and many more of which have never been released to the public. Intimate and revealing, Bob Marley and the Golden Age of Reggae is a rare and beautiful record of one of the most exciting moments in music history, told through the photographs of a true artist.

Titan kindly provided us with several shots from the book for your viewing pleasure. Don't be surprised if you're tempted afterward to click here and order a copy for yourself.

  

“Eastbound & Down” returns Sept. 26th, but Kenny Powers is already back, baby!

For those who were intently following the saga of baseball legend Kenny Powers, it’s been a heck of a long wait since the end of HBO’s “Eastbound & Down” back in March of last year, but all that time spent pining for Powers is about to pay off. September 26th marks the return of the the series to the network’s line-up, but if you can’t wait ’til then, the Bullz-Eye Blog can at least offer you an exclusive shot of Kenny as captured for the cover of The Sporting News.

Check out some of the other (non-exclusive) covers after the jump, along with HBO’s press release for Season 2 of “Eastbound & Down” and a couple of clips to further assist you in surviving ’til Sunday night.

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A Chat with Stuart Paul, creator of DC / WildStorm’s “Ides of Blood”

Fact: real men read comics.

I’m sure some would still try to argue this point, but in a world where it seems like just about every comic-inspired movie finds itself atop the box office on its week of release, it’s hard to pretend that comics are strictly the domain of the geeks and the nerds. (Would that this transition could’ve occurred when I was still in high school.)

As such, Bullz-Eye is going to try to tackle more stories from the medium…and when I was sent a copy of “Ides of Blood,” a new series from DC / WildStorm which is – at least according to the press release – not entirely unlike a blend of “True Blood” and “Rome,” it certainly seemed like something that our readership might be interested in learning more about.

God bless DC’s publicity department: they quickly put me in touch with series creator Stuart Paul, who gladly answered a few questions for us about his own introduction to comic books, the origins of “Ides of Blood,” his semi-controversial decision to have characters in ancient Rome use modern colloquialisms, which of DC’s stable of superheroes he’d like to take a shot at writing, and much much more.

Since I’ve seen the phrase “new to comic books” used in conjunction with your history of writing for the medium, what’s your personal background with comics? And don’t be shy: if your memory stretches back that far, feel free to offer up the very first comic you remember buying.

My childhood experience with comics was pretty limited. Other than reading the occasional issue of Moon Knight or X-Men at my friend’s house, the only comics I personally bought were “Star Trek” comics—mostly “Next Generation” and some of the original crew that took place in the post-”Wrath of Khan” time period. It wasn’t until college that my girlfriend reintroduced me to comics through Sandman. Once I realized there were comics for adults out there, I started reading them more and more. Initially, I stuck with the superstars—Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, Brian K. Vaughan, Garth Ennis. I was kind of a Vertigo whore at first. I guess I still kind of am, but not as much. I have to hear a lot of good buzz about something before I’ll invest in a whole series like Walking Dead, but I’ve definitely branched out. Once I discovered Urasawa’s Pluto, I started getting into manga more. Right now, I’ve got 20th Century Boys, Basilisk and Lone Wolf and Cub to read. I also went through a period of reading a lot of DC superheroes. Jeph Loeb’s Batman stuff is my favorite. Sometimes I’ll still read X-Men, but it’s pretty rare for me to read superheroes these days. My favorite series right now is probably Okko. I think Archaia is doing some of the most creative and well-made comics today. Also, Chew is the only series I read on a monthly basis. Everything else is TPB’s, although the iPad is kind of changing that.

There’s been much talk about how fans of both “True Blood” and “Rome” will find much to enjoy in Ides of Blood. Is that combination what led to the concept for this series? If not, what were its origins, and how do you feel about those points of comparison?

No, neither show existed when I originally came up with the idea and wrote the first draft. I mean, I don’t have a problem with people using those as points of reference. It’s an effective shorthand, but it’s the type of thing you’d bring up in a Hollywood pitch meeting. The problem is that you don’t necessarily know what connotations those shows have for the reader and also, they’re such current references that it makes the comic sound like it’s just trying to exploit the zeitgeist. I mean, if you said it’s “Gladiator” meets… well, actually, “Dracula” might have too much baggage attached to the name, so I guess “True Blood” probably is a good descriptor. The point is, I don’t mind the comparison, but I do think it has as much potential to put-off readers as it does to draw them in. Anyway, the concept for the series came out of boredom. I don’t really like vampires, so it started as a challenge to myself to figure out what I’d have to do to make vampires interesting to me. Julius Caesar just popped into my head.

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