Once again, it's time for quick a lightning round through a few topics that have been on my mind lately but just aren't big enough for a full column. Let's get right to it, shall we?
HIGH (RATED) SOCIETY Did everyone catch the Justice Society of America's appearance on SMALLVILLE a couple of weeks back? Plenty of people must have, as it was the highest-rated outing for the CW series all season. In typical SMALLVILLE fashion, it was the high point of the season, with a smart, insanely comic-faithful script by Geoff Johns, appealing actors in the roles of Hawkman and Stargirl, costumes and effects that looked better than decent (especially on a TV budget), and a few very fun surprises, such as Pam Grier's portrayal of Amanda Waller and the introduction of Checkmate and the Suicide Squad to the SMALLVILLE mythology.
There were tons of cameos I never would have expected to see on TV, everyone from Alan Scott and the original Star-Spangled Kid to a fleeting glimpse of Golden Age Red Tornado Ma Hunkel! Man, that's going deep in to the geek foundations. Very impressive.
Two moments in the episode particularly shined: first, when Kent Nelson donned the Helmet of Nabu and transformed into Dr. Fate, accompanied by a very flashy SFX sequence, and later, when Fate got a glimpse of Clark Kent's future, seeing only a very familiar flowing red cape.
An excellent bit of televised comic-book goodness. Here's hoping the JSA makes a return engagement sometime soon.
A LONG WINTER A long-forgotten favorite comic of my younger days has recently made an unexpected return, thanks to IDW Publishing.
The gritty postapocalyptic adventure series WINTER WORLD, written by an at-the-time relatively unknown Chuck Dixon and drawn by Jorge Zaffino, was first published by the now-defunct Eclipse Comics back in 1987. Finally returned to print, this new edition includes the never-before-published sequel series as well. This is a very underappreciated little gem, folks. Highly recommended.
THE NEWEST TOY FARE Last week saw the International Toy Fair in New York City, where all the toy companies go to show off their wares for the upcoming shopping year. While there were all kinds of cool stuff on display, two items in particular caught my fancy:
First off, Hasbro's Marvel Universe line will see a big expansion this year, with the new industry-standard 3 ¾-scale action figure line branching out into sublines for both Spider-Man and this spring's IRON MAN cinematic sequel. I'll admit, having been buying the larger MARVEL LEGENDS figures for years, I was reluctant to start over again in a new scale, but the quality of these new figures has won me over. And the big (and I do mean "big") surprise at this year's Toy Fair was this damned impressive Galactus, measuring up at a foot and a half tall.
My other favorite debut at this year's Toy Fair?
Mego-style VENTURE BROTHERS figures. Score.
I GET BY WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS It's been a productive time for friends of the ol' Professor in recent weeks and I thought I'd take a couple moments and let y'all know about a few projects currently on the comic-book racks by some frequent collaborators of mine.
Hitting stores this week is the first issue of the official comics adaptation of last summer's smash STAR TREK film, drawn by the amazing David Messina!
Last week saw the release of two new comics written by COMICS 101's own Chris Ryall: the debut of his new ZOMBIES VS. ROBOTS series ZVR AVENTURE...
...and the second issue of his bizarre magnum opus, WEEKLY WORLD NEWS:
Also in stores last week was the debut issue of X-MEN: PIXIE STRIKES BACK, drawn by the sublime Sara Pichelli:
And no doubt still on the racks is MARVEL HEARTBREAKERS, featuring the Marvel debut of my frequent partner in crime Elena Casagrande:
Elena provides the art for a charming little Spidey story in the Valentine's Day-themed anthology special, with a script by Kathryn Immonen.
And finally, just in case you missed 'em, I've been making the promotional rounds myself for my own work, such as this interview with the good folks over at TrekWeb.com: