Thursday, September 08, 2011

Rolling Stones' Ed Sullivan appearances set for release

From Billboard:

All 17 of the Rolling Stones' performances on "The Ed Sullivan Show" will be released Nov. 1 in a deluxe package from Universal Music Enterprises and Sofa Entertainment. An abridged version of the Stones on "Sullivan" will be released Oct. 4.

The deluxe edition, titled "Six Ed Sullivan Shows starring The Rolling Stones" includes several performances that have never been released, including their final appearance on the variety show on Nov. 23, 1969. The deluxe package includes six full episodes of "The Ed Sullivan Show" while the Oct. 4 release is "Four Ed Sullivan Shows starring The Rolling Stones."

Animated Tintin adventures set for DVD release

Ahead of the upcoming CGI Tintin movie from Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, Shout! Factory is released a collection of some previous animated adaptations.

The Adventures of Tintin: Season One is a two disc set out Nov. 22. Here's a listing of the contents:

Disc 1
The Crab With The Golden Claws, Part 1
The Crab With The Golden Claws, Part 2
The Secret Of The Unicorn, Part 1
The Secret Of The Unicorn, Part 2
Red Rackham’s Treasure
Cigars Of The Pharaoh, Part 1
Cigars Of The Pharaoh, Part 2

Disc 2
The Blue Lotus, Part 1
The Blue Lotus, Part 2
The Black Island, Part 1
The Black Island, Part 2
The Calculus Affair, Part 1
The Calculus Affair, Part 2

Preview of Paul McCartney's Oceans Kingdom

Here's a preview of Paul McCartney's new ballet score Ocean's Kingdom.

Motown Supremes and Temptations reissues on tap

From the press release:

Set for release September 13 (digital) and October 25 (CD):

Diana Ross & the Supremes - 50th Anniversary: The Complete Singles 1961-1969, a 3-disc set featuring every A- and B- side from their beginning, when they were known around Motown as the “no-hit Supremes,” through their record-breaking triumphs, their 12 No. 1 hits, ending with their extraordinary decade-ending smash “Someday We’ll Be Together.”

The Temptations - 50th Anniversary: The Complete Singles 1961-1971, a 3-disc tribute to the original classic Temptations lineup, featuring every A- and B- side from their beginning, through their respective triumphs, including “My Girl,” “I Can’t Get Next To You” and “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me),” closing with the departures of original members Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams.

Releasing in November:

More Hits By The Supremes: Expanded Edition, a limited edition 2-CD set featuring the original hit album, first issued in 1965, newly remastered in both original mono and stereo, plus two more albums’ worth of unreleased and rare tracks from the “girls” in their prime. It’s another in a continuing series of expanded versions of the group’s original classic albums available on Motown/

Complementing the above CD releases will be The Best of The Temptations on The Ed Sullivan Show (1 DVD) and The Best of The Supremes on The Ed Sullivan Show (1 DVD), as well as Motown Gold From The Ed Sullivan Show (2-DVD), all being released on September 13, which feature beloved appearances on the original Sunday night program by both groups. All three DVD collections are packed with classic Motown performances culled from the groundbreaking Ed Sullivan Show, taped live between 1964 and 1971, and all footage has been fully restored with the addition of never before released footage.

Review: Action Comics #1

Now we're talking: After a fairly lackluster debut with Justice League #1, DC has followed up in week two of it's line-wide reboot with an exciting and thoroughly entertaining fresh start for Superman.

Written by Grant Morrison with art by Rags Morales, the Superman in this Action is in many ways similar to the Superman in the original Action #1: a super-powered guy with a passion for social justice.

The early Superman fought for "truth and justice." The "American way" part of the motto didn't get added until the red scare 1950s. Like that early Superman, this new one is shown exposing political corruption and disrupting the work of greedy businessmen while defending the poor. Dressed in baggy jeans, a S-logoed blue t-shirt and a red cape, he comes on like Woody Guthrie with heat vision.

This Superman is a tad younger than the one we're familiar with, and is just starting out in the superhero game. He hasn't yet met Jimmie Olsen or Lois Lane (let alone married her, as in the most recent, pre-reboot Superman comics). However, those characters and his arch enemy Lex Luthor are introduced in this first outing.

We also meet the new version of Clark Kent, who's still bespectacled and meek-looking, but he's no mild-mannered reporter. It turns out he's a crusading journalist, working the same beat as he does while in costume, by writing newspaper articles that expose corruption and injustice.

Rags Morales' art is strong. His visual storytelling is fluid and clear. His Superman has a strong Neal Adams influence but there's a cartoony caricature to some of the supporting characters that's a nice departure from the generic "hyper realistic" art we too often see in superhero comics these days.

Unlike the first Justice League, this story moves along at a fast clip and does a great job laying down a lot of groundwork for future issues. Like Justice League, it's also a continued story, but well-paced, whereas Justice League seemed padded out and deliberately "written for the trade."

I get the sense that a lot of DC's reboot hasn't been thought out beyond "we're going to publish a bunch of first issues." But Morrison has seized the opportunity provided.

His take on Superman draws much from the past and, for that reason, couldn't really be called original. He understands that Superman is a folk hero (although Morrison might call him a "god") and rather than reinventing the character, he has revitalized him, which it seems is what this new initiative should be all about.

Looking forward to seeing more.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Review: Justice League #1

Justice League #1, with story by Geoff Johns and art by Jim Lee, is the flagship book in DC Comics' "New 52, " a reimaging and rebooting of the DC superhero universe.

The enterprise ostensibly aimed at attracting new readers by offering up series that are easier to hop aboard than the steeped-in-continuity works most modern superhero comics of become. If you didn't know years of history and at least a little bit about all the inhabitants of the DC universe, you were often out of luck when it came to figuring out what was going on in a comic you happened to pick off a stand.

So, DC has stopped the clock and started over again. In this first comic, we see a Batman and Green Lantern who have never met before, who ultimately encounter a Superman that they haven't met, either. These heroes are new in the world -- the public has just become aware of their presence, too.

I'm on board with making comics more accessible to new readers, and if that means starting fresh, I don't have any great problem with that, either.

Continuity offers opportunities in telling stories, but many of today's superhero stories are about nothing but continuity. Too often for today's writers, putting a story together is nothing more than playing with pieces of the past, with very little that's new or original added to the mix.

So, for that reason, I think this new beginning is great. Sure, writers can add in elements of the previous incarnations of these heroes, but they are forced to evaluate and reevaluate those elements and be more creative. The past is a tool instead of a crutch.

So, great. We're starting over and that makes me curious about where we're going -- good reasons to pick up and read new comics. That aspect of the New 52 is certainly a success. But ultimate success will depend on execution.

As a guy who's read comics for more years than I'd like to admit, it's hard for me to gauge what Justice League #1 is like for a reader coming in completely fresh. Jaded as I am, I thought the first issue was a little slow and dull. I've also never been a fan of Jim Lee's over-rendered, over-muscled art, although I know that many comics fans think he's the greatest.

But not much happens in this issue. Batman and Green Lantern meet, spar, realize they need to work together. Then they meet Superman, spar, issue ends. We can see where this is going: They need to meet and spar with a few more heroes and we've got ourselves a Justice League. Wordy as he was, Gardner Fox could've done all that in two or three pages -- the first "chapter" in a single-issue comic.

I think the issue would've been more exciting had the entire League been assembled in the first issue. I've read that DC is reevaluated "writing for the trade," but it seems like that's precisely what Johns is doing here. Things seem padded out. For an issue that's so important to DC's future, I expected a lot more fireworks.

Other lost opportunities in this issue are the lack of any cover copy that says "hey, it all starts here! New readers, this is your chance to get in on the ground floor!" Putting the phrase "New 52" on the cover is a waste of space. The phrase means nothing to people who haven't been reading the "old" DC Comics. A text page inside welcoming new readers and explaining what this is all about would've been smart, too.

That said, the story includes some nice interchanges between Batman and Green Lantern that reveal their personalities. And, despite being a continued story and somewhat slow, it hits some good marks dramatically and ends with a good cliffhanger. I'll certainly give it a chance, at least for this introductory arc, to see where it all goes.