Thursday, July 6, 2017

SDCC 2017: New at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con for WCG Comics and Rob Hanes Adventures

A new issue featuring a comic convention murder mystery, a new poster, and a new trade paperback compilation will all debut at Comic-Con

For additional images, visit WCG Comics’ online media room

NEWS RELEASE – For Immediate Release

Poster to be released at Comic-Con
Cartoonist and self-publisher Randy Reynaldo, who has been plugging away on his breezy action-adventure series, Rob Hanes Adventures, since the early 1990s—surely making it as one of the long-running indy titles still going—announced that he’ll again be exhibiting in the Small Press Area of the San Diego Comic-Con, scheduled July 20-23, 2017.

He’ll be at the same location he’s held in recent years, Booth K1 in the Small Press Area (up aisle 1500 on the main floor), under his WCG Comics imprint. Reynaldo has been a regular fixture at the show since 1993, the year Comic-Con introduced the Small Press Area, and 2017 marks his 19th appearance at Comic-Con.

In addition to debuting new booth displays, Reynaldo will have several new items for sale at his table, including a new poster, issue 18 of Rob Hanes Adventures, and a new trade paperback, Rob Hanes Adventures, Vol. 1, the first in a projected series of volumes collecting the title in trade format. (Click here to see the original press release about issue 18 with sample pages and here for the announcement about the trade paperback.)

“Given the large backlist of issues now in the catalog, it was time to make it easier for people—especially new readers—to begin collecting the series,” said Reynaldo.

Issue 18 promises to generate particular interest at Comic-Con since the issue takes place at a large (but unnamed) comics convention. Titled “Death at Comicon,” Rob is hired to protect a valuable, rare and highly sought-after comic-book. However, when the issue is stolen and a respected comic-book artist is murdered, Rob investigates and uncovers the sordid underbelly of fandom and the comic-book collectibles market! The issue features cosplayers, cameo appearances, and a climactic scene that takes place during a comicon panel.

The issue also includes a bonus backup story, “Prufrock,” which serves as a teaser for issue 19 that will take the series in a startling new direction, when the U.S. government nationalizes Rob’s detective agency, Justice International, turning it into a private police force and intelligence agency for the higher reaches of the government. Rob Hanes Adventures has often featured stories “pulled from the headlines” and upcoming issues will reflect the polarized political landscape of modern-day America.

More about Rob Hanes Adventures:
For those new to the series, Rob Hanes Adventures is an action-adventure series about a globetrotting private eye and troubleshooter from Justice International who travels the world on assignment, facing adventure, intrigue and romance at every turn. Over the years, the story has enjoyed playing in a variety of genres with good humor, and with every issue a stand-alone story, it’s very easy for readers to jump in with any issue.

Launched in 2000, and preceded by a zine and a comic-book series that ran four issues titled Adventure Strip Digest, Rob Hanes Adventures is one of the longest-running indie comics series still going! Inspired by classic adventure comic strips like Milton Caniff's Terry and the Pirates and Roy Crane's Buz Sawyer but set in the modern day—with dashes of light-hearted humor reminiscent of Will Eisner's Spirit—readers and fans have praised Rob Hanes Adventures for recapturing the spirit of the classic adventure strip and updating it for modern day audiences.

Though themes and characters recur in the series, every issue of Rob Hanes Adventures is self-contained. The entire series remains in print, including 17 issues to date and two trade paperback collections of earlier work. For more information about the series, previews and to purchase back issues, visit the WCG Comics website at wcgcomics.com or facebook.com/rhadventures.

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Scroll down for images from these publications.

Images accompanying this press release may be used for review purposes, with additional downloadable art and images from the comic-book series available in our online media room. All art © by Randy Reynaldo. All rights reserved.

For additional information or interview inquiries, please contact WCG Comics.


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Where to find us on the floor (full map with detailed map following):


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Map Detail (Hall B):


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Cover and interior art from Rob Hanes Adventures, Vol. 1 trade paperback and Rob Hanes Adventures #18:



Cover to Rob Hanes Adventures, Vol. 1 trade paperback


Cover art to Rob Hanes Adventures #18 to be released at the show









Monday, June 12, 2017

Coming in ROB HANES ADVENTURES #18:

The Dark Underbelly of Comics Exposed!
Plus RESIST—A bonus story previews new direction for the series

For additional images, visit WCG Comics’ online media room

For Immediate Release

This summer brings the release of a new issue of Rob Hanes Adventures featuring TWO full-length stories, including a murder mystery set at a popular summer comic-book convention.

In the cover story, “Death at Comicon,” Rob is hired to protect a valuable, rare and highly sought-after comic-book. However, when the issue is stolen and a respected comic-book artist is murdered, Rob investigates and uncovers the sordid underbelly of fandom and the comic-book collectibles market! The issue features cosplayers, cameo appearances, and a climactic scene that takes place during a comicon panel.

The issue also includes a bonus backup story, “Prufrock,” which serves as a teaser for next issue, when a new U.S. administration nationalizes Rob’s detective agency, Justice International, turning it into a new secret private police force and intelligence agency accountable only to those in the higher reaches of government. Building on the series’ knack for stories inspired by real-life events, “Prufrock” kicks off a startling new direction that series creator Randy Reynaldo promises to be as entertaining and thrilling as it is thought-provoking. Rob Hanes Adventures has often featured stories “pulled from the headlines” and, in this and coming issues, Rob and his private detective agency, Justice International, become embroiled in missions that explore the polarized political landscape of modern-day America!

About Rob Hanes Adventures:
Rob Hanes Adventures is an action-adventure series about a globetrotting private eye and troubleshooter from Justice International who travels the world on assignment, facing adventure, intrigue and romance at every turn!

Launched in 2000, and preceded by a zine and then a comic-book series that ran four issues titled Adventure Strip DigestRob Hanes Adventures is one of the longest-running indie comics series still going! Inspired by classic adventure comic strips like Milton Caniff's Terry and the Pirates and Roy Crane's Buz Sawyer but set in the modern day—with dashes of light-hearted humor reminiscent of Will Eisner's Spirit—readers and fans have praised Rob Hanes Adventures for recapturing the spirit of the classic adventure strip and updating it for modern day audiences.

Though themes and characters recur in the series, every issue of Rob Hanes Adventures is self-contained. The entire series remains in print, including 17 issues to date and two trade paperback collections of earlier work. For more information about the series, previews and to purchase back issues, visit the WCG Comics website at wcgcomics.com or facebook.com/rhadventures.

A third trade paperback, Rob Hanes Adventures, Vol. 1, that begins collecting the current series was recently announced and will be released this summer as well.

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Images accompanying this press release may be used for review purposes, with additional downloadable art and images from the comic-book series available in our online media room. All art © by Randy Reynaldo. All rights reserved.










Ashcan (unfinished) cover to Rob Hanes Adventures #20




Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Reviews: Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder/West Side Story

Below are reviews of two recent musicals my family and I saw on stage this past year...

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

I first caught this show in April 2016 in Los Angeles with much of the original Broadway cast intact, but when the touring production returned last February to the Segerstrom Center for the Performing Arts in Orange County, my wife and I decided to take our children. So this is the second time I’ve seen it!

Winner of the 2014 Tony for Best Musical, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” is closely based on the 1949 Ealing British black comedy film, Kind Hearts and Coronets, which itself is loosely based on a 1907 novel called, Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal by Roy Horniman. (For some legal reason, the musical did not have permission to use the same title, so it is officially based on the novel, though it hews closely to the film.)

Set in Edwardian England and considered a skewering of the upper class, “Guide” is a crowd-pleaser of a musical about an estranged member of the prominent D'Ysquith clan named Montague "Monty" D'Ysquith Navarro who—both out of greed and the poor treatment of his late mother at the hands of the D’Ysquith family who disinherited her when she chose to marry a musician below their station—proceeds to kill all those in succession before him when he discovers that he is tenth in line to the family’s title position of the Earl of Highhurst. He does so in ingenious clever ways to make the deaths all look accidental, leading to grisly and funny deaths that are hilariously portrayed using clever yet simple stagecraft.

Adding to the fun of the show is the fact that a single actor portrays each member of the D’Ysquith clan murdered by Navarro (including the women). The conceit parallels the same feat performed by actor Alec Guinness in the 1949 film. Each member of the family, of course, has their own unique eccentricity, which no doubt makes the role an actor’s delight. The show’s music is fitting reminiscent of a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. In addition to the tension of whether Navarro will get caught, there is also a love triangle involving a lover and a cousin.

The children loved the show.

West Side Story




Many people are no doubt familiar with the classic 1961 film adaptation of "West Side Story," co-directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, adapted from the iconic 1957 Broadway show by Arthur Laurents (book), Leonard Bernstein (music), Stephen Sondheim (lyrics), and Robbins (concept and choreography), which was inspired by William Shakespeare's “Romeo and Juliet.” Nevertheless, live performances are a beast unto themselves so it is always a treat to watch a well-known show, particularly when the film adaptation differs from the play.

This touring production was put together by the La Mirada Playhouse and my family and I saw it as a Saturday matinee at the Valley Performing Arts Center at California State University, Northridge. My son had recently discovered the film and very much looked forward to the show.

This is a fine production—it says much about the power of the story and the music that I found myself tearing up at some moments, particularly when Tony and Maria first meet. All the actors—particularly the leads—had beautiful voices, though it probably helped that the mics ensured they played to the back rows.

With that said, I found the first half of the production serviceable, with everyone hitting their marks but not quite transcending the material. That changed in the second half, however, after intermission—both the actors and the production seemed to then fully embody the story and the music. The second half was powerful and effecting. Kudos to the leads, and main supporting players, who provided some of the lighter moments in this otherwise sad and tragic story.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Visit to Universal Studios Hollywood


Click here to see the full photo gallery of my April 2017 visit to Universal Studios Hollywood.

While Universal Studios Hollywood in many ways competes in Southern Calfiornia with the likes of Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain, and Legoland for families and thrill seekers, it has the distinction of also being a working film and television studio. So in addition to the rides and attractions, Universal also appeals to fans of television and movies, and seeing the industry behind the scenes.

Though not as often as Disneyland, I’ve visited Universal several times over the years. One of the first times was when I vacationed in California with my family in the mid-1970s while we still lived on the east coast; again in the late ‘70s on a road trip with my brother and east coast friend after we moved to Northern California; then, after I re-located to Southern California for college and work, at least once during the ‘80s, and more recently, several times over the last decade when I’ve visited with my own young family.

At first glance, the studio still feels quite familiar, particularly the tram tour. I always get a kick out of being on studio lots—I’ve walked around the Warner Brothers lot thanks to a friend, and have been on the Culver Studios, Paramount Studio and Fox Studio lots on business or for screenings. (Ironically, I've never been to Sony Studios—formerly MGM—though I live right down the street from the lot!)

In fact, in just the past few months, I've seen the Universal backlot in shows like Netflix's "Love" and TBS's "Angie Tribeca."

At Universal, it’s comforting to see some of the same “greatest hits” after all these years still emtertaining visitors, such as the Jaws shark “attack” and Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho house, as well as the famous “flash flood” attraction. And I’m glad they still take the time to show off the studio’s history, pointing out landmarks like Hitchcock’s office bungalow and the places where Universal’s early monster films and westerns were filmed. But make no mistake, portions of the tour have also been upgraded and re-imagined. For example, a memorable part of the tram tour back in the day was a wooden bridge that broke apart and shook as you crossed it to simulate an earthquake, complete with (styrofoam) boulders that came barreling down the hill. This was later transformed into some ice tunnel attraction that I vaguely recall; today, it is the impressive King Kong 360 degree 3-D attraction where you’re transported to Skull Island to watch Kong do battle with a dinosaur with the tram riders in the middle of the action. They’ve also added a similar 3D Fast and the Furious attraction, which impressively features several of the film’s stars.

Attractions and shows related to the magic of movie-making have also always been part of the experience. Again, this has evolved much over the years—I recall an show that selected audience members to participate in filming sequences from Airport (complete with a water tank). There used to be an Old West stunt show that is now a Waterworld stunt show. Today, the park offers entertaining special effects and animal shows in small arenas.

However, while the tram and shows related to the magic of movie-making used to be the core of the Universal Studios experience, over the last decade or more, Universal has worked to expand its appeal by adding more traditional rides and themed areas, based on a Universal (or other) popular entertainment property. So in addition to rides like Jurassic Park (a water ride), the Mummy, Transformers, and Shrek, we now have the Wizarding World of Harry Potter area and a Simpson’s Springfield area that expands on a smaller, previously existing Simpson’s Krustyland. (They’ve also added a "Walking Dead" attraction, building on the very popular Walking Dead themed nights they have during the Halloween season.)

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened to great fanfare and anticipation in 2016. It’s an immersive environment that features a snow-covered village dominated by Hogwarts Castle. (Construction of the themed area required the destruction of the Universal Ampitheatre, a concert venue I visited several times over the years.) Rides in the themed area includes a magic motion Forbidden Journey ride and a Flight of the Hippogriff kiddie rollercoaster.

Also relatively new is the Simpson’s Springfield land, which expands on a smaller footprint that included a Simpson’s ride and Kwik-e-Mart. The area has been expanded and features Moe’s Tavern, a Krusty Burger (that turned out to be better than I expected), a Lard Lad Donut Shop, and tons of details that bring the Simpsons’ city of Springfield to life.

Unlike Disneyland, which can easily keep you entertained for a full day and more (especially with its sister park, California Adventures), I used to be ready to leave Universal after about three-quarters of a day. The expansion and new additions now makes it a fuller day. And don’t forget to visit the Universal City Walk right outside the main entrance, with plenty of fun shops, restaurants, and a movie theater complex.

For the full photo gallery of my visit, click here.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Hollywood Costume Exhibit 2017

Every year I try to get to the annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design Exhibition at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising's museum (FIDM), located in downtown Los Angeles, which is traditionally held in the spring (it originally coincided with the frenzied run-up to the Academy Awards, but that window has shortened a bit now that the ceremony is held in February). This year marked the show's 25th anniversary. The show features the actual costumes worn by the actors in the films.

Although this year’s exhibit just closed, I nevertheless thought I’d post about it, along with some photos, as inducement for people to attend future shows. Though the exhibition isn’t large, the gallery is FREE and an opportunity to see the clothes and costumes from your favorite films. And afterwards, feel free to explore the regentrifying downtown L.A.! The FIDM isn’t too far from L.A. Live, part of the entertainment and sports complex that houses the Staples Center, Grammy Museum and many restaurants. Personally, I usually use my visit to the exhibition as an excuse to visit the revived Grand Central Market foodcourt cafe, that is across the street from the famed Bradbury Building, prominently featured in films like Blade Runner and 500 Days of Summer! (It also recently appeared as a Willie Wonka-type chocolate factory in a commercial for Twix.)

As you’ll see in the photos, this year’s exhibition included (among others) Batman v. Superman; Suicide Squad; Doctor Strange; Star Wars: Rogue One; Hail, Caesar; La La Land, and Florence Foster Jenkins.








Rogue One

Florence Foster Jenkins

Allied

George Clooney's costume from Hail, Caesar!

Hail, Caesar

La La Land

Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange

1925 souvenir program book for Ben-Hur from the FIDM collection


Monday, April 17, 2017

Rob Hanes Adventures to be Collected in Trade Paperback

NEWS RELEASE - For Immediate Release

The long-running globetrotting action-adventure series, Rob Hanes Adventures, will be collected in trade paperback in 4-issue increments starting this spring, said series creator and WCG Comics publisher Randy Reynaldo.

Rob Hanes Adventures, Volume 1 begins collecting the series with issues 1-4. It will clock in at 128 pages and retail for $14.99, and appear under the WCG Comics imprint.

“Given the growth of the back catalog of the series, it’s time to begin collecting the series in trade paperback format,” said Reynaldo. “I hope it will provide a welcoming entry point for new readers who want to check out the new series but might be intimidated by the number of back issues now in print.”

The stories in the first volume include“Where in the World is Rob Hanes?”; “Back in the Game”; “Rob Hanes: Year One”; “Image is Everything”; and “A Changing of the Guard.” The volume will include reproductions of the original cover art and liner notes about each story. Reynaldo plans to quickly follow the release of volume 1 with volume 2, collecting issues 5-8, later in the year.

Two trade paperback collections of earlier material that pre-date the current series are already in print: the Rob Hanes Archives, which collects the earliest material that appeared in zine format, and Rob Hanes Adventures, Volume 0, which collects the first regular comic-book appearance of the series under the title, Adventure Strip Digest.

About Rob Hanes Adventures:
Rob Hanes Adventures is an action-adventure series about a globetrotting private eye and troubleshooter from Justice International who travels the world on assignment, facing adventure, intrigue and romance at every turn!

Launched in 2000, and preceded by a zine and 4-issue comic-book series run under the title Adventure Strip Digest, Rob Hanes Adventures is one of the longest-running indie comics series still going! Inspired by classic adventure comic strips like Milton Caniff's Terry and the Pirates and Roy Crane's Buz Sawyer but set in the modern day—with dashes of light-hearted humor reminiscent of Will Eisner's Spirit—readers and fans have lauded Rob Hanes Adventures for recapturing the spirit of the classic adventure strip while updating it for modern day audiences. The series has received praise and coverage over the years for its classic, return-to-basic approach, and was listed among the 1000 Comic Books You Must Read  by Tony Isabella.

Though themes and characters recur in the series, every issue of Rob Hanes Adventures is self-contained. The entire series remains in print, including 17 issues to date and two trade paperback collections of earlier work. For more information about the series, previews and to purchase back issues, visit the WCG Comics website at wcgcomics.com or facebook.com/rhadventures.

#     #     #

Images accompanying this press release may be used for review purposes, with additional downloadable art and images from the comic-book series available here. All art © by Randy Reynaldo. All rights reserved.

The permanent link for this news release is http://wcgcomics.blogspot.com/2017/03/pr-rha-vol01-tpb.html