This week!  IDW Publishing's Chris Ryall
and Beautiful Scar's D.S. Talon and E.G. Thompson



Spielberg Ready to Direct Screen Version Robopocalypse?




(Courtesy of:


We’re been waiting to see what film Steven Spielberg directs next, to follow his seventh Oscar nomination for directing (two resulted in wins) for the historical drama Lincoln. The filmmaker legend was originally prepared to jump right into making the sci-fi apocalyptic blockbuster Robopocalypse, but budgetary and creative concerns resulted in the project being indefinitely delayed; since then, Spielberg has circle an eclectic collection of scripts, including the true-story drama American Sniper (which Clint Eastwood is now directing instead) and, most recently, a prospective remake of the classic musical West Side Story.

Robopocalypse is a cinematic adaptation of the book written by Daniel H. Wilson; a World War Z-style oral history novel, Wilson’s source material details the human resistance against a robotic uprising, led by a renegade sentient A.I. being. Wilson’s source novel was adapted to script form by Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods), though it’s possible that Goddard wasn’t responsible for the latest rewrite – given that he’s been busy in recent months, with prepping Marvel Studios’ Netflix TV series Daredevil and working on the script for Sony’s Amazing Spider-Man spinoff Sinister Six (which he will also direct).

Variety‘s insiders are reporting different things, with regard to the status quo for Robopocalypse; some claim Spielberg hasn’t settled on his next directing project yet, while others say that the sci-fi feature is very much a frontrunner. Meanwhile, early development has begun on another prospective Spielberg helming vehicle, titled The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara – one being written by Tony Kushner (who also penned Munich and Lincoln for Spielberg), and described as follows:  The script is based on David Kertzer’s nonfiction book about the true-life story of an Italian Jew who became the center of an international controversy in 1858 when he was removed from his parents at the age of 7 by authorities of the Papal States and raised as a Catholic. He went on to become a priest in the Augustinian order.

Edgardo Mortara sounds like the kind of historical material that lies comfortably within Spielberg’s wheelhouse, complete with themes and ideas similar to those which his previous cinematic trips back in time have touched upon (see: Schindler’s List, Amistad, etc.) – though, also just different enough to be worth his while. However, Kusher’s only begun to work on the Edgardo Mortara screenplay, so it won’t be the film that Spielberg shoots next. Similarly, the script for Montezuma – another historical drama that Spielberg has his eye on – is reportedly not far enough along for pre-production to get properly underway yet.
steve spielberg director Steven Spielbergs Robopocalypse May Be Moving Forward Again

Robopocalypse cover well-traveled genre territory – this week’s Transcendence is the latest Hollywood tale of A.I. gone wrong – but Spielberg has acknowledged this before, and the indication is that the film has taken extra time during script development to ensure that the final product will be something more innovative – and thus, not quite so derivative. Plus, there’s a lot of promise in Spielberg taking on what sounds like a brainier version of the I, Robot film-meets War of the Worlds-style disaster spectacle, with a cast that could still be led by Chris Hemsworth and Anne Hathaway.

One feasible scenario is that Spielberg will shoot Robopocalypse, then jump right into production on one of the aforementioned historical dramas (Montezuma seems more likely than Edgardo Mortara), even while effects work and editing is still ongoing for his robo-flick. Thus, we get two Spielberg features – a smart popcorn tentpole and prestige drama – released in close proximity to one another, like he’s now done multiple times in the past (see: Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List in 1993, The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse in 2011, and so forth).

















Fictional Frontiers with Sohaib is the nation's only weekly radio program dedicated to a serious discussion of and about popular culture. Broadcasting each Monday from 5:00 to 5:30 PM EST on WNJC-1360 AM Philadelphia (, Fictional Frontiers taps into its reservoir of experts, contributors, and insiders...bringing you the best from film, television, comic books, literature, and other entertainment mediums.


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April 12, 2014


Amazon Acquires ComiXology!


(Courtesy of: Forbes)


Amazon yesterday announced that it would be acquiring ComiXology, a combo app and store for comic books on digital devices. Think of it as an iTunes for the Marvel and DC crowd.  The app is quite popular with tablet owners that consume comics. Anyone who’s ever read a comic knows that they’re typically formatted with several panels per page, and the ComiXology app uses a patented technology called Guided View that lets users follow the action one panel at a time, making for a very linear and elegant way to present a story.


In addition, ComiXology’s store offers most mainstream titles at the same time that they hit physical store shelves, usually at the same price.  But the part that Amazon is likely most interested in is ComiXology’s self-publishing platform, that allows independent authors and artists an avenue to get their comics in the hands of fans while making a bit of money at the same time.


According to David Steinberger, ComiXology’s CEO, the brand would remain as it is as a subsidiary of Amazon. This is good news to digital comics fans, as for many, the app’s ecosystem has completely replaced the purchase of paper comics. But some questions remain for readers.


“I worry about where that leaves digital partners,” says Jason Lamb, a Seattle-based digital comics expert. “There’s a program that lets local stores sell ComiXology digital comics [and they receive] a small percentage. That was a really great gesture from ComiXology, they being retail’s direct competitors. I think that’s out of a love for all things comics on their part.”


I asked if he thought it was likely Amazon would keep that program going, and Lamb told me, “I don’t see Amazon being so kind regarding that initiative. In the recent past, Amazon had a deal with DC so that it could sell their collections through the Kindle store exclusively. I would think that had something to do with the physical distribution side, as it doesn’t make practical sense when ComiXology has far more readers, exposure, and cross pollination of brands.”


There’s also concern that Amazon may hinder further development on non-Kindle tablets, like the Apple AAPL -0.73%’s iPad. That seems unlikely, though, as Amazon has been pro-active on making apps for other platforms. It’s quite easy to read Kindle books on a Samsung Galaxy Tab, for example.


Still, Amazon isn’t being very forthcoming with information about the acquisition. “I hope they’ll invest in better reading experiences, such as higher resolution scans, or a better user flow,” Lamb said. A spokesperson refused to comment on Amazon’s plans by the time this story went live, and Amazon’s silence is making some fans nervous. “That makes me suspicious about this acquisition.”

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Show Schedule
28 April 2014 - 05:00


Chris Ryall, IDW Publishing's Editor-in-Chief and Chief Creative Officer, returns in his Ryalltime segment on Fictional Frontiers.  Heading into the summer comic con circuit, Chris looks back at the recently-release Eisner Award nominations.


D.S. Talon and E.G. Thompson, Co-creators of Archaia Entertainment's Beautiful Scars, make their first appearance on Fictional Frontiers.  A unique blend of comic and prose, this stunning graphic novel celebrates the people who inspire art...our family members whose stories span generations.












Celebrating our 250th episode on June 10th, 2012, Fictional Frontiers wants to thank our worldwide audience!