Category Archives: Comic Book

New Francis Manapul Webseries Airs Tonight: Murdoch Mysteries-The Curse of the Lost Pharaohs

Are you a fan of CityTV’s Murdoch Mysteries? After tonight you might be. On June 7th (after the television premiere of their new season) the first webisode of Murdoch Mysteries: The Curse of the Lost Pharaohs, will debut online.  Here’s the best part: The artwork for the series has been done by Canadian comic book artist, Francis Manapul. Manapul has worked for Aspen, Top Cow, and signed an exclusive deal with DC comics.  His artwork has been featured in Witchblade, GI Joe, Superman Batman, and Adventure Comics, and well…it is stunning.

Murdoch Mysteries Curse of the Lost Pharaoh promo 2
Murdoch Mysteries: Curse of the Lost Pharaoh Promo Art by Francis Manapul

Don’t believe me?  Check out his gallery.

The Murdoch Mysteries follows Detective William Murdoch as he solves crime in Toronto in the 1890s.  But unlike other detectives, he uses unusual methods, including fingerprinting and blood testing.  He’s a man before his time. For more information about the show visit their website at  In fact, visit the site anyway (if you have Flash).  The visual layout of the site is entertaining on its own.

Murdoch Mysteries: Curse of the Lost Pharaohs was producted by Smokebomb Entertainment and financed by Bell Broadcast New Media Fund and the Canada Media Fund. A new webisode will be available every Wednesday morning (and following tonight’s premiere) for 13 weeks. 

Head over to CityTv to watch the TRAILER and visit The Nerd Vortex each week for our Curse of the Lost Pharaohs recap. 

Murdoch Mysteries Curse of the Lost Pharaoh promo by Fancis Manapul
Murdoch Mysteries: Curse of the Lost Pharaohs by Francis Manapul

Canadian television paired with a Canadian artist, what could be better?

Comic Book Movie Run-Down

Our first glimpse of warm weather reminds us that summer is just around the corner. April showers bring more than May flowers; they bring the start of the summer movie season. What comic book movies hit the big screen this summer? The Nerd Vortex has the run-down on the good and the bad coming to theatres near you.


Release Date: May 6th
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins
Thor angers daddy and is cast out of Asgard.  He finds himself on earth and becomes a superhero.

The Good: The visuals look epic, the cast is solid (Thor stars Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, and Chris Hemsworth’s arms) and if anyone can pull this off, it’s Kenneth Branagh. Known for his Shakespearean work, Branagh may be able to bring the needed gravitas to ground the fantastical concept. Plus, we get more agent Coulson (Clark Gregg)! You gotta love agent Coulson!

The Bad: Thor could go horribly horribly wrong really fast. Mixing superheroes and Norse mythology is a risk.  One wrong move and Asgard could come crashing down (A la Siege). Setting the right tone is key.  If  Thor or Captain American go of the rails I fear for the Avengers movie.



Release Date: May 13th
Starring: Paul Bettany, Maggie Q, Karl Urban
A warrior priest breaks his vows and hunts down the vampires that have kidnapped his niece. Priest is another film in the ever-growing Paul Bettany Wants to Be a Religious Action Star sub-genre (Seriously, why is this a thing?).

The Good: I’m a sucker for any movie with religious undertones, no matter how cheesy. I watched Season of the Witch for Christ’s sake (pun intended).  Bettany can play brooding quite well, and Karl Urban rarely does wrong.

The Bad: With relatively unknown source material, does Bettany have the star power to fill theatre seats? Director Scott Stewart’s last effort, Legion (also starring Bettany) didn’t do so hot and this looks like more of the same. In an adaptation filled summer season, this may be the one that gets left behind.

. Continue reading Comic Book Movie Run-Down


Whatever happened to the Holmes family?  HOMES INC features the descendants of the Holmes family, in the year 2010.  In the many decades since the Master Detective died (back in 1935) the great-grandchildren of Sherlock, Mycroft, and Watson, have managed to keep their family together for generations, serving King, Queen, and country for nearly a century, as the agents of HOLMES INC.

Special preview copies of HOLMES INC. will be available at the Toronto Cartoonists Workshop booth at Fan Expo 2010 on August 27th-29th. Meet the comic artists and writers behind each of the stories and find out how their experience with the Toronto Cartoonists Workshop has helped make HOLMES INC. a reality. Cover Art by Ty Templeton.  Visit for a sneak preview.

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A Bunch of Mad Casting: January Jones to Play Emma Frost and a New Angel

January Jones

Today, all our actresses are just ‘mad’ 

Variety has announced that Mad Men’s January Jones has signed a deal to play mutant Emma Frost in X-men: First Class.  It seems that earlier reports of Alice Eve may have jumped the gun.  Jones plays housewife Betty Draper the early 60s inspired television show.  Emma Frost has transformed in the comic books from socialite, White Queen of the Hellfire club, and enemy, to headmistress of Xavier’s school for gifted youngsters.  I have no idea which one she’ll be playing in this film. 

Yes, yes we have our Angel, but it’s not the Angel you all were hoping for.  21 year old, Zoe Kravitz, has 

Zoe Kravitz

 been cast as Angel.  While there are many angels in the x-men universe I assume this refers to Angel Salvadore, created for Grant Morrison’s New X-men run.  Zoe is the daughter of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonnet, and will be seen in 2012’s Mad Max: Fury Road. 

Should I be mad?  Angel is another obscure character to add to the list.  Something smells fishy to me.  

Young actors Bill Milner, and Morgan Lily will play young Magneto and Mystique.

Twilight Star Joins X-men: First Class…No, Not Taylor Lautner

Edi Gathegi

Deadline has reported that Edi Gathegi (Twilight, Gone Baby Gone) has landed the role of Darwin in X-men: First Class.  You may recognize Gathegi as the evil Laurent in the Twilight Saga, or Dr. Jeffrey Cole on tv’s House, but do you recognize the character?

Armando Muñoz, aka Darwin, was created by Ed Brubaker and Pete Woods and introduced in the 2006 run of X-men: Deadly Genesis.  As his name suggests, his power is to evolve.  His body automatically reacts to his surroundings, allowing him to survive nearly anything.  In the comics, the limit of his power has not been fully explored, but it is clear he is not easy to kill.  The Deadly Genesis storyline explored an earlier time in x-men history, after the original x-men, but before the Giant size X-men team.  It seems Xavier sent a second team to save his original x-men from the living island, Krakoa.  The young team was hastily trained and included Gabriel, the third summers brother, as well as our friend Darwin.  The entire team was thought dead, but Darwin’s powers protected him and Gabriel until they were found years later.  In theory, Darwin’s involvement in X-men: First Class makes sense.  In theory.  I doubt Singer and Vaughn’s script has anything to do with living island, though.  I have never expected Matthew Vaughn’s X-men: First class to adhere to the original five X-men of the comics.  Bryan Singer set the tone of the movie-verse and with his involvement in writing and producing, I don’t expect it to change all that much.  But Darwin throws even me more a loop.  It feels a bit like X-men: The Last Stand, and X-men Origins: Wolverine.  Mutants are just being thrown in for the sake of name recognition, and pandering to the fanboys.

But my biggest  qualms with this character choice isn’t name recognition, or even straying from comic continuity.  It’s simply his powers.  Darwin, if written poorly, could be a walking, talking Deus Ex Machina.  He has the power to get out of any situation unharmed, and solve any problem by evolving.  On screen this could feel like a cheap explanation, lazy writing, or just plain boring. It’s like writing Xavier.  There needs to be a reason he can’t solve the situation, even though he’s powerful enough to do so.

What do you think about this casting announcement?  Do you think Darwin is a good addition to the X-men line-up?  Do you think this is all a trick to keep us off the trail of another character?  Tell me what you think.

It’s Official! Renner, Ruffalo and Whedon taking on the Avengers

The Avengers are assembling at Comic Con.  At today’s Marvel Studios Panel, all rumours have been put to rest.   The highly anticipated Avengers movie will be directed by fanboy favourite Joss Whedon.  Whedon created the Buffy the Vampire Slayer phenomenon and is no stranger to the comic world.  Buffy season 8 is still selling strong and in my opinion, his run on Astonishing X-men is the best X-men run of the decade.  At to day’s panel he said

“I have had this dream all my life and it was not this good.  I want to thank Kevin so much for assembling my dream team.  This cast is more than I could have never dreamed of working with. I am going to blow it. I am not up to it. I need your love and your support.”

We have faith in you Joss.  And speaking of cast…

MArk Ruffalo

Mark Ruffalo will indeed play Bruce Banner.   Fans booed at the announcement Edward Norton would not return in the role, but Ruffalo is up for the challenge.  After Eric Bana, and Edward Norton, will the third time be the charm? 

Finally, Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner will be playing Hawkeye in the Avengers.  How can his career get any

Jeremy Renner

 bigger after the Hurt Locker?  A starring role  in what  Robert Downey Jr calls “the most ambitious film ever,” can’t hurt. 

As it stands, The Avengers Line-up consists of Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlet Johanson), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).
I’ll be there opening night.

Avengers Assemble!

Hasbro’s Comic Con Exclusives: Toys I Want But Can’t Have

Ah, convention exclusives.  Yet another reason to spend your money.  If seeing celebrities, talking to your favourite writers/artists, and immersing yourself in nerd culture wasn’t enough, conventions are a geek-shoppers best friend (or worse enemy depending on your bank account).  Conventions bring together booths and booths of retailers, trying to sell you everything and anything that you could possibly want.  Pick up trade paperbacks for less than cover price.  Dig through bins of back issues to find that single title you’ve been missing.  Buy original artwork from pros and semi-pros in artist alley.  In a blink of an eye your wallet is empty…but you have a lot of stuff.With so many things to buy, companies have to do their best to compete.  This means Comic Con exclusives!  Special treasures that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Limited edition prints, toys, busts, and comics, all ready and waiting for you to purchase.  I’m not immune to the wonders of Comic Con exclusives. I just couldn’t say no to the  ‘Future Hiro’ Heroes action figure a few years back (before the show shrivelled up and died), or the Alex Ross Fanexpo X-men #500.  I even have the Diamond Select  ‘Mohawk Storm Bust’ from San Diego.   As a toy fanatic, I was anxious to see what Hasbro has put out this year.  Let’s take a look. 

Iron Man 2 Mighty Mugg

Special Edition”Iron Man 2″ Mark VI Mighty Mugg I have a soft spot for these vinyl/plastic absurdities. 
This Mugg is styled after the Mark VI movie suit and is
packaged in commemorative gold foil…because it’s special.
While the detailing is splendid, and any Muggs collector
would be glad to have it, I just can’t help but feel it is too
similar to the Iron Man 2 Mark VI Mighty Mugg, found at
Toys R Us (which I have).  Sure, the repaint of these toys
are what’s important, but a little silver detailing isn’t enough
for me hand over another $20.  

Super Hero Squad 3 Pack

Special Edition  Marvel Super Hero Squad 3-Pack
I’ve been collecting these silly little figures since their launch in 2007.  To me, they have the same appeal as the Mighty Muggs. They’re cute, they’re strange, and they make me laugh.  I’ve never watched the cartoon, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting this set. The weird little man (that looks like he stepped out of the Tick cartoon) is the Mayor of Superhero City, and voiced by none other than Stan Lee. Sure, I already have 6 or 7 Iron Man Super Hero Squad toys, but really, Dr. Doom in a bath-robe is too much to pass-up.

Special Edition Marvel Universe 3.75″ Action Figures Continue reading Hasbro’s Comic Con Exclusives: Toys I Want But Can’t Have