Everyone's talking about Guardians of the Galaxy these days, but Marvel isn't the only studio with a big, geek-friendly movie this August. The heroes in half-shells return to the big screen this weekend in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and later this month, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For finally arrives in theaters. Naturally, there's no shortage of cool comics, collectibles and other swag tied to these movies over the next few weeks, as well as the usual cornucopia of graphic novels, statues and other collectibles that beg for your hard-earned money.
Here are some of the highlights from this month's currently available – or soon to be available – geekery:
WHAT TO READ
So that Guardians of the Galaxy movie is a pretty big deal right now, eh? Anyone looking to jump on the bandwagon with Peter Quill (aka Star-Lord), Rocket Raccoon, Groot and the rest of the team has a golden opportunity to do so with the recently launched Legendary Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon comic book series, which both hit their second issues this month. That makes it more than likely that you can pick up both the first and second issues at your local comic shop (and they're always available digitally, of course). While the series don't unfold in Marvel's cinematic universe, they do offer great jumping-on points for fans.
As many fans expected, the consolidation of LucasFilm and Marvel Comics under the Disney banner heralded the end of Dark Horse Comics' long-running (and celebrated) series of Star Wars stories. Most of the Star Wars comics at Dark Horse have already wrapped up, but the final issue of Star Wars – one of the few series to feature Luke Skywalker, Leia and the rest of the original trilogy characters – hits shelves this month. It's time to say good-bye to this particular iteration of a galaxy far, far away, but it's been one heck of an adventure.
The first trailer for Kingsman: The Secret Service looks pretty darn good, so naturally there's an opportunity this month to get acquainted with the story that inspired the upcoming film. The Secret Service HC is a nice, bookshelf-worthy edition of Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons' original six-issue series about a street punk trained to become the world's next great secret agent. Much like the adaptation of Millar's series Wanted, the big-screen version of The Secret Service appears to diverge quite a bit from the source material – so you won't be ruining your movie experience by checking out this story ahead of time.
The celebration of Batman's 75th anniversary continues this month with the arrival of a paperback edition of Batman: Earth One, Geoff Johns and Gary Frank's 2012 miniseries that reimagined the Dark Knight's origin in the context of his long history and all of his adventures.
With Batman joining Superman on the big screen in a few years, this is a good starting point if you're looking to get reacquainted with the modern version of Batman that's likely to be a big influence on the upcoming film.
WHAT TO WATCH
If you haven't seen Guardians of the Galaxy yet, what are you waiting for? It's still in theaters, so you have no excuse. I could go through a long list of reasons why the film is must-see material, but it's easier just to quote a certain Flora Colossus who summed it all up quite well (and rather eloquently) when he said, “I am Groot!”
Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael return to the big screen August 8 in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and early reviews of the film are surprisingly, well... not entirely terrible. While there's no shortage of skepticism regarding the Turtles' visual redesign, previews of the film seem to indicate that the heroes' individual personalities made a successful transition to the screen. This looks like the sort of film you just have to shout “Cowabunga!” and jump into, hoping to be pleasantly surprised.
The long-awaited sequel to Sin City finally premieres August 22, and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For looks like it will offer more of gritty, visually striking, noir-fueled narrative that the first film provided, with the addition of some pretty impressive new cast members to go along with the likes of returning characters like Marv (Mickey Rourke), Nancy (Jessica Alba) and Gail (Rosario Dawson), among others. This time around, the film will feature some brand new stories written by Sin City creator Frank Miller, so there are bound to be some surprises for even his biggest fans.
Also hitting theaters August 22 is the documentary To Be Takei, which follows former Star Trek actor George Takei as he goes about the business of, well... being George Takei. Naturally, Star Trek fans can look forward to lots of interesting moments with the likes of William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and the rest of Takei's former castmates. Oh, my!
Finally, fans of the Dragonball Z franchise will want to keep an eye out for screenings of Dragonball Z: Battle of Gods in their local theaters. The 18th animated feature film in the series is getting a limited theatrical release in IMAX cinemas between August 5-7, so you know what do, Super Saiyan.
On the home-video front, Guardians of the Galaxy and Doctor Who actress Karen Gillan earned rave reviews for her role in the recent horror film Oculus, which arrives on DVD and Blu-ray this week (August 5). It's super scary – especially when you remind yourself that the Doctor isn't going to show up at the last minute and save her.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 arrives on DVD and Blu-ray later this month (August 19), featuring one of the coolest opening sequences in any Spider-Man movie so far. Given that it's going to be quite a few years before The Amazing Spider-Man 3 hits theaters – and several years before The Sinister Six, for that matter – this could be your only web-slinging fix for awhile.
WHAT TO PUT ON YOUR SHELF
Sure, it's a bit pricey, but what fan wouldn't want a ridiculously detailed, hyperrealistic replica of Captain America's shield? The Avengers Captain America Limited-Edition Shield Prop Replica is a 24” diameter fiberglass replica of Cap's shield in The Avengers crafted by EFX Inc. It sells for nearly $600, but it's made from the same mold used to create the on-screen shields used in both that movie and Captain America: The First Avenger and its sequel The Winter Soldier. It's a limited run of only 1,500 shields, and has genuine leather straps, as well as a display holder and a certificate of authenticity. Do it for America, son.
While I adored Rocket Raccoon's debut in Guardians of the Galaxy, it was Groot that stole every scene he was in, as far as I'm concerned. While it may qualify as a spoiler (so avoid clicking the link if you haven't seen the movie yet), there's a handmade Groot sculpture for sale on Etsy that you might want to check out if you feel the way I do about Rocket Raccoon's sentient-tree pal. Of course, there's also the mass-produced Pop! Vinyl collectible figure of Groot that you can pick up even if you haven't seen the movie yet, because it spoils nothing and actually makes everything better. Trust me.
Finally, for the card sharks out there (or “card sharps,” if you want to be proper about it), the second edition of Dark Horse's Sin City Playing Cards hit shelves this month. If a comic's going to be on your favorite deck of poker cards, make it Sin City. Marv would approve.
Question of the Week: What are you most looking forward to watching, reading, or adding to your collection in August?
Rick Marshall is an award-winning writer and editor whose work can be found at Movies.com, as well as MTV News, Fandango, Digital Trends, IFC.com, Newsarama, and various other online, print, and on-air news outlets. He's been called a “Professional Geek” by ABC News and Spike TV, and his personal blog can be found at MindPollution.org. You can find him on Twitter as @RickMarshall.
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