Friday, August 29, 2008

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur) has moved! You can know find it Friday afternoons at 3 PM, as The Hidden S in Phone Booth is now available Wednesday afternoons at 3 PM. Be sure to mark your calendars! Detective, Teacher, Scottish Nobleman, Former X-man, and All-Around Great Guy: Like I said last week, I miss Generation X and most of its cast (who appear to be scattered to the four winds). Not only did Gen X introduce a host of cool, new mutants in training, but it gave a few off-beat characters a chance in the spotlight that they had always deserved. One, now raised to complete stardom, is the sometimes scary but immensely popular Emma Frost. Up until Gen X, all she had done is run around in corsets trying to kill X-Men off (yes, she was even more of a bitch than she was now. It’s incredible). But the other lead was an old X-Men character who had sat on the shelf for way too long- Sean “Banshee” Cassidy. Sean was one of those X-Men that never seemed to “fit” into the composition of any one team. He had turned down full time duty on several occasions, but whenever things got too hot, he was usually part of whatever back-up team that rescued or searched through another dimension for a team of X-Men that ran into some trouble. To be fair, I never found Banshee super-interesting and there wasn’t much love lost that he wasn’t around more- at first. He never seemed very interested in being a super-hero anyway. Originally, Sean was part of Interpol and more than once he lost his powers (having a mutant power in which one screams sonic blasts lends itself to ‘losing your voice’). He was also the long-time squeeze of Moira McTaggert, the mutant researcher and the woman we all expected Charles Xavier to end up with. More than once, Cassidy put his life on hold just to be with Moira. But once Generation X started, it was like a light bulb went on over your (and the writers’) head. You saw him in this new light- he was like that older single guy who had never quite found what he wanted to do with his life. He had tried a lot of things, but none of them seemed to fit. And then Xavier asked him to teach the new class at his school. And he was good at it. It wasn’t that he was a badass team leader (I mean, he was, but that’s not the point), it’s that he really was good at helping his students figure out who they were. Some people do, and some people teach- that isn’t some shameful insult. Sean was always more human than superhero. X-Men: The End, a cool series that proposes a fictional finale to the X-Men cannon, envisions Kitty Pryde as the pseudo-successor to Xavier’s legacy. For me, after reading Gen X, I could totally see Cassidy as the headmaster of the school in twenty to thirty years. And then, Gen X disappeared off the racks. Alas. The Fun in Dysfunctional: Banshee doesn’t exactly have the healthiest familial relationships. Most notably, his cousin is a very bad man. Known as “Black Tom,” he mostly worked as a mercenary for hire and a (somewhat) small time thief. Juggernaut and Tom go way back, kind of like the X-Men family outcast alliance (Juggernaut is actually Charles Xavier’s step-brother. I know. It’s weird.). Tom can generate blasts of energy through wood, so originally, he had to walk around with a shillelagh to do anything right. During Gen X’s run though, Tom was transformed into a freakish half-plant/wood thing. So he is particularly scary these days. Tom has always hated Sean, and almost always goes to kill him on sight. Of course, unlike most good guy- bad guy relationships in the Marvel Universe, the Cassidy family doesn’t have a simple portrayal of right and wrong. You ever hear that expression that there’s a scapegoat in every family? If you look back over comic book history, you can’t easily say that Sean has always done right by Tom. But mostly, said-vendetta has to do with a woman that he and his cousin were both in love with (cliché, right?): Maeve Rourke. Ultimately, Rourke ended up with Sean and she actually bore him a daughter. That little girl grew up to be Theresa Rourke, a.k.a. Siryn from X-force. Unfortunately, a terrorist bombing killed Theresa’s mother, and in the confusion, Black Tom grabbed Theresa and made off with her. She spent her teenage years believing that Tom was her real father, her only true benefactor. Even after Siryn finally got her life together, things between her and her real father have never seemed to completely patch up nice and neat. Sean has tried on more than one occasion. But the whole thing has been really uncomfortable for both of them. Before Emma Frost and Scott Summers: Originally, Emma Frost was a far more sympathetic and flawed character. I mean, she still had that painful in-your-face perfectionism that has endeared her to so many. But Frost had had a group of students of her own when she worked with the Hellfire Club, appropriately named “The Hellions.” Some of them had badass mutant powers, but Frost really used them as foot soldiers more than taught them to think on their own. And the end result? They died. And by died I mean “were horribly killed.” A bunch of Sentinels waded into them and commenced full mutant slaughter procedures. It wasn’t pretty. And THAT was where Frost started to turn it all around a little bit- it was like she stopped dead in her tracks and took stock of what had just happened. Her students were dead, and she was partly to blame. I always figured Frost and Sean would end up together. I’m not a huge fan of the Summers/Frost romance, mostly because I always just assumed that Scott Summers and Jean Grey belonged together. What I liked about Banshee and Emma as an item was that they were both older and hadn’t quite found where they needed to be. Sean got, even if she had trouble facing it, that she WASN’T the greatest teacher- yet. So essentially? He was even teaching her. He got that she had trouble being vulnerable, all that romantic stuff that you expect a couple to be able to do for each other. Suggested Reading: There isn’t a huge library to choice from with Banshee as a main character, but… Generation X (Obviously. This has barely been reprinted yet, for some reason.) The Age of Apocalypse (This alternate universe features a depiction of Cassidy in which he willingly flies into another mutant named Abyss and screams until there’s nothing left of either of them. War is hell.) X-Men: Deadly Genesis (Recently, Banshee has apparently “died” at the hands of new X-Men villain (and apparently third Summers brother) Vulcan. His death is typically ambiguous though, and I expect he’ll be found alive and well soon. I’ll put money on it.)

The Dark Knight game canceled?

Everyone knows that The Dark Knight is awesome. It has broken just about every box office record, and is singlehandedly revolutionizing the comic book film genre. And it was only natural that it may be the reason for the first decent Batman game in a long time. But not so fast. Word is that the game might be canceled. According to Australian Gamer the "secret" game that was never officially announced has been canceled. The word is that the executives in charge of the game aren't happy with the game's progress relative to the schedule. This echoes what was mentioned earlier in that Pandemic Studios had issues with the controls and fighting mechanics that really hurt the game. I can't really say that I'm heartbroken about this considering there was never confirmation of the game. And we never really saw anything from the game so there was nothing to get excited about (besides the fact that it was a Batman game). So I guess we'll see how it pans out, but in the meantime it looks like we won't have the game to look forward to. The Dark Knight game canceled?

Spider-Man Stands Up To Cancer

If you've been to the movies recently chances are you've seen the ad for the Stand Up To Cancer campaign. Its basically a bunch of high profile actors shown in various settings standing up, which acts as a cue for all the common people behind them to stand up in unison. One of the scenes features Tobey Maguire at what appears to be a large stadium standing (however I'm pretty sure its a green screen but I appreciate the thought). Why am I telling you this? Because now you have the opportunity to stand up with Maguire (assuming he reprises his role in Spider-Man 4) for at least a mere $5,100. That's right kids. eBay is currently hosting an auction for Stand Up To Cancer that ends Friday, September 5th. What exactly are you bidding on you ask?
  • A visit to the set of Spider-Man 4 (one shooting day) - Location of visit will be determined by Sony Pictures based on scheduling of visit
  • A meet and greet with the cast (1 hour)
  • A walk-on/ extra role in the film for the auction winner only - Role and length of screen time to be determined by Sony Pictures
  • Trip to the New York premiere - Location of American premiere may be changed at Sony Pictures’ discretion
  • Designer outfits to wear to premiere for winner and guest from top designers - Designers to be chosen by Sony Pictures (Winner and guest may keep the outfits)
  • Winner and Guest will walk the premiere’s red carpet
Currently, the bidding is at $5,100 but it wouldn't surprise me if it kept climbing (there's already 23 bids). You have to go through quite the rigorous pre-approval process to bid (of course with good reason). Hell, it'd be worth it alone just to spend an hour with Stan Lee or Bruce Campbell on the set (no offense to the rest of the cast, but come on). If you've got the extra scratch then by all means bid it up. Anything that gets money towards fighting cancer is a fantastic cause. Now, this auction seems a little too good to be true if you ask me, but hey, if it raises money for a good cause then so be it. I think the biggest caveat is "if" the movie actually gets made, which seems pretty inevitable at this point but you never know. Spider-Man 4 set package auction

Adventures of Spawn #2 coming November

Spawn is primed to make a triumphant return. Coming this November 19th is Adventures of Spawn #2, a reimagining (the press release says reimaging, but I don't really think that makes sense) of Todd McFarlane's classic character that helped carry comics through the '90s. Written by Jonathan David and illustrated by Khary Randolph, Adventures of Spawn #2 concludes the "Awakening War" storyline. Spawn creator Todd McFarlane added, "It’s fun is to see if your characters can fit into different settings, genres, mediums and/or formats – as a means to get your idea in front of more new eyes. ADVENTURES OF SPAWN is such an attempt. Unlike the regular title, this one is truly built around the word, 'adventure.' Join us as we dive head-first into a world of Spawn unlike the others I've populated." Full press release below. PRESS RELEASE - JOIN SPAWN'S ADVENTURE THIS NOVEMBER! ADVENTURES OF SPAWN continues this November! 28 August, 2008 (Berkeley, CA) - THE ADVENTURES OF SPAWN, the high adventure re-imaging of Todd McFarlane's seminal creation, returns this November in a full color one-shot concluding the highly praised "Awakening War" storyline written by Jonathan David Goff and illustrated by fan favorite artist Khary Randolph! “Working on this project has been like a dream come true for me," said Randolph. "When I was younger, it was books like Spawn that made me want to draw comic books for a living. So to actually have the ability to fulfill that dream on Spawn really can’t be beat.” In ADVENTURES OF SPAWN, Al Simmons, now known as Spawn X, teams up with fellow heroes Omega and Redeemer in the never-ending battle against the forces of Darkness and its vicious leader, Mammon! While ADVENTURES OF SPAWN made its debut online as SPAWN.COM’s very first web comic to coincide with McFarlane Toys’ own toy line (Spawn: Series 30 & 32), this one-shot is the only place to read the story's conclusion in its entirety. Spawn creator Todd McFarlane added, "It’s fun is to see if your characters can fit into different settings, genres, mediums and/or formats – as a means to get your idea in front of more new eyes. ADVENTURES OF SPAWN is such an attempt. Unlike the regular title, this one is truly built around the word, 'adventure.' Join us as we dive head-first into a world of Spawn unlike the others I've populated." THE ADVENTURES OF SPAWN #2 (SEP082222), a 48-page full color comic book for $5.99, will be in stores November 19th, 2008. For more information and to read the original web comic, please see www.spawn.com/features/series30/comic/. Image Comics is a comics and graphic novels publisher formed in 1992 by a collective of best-selling artists. Since that time, Image has gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. There are currently five partners in Image Comics (Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino), and Image is currently divided into four major houses (Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline, and Image Central). Image comics and graphic novels cover nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable, offering science fiction, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor, and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. Visit www.imagecomics.com.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Gotham City Dossiers: Evil Twin Comics

Welcome to Gotham City Dossiers where I try and showcase a lesser known comics publisher. This isn't to say that these publishers need my help bringing attention to themselves, but I'd like to think that readers can get stuff here that they may not be able to get elsewhere. So enjoy, and be sure to check in every Thursday for Gotham City Dossiers. Evil Twin Comics is a self-classified "peddler of fine, fine funnybooks." Writer Fred Van Lente and artist Ryan Dunlavey started the indie published with a grant from the Xeric Foundation in 2005 and haven't looked back. Their lineup includes lots of action, including Action Philosophers, Action Presidents, Awesome: The ISR Anthology, Comic Book Comics and Stuperpowers!. The titles are pretty self-explanatory, but if you can't figure it out there are tons of free previews over on their website to virtually thumb through and enjoy. The Action Philosopher line seems to be the most robust offering they have, as everyone from Rene Descartes to Carl Jung to Bodhidharma have had their time in the sun (both philosophically and comically). Even the message board has some insightful and hilarious discussions, which is refreshing because most message boards quickly devolve to a flame war. Anyhoo, click the link to jump over the site and enjoy the comic wares being peddled there. Evil Twin Comics

LEGO Batman cartoon in the works

I guess it was only a matter of time before this happened. During a conversation with Rich Earl (a producer at Traveller's Tales) at the Leipzig Games Convention, Games Industry has learned that that Traveller's Tales is making a cartoon based on the upcoming video game that will no doubt be wildly successful. Initially we can expect a 20 minute one-off show that may spin into a full-fledged series. "We're looking to do... a Lego Batman series. I think they're looking at doing a one-off initially," he said. "And they're basically able to utilise the assets, because our team has brought Lego characters to life." So how exactly is this going to work you ask? Well since they're basing a cartoon of a video game based on a comic book character (which may be a first) they already have tons of CGI renders ready to be thrown into cartoon story action. "My understanding is that they will use the engine, the Maya files where the characters come to life, but they'll be creating animated... I think it's a 20-minute cartoon. I'm personally quite intrigued to see how it comes out. Lego, every time they've had a new brand out, they've done some CGI stuff as well, but I think this will be quite different." I'm guessing the cartoon will mimic what Rare has done with Viva Pinata, using a lot of the stuff from the game in the cartoon. But my question is will the cartoon have dialogue? One of the biggest draws to the LEGO games are that the stories are pretty much told entirely through actions and reactions with no dialogue. I would hope that the cartoon would kind of maintain that same "Benny Hill" feel to it and not try and add in any dialogue. LEGO Batman cartoon in the works

Baltimore Comic-Con 2008

Get out your calendars kids! Its time to jot down the dates of another Comic-Con, this one coming to you live from Baltimore. The Baltimore Comic-Con will be at the Baltimore Convention Center September 27th and 28th. Tickets are $25 for both days or $15 if you want to go one day (Saturday or Sunday). And there are some pretty high profile guests, including Brian Bendis, Mike Mignola, Jim Lee and Bernie Wrightson. No word on a programming list just yet, but with talent like that do you really need to see panels? Baltimore Comic-Con 2008

Incredible Hulk hits home October 21

That was fast. It was only a scant few weeks or so ago that we learned that Iron Man would be coming home September 30. And now word is that Incredible Hulk will come to DVD and Blu-Ray October 21, a mere three weeks later. Good times to be a fan of comic book movies, that's for sure. Of course there will be a ton of extras as is the case with these things, but if you have the means I highly recommend picking up the Blu-Ray edition. The DVD will be awesome as well though. The full press release is below. Incredible Hulk on Blu-Ray October 21st Universal City, Calif., August 27, 2008—From the Marvel Universe of the world’s most popular Super Heroes comes the $234.6 million worldwide summer hit that fans have been waiting for as 'The Incredible Hulk' blasts onto DVD and Blu-ray Hi-Def from Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Marvel Studios on October 21, 2008. Filled with unstoppable action, spectacular visual effects, and non-stop thrills, 'The Incredible Hulk' is directed by Louis Leterrier and features an all-star cast including Academy Award® nominees Edward Norton and Tim Roth, Liv Tyler and Academy Award winner William Hurt. The visually spectacular, super-charged release will be available in three versions: a three-disc Special Edition DVD available for a limited time only; a two-disc Blu-ray release, offered in collectible 3D lenticular packaging for a limited time only; and a single-disc DVD edition. Both the Special Edition DVD and Blu-ray releases include over two hours of bonus extras, including an exclusive, never-before-seen alternate opening and a digital copy of the film that is iPod, PC or MAC compatible. The two-disc Blu-ray set, offering the perfect picture and purest digital sound, will also include all-new, interactive features including My Chat, an innovative application that allows viewers to communicate with friends and family while watching the film for a fully immersive, exclusive experience. The suspense-filled, action-packed story is the epic tale of Dr. Bruce Banner, whose life has been changed forever by a dose of gamma radiation that transforms him when provoked into the terrifying and powerful Hulk. Though pursued by military leaders intent on harnessing his unbelievable strength as a secret weapon, Banner must call upon the hero within himself to battle an equally powerful adversary, The Abomination. The single-disc edition includes the film and deleted scenes. In addition to these components, both the Special Edition DVD and the Blu-ray Hi-Def release will include the following: BONUS FEATURES – SPECIAL EDITION DVD AND BLU-RAY HI-DEF: * Alternate Opening * The Making of 'The Incredible Hulk' : An in-depth look at the making of the blockbuster film, featuring interviews with Edward Norton, director Louis Leterrier, and producers Avi Arad, Kevin Feige and Gale Anne Hurd and the entire cast and crew. The documentary covers the film’s innovative take on the character, look and storyline, as well as the casting process, production and profile of director Louis Leterrier. * Becoming The Hulk: This featurette focuses on Edward Norton’s approach to the iconic role and the incredible visual effects employed by award-winning studio Rhythm & Hues to create the character on screen. * Becoming The Abomination: From the first motion-capture session to the visual effects at Rhythm & Hues, viewers go behind the scenes with actor Tim Roth and watch as he transforms both his mind and body into the super villain known as The Abomination. * Anatomy of a Hulk Out: Behind-the-scenes looks at three of the movie’s most exciting action sequences: o Hulking Out in the Bottling Plant – Go inside the first action sequence of the film where both viewers and the army are given a glimpse of the Hulk to come. o Hulking Out on Campus – A behind-the-scenes look at the creation of a Hulk action sequence, featuring airplanes, guns, and even a sound machine. o Hulking Out in Harlem – From pre-visualization animatics to visual effects, this featurette shows how filmmakers created one of the largest action sequences in Marvel film history. * From Comic Book to Screen: See the incredible comic books come to life courtesy of narration, sound effects and “living” panels of action. * Feature Commentary With Director Louis Leterrier And Cast * Digital Copy of THE INCREDIBLE HULK: Compatible with PC, Mac or iPod. * Deleted Scenes BONUS FEATURES – EXCLUSIVE TO BLU-RAY HI-DEF: * U Control: Universal’s exclusive signature feature, U Control puts viewers one click away from going deeper into the making of the film without ever interrupting the movie, through animated comic book panels, storyboards, early renderings of the visual effects, interactive cast and crew interviews and exclusive information about the characters, back story, and 'The Incredible Hulk' physics. * Thunderbolt Files – Explore the top-secret files of the forces hunting The Hulk with this interactive feature that takes you deeper into the movie – without ever leaving the film. * Scene Explorer – Discover the secrets behind the special effects! Explore all the individual layers that go into an effects-intensive scene with this unique Blu-ray feature. * Comic Book Gallery – Enjoy a Hi-Def experience of the classic comic book images that inspired key shots in the movie. * BD-LIVE FEATURES – Blu-ray and Playstation3 players with an Internet connection can access exclusive interactive applications that allow viewers to communicate with friends and family while watching the film: o My Chat – Just plug your player into your Internet connection and connect to BD-Live to chat with friends while watching the movie and conduct your very own private screening discussions. o My Scenes Sharing – Share your favorite clips with your buddies through the BD Live Internet connection Synopsis Academy Award nominee* Edward Norton stars as scientist Bruce Banner, a man who has been living in shadows, scouring the planet for an antidote to the unbridled force of rage within him: the Hulk. But when the military masterminds who dream of exploiting his powers force him back to civilization, he finds himself coming face to face with his most formidable foe: the Abomination – a nightmarish beast of pure aggression whose powers match the Hulk’s own! Also starring Liv Tyler, Oscar nomine Tim Roth, and Oscar winner William Hurt, 'The Incredible Hulk' is “steeped in action and spectacular special effects” (Claudia Puig, USA TODAY) and delivers a mind-blowing final showdown that can only be summed up with one word...INCREDIBLE! CAST AND FILMMAKERS * Directed By: Louis Leterrier * Screenplay and Screen Story: Zak Penn * Produced By: Avi Arid, Kevin Feige, Gale Anne Hurd * Director of Photography: Peter Menzies, Jr. * Edited By: John Wright, Rick Shaine, Vincent Tabaillon, * Production Designer: Kirk M. Petruccelli * Costume Designer: Renee Bravener, Denise Cronenberg * Original Music By: Craig Armstrong * Cast: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt, Tim Blake Nelson, Ty Burrell, Lou Ferrigno as the voice of The Incredible Hulk TECHNICAL INFORMATION * Street Date: October 21, 2008 * Pre-Order Close: September 9, 2008 (DVD) * September 2, 2008 (Blu-ray) * Packaging Layout and Design: Copyright © 2008 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved. * Price: Single Disc SRP $29.98 * Special Edition SRP $34.98 * Blu-rayTM Hi-Def SRP $39.98 * Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense action violence, some frightening sci-fi images and brief suggestive content * Running Time: 1 Hour 53 Minutes * DVD o Selection Number: 2005905 (Widescreen), 2006222 (Full Frame) o Layers: Dual o Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen) o 1.33:1 (Full Frame) o Technical Info: + English Audio: DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 / Dolby Digital 2.0 + Spanish and French Audio: DTS Surround 5.1 + Subtitles: English, Spanish, French * BLU-RAY Hi-Def o Selection Number: 20007317 o Layers: BD-50 o Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 2.35:1 o Technical Info: o English Audio: DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 / Dolby Digital 2.0 o Spanish and French Audio: DTS Surround 5.1 o Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Hidden S in Phone Booth

Debuting today (and hopefully appearing with some regularity) is a new column called "The Hidden S in Phone Booth." Your writer is Mark Rhodes, a man known within many magazine circles including The Christian Science Monitor, Opera and Wizard. He runs a site called the European Film Report that looks at the art of filmmaking, and will tackle whatever he feels like writing about (similar to Tedd in Hank McCoy (Before the Fur) except with less love of Dazzler). Hank McCoy (Before the Fur) has been moved to Fridays now, so be sure to check back in then if you want to see what else Tedd has to say about comics. Superman: The Movie (1978) is arguably the most influential superhero film of all time. This was the first superhero film to have "A" production values, great, legendary actors (in nearly every role), a respectful, but witty script, a first rate and memorable score, believable special effects and, most importantly, a perfectly cast Superman in Christopher Reeve. Superman II was considered an even more effective and entertaining work. The sequels, sadly, are unmemorable at best. Still, this 30 year old film remains a big influence on young filmmakers. Christopher Nolan, for instance, cast well-known actors in nearly all of the speaking roles for Batman Begins in a similar way that Director Richard Donner placed Glenn Ford, Jackie Cooper, Ned Beatty, Valerie Perinne and, most famously Marlon Brando in small, supporting roles. Unfortunately, Bryan Singer's work in 2005's Superman Returns was greeted with mixed reviews, mixed feelings and a general shrug by the public. One of The main problems was a too reverential outlook on the character and the original Superman film from 1978. Indeed, many times the film felt like a remake of the 1978 film. The film was a hit, but the public isn't exactly clamoring for a sequel. Plus, there is the matter of the money it would take to make a follow up. Finally, Brandon Routh is not exactly a household name as a result of his work in Superman Returns. Despite all this, there is still a large degree of interest in a Follow up but a follow up that is a yet another reboot. How could this work you ask....? 1 Get an actor with some mystique: My favorite Superman is George Reeves from the Superman TV show from the 50's-He was confident, resourceful and charming. More importantly, his Clark Kent character was not a clod and was kind of a tough guy journalist, almost like a private eye. I was watching Mad Men the other night and I thought the actor who plays the lead Dan Draper (Jon Hamm) would be an interesting Superman. He has that toughness and mystique that might make Superman and Clark Kent more interesting. For a big name it is hard for me not to think about Viggo Mortnesen who would make a great Kingdom Come type Superman. 2. Make it a period piece; A lot of comic fans don't want to admit it but Superman is a nostalgic character that works best in the recent past (at least in the comics). For whatever reasons he is not a universal character (he resembles Captain America in this regard) so put him in the context where he makes the most sense. I love the Superman cartoons from the 40's where the Fleischers paid a lot of attention to the Art Deco design of the time. This might also allow Warners to take a sensible step back with regard to reports that they are trying to figure out how to "reboot" the franchise. 3. Lighten up on the Judeo-Christian angle of the myth: Superman is often seen as a kind of comic book version of God, or Jesus Christ. This was especially apparent in the Singer version. It is understandable why this is the case and it is not inaccurate. However, the problem is that a character like Superman should not have this burden placed on him. It stifles the character and turns him into a symbol rather than a recognizable individual. 4. Pick an offbeat actress to be Lois Lane. For instance, why not a foreign actress like Penelope Cruz, or Audrey Tatou? Why not an actress like Thandie Newton? 5. Stay away from Lex Luthor. He is worn out as a character in the movies, television and even the cartoons. In fact, it might be more interesting for Superman to deal with real world issues in some way (like World War II if it were a period piece) than to deal with a supervillan. A couple of these moves are gambles and I don't know if Warner is in a gambling mood with Marvel outpacing them on every front. Warner can afford a mistep with the Batman series, but not Superman. It is reasonable to think Warner will go in a different direction if and when superman series reboots - Plus, there is the potentially complicating factor of a JLA film so it is hard to say what the cinematic future of the Man of Steel is at least for the moment...

The NY Times on the Fox/WB Watchmen saga

This can't be good news. What started out as a seemingly innocuous lawsuit against Warner Brothers on behalf of Fox is quickly turning into a greater indictment of the way Hollywood works as a whole. And when the NY Times is writing about it, then you know that things are quickly escalating. According to Michael Cieply at NY Times, the entire issue centers around something called a "turnaround." What this is is Hollywoodspeak for a "contractual mechanism that allows a studio to release its interest in a dormant film project, while recovering costs, plus interest, from any rival that eventually adopts the project. The turnaround clauses in a typical contract are also insurance for studio executives who do not want to be humiliated by a competitor who makes a hit out of their castoffs." In this case, for some reason Fox maintains abnormally long turnaround rights for the film adaptation of Watchmen. And when Warner Brothers decided to greenlight the film, Fox was never consulted to review who was entitled to the rights. The article isn't too optimistic that this is going to go away overnight, but we do have about six months to get this whole mess sorted out. I'll keep you posted as advancements in the case are made, but you've got to think that if the NY Times is writing about it the whole thing may be a bigger deal than we think. NY Times on the Watchmen lawsuit saga

Virgin Comics shuttering NY office

Comics are booming these days. It seems there are at least two superhero themed films being released annually, and storylines such as Civil War are proving that comic stories can be thought provoking. Having said that, it does come as a surprise when a comic company seems to not be doing so hot. Such is the case with Virgin Comics. The Hollywood Reporter reports that Virgin Comics is closing its NY office in attempt to reorganize that division of the company. Virgin Comics was originally a partnership between Virgin Books and Gotham Entertainment (in India) that has had some nifty comics ideas, but none that have really taken off. There have already been eight layoffs, and the company plans to consolidate operations at a Los Angeles base. "We remain excited about the business and partnerships we have built through Virgin Comics and are working towards a restructuring that properly takes the business forward," CEO Sharad Devarajan said in a statement. There is no word as to what Virgin Comics has planned for the immediate future and how current titles will be affected. This is kind of sad, but I think it speaks to the sheer volume of comics available out there; a quantity that seemed unfathomable years ago. Virgin Comics closing NY office

Alfred confirmed for LEGO Batman

We finally have confirmation. Alfred Pennyworth himself, the stalwart butler that has seen Bruce through the worst of time and the best of times has been confirmed in the upcoming LEGO Batman. We can only hope that the tray is his weapon of choice.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New Arrivals: August 27, 2008

The Secret Invasion has begun in the Marvel universe, and finally Spider-Man is getting drawn into the mix. The pick of the week is Secret Invasion Spider-Man #1, featuring the appearance of the Skrulls in New York with Spider-Man nowhere to be found. Enjoy! New Arrivals: August 27, 2008

I HATE Galaxy Girl

Readers of my site may think that I have no love for Image Comics. I really do respect them and think they put out some quality products. But their webpage design is just dreadful. Since everything is on the home page and nothing clicks over to individual pages for stories, it makes linking to anything Image does quite difficult (Joe Keatinge, if you're reading this, you might want to consider redesign...just a thought). So when something like I Hate Galaxy Girl comes along and I want to write about it, I have to go to the press release. And just to get you up to speed, I Hate Galaxy Girl was a runner-up for the "Who Wants to Create a Super Heroine Contest" at Image by Kat Cahill. But Shadowline thought otherwise. "While I HATE GALAXY GIRL was originally Kat Cahill's runner-up for our 'Who Wants To Create a Super Heroine Contest', Shadowline Editor Kris Simon and I loved the concept so much we had to put it on the fast track to becoming its own series," Shadowline Publisher Jim Valentino said. "When Kat saw Seth's upcoming work on BRAT-HALLA, she knew he was the perfect artist to capture the mood she was going for. We really can't help but agree!" Below is the full press release, and I Hate Galaxy Girl #1 drops November 12. PRESS RELEASE - SHADOWLINE HATES GALAXY GIRL THIS NOVEMBER! Image Comics Shadowline launches I HATE GALAXY GIRL this November! 25 August 2008 (Berkeley, CA) - Every underdog gets their day this November as newcomer Kat Cahill and BRAT-HALLA's Seth Damoose take a stand in Shadowline's newest three issue superhero mini-series, I HATE GALAXY GIRL! "While I HATE GALAXY GIRL was originally Kat Cahill's runner-up for our 'Who Wants To Create a Super Heroine Contest', Shadowline Editor Kris Simon and I loved the concept so much we had to put it on the fast track to becoming its own series," Shadowline Publisher Jim Valentino said. "When Kat saw Seth's upcoming work on BRAT-HALLA, she knew he was the perfect artist to capture the mood she was going for. We really can't help but agree!" Based on skill alone, Renee Tempete should be the new Galaxy Girl. Instead, a buxom blonde with no actual powers holds the title. As events unfold, Renee struggles not only against monsters, criminals and giant robots, but also a society that desperately wants to keep her in her place. Cahill added, "The core of I HATE GALAXY GIRL is Renee finding the self-confidence to achieve her dreams despite constantly being told to give up. The experience is something I think just about anybody can relate to while the overall story is still a heck of a lot of fun!" I HATE GALAXY GIRL #1 (SEP082263), a 32-page full color mini-series for $3.50, will be available in-stores November 12th. Image Comics is a comics and graphic novels publisher formed in 1992 by a collective of best-selling artists. Since that time, Image has gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. There are currently five partners in Image Comics (Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino), and Image is currently divided into four major houses (Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline, and Image Central). Image comics and graphic novels cover nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable, offering science fiction, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor, and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. Visit www.imagecomics.com.

Preview: Beyond Wonderland #1

Calie Liddle has been to Wonderland and back, and since then has picked up some bitterness. She has moved away from home and is now in a city that never sleeps...she even has a new name and identity! But its only a matter of time before she realizes that things in her life won't stay normal for long. Written by Raven Gregory, Ralph Tedesco and Joe Brusha and with illustrations by Daniel Leister and colors by Nei Ruffino, Beyond Wonderland #1 should be in stores now. Original covers are by J. Scott Campbell and David Finch while Al Rio and Billy Tucci have created special Salute the Troops covers (see below) that donate a portion of sales to US troop care packages. Preview: Beyond Wonderland #1

Don't believe the hype: Cher is NOT Catwoman

Rumors can sometimes be so far out in left field that you have to wonder why a news organization even decided to run with them. Sure, I love getting the jump on others with a hot and juicy rumor just as much as the next blog, but I do have limits. Telegraph UK apparently has no limits, as they have not one but TWO members of the next installment of the recent Batman pending trilogy confirmed. According to Jessica Salter at Telegraph UK, Cher has been confirmed as Catwoman and Johnny Depp confirmed as The Riddler. According to Salter, Cher "is Nolan's first choice to play Catwoman. He wants to her to portray her like a vamp in her twilight years." Further, the new Catwoman "will be the absolute opposite of Michelle Pfeiffer and Halle Berry's purring creations." The article makes no other mention regarding Depp as The Riddler, and also says that filming will begin next year in Vancouver. Take a second before reading on. Still there? Ok. What. The. Fuck. First off, this article seems likes its written by a high school journalism student. Second, there is NO WAY Nolan could possibly want Cher to play the Catwoman. Jonathan Nolan has even gone on record to say that he and his brother would rather not use Catwoman as the antagonist and would like to go with a lesser known villain (like they went with Ra's al Ghul in Batman Begins. Third, neither of the first films have gone anywhere near Vancouver (that I'm aware of), opting instead to film in Chicago, Hong Kong and England. This kind of reminds me of Scott Templeton in season five of The Wire (fans of the show will know what I'm talking about). If ANY of these rumors pan out I will gladly apologize to Ms. Salter and buy her dinner or something, but quite frankly I'm not holding my breath. If her goal was to get some page hits then I'm certainly helping that goal, but its kind of sad that she would write about rumors so outlandish. That about ends my rant. Final words: There is no way in hell that Cher is playing Catwoman. Depp has a remote slight chance to play The Riddler, but I don't really see that happening either. Cher playing Catwoman? (not likely)

Monday, August 25, 2008

DC takes a page from Marvel's book

The old saying goes that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and if that's the case then Marvel must be feeling quite nice these days. In a recent article from the Wall Street Journal, Warner Brothers has announced film plans similar to that of Marvel. Marvel is starting to gain some momentum with the continuity and team up aspect of their superhero films, and DC is quick to jump on that trend. "Films with our DC properties have the opportunity to support other divisions in the company in a way that our other movies don't," Mr. Robinov says. Now of course, Marvel doesn't have quite the variety of film properties that Warner Brothers does, but it seems that the good old WB has gotten wise to the drawing power of DC superheroes since The Dark Knight continues to wreck shop at the box office. "Superheroes are more global than ever in today's commercial world, existing in 30 languages and in more than 60 countries," says Paul Levitz, president and publisher of DC Comics. The characters are "a world-wide export," he says. And this even extends to the next installment of the Superman saga, with WB now inclined to reboot the reboot that was Superman Returns "'Superman' didn't quite work as a film in the way that we wanted it to," says Mr. Robinov. "It didn't position the character the way he needed to be positioned." "Had 'Superman' worked in 2006, we would have had a movie for Christmas of this year or 2009," he adds. "But now the plan is just to reintroduce Superman without regard to a Batman and Superman movie at all." Interesting. Someone at WB thought we would like to see a Batman vs. Superman film (even acknowledging it with a billboard in I Am Legend), but I don't really think it would have worked. ANYTHING with Batman now has to involve Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan or people are going to be upset. Same thing with Bale applies to the Justice League Mortal film that was due out next summer (and has since been replaced by a six month delayed Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince for more money). But now we're stuck with only one comic film from DC next year in Watchmen, which might not even come out as a result of their legal battle with Fox of the distribution rights. Warner Brothers likes Marvel's movie ideas

Dragon*Con 2008

Everything has a con these days. Comic cons, Star Wars cons, anime cons...you name it and chances are there's a convention centered around it. And this weekend in Atlanta (or Hotlanta as some natives like to refer to it) is the 2008 Dragon*Con. Dragon*Con is the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the US. Those of you looking to go and get your comic convention fix should note that are some industry big shots that will be there, including Dexter Vines, Mark Texeira and Stephen Hickman among many others. The event will be hosted at three hotels that are all interconnected, and those hotels are the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Atlanta Marriott Marquis and the Atlanta Hilton. Pre-registration is sold out, so if you want to go you have to get there early and drop $90 for a four day convention "membership," while single days will run you $30 a piece. So if you're going to be in Atlanta this Labor Day weekend (or live there) and are dying to go to a comic convention, Dragon*Con isn't full out comics but it may satisfy that itch. Dragon*Con 2008

Spider-Man: Web of Shadows Q&A

I'm a little intrigued by the upcoming Spider-Man: Web of Shadows game due in stores in October. The intrigue comes from the ability to play as either Spider-Man, with all his nimble agility or as black suit Spider-Man with all his brute strength. Beyond that though, Shaba Games and Marvel have been relatively mum on other details of the web-slinging adventure. Until now. Marvel had the opportunity to speak with Zak Krefting, the Creative Director at Shaba Games. Its a good read and features some things we already know, and some things we don't already know. Krefting goes into a bit of detail regarding the powers of the two suits. "In Black Suit you can upgrade your suit's ichor, turning your fists and webs into 30 foot tentacles with hatchet-like teeth on the end. The more enemies you hit, the more XP you get, the more you pour it into your Black Suit. The cycle continues until you are one bad-ass Spider-Man Venom Hybrid. When you utilize these attacks on the street, anything around you gets destroyed in the process, causing panic and fear. If this offends purists, then great! That's why we made Red Suit classic, with fast, agile and precise moves that you've seen in the comics. Instead of smashing everything with brute force, you can pluck an enemy off the ground, punch him, web him back to you, punch him again then wind him up like a yo-yo and pin him to the wall with webs. A lot of red suit's moves reflect his sense of humor in the face of adversity, while Black Suit just smashes adversity to bits." The game doesn't really fit anywhere (comics or movies) continuitywise, but does have a good story regardless that focuses on a symbiote invasion. The fighting mechanics seem pretty cool, and there is even a real-time aspect to game play in that if an enemy is about to attack the Spider Sense goes crazy, giving the player the opportunity to react. All in all, this seems to be looking like one of the better Spidey games we've seen in a while. Spider-Man: Web of Shadows Q&A

New Punisher: War Zone teaser poster

Courtesy of Superhero Hype (and San Diego Comic Con), above is the new teaser poster for Punisher: War Zone due in theaters December 5. The poster is designed by Timothy Bradstreet, and while it doesn't really tell you anything new, it is quite nice to take a gander at.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Joker hilarious in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe

I'll admit that Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe is slowly growing on me. I'm still not really a Mortal Kombat fan because of the fighting mechanics, but the game is looking at the very least true to the DC inspirational aspects. Even more true when watching the Joker's moveset. GameTrailers has video of Hector Sanchez (one of the producers of the game) demonstrating the variety of moves the Joker has at his disposal. And while I won't ruin the fatality, the Joker they're going features the jovial playfulness Mark Hamill's Joker in Batman: The Animated Series and Jack Nicholson's Joker from Tim Burton's Batman.

Friday, August 22, 2008

7" figures from The Spirit

We're a little over four months away from the release of Will Eisner's The Spirit, which of course means its time to start getting into the merchandising swing of things. The first series of figures from Mezco measure at 7" tall and are slated to be released January 14, 2009. Included in the first series are:
  • The Spirit
  • Octopus
  • Pathos the Thug
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Sand Seref (Wet Suit)
You can head over to Corner Store Comics and preorder them now for a quite reasonable price of $13.99 to $14.99 each or $64.99 for the five figure set. The pictures come from Toy News International, but you get the idea. The Spirit Series 1 Preorder

Preview: World of Warcraft: Ashbringer #1

Everyone knows what World of Warcraft is, so I'll spare you the pithy introduction and just get straight to it. Debuting last December was a comic from DC's Wildstorm focusing on the Warcraft mythos, and now that there's a new expansion is coming out what perfect timing to get a new comic expansion out. The Lich King has plagued the kingdom of Lordaeron with undeath ravages, and its up to Highlord Alexandros Mograine to find a blade forged from a dark orb to create Ashbringer. The four-issue miniseries is written by Micky Neilson and featuring art by Ludo Lullabi and Tony Washington. The book hits September 10 for $3.99. Preview: World of Warcraft: Ashbringer #1 (of 4)

Power struggle with Wolverine

Recent rumors have suggested that there is creative conflict on the set of Punisher: War Zone, however it seems that currently everyhing's A-ok. Earlier this year there were conflicts on the set of The Incredible Hulk surrounding Edward Norton's expected screenwriting credit and production rights that ended up not really being that big a deal (we'll see if its bigger than we though if he refuses to do a sequel over it). Now it seems there's turmoil on the set of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Hollywood Elsewhere reports that there is somewhat of an impasse between director Gavin Hood and Fox CEO Tim Rothman. "There was/is a huge Wolverine set being recently used. I'm not even sure which lot it was built on, but the look or mood of the set is, according to a source who was told Hood's view of things, supposed to be on the dark, dinghy and somber side. I only know what I was told, but the basics are that Hood was away from the set for whatever reason (shooting something else, taking a day or two off), and when he returned to the big somber set he was shocked to find that it had been repainted top to bottom on Rothman's orders. The murky-scuzzy vibe was gone, and a brighter and less downish look had taken its place." Now normally the director has the say in these types of things, so for another individual (a CEO nonetheless) to step in and make such a change without said director's permission is pretty much stupid. There may be more to this then we know, and this is only one report so it could be something else (Nomad, if you're out there and have an update let me know). But it may be part of a larger trend we may be seeing with comic book movies. Comic book movies account for three of the top five grossing films of the year (The Dark Knight, Iron Man and Hancock), and clearly Hollywood is starting to recognize their weight at the box office. If this incident does turn out to be true then it scares me because what you have are studio executives that have no business whatsoever working on comic book films butting in and adding their two cents from a "let's make more money perspective" and sacrificing good storylines true to the comics. This could very well be a "sky is falling" thought on my behalf, but we've seen Hollywood do some really stupid things time and time again. Wolverine set problems

Top 10 Spider-man costumes

Every superhero goes through changes. Change in powers, emotional changes, costume changes. And Peter Parker has gone through his fair share of changes, including costumes. Marvel is there for you in a recent countdown of the top 10 costumes that the webhead has donned in his history. The list:
  • Peter Porker
  • Spider Armor
  • Fantastic Four Costume with Bag Mask
  • Ricochet
  • Ben Reilly
  • Scarlet Spider
  • Iron Spider
  • Spider-man 2099
  • Black Costume
  • Original Costume
Its a nice trip down memory lane if you're a Spider-man fan. Top 10 Spider-man Costumes

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Gotham City Dossiers: Avatar Press

Debuting today is a new feature called Gotham City Dossiers where I try and showcase a lesser known publishing studio. This isn't to say that these studios need my help, but I'd like to think that readers can get stuff here that they may not be able to get elsewhere. So enjoy, and be sure to check in every Thursday for Gotham City Dossiers. I've perused the website for Avatar Press and there are a few things that really stood out to me. First off, they're home to Garth Ennis and Warren Ellis among others. One of their comics includes Gravel, a story with “black ops, blacker magic, cold-blooded slaughter and ruthless betrayal: the ongoing adventures of Warren Ellis’ biggest bastard to date,” according to Garth Ennis. “It’s like someone made a comic just for me.” Gravel #0 launched its full-color ongoing run with #0 in January, specially priced at only $1.99, while the full-size monthly started in March and available for $3.99. Another work by Warren Ellis is Anna Mercury, who's pretty much a badass chick that can mess with men's minds and shoot two guns whilst jumping through the air yelling "arrgghh." “She floats and leaps around the city like she’s Daredevil, Lara Croft and a character from CROUCHING TIGER all rolled into one,” Warren Ellis says, shedding (just a little) more light on his title character, “but no-one can get a good look at her. A lot of people don’t even think she’s real. She’s real,” Ellis confirms. “It’s the city of New Ataraxia that might not be real. And yet there she is in this weird retropolis out of American 1950’s science fiction magazines, disrupting the activities of the War Department, Magnetic Science and the Metropolitan Police, apparently working for no-one but herself… because no-one living there would believe who she’s working for.” So definitely check out the site, and pick up something new to read if you're not already reading something already. And if you already know about the publisher, more power to you for being an awesome comics person. Avatar Press

Top 6 Episodes of Batman: The Animated Series

I'm a big fan of Batman: The Animated Series. Have been from the start. Ever since it first debuted on a Sunday night at 7:30 I was both blown away that an animated show other than The Simpsons was on at night and that the show was so good. Having seen all the episodes, I have my personal favorites as do many other fans of the show, including Wizard Universe. Their top six episodes of Batman: The Animated Series are pretty much all origin episodes. The six episodes?
  • Two-Face
  • Heart of Ice
  • Dreams of Darkness
  • Robin's Reckoning
  • The Laughing Fish
  • The Demon's Quest
The episodes are all villain origin episodes (with the exception of Robin) which is fine by me. My personal favorite: Christmas With the Joker. That episode was the right presentation of the Joker, as it kind of showed him in all his brilliant chaos. Its much like Heath Ledger's Joker in The Dark Knight, but slightly less dark and violent. Top 6 Episodes of Batman: The Animated Series

Fox likes Warner Brothers afterall?

This whole todo about the release of Watchmen in regards to Fox's recent "problems" with Warner Brothers impending release of the film adaptation of the epic graphic novel. But we really haven't gotten the story from Fox's side of the battle. The fans are in quite the understandable uproar regarding the possible prevention of the film's release. What does Fox say? Hollywood Insider has some insight: "Of course we are concerned about the fans; however, any disappointment from the core fans should not be directed toward Fox. What we are doing is seeking to enforce our distribution rights to Watchmen. Legal copyright ownership should not just be swept under the rug and ignored.” Ok. So Fox are concerned about the fans. But what about the timing? Fox started their lawsuit in February of this year, right as the film was being wrapped up and in post-production. They knew that the film was in the process of being made for years, yet they decided to wait until now to bring up the lawsuit. How does Warner Brothers feel? "We respectfully disagree with Fox's position and do not believe they have any rights in and to this project. It is particularly noteworthy that nothing on the face of the complaint or the documents supplied to the Court establishes that [Watchmen producer Larry] Gordon, the claimed source of Warner Brothers' interest in Watchmen, ever acquired any rights in Watchmen." So here we are, moving ever closer to the likelihood that Warner Brothers paying a hefty sum to Fox to allow the film to be released. All I know is that this film needs to be released in March, otherwise you're going to have quite the angry mob of Watchmen fans. Although I'm sure Alan Moore would be happy, considering he has been against a feature film adaptation from the start. Stay tuned for more kids. Fox has no problem with Warner Brothers

New Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe trailer

One more bit of news from Miday at the Leipzig Games Convention, and that is a new trailer for Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. A pretty short one and its more of the same stuff really, but hey, at least you can grab someone as Superman and plow them through walls!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

I’ve been taking a gander at what’s been going on in the X-universe lately. Endangered species, Messiah Complex, etc… It’s been a while since I saw X-Men comics that truly sated my need for mutant craziness. But I have to say, I’m impressed. For me, the coolest part of the entire X-Men universe was the cast. I really love the idea that Xavier ran a school that mutants of all varying levels of experience in superherodom lived together at. Nowadays, they’ve gone one step beyond and have mutants at all varying levels of just being…well, educated, living there. They don’t all grow up to be superheroes and mutant commandos and what not. Most are just people who want to live normal lives (or as normal a life as a mutant gets, anyway). So it really is an actual SCHOOL now, not just a cover for some clandestine mutant strike team. It’s very Harry Potter and everything. Cute. Right around the time Decimation was happening my interest in the whole X thing was waning. I mean for me, the X-Men cast is so rich and deep, and goes far beyond the simple line-up showed in the movies, that the idea that half of known mutants everywhere were going to suddenly lose their powers really bothered me. Well, okay, let me put it this way- the idea that mutants would suddenly become an endangered species had some appeal, in and of itself. But I didn’t like that half of the characters I used to enjoy reading about were suddenly on the list of “depowered” mutants. I mean, Jubilee? Really? We’re going to write her out of the whole mutant saga now? Really, you think that’s a good idea? This character doesn’t have potential anymore, suddenly? I love almost every character Chris Claremont brought back or introduced through the late eighties into the early nineties, through X-Men, X-factor, and New Mutants. In fact, my favorite time for the whole comic was in the early eighties, when they finally bit the bullet and put almost every X-Man that ever was onto the team or on an X-Men spin off. I admit, the comic lines were oversaturated with X-this and X-that; but I just thought it was cool that there were so many of them, they were all so different, and the writers had finally stopped trying to pretend like only five to six of them were important at any given time and the rest could fall to the wayside, forgotten. Someone figured “Christ, let’s just use all of them, okay!? Psylocke, Havok, Wolfsbane, Cable, Shatterstar, Strong Guy…just, go, whatever!” But then, somewhere along the line, the whole thing fizzled. Don’t know when exactly, but one by one those spinoff titles disappeared. X-force dissolved into a comic that I didn’t even recognize anymore, X-factor (which was hotly under-rated, the run starring Havok, Polaris, Strong Guy, Wolfsbane, and Multiple Man…can’t remember who wrote it) just started getting weirder and weirder…and Generation X? What the hell HAPPENED with Generation X? That was by far the best written and drawn comic Marvel had made in years when it first came out. And it sold. Like hotcakes. And then? I woke up one morning and it was gone. Not only that, but the characters were gone. Or just making casual cameos here and there. But I’m happy to say that I see more and more of the characters that I’ve loved over the years back in the book lately. You ask me, Joss Wheedon did the right thing bringing Kitty Pryde back and, although a bit cliché, bringing Colossus back to life. With the former, although I think Excalibur was (is) an awesome comic book, it never really sat right with me that Kitty and Nightcrawler just took off one day and decided to live in Britain, away from the teammates and friends that they had known for years. With the latter? I think killing Colossus’ little sister (Illyana Rasputin a.k.a. Magik a.k.a. COOLEST X-MAN EVER) and turning him into a depressed, pseudo-villain was terrible. It just went against his nature. That’s why I hate that the guy doesn’t have any lines, or personality, in the movies- because for so long, he was such an important character in that comic! But these two, together, romantically, finally? This felt right to me. But I was particularly stoked to see Dazzler gracing the cover of the latest issue of Secret Invasion: X-Men. In fact, if Dazzler turns out to BE a Skrull? I am going to be truly upset. This is a character that Marvel just hasn’t stuck with enough. There’s a good story in there somewhere, buried beneath all the constant re-write bullshit with Dazzler. To me, the coolest thing about her was how her power worked. It wasn’t just that she could generate light- it was that she turned sound into light. So, in a vacuum, she can’t do anything. But on stage with speakers blasting? Well, it’s no wonder she had a career as a pop star, anyway. Later though, Allison actually learned how to dampen sound too. So in a crowded room, Dazzler could make everyone silent, even if they were screaming at the top of their lungs. It was cool just because it was different than the standard “I’m a mutant and I shoot lasers” routine. And mostly I liked her because she was fairly normal, as women on the X-Men go. Her would-be husband, Longshot, was not so normal. Longshot wasn’t a mutant, exactly. He was from the Mojoverse. The Mojoverse is just one of those crazy, weird, interesting ideas Claremont and the staff dreamed up in the eighties. See, X-Men during the eighties had a lot to do with racism and prejudice and all that jazz- but it also had to do with general WEIRDNESS. Demons, aliens, interdimensional portals…it was kind of like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in that whatever the X-Men were dealing with, it was bound to be bizarre (I made a loose comparison here, I know, but I think it pans out). Among the X-Men cast of villains is an amorphous, spineless (literally and figuratively), disgusting Jabba the Hut-esque T.V. Network executive producer/absolute ruler name Mojo. The history of the Mojoverse is particularly bizarre, but it mostly revolves around an entire civilization becoming entirely addicted to television and barely moving. Mojo rules the population by broadcasting images of ridiculous television shows he creates by putting slaves (and occasionally the X-Men) through gladiatorial combat with gimmicky, action movie twists. Longshot was created, genetically, in the Mojoverse to be a “star” of Mojo’s “shows”. He was given an inborn power, not unlike mutants, that made him unnaturally lucky. Consequently, things always seemed to “work out” for Longshot, in uncanny and unexpected ways. I remember one issue in which the X-Men literally woke Longshot up while he was lying unconscious and asked him to toss a rock at an enemy’s forcefield, knowing full well that Longshot’s natural luck would cause him to hit the exact point that the field was weakest. They proceeded to pour everything they had onto that one point. It was weird. But it was cool. Eventually he escaped the Mojoverse and became an X-man. Even though he wasn’t exactly a mutant. While the guy hasn’t appeared in an X-comic for a while, I know he was back recently- only to be revealed to be a Skrull. Actually, I know at one point, (I think during Eve of Destruction), Allison mentioned something about Longshot being dead. This Skrull-revelation might seal the deal on her husband’s demise. Only time will tell. I’ve become a big fan of X-treme X-Men too. Originally, the idea that Storm, Rogue, Bishop, Gambit, and a few other X-Men would have a big falling out and run off to do their own thing didn’t sit well with me. But I really love that the story brings back Irene Adler, a.k.a. Destiny. Destiny was a member of the Brotherhood, an elderly, almost frail woman who could tell the future. She and Mystique were close though- even as villains, their friendship always seemed very real and genuine. It stuck out. Actually, I’ve heard told that years later, Claremont revealed that he had always intended for Destiny to be Mystique’s lover, but the fans just weren’t ready for a lesbian couple in comic books yet. Well, Destiny met her end unfortunately. But most of X-treme X-Men is about collecting journals she’s left behind, detailing elements of the future. This has been a nice way to reintroduce was I’ve always thought of as part of the fundamental mythology behind X-Men: that they are trying to not just improve human-mutant relations, but prevent the coming of a chain of events that will evolve into a time line in which Sentinels go haywire and enslave the entire human race. Little elements of the future and time travel have long been a staple of X-Men, and Irene’s diaries have little bits and pieces that make you think. That’s always what made the Sentinels scary to me, really. They seemed empty, hollow- but this idea that they were going to one day start evolving into something resembling human consciousness and “decide” that the best way to “protect” humanity from mutants is to start regulating everything, from breeding to daily activities, was really freaky. It had this sort of biblical apocalyptic overtone- like, instead of accepting the natural order, humanity had brought this totally un-natural thing, the sentinels, to life. They had “played God” and this was the price they paid. It was scary. The point is, I’m just happy to SEE some of these characters. I always love Jean Grey, but for a long time, the very word X-Men conjured the following characters to me: Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Kitty Pryde. THAT was the team I grew up with and how I always picture the team in my minds eyes. To see so many old names walking around is satisfying- not to mention a few new characters who have begun to hold my interest. OH, one last thing, off the record. If you’re really, really hardcore into Marvel (even I’m not hardcore enough to catch all the names dropped in this article), you might appreciate this link. Read it through- it’s freaky!

Does Warner Brothers want Superman Begins?

2006 was a big year for DC and Warner Brothers. One year after the surprise success of Batman Begins, the reboot of the Batman franchise (and only way to wash the taste of bat nipples out of our mouths), was a supposed reboot of the other big gun at DC in Superman. Superman Returns essentially stole Bryan Singer from doing the third X-Men movie and while it wasn't a flop in the commercial sense, it did leave fans clamoring for more. Talks have been ongoing about the potential sequel for a while now, but according to Anne Thompson at Variety that sequel could be yet another reboot. WB execs weren't so much dissatisfied with Singer or Brandon Routh, rather, they feel like Superman Returns wasn't quite the reboot that they originally had intended. Because of that, some are worried that writing a sequel based on that film might not do so well in theaters if people think its tied to the first one. So what to do then? Reboot the reboot. Nothing has been written for the film (supposedly titled the Man of Steel), but then again not even the title has been super-confirmed. What about casting and characters you ask? I'm fairly certain that Singer and Routh would come back, but I'm not so sure about Kate Bosworth. Another question would be who would Superman fight? His most recognizable villain is Lex Luthor, and while Kevin Spacey played the role to a T, you can't really use that character as the villain for two straight movies. What DC should consider is going the Marvel route. That is, use the Superman movie to set up the Justice League movie and create a DC movie universe. This could certainly work in other films such as Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and The Flash, and then you are building the continuity that would pay off big-time if the Justice League film ever comes to fruition. But then they'd have to keep the same actors around, and I don't know if Christian Bale is going to be up for the role of Batman after the third installment of that franchise reboot. Superman sequel a reboot?

New Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe screenshots

Fresh from the floor of the Leipzig Games Convention are a few tasty screenshots from the upcoming Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe game showing (among other things) the Joker having a riotous time while fighting and the Green Lantern looking pretty badass. If that weren't enough, four more characters have just been announced at the show as being part of the gaming festivities. Those characters happen to be Wonder Woman, Deathstroke, Raiden and Kano. I'm really not surprised that three of the four were announced as they're staples for their respective universes. But Deathstroke? I guess the game needs more brute force bad guys, and this character fits that bill quite nicely.