The Hidden S in Basterd...

The Hidden S has a modest proposal for Quentin Tarantino... 2009 was not a great year for comic book movies. X-Men Origins: Wolverine underperformed and, after literally decades of anticipation, Watchmen was a particularly bitter disappointment for most comic fans. Sherlock Holmes -a late entry- was in part inspired by a comic book version of the great detective and was a financial success but a bit too derivative of other recent films like The Da Vinci Code and some of the lesser Indiana Jones films. In some ways the most thrilling bit of comic book film were the two well-made and thrilling trailers for Iron Man 2 and Kick-Ass. These seem to be films to look forward to and rightfully so. Having said that, it may be time to recognize (a little late) the best comic film of 2009: Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds. Tarantino’s work has always had footnote quips having to do with comic culture whether it is the “Silver Surfer” dialogue from Crimson Tide or the Kato inspired “Crazy Eights” from Kill Bill. From this, it is not much of a stretch to see some of the influence in “Basterds.” Of course Inglorious Basterds is not based on a comic, but Quentin Tarantino has clearly channeled the Jack Kirby dynamic into his film (he said as much in interviews). Inglorious Basterds plays fast and loose with its facts like other great Hollywood blockbusters have done in the past, such as Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark (the British would have had something to say about the Nazis digging around in Egypt in the late 30's). SPOILERS AHEAD The playing around with historical facts is a typical comic book device that goes at least as far back a the Joe Simon illustration of Captain America punching out Hitler in Nazi HQ (months before the US entered WW2 by the way) on the cover of Captain America #1. By machine gunning Hitler and the German high command at the end of the film, Tarantino is connecting with this comic tradition. As for the “Basterds,” this motley crew of primarily Jewish American badasses is well within the framework of the universe in which Sgt. Fury and his Commandos occupied. Interestingly enough one of the Commandos, “Izzy” Cohen, is often considered the first clear example of a Jewish American character in superhero comics. The Commandos were a more diverse unit than the Jewish American squad in Inglorious Basterds. The Commandos numbered a Brit named Percival Pinkerton (one of the honorary “Basterds” is a Brit named Hicox), an African-American named Gabriel Jones (another historical inaccuracy as the US military was segregated until after the war) and an Italian named Dino Manelli. The Commandos fought a number of weird villains like Baron Zemo and the Red Skull (supervillans from the Captain America series) and crossed paths with a young Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic of course) as well as Captain America and Bucky. The similarities between classic war comics like Sgt. Fury (and DC’s Sgt. Rock for that matter) is clear in the universe of Inglorious Basterds; whether it is bluntly re-writing history or inserting some of the imagery from comics into the film such as having character introductions blared out in large caps (for example HUGO STIGLITZ). All of this begs the question a bit as to whether Tarantino will actually do a superhero film. There were some strong hints he was interested in Green Lantern, but Tarantino is a writer first and foremost so it appears he lost interest since there was already a green-lighted script (not his own) for the GL production. Tarantino’s style seems such a good fit for comic/superhero stuff that the mind reels when considering the possibilities. For example, he would be a perfect fit to bring African/African-American superheroes to life like The Black Panther or Luke Cage. It is easy to imagine him doing a Green Arrow movie, a Black Canary movie or a Hawkman movie. It remains to be seen if QT would do a film adaptation of Sgt. Fury or Sgt Rock (Eli Roth "the Bear Jew" would be great in either role) since he has already covered that territory here. Having said that, Tarantino is the director with the style most suited to these kind of films (Robert Rodriquez is in Tarrantino's ballpark, but he probably doesn’t have the following or name recognition that QT does). Hopefully, with the career bump that Inglorious Basterds gave Tarantino he might focus on developing a superhero project(s) and fulfill what seems like part of his directorial destiny… The hidden S


  1. Watchmen rocked.

    And Tarantino didnt write Crimson Tide.

    This site sucks.

  2. I'm happy you're one of the few that actually enjoyed Watchmen.

    And Tarantino did write some of Crimson Tide; however, his writing was uncredited.

  3. Hey anonymous
    Here's a suggestion if you don't like the site
    Stop reading it!-go somewhere else and act like a dick...


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