Author: Robert Greenberger

Superhero Novelizations for 2008

Superhero Novelizations for 2008

With the summer super-hero blockbusters come the inevitable novelizations. It used to be almost every movie from every genre would receive the prose treatment but with time, that has been winnowed dramatically.  These days it appears just the genre films get the attention and not even all those receive a book. 

The blockbuster, tent pole films for 2008 will be receiving not only novelizations but tie-in and spin-off books galore.  One, Speed Racer, does not have a novelization but a ton of related books for the younger audiences.

Here’s a look at the 2008 novelization list, in order of film release, with some rather familiar names attached:


Iron Man by Peter David

Speed Racer, none scheduled

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull by James Rollins

Incredible Hulk by Peter David

Wanted, none scheduled

Get Smart, none scheduled

Hellboy II: The Golden Army by Robert Greenberger

The Dark Knight by Dennis O’Neil

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, unknown

The X-Files 2, none scheduled

Punisher: War Zone, none scheduled

Star Trek, unknown

A ‘Star Trek’ Fiction Primer

A ‘Star Trek’ Fiction Primer

Hitting shelves around the country is Star Trek: A Singular Destiny by Keith R.A. DeCandido, the first novel in the Star Trek universe after the status quo was shaken up in the just-complete Star Trek: Destiny trilogy by David Mack.  When we spoke with Mack a few months ago, he said, “All I’m willing to share at this point is that characters who are dead before the trilogy starts stay dead; characters killed during the trilogy will stay dead afterward; there is no reset button at the end of the story; worlds we’ve heard of before will be destroyed; a species will cease to exist.”

For many intrigued by this, the prose works can seem daunting since they carry the storylines forward from the last season of Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Deep Space 9 and The Next Generation feature films.  DeCandido provided ComicMix with a reading list for those interested in seeing what’s been happening:


There was a nine-book series that set the groundwork for Nemesis as well as many of the post-Nemesis books. None of them are critical. All nine provide some nice background, particularly on Christine Vale, the security chief on the Enterprise-E who goes on to become Riker’s first officer on Titan, and the final five books set up Riker’s captaincy and engagement to Troi (both established in Nemesis), as well as the political situation we see going forward. It’s also, in essence, Data’s final arc, which runs through all nine.

These books take place from late 2378 to late 2379 (the film took place in late 2379).

A Time to be Born by John Vornholt
A Time to Die by John Vornholt
A Time to Sow by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore
A Time to Harvest by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore
A Time to Love by Robert Greenberger
A Time to Hate by Robert Greenberger
A Time to Kill by David Mack
A Time to Heal by David Mack
A Time for War, a Time for Peace by Keith R.A. DeCandido


Romance! Action! Prose!

Romance! Action! Prose!

It used to be, the most successful comic book heroes would eventually wind up in prose.  These days, with superheroes fully integrated into mainstream America, it’s no surprise that several novelists have taken their own, unique looks at the genre.  Already this year we’ve had the well received Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman and Perry Moore’s Hero.  It’s no surprise, then, that the romance genre would also introduce their own take on the subject.


Long-time comic book fan and one-time DC Comics staffer Elizabeth M. Flynn, writing as Ellis Flynn, has produced Introducing Sonika.  The novel is an eBook, available from Cerridwen Press as of December 13.


According to the publisher, “Sonika is actually 28-year-old Sonya Penn, a Gen Y gal working hard as a physical therapist in order to pay off the enormous medical bills that remained after her parents’ deaths. Like so many of her generation, her career has left her no time for romance. But unlike so many others like her, the medical bills she’s working hard to pay off were incurred when her super-hero parents were killed by their arch-nemesis, Gentleman Geoffrey.


“Sonya could hardly know that when she met her newest client, he would not only turn out to be John Arlen, the heir to an engineering fortune, but that he, too, was injured by a super-villain.


Is Manga a Passing Fad?, by Robert Greenberger

Is Manga a Passing Fad?, by Robert Greenberger

Well, duh.

That was my first reaction when I read USA Today’s story regarding Manga’s loosening grip on readers in Japan.

After all, we lived through it in America starting some 30 years ago, where three things happened around mid-decade:

  1. Cable television was introduced and began snaking through the country, suddenly captivating television watchers and keeping them watching with extra channels, premium movies and so on.
  2. At much the same time, the first home video games were also capturing peoples’ attention.  I still remember being fascinated playing Pong on the playroom television and then flipping to watch an uncut movie on HBO.
  3. The rise of the direct sales distribution system for comic books, which began an evolution away from readers finding comics at the local stationary shop and towards hole-in-the-wall outlets that sold comics and related stuff.


Superhero Casting Announced

Superhero Casting Announced

While Mike Gold shared the news about the honest-to-goodness JLA movie, another project was also announced yesterday.

Dimension Films will be producing the inevitable spoof entitled, what else, Superhero. The casting has been completed with filming about to begin and a March 28, 2008 release date set.

The film features perennial spoof master Leslie Neilsen, in addition to Brent Spiner (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Marion Ross (Happy Days), the amazing Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development), Drake Bell (High Fidelity), Sara Paxton (Sydney White), Christopher McDonald (Fanboys), Kevin Hart (Scary Movie 4), and Ryan Hansen (Veronica Mars).  The satire will be written and directed by Craig Mazin (Scary Movie 3 and 4).

Of course, Mystery Men was a wonderful superhero spoof ahead of its time, so we’ll reserve judgment until next spring.

Speed Racer’s Return to Comics

Speed Racer’s Return to Comics

The deals are taking their positions by the pole, ready to make “Go, Speed Racer, go,” next year’s biggest catch phrase.  Just announced by Speed Racer Enterprises are a series of new licensing deals; the most interesting (to you readers) is IDW landing comic book rights.

In addition to all new comics, they have the rights to collect previous incarnations of the anime series, one of the earliest to be imported from Japan.  There have been eleven different comic series from publishers including Now, Malibu, and DC Comics with the earliest dating back to 1990.

IDW expects to have their first releases out in the first quarter of 2008 to catch the anticipation of the new feature length film from the Wachowskis, due May 9.  Speed racer joins IDW’s growing line of licensed books which already includes Angel, Star Trek, and Transformers.

A new animated series, entitled Speed Racer: The Next Generation, will also debut with twenty-six episodes on Nicktoons.  LionsGate has already announced the first DVD collection of this series will also be available in 2008. The original fifty-two episodes are already available in a multi-volume DVD set.

Star Trek Readies to Leave Drydock

Star Trek Readies to Leave Drydock

With its 41st anniversary just a week past, the saying “Star Trek Lives!” has never been more true.  The franchise has spent the year retooling and gearing up for a major relaunch in late 2008.

The details, though, get murky as people mix rumor with fact.  We here at ComicMix are happy to help divide wheat from chaff so we may all live long and prosper.

The eleventh feature film is entitled simply Star Trek and will be released on December 25, 2008. The story, early drafts of which have already leaked out, was written by the new hit team of Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.  Producing will be the Lost duo J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof with Abrams directing.  Abrams’ frequent collaborator, Michael Giacchino, has already signed to write the score.

Now comes the tricky part – the casting.

As of today, only three parts are official: Spock to be played by the inimitable Leonard Nimoy and Heroes antagonist Zachary Quinto and Chekov, to be played by newcomer Anton Yelchin (pictured above).

That’s it.

Many actors have expressed an interest in a variety of roles.  Such is Abrams’ relationship with his cast that many veterans have said they’d happily board the newly designed U.S.S. Enterprise if Abrams but asked.  As a result, gossip mongers have already cast Tom Cruise as Captain Christopher Pike (James T. Kirk’s predecessor).  Greg Grunberg, who has been in every Abrams production is expected to have a role, be it large or small, human or alien.  Today’s media dump includes word that Jennifer Garner owes Abrams so much she would don Vulcan ears if he wanted.

Beyond that, for the last month, word has been circulating, reaching a deafening crescendo this week that Russell Crowe is Paramount Pictures’ choice for the bad guy (whoever or whatever that may be).  Promoting 3:10 to Yuma, co-star Christian Bale told the press Crowe would be perfect for the film.  Today’s New York Post continues to speculate Crowe is a signature away from beaming aboard the film.

Beyond that, the roles of Kirk, Leonard McCoy, Montgomery Scott, Hikaru Sulu and Uhura remain uncast.  Sure, William Shatner has been publicly campaigning to return from the dead but as of now, nothing formal has been announced.

Production begins in November and will include two weeks shooting in Iceland. There will be eleven buildings on the Paramount lot dedicated to sets for the expansive, eighty-five day shoot.  Along with the studios’ Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, these make for two of next year’s most eagerly awaited movies (let alone topping the must see sequel lists).

Summer Box Office Closing Report

Summer Box Office Closing Report

The summer is now officially over and our minds are already beginning to turn to… the Christmas movie season.  But first, let’s take stock and see where we are with comic book-based movies.  We have just one left for release this year, the feature version of Steve Niles’ 30 Days of Night, but that’s waiting for the appropriate Halloween period.

Much has been made of the $4 billion summer box office and how it set a new record, until you adjust for inflation and then it doesn’t beat 2002.  Studios say that’s okay, because the hits will also prove strong sellers this holiday season in DVD (regular, HD-DVD, Blu-Ray, collect them all!).  With average ticket prices creeping up to $6.85 (it’s $10.25 in Connecticut, where on earth is it only $6.85?), the receipts have also risen.

Here’s an updated look at the genre films released this year with their total box office to date followed by their budgets. Again, following that logic, 300 remains the clear winner by traditional Hollywood logic.  When all the home video sales get counted next spring, we’ll see if that remains the case.

Ghost Rider, $115,802,596 / $110,000,000

300, $210,250,922 / $65,000,000

TMNT, $42,273,609 / $34,000,000

Spider-Man 3, $336,530,303 / $258,000,000

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, $131,451,007 / $130,000,000

Stardust, August 10, $31,912,000 to date / $70,000,000


Fantastic Voyage gets a facelift

Fantastic Voyage gets a facelift

Fantastic Voyage, the 1966 feature film to begin a new cycle of “serious” science fiction on the big screen, is being remade at 20th Century Fox. The film is being helmed by Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, Godzilla) with National Treasure’s Marianne and Cormac Wibberley in talks to write the new version. Emmerich toyed with the remake possibilities a decade back and only got re-interested when he saw a draft from the writers.

The original film, directed by Richard Fleischer (Doctor Doolittle, Soylent Green) and turned into a novel by Isaac Asimov, was known for its concept, its cutting edge special effects and the fantastic notion of Raquel Welch as a scientist.

Should this actually get produced, the earliest audiences can revisit the human bloodstream from the inside will be 2009.

Wolfman, Niles, Mariotte Snag Scribes

Wolfman, Niles, Mariotte Snag Scribes

On Sunday at San Diego Comic-Con, the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers held a mid-afternoon program where their first Scribe Awards were handed out.

Member Andy Mangels played host to a small but enthusiastic crowd as they watched winners in attendance collect their prizes.  The association was formed so the best-selling category of fiction could be acknowledged as a category of its own, joining groups for authors of Thrillers, Mysteries, Horror, Fantasy and Science Fiction.

There were six categories and Jeff Mariotte snagged two of them in a bit of a surprise given the volume of works submitted.

The winners:

Speculative Fiction, Best Novel Adapted: Superman Returns by Marv Wolfman

Speculative Fiction, Best Novel Original: 30 Days of Night: Rumors of the Undead by Stephen Niles and Jeff Mariotte

General Fiction, Best Novel Adapted: Snakes on a Plane by Christa Faust

Best Novel Original: Las Vegas: High Stakes by Jeff Mariotte

Young Adult All Genres, Best Novel: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Portal Through Time by Alice Henderson

Grandmaster, honoring career achievement in the field: Donald Bain.

Bain was on hand to accept the award in person, thrilled tghat his accomplishments, incouding over 80 novels, were recognized by peers. The IAMTW ( is accepting nominations for works in published 2007 with the awards scheduled for next year’s convention.