This week’s Entertainment Weekly (a “double issue” dated April 29/May 5, 2017) is its big “Summer Movie Preview” release, one that I usually really look forward to reading over my breakfast tea. But after doing that this very morning – which was yesterday by now – I realized that, in all honesty, there’s very little coming out on the big screen that warrants my plunking down my hard-earned dollars.
There’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, in theaters in just 12 days from now as I write this. (Btw, isn’t May 5th a little early to be calling it a “summer movie?”) Maybe I’m not taking much of a leap here when I say it will be the big blockbuster hit of the season. It’s classic “superhero space fantasy” and, of course, there’s Rocky. Not to mention Baby Groot. Then again, im-not-so-ho, there’s not much competition.
Though there is Wonder Woman, premiering June 2. This is the one I’m really rooting for, which should be understandable to anyone who knows my history with the character. Though… I’m baffled as to why the film is set during World War I; a strange choice. I’m a history buff, and I understand the significance of that war and how it birthed the geopolitical landscape in which we live today, but as a backdrop to the Amazonian’s first cinematic venture? I dunno. I just don’t know if it will sell. Though – and I admit this is incredibly sexist of me – Gal Gadot in an armored swimsuit will undoubtedly bring in lots of those coveted male teenage and young adult dollars. But, although Ms. Gadot has legs that don’t stop, will Wonder Woman have legs past the opening weekend? We’ll see.
Let’s see, what else? Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales? It’s been 14 years since last we saw Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, so the hunger just might be there. It could give Guardians a run for its money. It could also tank, big time. Either way, I’ll pass. If I feel like a pirate movie, it’s Errol Flynn in Captain Blood.
Aliens: Covenant? Ridley Scott’s follow-up to Prometheus (which I never saw), takes place a decade after the later, and 20 years before Alien. To be fair, I will have to stream Prometheus before I decide on whether or not I want to go to the movie theater. But I have a feeling – unless word of mouth and critics lure me in – that this one is going to be either a cable watch or a streamer, too.
Baywatch? Never saw the television show, ain’t gonna watch this one. Not even on cable or streaming.
Then there’s Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7). I really, really, really liked Tom Holland’s Peter Parker/Spidey in Captain America: Civil War – he almost makes me forget Tobey Maguire –and the trailer for Homecoming is incredibly fun and enticing. Plus, my not-so-secret crush, Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man. But I still like Singer’s take on the webslinger’s ability to, uh, sling that web. Sure, it’s not canon, but it always made more sense to me that it was part and parcel of that radioactive spider’s bite’s effect on Peter.
And since I’m a sucker for World War II movies – which may be part of the antipathy I feel towards a Wonder Woman movie set in 1918 – I am looking forward to Dunkirk, out on July 21. The evacuation of the Allied forces – more than 300,000 soldiers – over eight days (May 26 to June 4) in 1940 from the beaches at Dunkirk, France is an event that could have had a very, very different outcome.
All in all, EW covers 110 movies that will premiere over the summer. Quite possibly at least one of them could turn out to be a sleeper hit. But right now the summer entertainment I’m most looking forward to is the adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, starting April 26 on Hulu – okay, it’s not technically a movie – and Neil Gaiman’s American Gods – okay it’s not technically a movie, either – on Starz as of April 30.
In other news, daughter Alixandra has started watching Doctor Who, beginning with Christopher Eccleston.
We all know that Geek Culture has taken over our American civilization. Young’uns may not realize there was a time when the Geek was looked down on and sneered at and frequently beaten up for their lunch money… which is embarrassing when you’re 24. Now, superheroes have taken over the movie box office and can be found in one version or another all over television.
Further proof: the current issue of Entertainment Weekly not only has Benedict Cumberbatch on the cover as Doctor Strange, the majority of the double-sized issue is taken up with a listing of the Fifty Most Powerful Superheroes. How much more geeky can you get? The very quintessence of geekdom is arguing about which superhero icon is better.
EW set up a rating system and asked staffers to rank the superheroes accordingly. The nine categories were Cultural Impact, Bankability, Design, Modern relevance, Mythology, Nemesis, Originality, Personality, and Powers. They could get up to ten points in each category except for Cultural Impact which was worth up to 20. Total: 100 Pts. The emphasis, I think, was weighted towards superheroes who have appeared in movies; witness bankability. Given it’s EW, that makes sense; they, like the movies, are trying to appeal to the broadest audience.
Their #1 is Wonder Woman. This might surprise more hard-core comic geeks. Given the rise of the awareness of women and Gal Gadot’s appearance as Diana in Batman V Superman, perhaps not so surprising and not unwarranted.
#2 for EW was Spider-Man, followed by Batman and Superman with Wolverine rounding out their top 5.
For myself, I would have made Superman at the top of the list by virtue of the fact that none of the others exist without him. Superman was the first and set the standard – the colorful costume, the secret identity, the larger than life exploits – every hero or heroine that followed used that template is some fashion. Bankability? It was the huge financial success of the Last Survivor of Krypton that spurred the other publishers (not to mention Superman’s publisher) to get more of the same out there on the newsstands.
Look, I know that there were other superhero types before Supes or around the same time such as the Phantom and the Spirit or, over in the pulps, the Shadow. In comics, however, it was Superman who set the standard. In feature-length movies as well; the first Superman movie debuted in 1978. The first Batman film followed more than a decade later. As good as they are, none of the other superheroes has had the same cultural impact as the Man of Steel.
Don’t get me wrong; I’d also place Wonder Woman high up on the list. I think Batman is my #2 but WW would never be lower than #3. Spider-Man? Yeah, he’s important enough to be #4 but I think I would make Iron Man my #5 given the fact that the film launched the Marvel Cinema Universe, sometimes known as the Might Marvel Money Making Juggernaut. Iron Man and Robert Downey Jr are its cornerstone; if it had flopped (and some thought it would), it would have been tough to make the others… fly.
But that’s what makes this issue of EW so geeky. Listing the heroes according to some criteria is at the very heart of geek culture. Since every list is subjective, there is no one list that is right and final and definitive, no matter how much some geeks might insist that their own list is all that. I know my list isn’t the final word on the subject; it’s just my opinion. Your mileage may vary.
The very fact that EW’s list exists, that they devoted so much time and space and attention to what is essentially a very geeky enterprise, shows that Geekdom has conquered the world.
I wanted to write about word balloons, which I’m pretty sure hasn’t been talked about here at ComicMix before, at least since I arrived here, is it coming on three years already? And now I’m incredibly frustrated and possibly going crazy.
I got the idea from seeing a piece in Entertainment Weekly featuring an interview with Scott McCloud in which he talked about the use of word balloons in comics. I thought I set the magazine aside to use as a reference – and I’ve been tearing about the house for over an hour looking for it. Can’t find it anywhere…and I even went through my recycle bin. And I went to EW’s website, but have you been there recently? It’s H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E! Supposedly it was “redesigned,” but it looks more like it was hacked into by The Onion’s staff, or maybe the same goons from North Korea who hacked into Sony. I mean, what kind of website doesn’t have a search engine icon?? Go ahead, go try searching the site for an old article… even a recap of Downton Abbey from two weeks ago. Unless I’m blind, it just ain’t there, folks – and if I am, please let me know how to search the EW website down below in the comments!
But back to word balloons.
If I could get a nickel for every time someone, upon learning that I’ve written comics, has said something like so you put the words in those little balloons, I’d be a rich lady. Maybe not part of the 1%, but at least a member of the 7%. Well, I do, actually. Put the words in the balloons, I mean. Only it all starts on the written page, whether it’s done as a full script or in what’s often called “Marvel style.”
I think I’ve said this before, but for me, when I’m really in the zone as I’m writing a story, it’s like watching a movie unfold in my head and all I’m doing is transcribing. As Scott pointed out in that article and in his brilliant Understanding Comics, the trick is, since it’s a visual medium, to convey the emotion behind the lettered words. And by using the art of the balloon, not only in its lettering, but in its presentation and placement within the panel. For example, if I were writing a key scene in a story between Clark Kent and Lois Lane in which Lois Lane has had enough of the bullshit, my script would look like this:
Lois: Well, you know what, Clark….
Lois: (big, bold letters in a big, bold balloon, because she’s done with the whole situation) GO FUCK YOURSELF AND THE ROCKET YOU FLEW IN ON!
Not that I could ever get away with that particular terminology in DC land. Well, I could if it was Vertigo.
If you’re lucky and you’ve got a great artist and a great letterer who really get it – and I have been – the final result will really hit the reader. If you’re not lucky, and you’ve got a hack artist and a hack letterer – and I’ve been there, too – the final result is just another panel among many, and that key moment will leave the reader skimming the page and feeling nothing.
Another trick I’ve used when writing scripts is what I call the “Howard Hawks” method. Film director Howard Hawks (The Thing from Another World, His Girl Friday) was known for his ability to have his actors talk the way real people talk, i.e., interrupting each other, overlapping, talking to themselves while the other person is continuing to talk, conversations going on in the background – he was so good at directing his actors in this that quite often you have to watch a scene at least twice to get everything. (Watch those two movies I reference above, and this time don’t pay attention to the main action– listen for what’s going on in the background. It’s quite a kick– for instance, did you know that the leading man and the leading lady in The Thing from Another World were sleeping together? I bet the censors didn’t catch that either, which is probably why it got through the finished cut. And of course Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell were superb at talking over one another in Friday.
The way you do this in comics is to have the balloons themselves overlapping and trying to crowd each other out. In that EW piece, a panel from one of Scott’s comics – I believe it is the upcoming The Sculptor, for which he is getting tremendous praise – has his character walking through Times Square, in his own world – but Scott gives you the sense of the thousands of people crowding and walking through the area with word balloons “floating” everywhere – bits of conversation that are going on around the main character which he doesn’t really hear except as the “buzz” of the city. Again, as a reader, because of the placement of the balloons, the number of balloon, the art of the balloon, you are with the character, not just a casual bystander.
Mindy: (faintly lined balloon with small letters, she’s whispering to herself) shit, it’s 6:27. mike is gonna kill me. better wrap this up.
Mindy: Let me know if any of you find that EW piece, okay, guys? See ya next week. And thanks.
My geek overdrive continues to overwhelm me. But I’m not the only one.
Less than a week away from this year’s San Diego ComicCon (which opens its doors this Thursday, July 24th, and closes them on Sunday, July 27th) Entertainment Weekly joins the national geek fest that is summertime with a bang-up double-size issue featuring a cover shot of Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man and Chris Evans as Captain America with Ultron looming behind them. The issue is a stuffed-to-the-gills San Diego Comic Con preview…
And I read every single page. Including the adverts.
Now I know how those fans at the 1976 SDCC felt when Charles Lippincott (then head of Lucasfilm’s marketing, advertising and publicity department) showed some of the first production slides of Star Wars, and (writer) Roy Thomas and (artist) Howard Chaykin previewed their Marvel Comics adaptation of the film, because the cover story,an “exclusive first look” at Avengers: Age Of Ulton, does an admirable job of leaking just enough info to make me want to go out and see the move right now – only, goddamn!, it’s not due to hit the theatres for a frakkingten months! (May 1, 2015, which makes it nine months and 12 days, to be exact, and if I counted right.)
That’s incredibly unfair, EW!
By the way, that Star Wars teaser was the beginning of SDCC becoming the first exit ramp on the expressway to marketing love and box office bonanzas, for better or for worse. Most comics fans believing it was for worse, as SDCC has increasingly become more and more about film and television and less and less about the four-color world.
Along with articles on upcoming films, small and large (The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies; Air; Mad Max; Fury Road; Horns) and television shows – which Mike Gold did a wonderful job of discussing here. Although you missed Outlander, Mike, an adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s eight-volume (so far, according to EW) saga which successfully – based on its millions plus fan base and its mega-profitability for the author and her publisher – blends the genres of romance and science fiction, and which Battlestar: Galactica rebooter Ronald D. Moore is exec-producing for cable channel Starz. It premieres this summer on Saturday, August 9th, although you can stream the first episode on the channel’s website, starting on August 2nd…
Excuse me. I got diverted… to paraphrase Peter David.
A nice surprise in the issue is a piece about Jim Steranko. Now a lot of you may be to young to remember Mr. Steranko, but many, many professionals and fans say that it was his work on Nick Fury: Agent Of Shield in the ‘60s (that decade of the Beatles, Andy Warhol, “tuning in, dropping out, and turning on,” the pill, Vietnam, burning bras, the Chicago Democratic Convention… that decade of social revolution) which bumped up comics from pulp rags to line the birdcage with to a new American literary and artistic medium.
Me, I was too young to understand just how revolutionary Mr. Steranko’s work was, but it definitely sunk into the deeper reaches of my pre-adolescent psyche, influencing my (much) later work in the field, i.e., Mr. Steranko was – and is – an individual in the very best (and maybe sometimes the very worse) sense of the word, “travelling to the beat of a different drum,” as Linda Ronstadt and the Stone Poneys sang in 1967. (Here’s a question for you music trivia buffs out there. Who wrote “Different Drum?”*)
There’s also an oral history of The Terminator, which is interesting, but a little sycophantic, IMHO, although in fairness these types of interviews usually are, and also because I’m not really a fan of Mr. Cameron’s, who has become a Hollywood financial powerhouse and player despite the constant charges of plagiarism leveled against him. Notably Avatar, but also Titanic and the above-mentioned Terminator.
Don’t get me wrong. I love his Titanic. It’s compelling and historically pretty damn accurate. But many film aficionados, including director and writer Peter Bogdanovich, noted the *ahem* similarity between Cameron’s 1997 film and History Is Made At Night, a 1937 film by Walter Wanger, directed by Frank Borzage, which tells the story of a love triangle between a financial magnate (Colin Clive), his beautiful (and unhappy) wife (Jean Arthur) and a French headwaiter (Charles Boyer). Just where do Jean and Charles meet? On an ocean liner. On her maiden voyage. And guess what? The ship hits an iceberg.
And I love Terminator. But have you ever sat through the credits and seen the acknowledgement to Harlan Ellison? Do you know why? Mr. Ellison filed a suit that complained that elements of the film were sourced from two episodes of The Outer Limits that Mr. Ellison wrote, “Soldier,” and “Demon with a Glass Hand.” Hemdale, Terminator’s production company, and Orion Pictures, its distributor, settled out of court with Mr. Ellison. Part of the settlement included that film credit.
You’d have to ask Bob Ingersoll, who writes The Law Is An Ass column here at ComicMix, about this, but it’s always indicated some degree of guilt to me. Meaning that it’s not worth the hassle and the mucho dinero and time to the defendant to fight a charge that contains enough truth in it that the defendant could conceivably lose.
I wouldn’t do it.
I’d give the money and run.
*Mike Nesmith of The Monkees wrote “Different Drum.”
• • • • •
As I filed this week’s column, I heard about the passing of James Garner, 86, on Saturday, July 19, 2014. Though perhaps best known as gambler Brett Maverick and cantankerous private detective Jim Rockford on the eponymous television shows, my favorite Garner roles were U.S. Army Major Jeff Pike in 36 Hours, Lt. Bob “The Scrounger” Hendley in The Great Escape, and King Marchand in Victor Victoria. He will be missed.
Music and fashion mogul Russell Simmons announced in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that The Harlem Shadow, a new animated online superhero series that will be set in the Jazz Age, will be revealed at the New York Comic-Con in October. The Harlem Shadow will feature hip-hop star Common (currently seen in AMC’s Hell on Wheels) in the title voice role and is executive produced by David Uslan.
After the NYCC debut in October, look for The Harlem Shadow content will be online by the end of the year at All Def Digital, the YouTube channel from Simmons and Awesomeness TV’s Brian Robbins.
The Harlem Shadow is an adaptation of the indie small-press series of the same name from RavenHammer Comics and the creative team of Brian Williams and Christian Colbert.
About the comic book:
THE HARLEM SHADOW
BIRTH OF THE COOL
Born at the tail end of the Harlem Renaissance, The Harlem Shadow is the first official Black paranormal crime-fighter that hit the streets of New York around 1929-1930. He was known for his scary appearance, his vicious hand to hand
combat skills and his mastery of two lethal revolvers, used to maim and disarm his enemies but never kill. In 1950 as a result of the Black Mask Act…Harlem Shadow was hunted down by New York City Police, lynch mob style, and unmasked. His name was Linden Somerset, a school teacher and librarian, and he served a twenty year jail sentence at Alcatraz Island. This is his story.
So Saturday, I’m sitting in the kitchen, my feet up on the table, sipping my morning tea, and flipping through the latest edition of Entertainment Weekly. It’s the one with Hugh Jackman on the cover as Wolverine, dated May 31/June 7 2013.
I’m on page 32, the “Monitor” section, and there’s nothing there really of interest for me, a headline splashing a “Bieber Backlash” – about time – and an announcement under “Splits” that Robert Pattison and Kristen Stewart of Twilight fame have broken up again – duh, I saw that one coming once the last fanfare of Breaking Dawn was done – and then I see a little inset on the bottom left that boldly reads “turn the page and open the flaps for EW’s pick of the 25 greatest superheroes ever” (with “plus the 5 worst” in a shaded grey, and a little arrow pointing to a big advertising spread for a TNT show called Hero.
Hmm. Didn’t see this listed on the “Contents” page. Must be like one of those Easter eggs that some videos have.
So nat’ch I open the flaps and there it is. Very cool, and a nice surprise.
The copy explains that when picking this list EW decided to “specifywhich version of the hero stands out above the rest,” so that “some icons appear here more than once.”
I like that, it’s a bit different, and with 75 years of superhero history muddying the waters (Superman first appeared in ActionComics #1, June 1938) along with who-can-count-the-number-of-reboots in that time, I think it shows respect for our beloved genre.
So here’s their list, in ascending order, of the greatest superheroes of all time, with a bit of EW’s reasons why:
1. Spider-Man: Lee and Ditko, Amazing Fantasy #15, August 1962. “…reinvented the muscle-bound superhero as young, funny, geeky, flawed, and struggling. ”
2. Batman Year One: Frank Miller, Batman #404 – 407, 1987. “…has cast its dark, sinister shadow over every Batman iteration since. ”
3. Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Joss Wheedon, 1977 – 2003. “…super and human, as quick with a quip as she was with a stake…Buffy was a teen first, her secret identity her heroism. ”
4. Iron Man: Robert Downey, Jr., 2008. “…tack on the aching wisdom that Downey’s age (and eyes) – oh, and may I add here his pure, unadulterated sexiness – brings to the role and you have the fully charged heart of the Marvel movie universe. ”
5. Superman: Christopher Reeve, 1978. “…most memorable was his playful take on alter ego Clark Kent, depicting him as the meek, benign bumbler” – well, they almost got this one right. Reeve simply was Superman.
Okay, this is getting into dangerous, possible plagiarism territory here (plus it could very possible piss off editor Mike), so let me quickly go down the list without the, uh, word-for-word copying.
7. Batman: Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight Trilogy, 2005 – 2012. Made everyone forget everything that came after Michael Keaton. Hey, I thought Keaton was great, so stick in it your ear! Although, imho, Pfeiffer still beats out Hathaway as Catwoman.
8. X-Men: Chris Claremont and John Byrne, 1977 – 1981. The team that got me hooked on mutants.
9. Black Panther: Don McGregor, Rich Buckler, Gil Kane, Billy Graham, Klaus Janson and Bob McLeod, “Panther’s Rage,” Jungle Action #6 – #24, September 1973 – November 1976. Marvel’s first graphic novel, even if it did appear in serialized form. Dwayne McDuffie said of it on his website: “This overlooked and underrated classic is arguably the most tightly written multi-part superhero epic ever. If you can get your hands on it . . . sit down and read the whole thing. It’s damn near flawless, every issue, every scene, a functional, necessary part of the whole. Okay, now go back and read any individual issue. You’ll find seamlessly integrated words and pictures; clearly introduced characters and situations; a concise (sometimes even transparent) recap; beautifully developed character relationships; at least one cool new villain; a stunning action set piece to test our hero’s skills and resolve; and a story that is always moving forward towards a definite and satisfying conclusion…and [they] did it in only 17 pages per issue.” Okay, I’m copying again.
I’m going to tighten this up even further, because there’s a big surprise coming, and it’s something that mean a lot to me…and to someone else here at ComicMix.
10. Captain America: Ed Brubaker, 2004 – 2012.
11. Superman (Animated): Max and Dave Fleisher, 1941.
12. The Flash: Carmine Infantino, 1956 – seemingly forever
13. Phoenix: Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum, Uncanny X-Men, #101 – #108, 1976 – 1977
14. The Incredible Hulk: Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno, 1977 – 1982
17. Swamp Thing: Alan Moore, The Saga of the Swamp Thing #21, February 1984 – Swamp Thing #64, September 1987
18. Hellboy: Mike Mignola, 1993 – onwards in comics and other media
And here is the one that made me sit up, rush to my computer and send off an e-mail to John Ostrander, my dear friend and fellow columnist here at ComicMix.
19. Oracle: John Ostrander and Kim Yale, Suicide Squad #23, 1989
In 1988, Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl, was shot and paralyzed by the Joker in Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s Batman: The Killing Joke as he rampaged against everyone connected to the Dark Knight. Although the graphic novel was a brilliant take on the Joker (which, imho, vastly influenced the late Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the villain) and was critically acclaimed, the controversy of the victimization of Barbara Gordon really upset the fans – particularly the women.
Including Kim Yale, John’s late wife, a wonderful writer and editor, and the best friend this writer ever had.
Well, let me have John tell it, from an interview with Vaneta Rogers on Newsarama dated September 7, 2011:
“My late wife, Kimberly Yale, and I were not crazy about how Barbara was treated in The Killing Joke,” comic writer John Ostrander told Newsarama. “Since the Batman office had no further plans for her at the time, we got permission to use Barbara in Suicide Squa, [another DC title at the time]. We felt that the gunshot as seen in Killing Joke would leave her paralyzed. We felt such an act should have repercussions. So…we took some of her other talents, as with computers, and created what was essentially an Internet superhero – Oracle. “
It so perfectly made sense. Barbara had been established as a PhD. in library science, so Kim and John used that basis to make Barbara the ultimate computer hacker. As Oracle, she was the “go-to” person for any hero in the DC universe needing information; it was a natural progression for Denny O’Neil (yep, our Denny), who was the editor of Batman family editor at this time, to incorporate Oracle as the woman to whom the Dark Knight turned when he sought aid on the computer.
This is a nation that talks the talk about recognizing the value of everyone’s capabilities but rarely walks the walk. This is a country in which Senator Max Cleland, who lost both arms and a leg while serving in Vietnam, lost his seat to a man who got out of serving in Vietnam (“bad knee,” he said in one interview) by claiming Cleland did not support his country against Osama Bin Laden. This is a country in which the comic book industry is filled with muscle-bound men in spandex able to leap tall buildings in a single bound and sexualized women whose bubble boobs enable them to fly.
But this is also an industry that gave us Oracle, who was Batgirl, who was the target of madhouse clown, who was paralyzed, who forged on ahead and demanded our respect.
She got it.
Thanks to two writers named Kim Yale and John Ostrander.
*The rest of the list is: 20. Astonishing X-Men by Joss Wheedon; 21. TheIncredibles, by Brad Bird; 22. The Incredible Hulk, by Lee and Kirby; 23. Spider-Man, by Sam Raimi; 24. Daredevil, by Frank Miller; and 25. Fantastic Four, by Lee and Kirby.
**The 5 Worst Superheroes are: 1. Matter-Eater Lad; 2. The Punisher; 3. Halle Berry’s Catwoman; 4. Wonder Twins; and 5. David E. Kelley’s Wonder Woman.
(Mindy will be back in this space Wednesday afternoon.)
Entertainment Weekly reports that Alex Kingston (ER, Doctor Who) will be joining the cast of The CW series Arrow, based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow. Kingston will join the cast as Dinah Lance, mother to Laurel (Oliver Queen’s girlfriend) and her late sister Sarah, as well as ex-wife to Detective Quentin Lance.
Kingston joins a growing list of actors on the show who have also appeared on Doctor Who. Kingston plays the enigmatic River Song, a woman with a very convoluted history and lineage. John Barrowman joined the cast some weeks back as billionaire Malcolm Merlyn; and Colin Salmon, playing Moira Queen’s new husband Walter Steele, played Doctor Moon in the Two-parter Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead, the story that introduced River Song. Ben Browder, star of both Farscape and Stargate-SG1, and played Isaac in A Town called Mercy will appear next week as Ted Gaynor, an employee of Blackhawk, a security concern.
Many characters from DC Comics have appeared in the series, though most have been adapted without their superhero monikers. In the comics, Dinah Drake Lance is the original Black Canary, and her daughter Dinah Laurel Lance is the modern-day version. The aforementioned Merlyn is a professional assassin who uses a bow and arrow as well, while the TV version has only recently shown his proficiency with the weapon. Helena Bertinelli has been introduced into the series, and while she wears a version of the comics’ Huntress costume, has yet to use the name.
Arrow can be seen Wednesdays at 8PM on your local CW affiliate. More information and complete episodes can be seen at the show’s website.
Entertainment Weekly, of all places, presents one of the most thoughtful essays on superhero films and how– similar they’re all becoming, and even worse, how many other movies are aping them to great financial success and overall boredom.
Superhero Movies have evolved to the point where three of the genre’s standard-bearers can embody radically different filmmaking styles – this is a good thing, right? Well, maybe. But the problem is, when you dig underneath the three films’ respective stylistic excesses – and they are excesses; few genres in film history are more fundamentally decadent than the Superhero Film, with the ever-expanding budgets and the swooping digital-effects-crane-shots and the ruined cityscapes and the supervillains planning to conquer/pillage/destroy every city/world/galaxy in sight – there is a depressing sameness to lurking within each movie’s basic DNA.
Could Tarzan and Zorro be headed back to the big screen and small screen, respectively? It looks that way.
According to a Variety article, The USA Network is currently deciding on a present-day reimagining of the legend of Zorro called simply “Z” executive producers Naren Shankar (CSI, Grimm) and Louis Leterrier (include “The Incredible Hulk, Clash of the Titans), and writers Whit Brayton and Zack Rice.
Set in modern-day Los Angeles, “Z” will chronicle the rise of Diego Moreno from an orphaned teen and raising his sister with little supervision, to an infamous hero fighting to save the city.
The latest issue of Entertainment Weekly announced that Harry Potter director, David Yates is working toward a new Tarzan movie with True Blood actor Alexander Skarsgard stepping into the ape man’s loincloth. See below for details.
What do you think, pulpsters? Are you excited for these pulp heroes to return to your TV and movie screens?
For a look at Tarzan’s Centennial Celebration, click here.
I’m the New York Giants’s Lawrence Tynes. I’m the place kicker here. I’m the one who gets the game going. Yeah, that’s right. Monday is the start of the week here at ComicMix. The calendar week may start with Sunday, but Monday is the real start of the week, isn’t it? As in first day of the work week and first day of the school week.
(BTW, what y’all thinking about the Giants first-round draft choice, running back Dave Wilson? I’m liking him. Yeah, that’s right. Football season is just about here. Deal with it. Go Giants!)
And here it is Monday, and I’m sitting here on Sunday afternoon without a thing to write about.
I was going to write about Superman and Wonder Woman sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g in a tree. Except that my pal Martha beat me to it. And superbly, I might add.
Then I was going to write about how life imitates fiction, even when events are too strange, too scary, too twisted, too cartoony to be believed. Except that my buddy John got there first. With an A+, of course.
This happens sometimes when you’re a writer.
Great minds thinking alike.
Okay, you can stop snorting in derision now.
But Ken Kesey’s Sometimes A Great Notion (great book, btw, highly recommended) gets beaten to the punch. So then what do you do?
Panic is the best – and first – reaction.
Going to the gym to clear out your mind (and burn off the fight-or-flight adrenaline) is the second thing you do.
Read all the comics that have been piling up in the kitchen in one sitting, praying that one of them will spark an idea.
Look at the clock and realize the deadline is looming and curse yourself for not writing the column earlier in the week when all the hub-pub hit the media, thus beating out Martha and John.
Cut open a vein and watch yourself bleed.
Or sit down in front of the computer and start writing from fear of Mike whooping your ass.
I love you, Mike.
Oh, and by the way:
Regarding Diana and Kal-El. I still maintain that Diana, considering her upbringing, would most likely look to her own sex for an adult relationship before venturing into anything heterosexual – meaning she needs to discover just where her sexuality lies. Hey, is that where Geoff Johns is going with this? Not that I believe for a second that DC and its corporate papa, Time Warner, would ever let Wonder Woman be gay.
Regarding Rep. Todd Akin (R-Missouri), Judge Tom Head of Texas, and State Senator Stacey Campfield (R). They only prove that the Repugnanticans have become truly asinine, ignorant, bigoted enemies of truth, justice, and the American way.
If only they were characters in a comic book.
TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Michael Davis and More Milestones