Tagged: Hero

Captain America Creator Joe Simon: ‘We Wuz Robbed’

Speaking to The New York Times, Captain America co-creator Joe Simon reflected on the character and his struggle to gain some of the rights to the Captain America franchise. Simon will be one of the speakers at this weekend’s New York Comic Con.

Simon and Jack Kirby ended up leaving the franchise after fighting with publisher Martin Freeman over royalties, and they ended up at Detective Comics. Simon recalled that skirmish:

“We always felt ‘we wuz robbed,’ as Joe Jacobs, the boxing promoter, used to say,” Mr. Simon said of his dispute over the ownership of Captain America, which he settled out of court with Marvel in 2003. He said his royalties for merchandising and licensing use of the hero now help pay his legal bills from the case.

But copyright was not on Mr. Simon’s mind when he was conceiving Captain America. He didn’t even begin with the hero. “Villains were the whole thing,” he said. And there was no better foil than Hitler. Who better to take him on than a supersoldier draped in the American flag?

(via Doomkopf)

On Beowulf and Catechism, by Dennis O’Neil

On Beowulf and Catechism, by Dennis O’Neil

In days of yore, when cowboys and dinosaurs roamed the land and I was an undergraduate in a Jesuit-run university, not knowing exactly what one was supposed to do in a university, much less what the heck I, a butcher’s kid from north St. Louis, was doing at a university, I had what Friedrich Nietzsche might have called a “slave morality.” That is, I felt powerless and I resented and mistrusted every authority figure on the horizon, even the ones who were trying to help me.

Watching the movie version of Beowulf reminded me of one episode in my inglorious academic career.

Somewhere along sophomore year, an English prof assigned a paper to be titled “Beowulf As An Allegory of Redemption.” (I don’t know if that repeats her capitalization. If not, I apologize.) Well. I didn’t think so. Oh, I could, and did, write the paper using some kind of tortured rhetoric/logic/whatever, then, for a creative writing class, I did a paper called “Three Blind Mice As An Allegory of Redemption,” using the same rhetorical devices. The point was, of course, that you can use rhetorical sleight-of-hand to prove anything you want. The subtext was, of course, “They’re bullshitters”– the they being anyone older, more credentialed, better-looking than a butcher’s kid, and maybe anyone who wore a tie. These degree-waving poltroons will twist anything into a Catechism lesson: so my declaration might have gone.


‘Superhero Movie’ Review by Michael H. Price

‘Superhero Movie’ Review by Michael H. Price

The superhero, and I don’t mean sandwich, has been a staple of the popular culture since well before the Depression-into-wartime beginnings of Superman and Batman. Those characters’ nascent comic-book adventures of 1938-1939 served primarily to focus a popular fascination with superhuman struggles against extravagant menaces – but similarly conceived protagonists had existed all along in ancient mythology and mass-market popular fiction. And how better to explain the superior heroic intellect of Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Seabury Quinn’s phantom-fighting Jules de Grandin, or the beyond-normal escapades of Robin Hood and the Scarlet Pimpernel?

People need heroes, he said – if I may adapt a thought from Mike Gold’s recent Hope Versus Fear commentary at ComicMix. Such characters spur the imagination to assume hope in the face of fearful real-world circumstances, even if their activities and abilities (and allegorical antagonists) seem patently outside the realm of possibility. And the spiritual generosity of superheroism is such that people are willing to fork over either hard-earned cash or Daddy’s Money to experience the fantasy: Hence the proliferation of super-hero comic books in the immediate backdraft and long-term vapor-trails of Superman and Batman, and hence those characters’ fairly prompt leap into motion pictures during the 1940s.

Many people regard the superhero movie phenomenon as a fairly recent development, traceable as “far back” as Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man breakthrough of 2002, or maybe to the perceived “antiquity” of Richard Donner’s Superman pictures of 1978-1980. Not by a long shot.

Nor are the inevitable superhero parodies – as seen in David Zucker’s collaborative production of Superhero Movie, due March 28 – any particular innovation. Just as there is something awe-inspiring about some guy in long-john tights, hurdling buildings or piercing the veil with a blast of X-ray vision, there also is something innately ridiculous about such a spectacle. Even some of the earlier superhero films, such as Columbia Pictures’ Batman serials of the 1940s, emerged as unwitting parodies despite (or because of) their more earnest aims.

The formal parodies are a rarer breed. Zucker had proved himself a capable spoofer with 1980’s Airplane! – a well-received lampoon of the large-ensemble disaster-movie genre – much as Mel Brooks had parodied such genres as the Western epic and the Gothic horror film (1974’s Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein) to pleasing effect. Both artists were springing from the influence of Harvey Kurtzman’s Mad magazine of the mid-century, with its recurring demonstration that a parody must harbor an affectionate understanding of the story it intends to spoof.


‘Tintin’ Publisher Raymond Leblanc Dies at 92

Raymond Leblanc, who helped create a worldwide phenomenon from the comic book series Tintin, died on Friday, according to an article in the Economic Times. He was 92.

The Belgian publisher helped create the Tintin Journal, which ended up bringing the characters of cartoonist Herge to audiences in several continents. From the article:

A resistance fighter during the Second World War, Leblanc convinced Tintin’s artistic creator Georges Remi to launch a periodical for the young. Herge had encountered difficulty publishing his work during the war.

The iconic boy reporter character had first appeared in 1929, with 12 books already under Herge’s name, but the association with Leblanc saw Tintin become the hero of a fortnightly magazine born in 1946 to immediate success.

Leblanc’s simultaneous creation of the Lombard publishing house, aimed at readers "from seven to 77," met rapid growth as Tintin’s success expanded.

A translated interview with Leblanc given not long ago is available at Forbidden Planet, and gives an incredible insight into Leblanc and his career in comics. Here’s a small sample, detailing the beginnings of the Tintin legacy:

“Why not publish an illustrated magazine for young people?”, one of my partners asked at a certain point. We thought this was an interesting idea, and started looking for a name. We ended up eventually with Tintin, after Hergé’s comic book hero. Literally everyone knew that character at that moment. The question however was, where was Hergé? Nobody knew where he was. During the war he had worked for Le Soir, a paper that was controlled by the Germans, and so he had been branded a collaborator. My associate André Sinave went to look for him, and was able to find him.

Now we only had to find enough money to start up the magazine. Our plan was a bold one, especially since Hergé was being prosecuted at that point. His first reaction was “This is impossible”. Nevertheless, we presented him a five year contract. “And we as resistance men will do everything within our powers to return your civil rights to you.” You have to remember that Hergé wasn’t even allowed to ride a bicycle at that time. Hergé hesitated for a long time and consulted with his good friend Edgar Pierre Jacobs. In the end he agreed. I think because he had liked us from the moment we met. I had thought before that Hergé was quite an old man, since I had read the adventures of Tintin since 1929. He turned out to be only a few years older than myself.

‘Too Much Coffee Man’ Opera Gets a Sequel

‘Too Much Coffee Man’ Opera Gets a Sequel

Too Much Coffee Man, the comic that became an opera, is returning for a "Refill."

Shannon Wheeler’s crazed series about the caffeine-fueled adventures of an eclectic group of coffee house regulars (and the barista who serves them) has always been a guilty pleasure of mine, so I was equally thrilled and perplexed by the creator’s decision to adapt the comic into an opera in 2006. The end result was a really enjoyable show and soundtrack (with hilarious supplemental video).

And now, Wheeler and the TMCM crew are returning to the stage for an operatic sequel titled "The Refill" — which, according to the PR, picks up where the first opera left off:

The Too Much Coffee Man Opera is the story of an idealistic hero, named Too Much Coffee Man, as he competes with rival Espresso Guy for the attention of a Barista. Unfornately, she has her own agenda, to be a super hero.

The second opera, titled the Refill, picks up two years later. The Barista has fulfilled her superhero dream… and she’s married a Martian. Unfortunately she’s bored. She hopes caffeine will cure her ennui and calls Too Much Coffee Man for help. Antics ensue as Espresso Guy tries to win her back by pretending to be Too Much Coffee Man.

Too Much Coffee Man: The Refill begins April 4 in Portland, OR. Details from the PR are provided after the jump.


(via TheBeat)


DVD Review: ‘Legion of Superheroes’ Vol. 2

Maybe the most surprising thing about how much I’ve enjoyed the first episodes of the Legion of Superheroes cartoon series is how little I enjoy the team’s comic book adventures. I always liked the concept of the Legion, but the futuristic team has too large of a cast and too complex of a history for me to jump into.

The cartoon series (from Warner Brothers and DC) fixes those two criticisms by hemming in the team size to a handful of key characters and streamlining the background: A young [[[Superman]]] is pulled into the future to help a fledgling group of heroes save the world. Simple enough.

In this second volume (containing the episodes [[[Champions]]], [[[Fear Factory]]], [[[Brain Drain]]] and [[[Lightning Storm]]]), the team goes through a series of challenges that manage to be kid-appropriate without being overly simplistic. Like the legendary Batman: The Animated Series, the Legion consists of standalone episodes but also builds a deeper narrative of themes and plots, giving it appreciable depth.

Particularly, this volume highlights the character development of Lightning Lad as he becomes a greater hero, and that of his brother, Mekt, as he becomes a villain. Meanwhile, Superman finds his powers have limits, which serves as a lesson as he tries to become the universe’s greatest hero.

I definitely wouldn’t put this series on the same level as [[[Batman: TAS]]], but it’s a fun, clever and exciting foray into the 31st Century.

New ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ Pic Surfaces

New ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ Pic Surfaces

 Previously, I brought you some cool set photos and the first pic from the upcoming X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie. With that first pic we got a look at Wolverine himself showing off some extra-cool six-taloned action. He looked a bit angry and ready to strike at the people responsible for putting him in what appeared to be a very small cage.

Big mistake on their part. You don’t try to cage Wolverine. Jeez people, didn’t you get the memo?

This latest pic, featured over at Empire Online, carries on the tradition and provides yet-another look at our hero and his famous talons. This time, though, we see in a cool low-angle shot, talons at the ready, about to take care of business.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine concerns, of course, the origin of Wolverine and how he came to be the cigar-chomping, talon-weilding, reluctant hero he is today. The film features Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Ryan Reynolds and Dominic Monaghan and hits theaters next Summer.

‘The Greatest American Hero’ Headed to Theaters

‘The Greatest American Hero’ Headed to Theaters

To be filed under the heading of "Probably Not Exciting to Anyone But Me," Moviehole.net recently announced that casting for a big-screen version of the classic 1980s television sitcom "The Greatest American Hero" is now underway.

The film’s director, Stephen Herek (“Dead Like Me”, “The Mighty Ducks”), has put out a call for high-profile actors interested in playing the parts of Ralph Hinckley and Bill Maxwell. Chris Matheson ("Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey") and Ryan Rowe ("Charlie’s Angels") are the writers for the project.

Here’s what they’re looking for in a Ralph Hinckley:

29-39, an all-around good guy, with boyish handsome good looks, smart, decent, honorable and resilient, Ralph is a high school history teacher in Tempe, Arizona, a bachelor who hasn’t yet found the right girl. Selected by a bunch of aliens as the perfect hero to champion the rights of humankind against an evil nemesis, Ralph gets a superhero suit and a rather gruff squire in the form of FBI agent Bill Maxwell – neither of which yield easily to his control. Stuck inside the suit while awaiting for a duel-to-the-death challenge from his sinister opponent, Harve Lundy, Ralph proves to be honest, upright, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent as he prepares himself to do or die, without losing his Eagle Scout-ish honor or his suit in the process. Oh, and he gets a girlfriend along the way.


The Incredible… Herc!

The Incredible… Herc!

Hercules. By most comics fans’ standards, he’s not the biggest draw in the longbox OR on the shelves. So what is he doing with his own series?

More accurately, what’s he doing on the cover of one of Marvel’s most popular characters’ series?

Over at IGN, the Incredible Herc creative team of Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente do their best to address that very question.

Greg Pak: And it’s worth noting that [the success of the series thus far] ain’t all just due to our puny mortal efforts — our lead happens to be one of the most loved characters in human history. That’s one of the real joys of working on Marvel’s Hercules — he’s not just some strong dude who calls himself Hercules — he’s the mangod himself, the son of Zeus, the Lion of Olympus, the slayer of the Hydra, the scourer of the stables! Which means that the Hercules we’re writing is the same hero who was driven mad by Hera and slew his own wife and children, who atoned through the Twelve Labors, who was burned by the blood of Nessus and ascended to Olympus as a god. He’s an incredible combination of scoundrel and hero, of folktale and myth, of comedy and tragedy, of the profane and the divine. And he’s right here in the Marvel Universe — and we got him, baby!

Okay, so I’ll give Pak some credit for building the character up pretty well. (Mental Note: Remind me to ask Greg Pak to write up my professional bio.) But can Herc carry a book on his own?

Van Lente: It’s a buddy book with Herc in the lead and Amadeus [Cho, his teenage partner] in the main supporting role. Amadeus is pretty headstrong and arrogant, and he could learn a lot from Herc — and Herc is very much seeking his purpose in the modern world, and maybe this is it. Of course, he’s also everyone’s leading candidate for World’s Worst Mentor Hero, but hey, therein lies drama…

Check out the interview for a veritable cornucopia of art, as well as more questions and answers about Herc, his friends and enemies, how long the team expects him to hold up the "Incredible" banner and, of course, Skrulls!