Tagged: Loki

NEW PULP BEST SELLER LIST

New Pulp Author Barry Reese compiles a list of the Top 10 new New Pulp best selling books on Amazon every Monday morning. See how your favorite pulp books fare each week at http://barryreese.net.

Without further ado, here’s the completely and totally unofficial New Pulp bestseller list as of right now (title, then publisher, then release date, then sales rank):
1) Doc Savage: Death’s Dark Domain by Will Murray (Altus Press, September 2012) – 71,739
2) The Golden Age by Jeff Deischer (White Rocket Books, October 2012) – 125,852
3) Pro Se Presents # 15 by Various (Pro Se Press, November 2012) – 184,340

4) The Spider: Shadow of Evil by C.J. Henderson and J. Anthony Kosar (Moonstone Books, October 2012) – 273,590
5) Horror Heroes by Various (Pulp Empire, October 2012) – 585,940
6) Secret Agent “X” – Volume Four by Various (Airship 27, October 2012) – 647,102
7) Three Against the Stars by Joe Bonadonna (Airship 27, November 2012) – 795,194
8 ) Black Bat Mysteries Volume Two by Various (Airship 27, August 2012) – 867,330
9) Mystery Men (& Women) Volume Three by Various (Airship 27, November 2012) – 956,126

10) Monster Aces by Various (Pro Se Press, October 2012) – 1,463,279

Just missing the list were: Pro Se Presents # 14 by Various (Pro Se Press, October 2012) – 1,697,869, Blood of the Centipede by Chuck Miller (Pro Se Press, September 2012) – 2,140,953, Pirates and Swashbucklers Volume Two by Various (Pulp Empire, October 2012) – 2,335,554 and The Spur: Loki’s Rock by Mark Ellis (Fortuna Books, September 2012) – 2,471,177.

Read the full list and the rules for putting the list together here.

MARK ELLIS IS READY TO ROCK!

New Pulp Author Mark Ellis has announced that his latest novel, The Spur: Loki’s Rock is now available at Amazon and other online booksellers.

PRESS RELEASE:

From Mark (James Axler) Ellis, writer of Doc Savage, author of Cryptozoica and creator of the best-selling Outlanders series comes The Spur: Loki’s Rock.

The colony world in the Orion Spur known as Loki wasn’t so much lost as forgotten. In the 188 years since a worldwide catastrophe destroyed what passed for civilization there, Loki had become a savage wilderness of strange cultures, as well as being the sanctuary for every bizarre cult, mad sect and outlawed scientific discipline in the Sol 9 Commonwealth. Quentin Crockett, a Colonel in the department of Off World Operations leads a team of specialists to Loki to monitor, catalog, and if necessary, eliminate the myriad societies that sprang up in the wake of the global cataclysm.

In their armored ACP Ambler, the team travels Loki, searching for the lost Terran Enclave, while fighting off not only wild beasts, and the wilder natives but also the ruthless schemes of a mastermind about whom they know practically nothing.

In The Spur: Loki’s Rock, Crockett and his team contend with the bizarre native fauna, but also with resurrected Nazi supermen, flocks of flying piranha, and the denizens of the kill-crazy town of Loki’s Rock, led by the psychotic Django Bonner and his bloodthirsty hench-wench, Pagan.

Ellis, the veteran author of 50 books as well as numerous comic properties, including such classics as: Death Hawk, The Justice Machine and Doc Savage: Man of Bronze, spent 15 years writing novels for Gold Eagle, the action-adventure imprint of Harlequin Enterprises. Under the pen name of James Axler, he created the best-selling Outlanders series, now in its 15th year of consecutive publication, making it the most successful mass-market paperback genre series published in the last 25 years.

Learn more about The Spur: Loki’s Rock here and here.

Captain Action Offers NYCC Purchasers Free Comics

New York, N.Y. (September 25, 2012) –Captain Action Enterprises is proud to announce a New York Comic Con convention-only offer: fans and collectors receive free comics with every Captain Action toy purchase.  These comics include comics showcasing characters featured in the toy sets, including Spider-Man, Captain America, Hawkeye, Thor, Loki, and Captain Action.

And the first 66 customers will receive special autographed comics.  These comics are signed by top creators including Walt Simonson, Roger Stern, Beau Smith, Sean Chen, Mark Wheatley and more.

“New York Comic Con and ReedPop have been very good to us, and this is one small way of giving back,” said Ed Catto, Retropreneur and co-founder of Captain Action Enterprises.

Additionally, the Captain Action booth will be giving away stress ball “brains” to celebrate the return of Captain Action’s arch-foe, Dr. Evil. As an insidious alien, Dr. Evil’s striking countenance is topped off by his creepy exposed brain.  Available while supplies last, these Brains will be given away to all fans and no purchase is necessary.

“This will be a busy year for us at NYCC”, said Joe Ahearn, co-founder of Captain Action Enterprises.  “We’ll be debuting our second wave of Toys featuring Dr. Evil, Thor and Loki and our new merchandise from Titan. We’ll also have the legendary Walt Simonson and pulp author Jim Beard on hand to autograph copies.  Oh, and we have a panel and a big announcement too!”

Captain Action is based on the action figure created in 1966 by Stan Weston for Ideal Toys and sold internationally. The hero came equipped with a wardrobe of costumes allowing him to become many different heroes such as Batman, The Lone Ranger, the Green Hornet and many more. In 1967, Captain Action proved so popular that the line was expanded to include a sidekick, Action Boy and a blue skinned alien foe with bug eyes, the nefarious Dr. Evil.  The following year, DC Comics licensed the character from Ideal and published five issues of Captain Action featuring industry luminaries such as Jim Shooter, Wally Wood and Gil Kane.

The line has experienced as strong resurgence, complete with an all-new toy line that debuted earlier this year.

“For our gift-with-purchase, we’re offering the best recent comics as well as vintage treasures.  Some gems include vintage Kirby Thors and a Romita Captain America, guest-starring Spider-Man.  We even have a few Wally Wood issues in there.  It’s our hope that we’ll reward collectors and provide a unique gift to younger fans, “ said Catto.

Captain Action is at booth #3136. The New York Comic Con is held at the Javits Center in New York City, from October 11 – 14, 2012.

REVIEW: Marvel’s The Avengers

Many of the comment that follow are lifted directly from a blog post I wrote after seeing Marvel’s The Avengers opening weekend. I stand by these words and note that I have since then seen it in 2-D in a theater and on my home screen via the just-released Combo Pack. The movie is so well-crafted as to remain entertaining on repeated viewings.

Disney Home Entertainment has released this in a dizzying assortment of collections, some exclusive to certain retailers, such as the Walmart one that comes with a graphic novel by Peter David and an army of artists. The four-disc commercial set comes with the 3-D and 2-D Blu-ray discs, standard DVD, and digital copy. This one also has a link to download music inspired by the film. What I was sent for review is the slightly less spiffy two disc set (Blu-ray and DVD) but it is certainly sufficient.

The major success that was not being discussed during the May release is that for the first time, four franchises have been strategically designed and executed to culminate in the launch of a fourth franchise. There have been numerous all-star films where actors arrive and perform thinly veiled versions of their famous screen personas (and we had a trailer for the latest such examples, The Expendables 2) but this move is unprecedented. While there have been previous winks and nods to a larger universe in other films and television series based on comic books, this team film was carefully planned, laid out, and executed.

Starting four years ago with Iron Man, the Marvel Movie Universe has been carefully structured, taking the very core elements from the 1960s comics, filtered through the 2000 Ultimate Universe and distilled in an easily adaptable essence. Each film was not without its flaws and they didn’t all work with Hulk going 0 for 2 but still considered a key piece of the puzzle. But, when we first saw Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) waiting for Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) after the first film’s credits and heard about “The Avengers Initiative” we knew what was coming.

The question was then: could Marvel Studios deliver on such high expectations The answer is a resounding yes but let’s look at why. First, Kevin Feige gets it. He understands the comics and the characters, but also understands film and how changes need to be made. As studio head, he made certain the egos and budgets were kept in check, focusing squarely on bringing the four-color characters to cinematic glory. That he’s remained in place has helped tremendously. So has Feige using the resources at his disposal and involving former EIC Joe Quesada from the outset, and setting up the writers committee that allowed the current architects of the print universe to help make the movies hew closely to the status quo and assure the storylines were strong.

Zak Penn also gets it. He’s clearly grown as a writer, going from things like Last Action Hero and Elektra to X2 and The Incredible Hulk. As a result, he was able to help set up the threads in the other franchises to dovetail in The Avengers. Then it was handed off to Joss Whedon, who clearly is comfortable with scope, scale, comics, and movies. He entered the Marvel orbits with Astonishing X-Men beginning a relationship that led his doing uncredited script work on Captain America which had him in mind when the current film came up. There was comfort between Feige and Whedon which led to entrusting him with a $215 million production, Marvel’s most expensive, despite Whedon only previously directing the commercially disappointing Serenity.

Fans got what they wanted: all their favorite film heroes together in one rousing story with the fate of the world counting on them. They also wanted to see the heroes bicker and battle one another, a Marvel staple dating back to the first Human Torch/Sub-Mariner squabble. They wanted tidbits connecting the film to the greater universe and got that in the form of the Chitauri (the Ultimate Universe version of the Skrulls). The general moviegoer got spectacle, humor, action, carnage, and adventure.

Given what got accomplished, the 2:23 running time is fairly tidy, especially considering how many alpha characters had to be juggled and spotlit. But that’s where Whedon excels; working with an ensemble of quirky people, each putting their foibles on display until it was time to demonstrate why should care about them. As cool as it was to watch Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo, CGI, voiced by Lou Ferrigno) duke it out, the confrontation between Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson) was equally satisfying.

Each character was true to themselves, which was perhaps the trickiest aspect of bringing these franchises together, since their motivations varied and it required Fury to wheedle, cajole, and manipulate them into coming together to save the Earth. The parallel of Fury’s efforts with Loki’s need to keep them distracted and in-fighting was well handed, putting the emotions on display. Similarly, just as Loki cut a deal with the Chitauri to gain control of the limitless power contained within the Tesseract and the Chitauri answered to Thanos (as seen in the first of two wonderful end credit sequences), Fury answered to the international council (Powers Boothe, Jenny Agutter, Arthur Darbinyan, Donald Li) and if the film had any false notes, it was the usual cluelessness displayed by his superiors.

Loki is fittingly the foe given his role in the team coming together in the 1963 comic book and his ability to elicit sympathy from the audience given his tortured past and wounded pride. His scenes one on one with Fury, Widow, and eventually Stark are terrific and most of the credit goes to Hiddleston.

It was also good to have moments directly connecting The Avengers to the other films such as the wonderful cameo of Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), a reference to the whereabouts of Jane Foster, and the display of Hydra weaponry.

The change from Edward Norton to Ruffalo for Bruce Banner brought a level of sympathy to the scientist that was missing from the previous two film attempts. He was clearly channeling the late, great Bill Bixby and the CGI Hulk was a near-Neanderthal brute that finally looked and acted spot on. When he was ordered to smash and smiled before cutting loose, it was a clue we were in for some unbridled destruction. His confrontation with Loki may stand out as one of the single best film moments this year.

The entire second act is introspective, explosive, and fun to watch the actors put through their paces, but once the Tesseract is engaged to open the door to the Chitauri, the film puts things into fourth gear and never looks back. The final act is breathless, heroic, and tremendously exciting to watch.

This was war and with it come sacrifices. Despite all of Stark’s hubris and arrogance, when the time came, he was ready to give his life to save Earth and that changed how everyone around him looked at him. But there had to be some loss, something to make the victory bittersweet and the death that came was not unexpected but it was heroic and sad all at the same time. Clark Gregg was part of the glue that held the films together and his confident, somewhat geeky Agent Phil Coulson will be missed. We were introduced to Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), clearly set up to be his replacement going forward, but if any character lacked Whedon’s dialogue flair, it was her and it’s shame because she looked ready to rock.

Apparently, that wasn’t always the case as is revealed in one of the many worthwhile extras included in the set. There is a nice assortment of Deleted and Extended Scenes (14:59) that includes alternate opening and closing scenes with Hill that actually gave her a more important role. I can sort of see why Whedon excised them and would have added yet another layer to the goings on. There’s also an extended vignette of the isolation Steve Rogers feels in the 21st Century but it would have dragged the film’s pacing so while it’s missed, it made sense. Similarly, there’s a nice exchange between Mark Ruffalo and Harry Dean Stanton that also was dropped since the pacing of the final act demanded speed.

New to the disc is the first of the Marvel One Shot original stories intended to explore the new cinematic universe. “Item 47″ (11:20) stars Jesse Bradford (Bring It On) and Lizzy Caplan (True Blood) as would-be bank robbers using a Chitauri weapon they managed to recover and make work. Agent Sitwell (Maximiliano Hernández) is sent after them while Agent Titus Welliver deals with the paperwork. It might be the merest hint of what’s to come with the proposed ABC SHIELD series for next season.

The gag reel (4:05) is the usual jolly stuff. There are just two featurettes: “A Visual Journey”, on the visuals coming from page to screen; and “Assembling the Ultimate Team” (14:37), which is the usual cast and crew saying nice things about one another. Whedon’s commentary, as it was on Cabin in the Woods, is dry, funny, and insightful.

Finally, there’s the Soundgarden Music Video “Live to Rise” (4:49). which I didn’t need since their music does nothing for me.

I couldn’t check out The Avengers Initiative: A Marvel Second Screen Experience since it only goes live tomorrow, release day.

ABC Greenlights ‘S.H.I.E.L.D’ Marvel Pilot Co-Written by Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon SHIELD Pilot

ABC has ordered a pilot for S.H.I.E.L.D, a live-action series from The Avengers writer-director Joss Whedon, Marvel TV and ABC Studios. The project is based on Marvel’s peacekeeping organization S.H.I.E.L.D (which stands for Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate or Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division) found in both the Marvel comic book and feature film universes, including the blockbuster 2012 movie The Avengers, in which S.H.I.E.L.D director Nick Fury, recruits Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, and Thor to stop Thor’s adoptive brother Loki from subjugating Earth.

S.H.I.E.L.D. will be written by Whedon and frequent collaborators, his brother Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen. Joss Whedon also is set to direct the pilot, schedule permitting. Production on the pilot, which marks the first live-action Marvel TV project to get a green light, will start immediately. Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon and Tancharoen executive produce with Jeffrey Bell and Marvel TV’s Jeph Loeb.

The project had been in the works at Marvel TV and ABC Studios for some time. Earlier this month, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that it had signed an exclusive film and TV deal with Joss Whedon, which included him writing and directing The Avengers sequel and develop a live-action series for Marvel TV and ABC, both owned by Disney.

This marks a return to series television for Joss Whedon, creator of cult favorites Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Firefly and Dollhouse. Husband and wife writing duo Jed Whedon and Tancharoen co-penned with Joss Whedon Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog and also have worked on Dollhouse and Spartacus.

In addition to S.H.I.E.L.D, Marvel TV has a couple of other projects in development at ABC Studios, including a Hulk series.

Emily S. Whitten: Cleolinda Jones – Comic Book Movies in 15 Minutes

You don’t have to be born with a comic book in your hand to be a fan. As I’ve mentioned, my early exposure to comics was mostly in the form of movies and TV. These days, I read comics too; but I know a lot of fans who’ve primarily discovered comics through the movies, and often stay mostly with that medium.

Some of those people take that movie fandom and turn it into something awesome. One such is Cleolinda Jones, prolific blogger and author of numerous hilarious movie parodies called Movies in 15 Minutes (there’s also a book). Although one thing she’s known for is being the Internet’s top Twilight snarker, she also writes really interesting discussions of comic book movies.

Recently, there’s been a flurry of talk about who gets to be a geek, and I agree completely with John Scalzi’s assessment that anyone who shares a love of geeky things is just as much of a geek as anyone else, and that we can all come at our love of pop culture and fandoms from very different backgrounds and tastes. Given all that, I thought it might be fun to get the perspective of an awesome female author and blogger who’s so known in pop culture and geek circles that people have actually written articles studying her blogging habits  and who clearly fits into comic book fandom but doesn’t come at it from the usual angle of reading comics. Also Cleolinda is just awesome and fun to interview! So here we go!

What kind of exposure have you had to comics generally – as a reader, a viewer, etc.?

Um… there were some tiny comics that came with my She-Ra dolls? I remember walking past racks and racks of comics at the grocery store every weekend and being really intrigued, but I was a very quiet, bookish child, and didn’t even bother asking my mother if I could have one. When I was in my 20s, I started picking up graphic novels based on which movies I had become interested in, and Watchmen on its general reputation.

How did you get into comics movies, and what was the first one you watched (as a child, and/or in the modern resurgence of comics movies)?

I think it says a lot about the genre that I don’t think of them as “comics” movies – I think of them as superhero movies and thrillers and action movies and whatever genre the actual story happens to be. I mean, technically, you could say that The Dark Knight and Wanted and From Hell and 300 are all “comics movies,” but if you say “comics,” I’m generally going to think “superheroes.” And those are such a box-office staple that it’s hard to think of them as something you get into, you know? They’re just there, and everyone goes to see them, and there are so many of them that some of them are awesome and some of them aren’t.

The first superhero movie, certainly, that I remember was Tim Burton’s Batman in the summer of 1989. I was probably ten or eleven at the time, and didn’t actually see it until it was on HBO a year or so later, but I remember that it was a big damn deal at the time. That black and yellow logo was everywhere, as were the dulcet purple strains of “Batdance.” Maybe it’s the Tim Burton sensibility that really got me into Batman movies initially; Batman Returns is pretty much my favorite Christmas movie ever, shut up. I just straight-up refused to see the Schumachers at all.  But I’m a Christopher Nolan fangirl, so that got me back in. Which may be the roundabout answer to the question: I get into these movies depending on who’s making them and/or who’s playing the characters. Nothing I read or saw about Green Lantern really attracted me from a filmmaking point of view (well, I love what Martin Campbell did with Casino Royale, there is that), so, in a summer crowded with movies, I didn’t go see it. And, you know, I’ve had Green Lantern fans tell me they really enjoyed it; that’s just the kind of choice you end up making with the time and money you have when you’re more interested in movies as a medium than comics.

What are your thoughts on the accessibility of comics movies, as someone who doesn’t primarily read comics? Are there any you found incomprehensible or confusing because you didn’t know the source material? Which do you think has been most successful as an adaptation for non-comics-reading viewers?

Well, despite my lack of comics-reading background, I usually hit up Wikipedia to get a vague idea of what happened in the original storyline. So the moment I heard that Bane was the TDKR villain, I went and looked it up and immediately wailed, “Noooooo I don’t want to see Bane [SPOILER SPOILER’S SPOILERRRRR]!” Because I keep up with movie news very closely, I knew when Marion Cotillard was cast that she would probably be [SPOILER]. And then, of course, they mixed it up a little anyway.

I guess The Avengers could have been confusing – which was something I lampshaded a little in the Fifteen Minutes I did for it, the umpteen previously on bits. But I felt like they explained it fairly well as they went. I had randomly seen Captain America (“It’s hot. Which movie you wanna see?” “Uh… that one? Sure”), so I knew the Tesseract back story, but I didn’t see Thor until two weeks after I saw The Avengers. But pop cultural osmosis plus the explanations in the movie meant that I understood the Loki business just fine; all seeing Thor did was give me more specific punchlines. (I do think that humor relies on knowing what you’re talking about, so I usually do a little research after I’ve seen something when I’m going to write it up.) Really, though, it’s hard to say. I’m usually aware enough of the movie’s background by the time I see it that I’m not confused. I mean, I’m already aware that Iron Man 3 is using the Extremis storyline, and there’s some kind of nanotech involved, and an Iron Patriot? Something – not enough to be spoiled, per se, but enough to have a frame of reference going in.

Just going by the numbers, it seems that The Dark Knight and The Avengers have been incredibly successful adaptations – and I don’t even mean in terms of money, but in terms of how many people flocked to those movies, saw them, enjoyed them, and were willing to see them again. You don’t make a billion dollars without repeat viewings. And that indicates to me that these movies were rewarding experiences for people, rather than frustrating or confusing (the Joker’s Xanatos gambits aside). And I think familiarity helped in both cases, though through different means. The Joker is obviously the most iconic Batman villain; in fact, The Dark Knight actually skips the slightest whiff of genuine back story there, instead showing the Joker as a sort of elemental chaos, almost a trickster god who comes out of nowhere and then, as far we viewers are concerned, vanishes. There’s no background for non-readers to catch up on; the TDK Joker is completely self-contained. Whereas Marvel’s approach with The Avengers was to get the public familiarized with the characters, very painstakingly, with this series of movies that built up Iron Man as the popular backbone, and then filled in the others around him, either in their own headlining movies or as supporting characters in someone else’s. One movie started out with very recognizable characters, and the other endeavored to make the characters recognizable by the time it came out.

Have you read a comic because you saw a movie about it? Or, have you read a comic because you were going to see a movie about it? How did that change your movie viewing and fan experience?

I got interested in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and read the trade paperback a few weeks before it came out – and then hated the movie. And you know, I think I would have actually enjoyed the silliness of it if I hadn’t “known better,” so to speak, so if it’s not already too late, I try to hold off on reading a book until after I’ve seen the movie. I did read Watchmen first – and did enjoy the movie. I think those are the only ones I’ve read beforehand, though. I did go pick up From Hell and a Sin City set, and I bought the second LXG series in single issues as well; I keep meaning to get V for Vendetta. I’ve never picked up a superhero comic. I just look at the vast history of Marvel and DC and think, where would I even start? (How could I even afford it? Do they have comics in libraries?) I’ve never even read the Sandman series, and that’s supposedly the traditional gateway drug for geek girls.

You write hilarious parodies about all sorts of movies; and the recent The Avengers in 15 Minutes is no exception. Can you talk a little about what it’s like writing the parodies (including how you started and your experience with that generally), and whether it’s any different for comics vs. other movies? Was there anything unique about writing The Avengers one?

Well, the short version is that I came home from Van Helsing (2004) and started writing a script-format bit on a whim; I thought it was just going to be one scene plunked into a Livejournal entry, but it took on a life of its own. I published a book of ten print-only parodies in 2005 with Gollancz; the original Spider-Man (2002) is in there, but there’s also fantasy, sci-fi, overly serious historical epic, etc., spread pretty evenly throughout. Looking back, I think The Avengers is the only other superhero movie I’ve done; 300, V for Vendetta, and Wanted might count generally. It helps for the movie to have some sense of silliness, or at the very least absurdity or over-seriousness. If nothing else, there’s something humorous about movies as a medium – the tropes they run on, the expectations, the necessary coincidences, the mundane things they conveniently skip, the way that this stuff just would not work in real life. And you can point this out and have fun with it without saying, “And that’s why this is a terrible movie.”

The real difference with the Avengers movie – the material it provided – was that it had all of these background movies leading up to it. So you immediately have more opportunities for cross-referencing and in-jokes, in addition to a running “previously on” setup. There were few comics-only jokes (although I did enough research to mention the Wasp and Ant-Man), because the movies themselves were plenty to deal with. Whereas the various Harry Potter in Fifteen Minutes writeups I’ve done played more on the “This Scene Was Cut for Time” idea, referencing the books and the plot holes incurred by leaving things out – what wasn’t there.

If anything, The Avengers was incredibly hard to do not because it was good, but because it was self-aware. I mean, I did Lord of the Rings, a trilogy I love, for the book, but I consider what I do to be “affectionate snark,” and… that’s kind of already built into The Avengers. So, while a gloriously absurd movie like Prometheus took four days and all I really had to do was describe exactly what happens, The Avengers took six weeks.

What’s your favorite comics storyline and/or character?

I seem to be drawn to characters who have just had enough and start wrecking shit. I think I’m so drawn to Batman not because I want to be rescued by him, but because I want to be him. I discussed last week how the Omnipotent Vigilante just can’t work in real life – but it works as a fantasy. Because every time I hear about something horrible on the news, or even just someone on the internet being a complete and utter asshole, I wish I could go be Batman and show up in the dark and scare the fear of God back into people (“Swear To Me!!!! 11!!”). Also, I didn’t really grow up with the more light-hearted TV version(s) of Catwoman; my frame of reference is Michelle Pfeiffer. And that’s a Catwoman whose story arc is almost a “vengeful ghost” story. She has been wronged, and now she’s back, and you are going to pay (maybe for great justice, maybe not). Whereas the Anne Hathaway Catwoman, while a really interesting character, is more about Selina wavering between conscience and self interest, not vengeance. And maybe that’s closer to the “cat burglar” origin of the character – which, again, speaks to how meeting these characters through movies may mean that you have a very different experience from a comics reader.

And then you have someone like Wolverine – I think my favorite scene in the entire series is in the second movie, where he ends up having to defend the school pretty much entirely by himself. You wish you could be that badass, in defense of yourself or someone (everyone) else. This also may be why I saw X-Men: First Class and kind of wanted an entire Magneto Hunts Nazis movie – and maybe why Magneto, even as an antagonist, is so compelling in the Bryan Singer movies. The X-Men universe has some genuinely interesting moral ambiguities, you know? Gandalf has a few legitimate grievances and now he is tired of your shit. *CAR FLIP*

Also, I have a little bit of grey hair at my temple that I wish would grow into a Rogue streak.

Marvel, DC, or neither?

You know, as much as I love Batman, I tend to be more interested in Marvel characters as a whole; not sure what’s up with that. Actually, it may be that Marvel has been so much more pro-active about getting movies made and characters out there; I like about three of the X-Men movies a lot, the first two Spider-Man movies are good (the reboot was good except for the feeling that half the story got chopped out, I thought), and now the Avengers-based movies are turning out really well. There’s just more to chose from on the Marvel side at this point.

Do you have more of a desire to pick up paper (or digital) comics to read after seeing a comics movie? Or do you prefer sticking with the movies?

I seem to be more interested in reading stand-alone stories, which is probably why I picked up Alan Moore books pretty quickly. Even if it’s a somewhat self-contained Marvel/DC storyline, it’s like… do I need to have read twenty years of story before this? Can I just walk in and start reading this, or am I missing volumes and volumes of context? And then, if I get really into this, are they just going to reboot the universe and wipe all of this out? And then you have to figure out what the movie was based on in the first place. I might be interested in reading the comics a particular movie is based on – but then you say, well, The Dark Knight Rises was inspired by ten different comics. If you put all that into a boxed set with a big The Dark Knight Rises Collection plastered across it, I would be more likely to buy that than if you shoved me into a comics store (complete with disdainful clerk) and said, “There Is The Batman Section, Chew Your Own Way Out.” The decades of stories and do-overs and reboots, the sheer flexibility and weight and history, are what appeal to a lot of comics readers, I guess, but they’re exactly what bewilder movie viewers, leaving them no idea where to start.

 

What comics movie are you most looking forward to in the near future; and is there a comic book story or character you’d like to see a movie about who doesn’t have one yet?

I’m curious to see how Man of Steel turns out, even though Superman has never done that much for me as a character. (That said, I always talk about “going into the Fortress of Solitude” when I try to seriously get some work done.) I once heard that Metropolis and Gotham are, metaphorically, the same city – one by day and the other by night – and I don’t know that there would be enough sunlight in a “gritty” Superman reboot, if that makes any sense. And I was just fascinated by the idea of Darren Aronofsky doing The Wolverine, of all things, but it looks like James Mangold is directing that now. And, you know, in checking on that, I see “based on the 1982 limited series Wolverine by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller.” I see the words “limited series” and “trade paperback rated Must Have” and I think, okay, maybe this is something I have a chance of catching up on first.

I would really, really like to see a Black Widow movie, at this point. As much as I liked Anne Hathaway’s Selina, I wonder if a character that arch doesn’t work better in small doses. I mean, I’d still like to see them try a spinoff movie, but somehow, I think Black Widow might work out better. Everyone’s remarked on how great a year it’s been for people actually going to see movies with active heroines – Katniss, Merida, Selina, Natasha, even warrior princess Snow White – and I’m hoping that idea sticks. I know that the comics industry in general has a problem both in writing about and marketing to women. Maybe movies can lead the way on that.

Thanks for a fascinating perspective on your comics (and movie) fandom, Cleo!

If you haven’t done so, check out Cleo’s comics thoughts and parodies and, until next time:

Servo Lectio!

TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Michael Davis and the Death of Batman

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold Goes To A Party!

Emily S. Whitten: YOU Can Smell Like A Superhero With The Avengers Fragrances!

I’ve seen a few Internet commenters wondering why anyone would want to smell like a “sweaty robotic suit” or whatever, but really, it’s refreshing to see a comics-related tie-in that’s not a t-shirt or knick-knack made of plastic. I’m an adult, and sometimes it’s fun to buy adult things that are also totally geeky. And I like that this particular product line has at least one female-specific product. So I say hooray to Marvel for partnering up with JADS International, purveyors of geeky scents, to bring us some fun comics-themed colognes and one (and maybe someday more?) perfume based on The Avengers. Also, let’s be honest, I just really, really like things that smell nice. And these scents really do.

Colognes and perfumes are super subjective, of course, and it can be hard to know what something is going to smell like when worn, because it reacts with body chemistry and the scent varies from person to person (like that one time when my best friend had the most amazing perfume and I loved it and she got me a bottle and… it smelled terrible on me. I was so sad). But it does help to know what something smells like in the bottle and on at least one person; and to that end, I am here to help! By not only telling you what each cologne smells like in the bottle, but also what it smells like on my extremely patient friend and fellow Avengers fan, the very talented comic book artist Kevin Stokes. (Round of applause for good sport Kevin, folks. Also check out his fantastic work on things like Stan Lee’s The Guardian Project. Just for fun, before I read the descriptions of the fragrances, I also wrote up what I thought the characters would actually smell like. Let’s see how close JADS International got to my ideas of what superheroes (and one heroine, and one villain) smell like. (more…)

Emily S. Whitten: Greetings, Salutations, and What Up, ComicMix Readers?

You know how sometimes you lie in bed late at night, eyes closed, willing your brain to stop humming that stupid pop song, or stop thinking about the errands you forgot to run today, or stop telling you to get up and write down that story you just had an idea for, because by gods you have to get up at 6 a.m. for work and your boss is going to be really super unhappy if you fall asleep at your desk?

Do you have a brain that works like that? A brain that never seems to shut off, and is always reminding you of ideas or tasks or things you need to write down right now or you might forget them and then they’ll be gone forever and wouldn’t that be terrible? Yeah, my brain is just like that; and at least a third of the time those ideas my brain won’t stop having are about comics and pop culture and what I think of them or want to write about them. Luckily (maybe) for you, I’ll now be writing down those ideas here on ComicMix each week for everyone to read. Hurrah!

Hi, by the way. I’m Emily, and I’m happy to be here as the newest ComicMix columnist. I’ve been writing in one form or another since directly after birth. (I believe this to be true even though I have seen no photographic evidence of it. This is because for years my dad mostly took photos on slide film, which requires a special projector to view, and so even though he swears up and down that there are many, many photos of me as a baby I’ve only seen about two, one of which featured me with birthday cake on my face and the other of which featured me dressed as a clown. But if I ever see more I am sure they will be of Baby Me writing very studiously). I’ve also been writing online since 2002, and blogging and tweeting (unofficially) as the Marvel character Deadpool since 2008.

Most recently, a number of webcomics written by me and drawn by artist Marc Vuletich have been featured on pop culture and comics movie news sites Reelzchannel and MTV Splash Page, and the lovely folks at the Tonner Doll Company featured a guest post by me about the awesomeness that is Deadpool.

But even with all that, I still have plenty to say here! For instance, did you ever wonder what Tony Stark or Loki or Black Widow might smell like? Next Tuesday, I’ll be reviewing the Marvel Avengers colognes and perfume that were designed to smell like the Avengers movie characters (and may even give one away to a lucky commenter)! Or perhaps you want to know why Cable & Deadpool was the most dysfunctionally awesome buddy adventure ever? I might just write about that. Did you like the webcomics I linked above? New ones may show up here! The debate about digital comics; a look at comics and merchandise marketing from a woman’s perspective; copyright infringement and legal issues in comics (did I mention I’m an attorney?) – no topic is safe from me! So I hope you’ll click on over each week to see what’s new.

In the interim, show of hands: who’s psyched for The Avengers on Friday? I know I am. In fact, I’m so excited (or perhaps insane) that I’m going to the Ultimate Marvel Marathon on Thursday so I can see all six relevant Marvel movies in a row. Anyone else here doing that? (And what’s in your Marathon Survival Kit?) Are you dressing up for the movie? Doing something else special? Tell me all about it in the comments so we can be excited together!

And don’t forget: I’ll be back next Tuesday, so Servo Lectio!

Well, hey: Excelsior! was taken.

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold Can Count To 32!

 

Marc Alan Fishman: Avengers Vs. Dark Knight Rises – The Battle for the Multiplex

This past week on my podcast (which you’re not listening to, but totally should), a debate sparked that was left largely unresolved. Since I have this digital soapbox, might as well use it to bring said debate to you.

In a few weeks, the mega-multiplexes of America will be screening the culmination of years of work by the House funded by the Mouse. The Avengers will see the fruition of Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger in one massively multiplayer action adventure flick. About a month or so later, Warner Bros. unleashes the end to Christopher Nolan’s bat-child, The Dark Knight Rises. There’s no doubt in my mind that both of these movies will be amazingly profitable. But the debate is this: which will bank more bucks? Which will be a better movie? Let’s look at the tail of the tape.

First up? Marvel’s Mightiest Heroes. Behind the scenes, we have the consummate king of the nerds… Joss Whedon as director. His writer team? Well… Whedon wrote with Zak Penn. Penn you’ll note wrote the successes such as The Incredible Hulk and X2, and the failures such as X-Men: The Last Stand and Electra. On the screen itself, the cast is of course a veritable galaxy of stars. Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scartlet Johansson, and Gwyneth Paltrow will all be in the film. Unlike any other franchise in history, The Avengers will coalesce four franchises into a single picture. From here? It’s all but a given that the there will be a sequel, as corresponding sub-sequels for all the individual characters. Can you hear that? It’s the sound of money growing on trees. Trees that became paper. Paper that became comic books.

The Dark Knight Rises, as previously mentioned, is helmed by Christopher Nolan. Nolan’s career has been nothing short of a meteoric ascent to directorial gold. Nolan also helped pen this end to his triptych with his brother Jonathan, and David S. Goyer – who, as you will recall, helped pen Batman Begins and Blade 2. And Ghost Rider: Spirit of Bad Acting. But you can’t win them all, can you?

Under the cape and cowl will once again be Christian Bale, joined by series stalwarts Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman. The villain this go-around will be played by Tom Hardy. You’ll recognize Hardy as the mildly funny Brit in Inception. While not as big in scope as Marvel’s upcoming blockbuster, The Dark Knight Rises is the follow up to the single most profitable comic book inspired movie of all time. For those who don’t recall, The Dark Knight did so well in the movie theaters, comic retailers reported sales of The Watchmen had gone up in response (which is nothing short of amazing, if you ask any retailer these days). With TDKR, Nolan puts his series to an end. Speculation on the plot, and how things will resolve has most everyone around in a tizzy.

The question then to ask: Which movie will make more money? Needless to say, both will bank boku bucks. For the sake of this argument, I’ll remove revenue from merchandise. Why? Because face it: Nolan’s Bat-Flicks haven’t spawned successful lines of toys; Marvel’s has. Specifically speaking on ticket sales? This is quite the toss up, is it not? On one hand you have the obvious ultimate popcorn movie in The Avengers. From the trailers we can safely assume there’s going to be wall to wall action, explosions, the Hulk, fighting, one liners, and boobs. Opposing that mentality, Nolan will nab those looking for a bit more substance. Whereas Marvel’s flicks were squarely targeting tweens and teens (with a side of general comic nerds and action geeks to boot…), DC’s Bat-Franchise has been nothing if adult in its complexity.

Gun to my head… if you asked me to choose, I’d end up with the nod to the Avengers making more moolah at the end of the day. The Dark Knight had the death of Heath Ledger, on top of the oscar buzz for his performance, on top of previous audience gained from Batman Begins. But TDKR features a villain most people aren’t familiar with (Bane ain’t exactly a household name now, is he?), and a star whose potential is only just now being noticed. And if other comic book trilogies are to be looked at (Spider-Man, X-Men, and previous Bat-Incarnations), the end of an era does not always translate into positive earnings. With The Avengers, we simply have too many stars to not draw an amazing crowd. Fans of any of those feeder movies no doubt want to see a team up. It’s the whole reason books like The Avengers and Justice League always sell so well!

Now, I would give The Dark Knight Rises the edge ultimately in terms of potential film quality. Not a knock on The Avengers mind you… I think from what we’ve seen, Whedon will deliver the goods. But The Avengers has more chance to pratfall than ascend to nerdvana. With so many stars on screen, there’s a real chance too much time will be spent assembling, mocking, and joking. And we can tell much of the movie will be dealing with a Loki-lead invasion fight scene. And just how much CGI action can we effectively sit through? Given the spectacle (and disappointment) of the last Matrix movie, suffice to say I’m fretful.

With Batman, Nolan seems to have been methodically building a dramatic arc. Bruce Wayne by way of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight has been an evolving force of nature. But Nolan’s best job has been grounding that force in reality. He’s delivered where so many others have failed: comic book movies without heroic quips and a knowing wink to the camera. When that theme of the dissonant chords let us know the Joker was at work, it was truly chilling. To think that Nolan is ending this series, one must postulate he’s had an ending in mind since the start. On that knowledge, I give the edge over to DC. Simply put, I’m more excited for their flick because I genuinely do not know what will happen.

In The Avengers? I’m almost certain we’ll have the following: Loki attacks. Avengers assemble by way of initial in-fighting. Disaster. True assembling. Fighting. Explosions. Boobs. Victory. Open ending for more sequels. Not that it’s a bad formula… but it’s just that: a formula.

So, plenty of points to discuss. Flame me, Internet, for I have opinions. Will Bats take more money? Will Avengers be the Return of the King for Comic Book movies? Discuss!

SUNDAY: John Ostrander


Dr. Evil Returns to Menace Captain Action in July

SOUTH BEND, Indiana – 12/06/2011 – Round 2 and Captain Action Enterprises are pleased to announce the addition of Captain Action’s long-time nemesis Dr. Evil to the 2012 Captain Action toy line.

Captain Action, the popular super hero toy from the 1960s returns to toy shelves with new costume sets, including Marvel Comics’ Spider-Man, Thor and Captain America. new costume sets will debut in March 2012.

Dr. Evil, a menacing alien complete with his traditional creepy exposed brain, served as the original antagonist to Captain Action during the 1960s. Just as Captain Action can assume the identities of popular heroes, the new Dr. Evil will assume the identities of villains such as Thor’s evil brother, Loki, and the Red Skull via costume sets. “Every good hero needs an evil counterpart, and who’s more evil than the original Dr. Evil?“ said Ed Catto of Captain Action Enterprises.

The new figure will be created from all new sculpts and molds, and even add one creative innovation. “The new Dr. Evil will have interchangeable brains! The figure will come with three different brains: a battle brain, a brilliant brain and a bionic brain” said Mike Murphy, Creative Director at Round 2. “Fans will be able to swap the brains in and out of his head with each one having a specific purpose that will aid Dr. Evil to carry out his diabolical schemes!”

Comic legend Joe Jusko is providing the Dr. Evil illustration for the packaging. Dr. Evil and the Loki costume set will be available in July of 2012.