In the past, I’ve generally shied away from ongoing series on the channel now known as Syfy. Their version of The Dresden Files sucked toads (sorry, Emily, but compared to the novels by Jim Butcher, the series was execrable) and they put on a Flash Gordon with no space ships. I repeat: No. Space. Ships!
This trend was reversed with the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica and continued with such shows as Eureka, both of which I’ve enjoyed a great deal. They have several other original series now that have gained a viewership but the one that attracted me most has been Alphas. The series concerns a group of metahumans who are dubbed alphas, each with different abilities, all of which were gained at birth. Can you say X-Men? You’d be right. There’s good reasons for that.
The series was created by Michael Karnow and Zak Penn. The latter worked on story and/or script on several X-Men movies, The Incredible Hulk, The Avengers, and my own personal wonky fave, Incident at Loch Ness. So he has chops. And he knows what the X-Men are about.
The series centers around a team of Alphas, recruited to handle bad alphas (sound familiar?) by brilliant non-Alpha Dr. Lee Rosen, a psychiatrist, played by David Strathairn (notable in the last two Bourne movies and, in one of his best roles, Good Night and Good Luck where he played Edward R. Murrow to stunning effect). Straitharn was a large reason I decided to watch the series in the first place; he’s an excellent actor and I’ve never seen him in anything in which he wasn’t honest and believable, even when he plays bad guys. Frankly, I was surprised to see him doing a cable TV series but he has done a significant amount of TV work. In this, he’s the Professor Xavier analog without being a copy.
There are other analogs in the show. The main bad guy, Stanton Parish (played by John Pyper-Ferguson) is a Magneto type. While he doesn’t have the same powers, he’s an alpha (read mutant) who is gathering his fellow alphas and wants to save them from common humanity. He has a respect for his opponent, Dr. Rosen, and seems to be a reluctant mass murderer.
One character, Bill Harken (Malik Yoba), is sort of a Colossus analog in that he is the strongman of the group. The most original character, Gary Bell (Ryan Cartwright), can plug into and read any wavelength but the character is also autistic (on the level of Dustin Hoffman’s character in Rain Man) and his interactions with the team and the world around him are always interesting.
Do I like the series? Yes. It’s not a rip-off of the X-Men per se; it’s more a re-imagining of the core concepts of the X-Men. People are born with special powers and some of them try to save a world that fears and hates them but it’s a more realistic take on the concept (“realistic” being a relative term). No costumes, no spandex. A touch of soap opera, yes, but almost all comic book superheroes have that these days.
Above all, it has David Strathairn who I think I would watch in almost anything. His character is nuanced and fallible and shows a deep, if sometimes flawed, humanity. I’d give the whole series a B+, A-. A third season has not yet been announced but I hope it will be. You may want to catch the first two seasons before it comes back because the storyline and underlying mythology does build. Not as impenetrable as the X-Men have gotten but I’m not sure just jumping in on the third season would be the best idea.
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.
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!
Before I begin this week’s column, I need to correct an error from last week’s Music to Write By. Daughter Alixandra let me know that it’s Ewan Mcgregror who stars in Moulin Rouge, not Ethan Hawke.
Unless you were vacationing in another dimension last week, you know that the Supreme Court heard arguments on the constitutionality of the individual mandate for heath insurance contained within the Affordable Care Act, popularly known – or “unpopularly,” depending on which side of the aisle you sit – as Obamacare.
Which got me to wondering about insurance for the übermenschen.
The cost of cleaning up after the supermen give each other black eyes – something that seems to occur on a daily basis in the various comics universes – must be astronomical for the city, state and federal governments in which these manos a manos take place. Not to mention the individual cost to the poor schlubs who either work or live in these battle zones.
Imagine what it’s like living in a world where the odds of getting caught in one of those battle zones is over 50%. There are all sorts of “pre-existing conditions” or “Acts of Superhero” clauses in insurance company contracts, otherwise they would be either constantly teetering on the brink of bankruptcy – or after just one good fight between Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus, out of business. Add another deduction for SBHI (Super Battle Health Insurance) and your paycheck is a joke. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers “Fight Insurance” for those living in a “Fight Zone” – areas known to periodically sustain damage from the clashes between ultra-powered enemies.
By the way, why does anyone live in the Metropolis of DC or the New York City of Marvel?
What insurance do the superheroes and super villains carry?
I bet Stark Industries has a subsidiary that writes insurance for them in the Marvel Universe. I don’t think it makes money, probably loses money in fact, but accounting creatively writes it off as a business expense, and the rest of Stark Industries makes up for it anyway. And it wouldn’t surprise me that the company does a mean business in insuring the villains, either. After all, if Saudi Arabia can do business with Israel, why can’t Stark insure Magneto? Or perhaps Wilson Fisk has an insurance company among his holdings from which the bad guys can buy policies. With exorbitant premiums, of cause.
Harder to figure out how the übermenschen do it over in the DC universe. Perhaps the Justice League has incorporated itself and has created its own insurance carrier that it offers to the good guys. But I can’t see the JLA offering insurance to their evil doppelgangers – I don’t think they’re quite as business minded as they are over in the neighboring universe. Maybe Superman squeezes some coal now and then to make some diamonds to feed the pot. (But isn’t that illegal? Or is that like the Fed printing money?)
What goes into making a memorable character for a story?
According to Lawrence Block, author of over one hundred novels and recipient of the Grand Master award from the Mystery Writers of America, they must be three things: plausible, sympathetic, and original.
I think that’s a damn good definition of what makes a character real. Except that I think Mr. Block used the wrong word. It’s not “sympathetic,” it’s “empathetic.” Now, sympathy and empathy are kissing cousins, but sympathy, I think, allows the individual to separate from the character just a bit, to feel for the character while still allowing for some separation – six degrees of separation, if you will. Empathy, on the other hand causes the individual to feel with the character– it’s the recognition of self in someone else.
Without that recognition, without that empathy, the character is in danger of falling flat, of eliciting a “who cares?” response. The great characters are empathetic – Scarlett O’Hara of Gone With The Wind, the Joad family (especially Tom and “Ma”) of The Grapes Of Wrath, Vito and Michael Coreleone of The Godfather, Caleb Trask of East Of Eden, Joe and Kirsten Clay of Days Of Wine And Roses, Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, King George VI in The King’s Speech.
In comics there is Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman and his sister, Death, the X-Men’s Max Eisenhardt/Erik Lensherr/Magneto and Jean Grey/Phoenix (Dark and “Light”), Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson, Selina Kyle/Catwoman, and Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman. Of course there are more; I just chose those characters that appeared at the top of my head as I write this. You will have your own characters that engender empathy.
Originality is hard. The history of storytelling begins when our ancestors first sat down around the fire and told tales to ward off the dark night. The history of storytelling is ripe with heroes and villains, love and betrayal, valor and cowardice. Originality, I think, comprises the total picture. As Block says in his book Telling Lies For Fun And Profit, “it’s not the quirks that make an enduring character, but the essential personality which the quirks highlight.” In other words, and like I said, it’s the whole picture, the complete character or individual that makes him or her an original.
Norma Desmond’s quirk is her inability to adjust to age and talkies, to realize and accept that time, and Hollywood, has marched on. Tom Joad’s quirk is his inability to accept injustice, even if it causes him to murder, which he sees as no injustice. Vito Coreleone’s quirk is to see the world as an “us against them” scenario, to nurture the family while attacking the world. Michael Coreleone’s quirk is to talk of love and loyalty to the family while he destroys it. Swamp Thing’s quirk is that he is a plant trying to be a man. And Death loves life, even as she takes it away.
Plausibility allows the reader to suspend his or her disbelief, to accept that the actions of the character are true and real and acceptable. Now in comics, of course, plausibility is a two-edged sword. Of course we know that nobody can fly; nobody is invulnerable or runs at supersonic speed; no one can turn invisible or survive the explosion of a gamma bomb (except Bruce Banner, of course!) But as readers of superhero comics, we willingly suspend our disbelief, the implausibility of the character, before we even open the book. Why? Well, I think it has something to do with the capturing of our imagination, the “what if?” factor that I wrote about several months ago. But I also think that the other factors mentioned above play a role in our acceptance of Superman or Rogue. Empathy: “I get it. I know what it’s like to be Rogue, to be unable to really touch someone, to really get close to someone.” Or “Yeah, sometimes I feel like Kal-El, a stranger in a strange land.”
I watched Game Change on HBO. The movie is based on Game Change:Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime, by John Heilemann of New York magazine and Mark Halperin of Time. Both men are seasoned politically analysts, and their book, which was released on January 11, 2010, is an inside look at the Presidential campaign of 2008. The HBO movie focuses on Palin, played by Julianne Moore, from the moment the McCain campaign decides to ask her to be his running mate to Obama’s running mate.
The movie is riveting. Moore buries herself completely into the role, and I’m guaranteeing right now that she wins an Emmy for her performance. Sarah Palin is, without a doubt, love her or hate her, an original. She is empathetic – and sympathetic – as she works to maintain her sense of self and, love them or hate them, her own beliefs against the McCain and Republican political machinery.
But is she plausible? The movie shows that, as far as being capable of being “one heartbeat away from the Presidency,” Palin was an implausible candidate. But don’t tell that to the huge – and I mean huge – groundswell of love and support she engendered.
Yesterday afternoon I went to my local comic book store, Vector Comics, to pick up my haul. Joe and Tina, the terrific and wonderful owners of the shop, were busy with other customers, so I browsed through the stacks to see if anything not on my list that caught my interest. (Actually, almost everything piques my appetite, and if I allowed myself to buy everything I want, I couldn’t pay the rent!)
Know what I found? The Sarah Palin comic from Bluewater Comics.
September is shaping up to be a marvelous month for comics fans. Not only does the DC Universe reboot,ut while awaiting issues to be released, you can rewatch your favorite heroes on DVD. 20th Century Home Entertainment just announced X-Men: First Class is coming to disc on September 9 ( a rare Friday release) and on the following Tuesday, the 13th, Thor will arrive from Paramount Home Entertainment. Here are the details:
Before they were superheroes, the fate of humanity depended on an extraordinary group of youngsters who went on to become X-MEN: FIRST CLASS. Based on the international bestselling Marvel Comics franchise, this box office hit bursts onto Blu-ray and DVD Friday, September 9 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. For the first time ever, “X-Men” fans will have the power to choose a side between Professor X and Magneto with two versions of premium collectible Blu-ray packaging. Also exclusively on Blu-ray, fans receive access to over two hours of special interactive features PLUS ten Marvel “X-Men” Digital Comics including a never-before-seen “X-Men: First Class” backstory— redeemable through each Blu-ray’s unique packaging code.
Director Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake, Kick Ass) tells the true origins of the multi-billion dollar film franchise, guiding exceptional performances by Golden Globe®-nominee James McAvoy (Atonement), Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds), and Golden Globe®-winner Kevin Bacon (“Taking Chance,” Mystic River). A “rare movie event that balances an intelligent story with solid performances, first-rate action and top-of-the-line special effects” (Ben Lyons, E!), X-MEN: FIRST CLASS has drawn an impressive $150 million at the domestic box office and nearly $350 million worldwide.
It’s a little like that last scene in INDIANA JONES, but really so much more. SyFy’s newest hit is WAREHOUSE 13 and we begin our backstage tour with actors Eddie McClintock & Joanne Kelly. Plus what’s Warren Ellis up to these days, is there really a MAGNETO movie in the works and a film based on Facebook?
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In the second episode of Crazy Sexy Geeks, our new weekly series meant for both die-hard fans and people new to comics, hosts Alan Kistler and Carrie Wright head to Barnes & Noble and then Midtown Comics for a two-pronged celebration.
It’s been 70 years since Marvel Mystery Comics #1 came out in 1939, featuring the Sub-Mariner and the original android Human Torch. Since then, hundreds of heroes and villains have been brought to the world through the pages of Marvel comic books.
At a Q&A panel at Barnes & Noble, fans got to speak with Joe Quesada, Klaus Janson, Fred Van Lente, Greg Pak and Chris Claremont. The gang gave some advice on artists and writers trying to make a career out of their hobbies and also spoke about recent projects such as Magneto: Testament, X-Men Forever and attempts to create a new Avengers ongoing cartoon series.
The party then continued at Midtown Comics (Times Square location) where Iron Man and Spider-Man mingled with fans as they looked over the newly-released The Marvels Project #1.
Enough talk. Now watch!
Alan Kistler has been recognized by major media outlets as a comic book historian. Along with writing freelance for ComicMix.com and MTV.com, he hopes to one day write for DC, Marvel and Doctor Who. He also intends to time travel. His web-site can be found at: http://KistlerUniverse.com
Producer Lauren Shuler Donner told Indie London that X-Men Origins: Wolverine is “very good. I’m very pleased with it. It’s very much an origins story. It’s very much in the tone of the first X-Men.”
As for the next Origins project, she said, “We have a great script on Magneto. I’ll tell you the honest truth… I’ve made four movies this year and I was so busy that I didn’t at all talk to the studio while making Magneto because I couldn’t have done it. And David Goyer, who wrote and is going to direct it, also did another movie. So now, he’s done with his and I’m done with two of mine, so when I get back that’s my first order of business to say: ‘Come on, let’s go and make Magneto’.”