Tagged: Red Skull

MARC ALAN FISHMAN: Lights. Camera. Avenge.

So, I just watched the trailer for The Avengers. I had to change pants. Because I pooped them. Why the premature defecation, you inquire? One movie with Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, The Hulk, Worthless Chick and Bow and Arrow Man… that’s why! In all seriousness (that would be the seriousness of a comic nerd geeking out at maximum dorkatude), it’s because this is the culmination of years of planning on Marvel’s part. And simply put, it looks like they aren’t going to screw it up.

In their own rights, each of the Marvel heroes who have been given a solo movie have done spectacularly well. Iron Man grossed over $318,000,000; Thor nabbed over $181,000,000; and the glorious Captain America took in over $175,000,000. Bob Wayne at DC once said “You vote with your dollars…” and by the looks of it, America (nerd and non-nerd alike) has proven its love for the Marvel movies.

Speaking purely from a fan-boy perspective, I’ve had nothing but mad love and respect for their cinematic endeavors. Iron Man was grounded in reality (for 4/5s of the film), and elevated by a continuously energetic performance by Robert Downey Jr., Thor was able to mix the completely ridiculous with powerful mythology and gave us perhaps one of the hardest to believe Avengers such that we as an audience believed a God could be a superhero. Captain America was able to build a fantastic period piece that gave the world an iconic and fearless leader. And now, Joss Whedon and Marvel Studios is cramming all of them (and a handful of others) into a single picture.

The basic fear most fanboys have had since the idea of an Avengers movie was dropped on our collective consciousness revolved around over-complexity. Rumors of Loki, the Kree/Skrull war, Red Skull, and numerous other villains danced on message boards. And let’s face it. Putting 4 or 5 “A-Types” into a team picture will potentially numb any chance at character building and nuance. If Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Incredible Hulk each required their own picture, how can they share the limelight? And on top of it… Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury looks to be far more than just a cameo to boot. In simpler terms, The Avengers could easily become 10 gallons of Superhero in a 5 gallon hat.

If the trailer is to be any indicator of what the final product will be, I feel like Marvel is headed in the right direction. With the origins of every character now “public knowledge,” things feel natural. Iron Man and Captain America are both formidable leaders in their own right. In the trailer, they knock heads almost instantly. Whedon, who wrote the script, has a real clarity of character. Tony’s response is pitch perfect. Thor, while not uttering a word, carries himself as we expect… Regally, with a dash of arrogance.

Other glimpses of the titular characters are equally impressive. Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner certainly holds himself with a quiet struggle. And the choice to make Loki the villain creates a real urgency for the assembling. A mad god? Yeah, that’s a job for the Avengers. I know this all seems a bit of a hyperbole of analysis, given that all we’ve really seen is 12,000 seconds of footage (with a solid third of that dedicated to ominous shots of New York, explosions, and Iron Man flying)… but I’ve watched the trailer a couple times now, and each time I retain the same silly grin.

Marvel’s missteps – Wolverine, Elektra, Daredevil (which I actually liked), and most likely one (if not more) of the Blade flicks – all shared a plethora of groan worthy moments. In each, the self-seriousness never felt earned by the fans. That, and Wolverine was given Clark Kent’s origin part-way through his movie. I wish I could pinpoint exactly why the Avengers, with its surplus of superheroes, seems to capture my glee, with no bitter aftertaste of “this could be a train wreck.” Could it be I just want it to succeed too much? With Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Thor all leading up to this, it may very be such that I can’t fathom this flopping. I’ve dropped far too much cash at the multiplex to see Marvel bellyflop.

At its core, the Avengers is true fanboy porn. An assembling of Marvel’s best and brightest (and Hawkeye, cause, you know…) to fight the biggest of fights, is the stuff dreams are made of. To see it in live-action glory, with a bevy of computer effects and explosions is everything comic fans have dreamed of. I postulate it’s akin to The Dark Knight, where the general masses will appreciate our medium in a new light. It raises our collective mojo up just a notch. And anytime a comic nerd looks better than a Trekkie or LARPer… well, that’s just gravy. If you haven’t checked it out yet, do go watch the trailer… and come back here to tell me if I should stave my excitement, or just invest in a few more pair of paints prior to its debut.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

MARC ALAN FISHMAN: Editing Away the Future

This past weekend I was graced with the presence of ComicMix EIC/Columnist/Cranky Elderly Statesman Mike Gold. He invited me out for a brisket sandwich and conversation. For those not in the know, Gold and I are Jews – and as such, after circumcision, Bar Mitzvah, and a wedding to a Jewish bride, “brisket and conversation” is the next milestone in the Hebrew circle of life. In a day I’ll not forget for a good long while, we waxed poetic on a bevy of topics. It was like “Tuesday’s With Morrie,” except no one was dying. One point that seemed to come up again and again revolved around the state of the comic book industry. And when the dust had settled, and my brisket was fully digested, it came to me. There’s plenty of good going on in comics today, but for all the bad the finger of shame is pointed heavily at the editors’ desks.

What is a comic book editor? Well, he or she is many things to many people. To artists and writers, they are the boss. They assemble the parts, and roll out the final product. They help dot i’s, cross t’s, and make constructive criticism to ensure that the book that hits the shelf is the best it could be. To the fans, they are mysterious figure-heads who get their names right under the talent on the title page. They are the kings at conventions, giving sage advice one minute, and spinning bad fan-reaction the next. In the days before the Internet they were the keepers of secrets – the walking Wikipedias of their brands.

And today? They are that and more. Constructors of continuity, ruiners of rumors, and dolers of dreams. They say absolute power corrupts absolutely. Has their hubris finally caught up with them? I offer some proof, by way of my all-powerful-never-wrong-because-I’m-a-columnist opinion.

How about the Epic Cross-Over of Infinite Magnitude! The first time it happened it sure must have been novel. Upend the whole universe and throw all the heroes together in a big fight. Sounds cool, right? Sure. And I bet it sold like hot cakes. A chance to see Spider-Man, Captain America, The Thing and Ben Gallagher all fight Dough Boy, Red Skull, and Avalanche no doubt equaled a nice spike in sales, and plenty of direction for the respective players, when the dust settled. But be it the editors, or the powers that be behind them. what was a once-in-a-decade deal has now become a yearly escapade. And it drags down the whole industry with it. And where it used to be a single book to encapsulate the ruckus, thanks to those editors, it now permeates the entire line of comics coming out.

I’ve been truly enjoying Matt Fraction’s Invincible Iron Man now for two and half years. But lately, the books have been disjointed, discombobulated, and terribly boring. Fear Itself has consumed it, and because I’m not interested in Marvel’s excuse to dress everyone up in spikes and Tron lines. I’m buying a book that makes little sense. And when the crossover is over, I’ll invariably have to suffer for at least an issue or two more to deal with the eventual fallout. And the whole time, I can’t help but see the puppeteer’s grimy hand placed sorely up Matt Fraction’s asshole.

And yes, I know he is the lead architect/writer of Fear Itself. But I doubt he walked into the editor’s office with the pitch saying “This needs to bleed into seven different mini-series, and 13 other books.” The fact is with each passing summer “epic,” the publishers invariably encompass more and more books. And every time they do it, it stops any forward momentum on a series cold.

Invincible Iron Man was an amazing deconstruction of Tony Stark, full of intrigue, new and old villains, and a strong cast of supporting characters. Thanks to Fear Itself, I’ve had to suffer three or four books of Tony building weapons with dwarfs while he drinks. The intrigue? The drama? The 30+ books of character building? Gone with a swing of Odin’s Budweiser and a fight with a mud-monster.

But I digress. With the New 52, DC’s Dan DiDio stuck his neck on the line and said “this is what we need to do to shake things up.” And I whole-heartedly agree. But he chose to end the current continuity by way of one of those aforementioned epics, and then give all of us a do-over on his “One Year Later” trick. Remember that? And to boot, while countless writers sit on the sidelines waiting for a chance to shine, Dan hands himself a job on OMAC.

I’m curious. Did he pitch the book to himself? If the editors exist to challenge their artists and writers to make the best books possible, if the New 52 was supposed to exist to make it not only easy for new readers to jump in, but to hold the industry to a higher standard of quality. How do books like Voodoo, Hawk and Dove, Mister Terrific, and Grifter get published?

Furthermore, what about the books that were universally “meh’ed” like Red Lanterns, JLI, Catwoman, or Red Hood and the Outboobs? Did the editors really sit back at their desk with the assembled pages, and say “now here’s a book I am proud of” or did they just get the damned thing done and hope for the best?

Stay tuned next week, when all the ComicMix columnists will be editorially mandated to write on the same topic: Honey Badgers!

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

MIKE GOLD: “Fly” – A Whole Different Type of Super

When it comes to reviewing individual comics, I’d rather shed attention on stuff produced by smaller publishers; Marvel and DC get enough ink. Besides, it’s more fun to mock their trends than it is to analyze their product. I’d rather focus attention on really good stuff from smaller publishers you might not have heard of than really bad stuff of which you might not have heard.

Many comics shops do not have the resources to really back these titles. They’ve already bet the rent (literally) on the latest megacrossover stunts from the big lugs. Fine – so you may have to poke around a bit to find my recommendations. Hey, I grew up with the thrill of the comics hunt; welcome to my past.

So when am I going to get around to the damn review? Glad you asked.

There’s an operation out in Pennsylvania called Zenescope Entertainment. They’re best known for their sundry Grimm Fairy Tales comics and other horror-oriented stuff like Charmed, but today I’m going to wax on about a different type of horror – the horror of drug addition.

Zenescope reveals the high-concept of their new series, Fly, a mere two issues old: “What if there was a drug that gave you the power to fly? How far would you go to possess it and who would you hurt to get your next fix?” Okay, that sounds interesting.

There’s a real story here, and that’s something we don’t see very often these days. Writer Raven Gregory (The Gift, The Waking) establishes believable characters with whom the reader can identify. The premise is simple, but the execution is deep. The good kid gets in over his head. He loves to fly even though he’s having his issues adjusting. He just begins to realize the stuff that gives him this ability is fast acting and fast addicting. And he doesn’t know what to do about that.


A Look Back at the First Captain American Feature Film

captainamerica_stills_1-293x450-7474526Marvel has been touting the July 22nd release of Captain America: The First Avenger, and has focused all their efforts on the latest entry in the Marvel Film Universe. What they don’t talk about are the previous screen incarnations of the Star-Spangled Avenger. Beyond the Lawrence-Gantry animated series of the 1960s, there were several telefilms on CBS featuring Reb Brown in a modified outfit that looked borrowed from Evel Keneval.

There was also, the 1990 movie that bizarrely featured the Red Skull as an Italian fascist. Poor Matt Salinger donned the chainmail but never quite looked comfortable. What’s amazing is that the screenplay by Stephen Tolin is based on a story he crafted with acclaimed crime novelist Lawrence Block. Clearly, he did it for the bucks.

Thankfully,  Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment’s “manufacturing on demand” program is making this forgotten film available just days before the new release. A part of MGM’s Limited Edition Collection, the low-budget offering stars Salinger (What Dreams May Come), Ned Beatty (Superman), Darren McGavin (The Night Stalker), Michael Nouri (Flashdance), Melinda Dillon (Close Encounters of the Third Kind) and Kim Gillingham (One Big Family).  The DVD will be available for sale on online retailers everywhere. We provide you with a trailer to remind you of what the film looked like.

During World War II, a brave American soldier (Salinger) volunteers to undergo experiments to become a new super-soldier, codenamed “Captain America.”  Infiltrating Germany to sabotage Nazi rockets pointed at the U.S., Captain America faces off with Nazi superhuman warrior Red Skull (Scott Paulin, The Right Stuff) who defeats the hero, throwing him into suspended animation.  Frozen for 50 years, Captain America is found and revived only to find that Red Skull has changed identities and has targeted the President of the United States (Ronny Cox, RoboCop) for assassination.  With America on the verge of utter chaos, it is up to one man to save the day!

Captain America Movie Red Skull Works For…?

Loyal and even semi-conscious comics fans know that Captain America’s arch-nemesis (love that phrase) the Red Skull was a big-time Nazi in the 1940s. The next decade, he was a Commie, proving you don’t have to be a Republican to conflate the two extreme opposites. In the 1960s – and ever since – he’s worked with (more or less) lots of organizations but was always in it for himself.

The movie Red Skull is a bit more confusing.

Entertainment Weekly released the above photo of Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull (a.k.a. Johann Schmidt) in this summer’s Captain America: The First Avenger, an origin story largely set in World War II. But if you take a close look at that belt buckle he’s wearing, it appears that at some point in the movie Skully gets… Hydrated.

Unless the shot is actually from the 2012 Avengers movie.

The Point Radio: We Haved Our RED SKULL!

The Point Radio: We Haved Our RED SKULL!

The third part of the puzzle falls into place as HUGO WEAVING takes on the role of The Red Skull in the CAPTAIN AMERICA film, plus here’s an amazing new collectible for any big DC fan. Oh yeah, and just what the #@#! is SUPER 8?

And be sure to stay on The Point via iTunes - ComicMix, RSS, MyPodcast.Comor Podbean!

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Don’t forget that you can now enjoy THE POINT 24 hours a Day – 7 Days a week!. Updates on all parts of pop culture, special programming by some of your favorite personalities and the biggest variety of contemporary music on the net – plus there is a great round of new programs on the air including classic radio each night at 12mid (Eastern) on RETRO RADIO COMICMIX’s Mark Wheatley hitting the FREQUENCY every Saturday at 9pm and even the Editor-In-Chief of COMICMIX, Mike Gold, with his daily WEIRD SCENES and two full hours of insanity every Sunday (7pm ET) with WEIRD SOUNDS!

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ComicMix Six – Missing Golden Agers!

ComicMix Six – Missing Golden Agers!

The Golden Age of Comics usually refers to the first period of massive super-hero output, roughly 1938 to around 1950, give or take. Super-heroes lost their following, and desperate publishers rushed to replace capes with westerns, romance, and horror – or all three, if they could figure out how to do it. Sometimes, decisions were made hastily and work was stopped mid-production, more often they printed off their inventory and moved on… sometimes to oblivion.

But there was an interesting phenomenon in which the “lead” super-heroes featured in or above the logo failed to appear on their very final covers. Here’s the ComicMix Six top golden age missing heroes covers. If we missed yours, please write in and let us know!

Number One: The Marvel Family

This is the most blatant example of the inadvertent trend. The Marvel Family – Captain, Mary and Junior (who were more like siblings than The Three Bears) are not only missing, but there’s white silhouettes where they were supposed to be! Again, this was the last issue, so they never reappeared on the cover of that series. And before long, The Marvel Family would fade to limbo due to poor sales and the weight of an unending lawsuit from DC Comics. An unfortunate ending to a proud family.

Number Two: Green Lantern

Okay, this really sucks. Try and tind Green Lantern on this cover, the last of his solo-series of the 1940s. You can’t, except for in the logo, which doesn’t count. He’s not on the cover. But his dog is. Just…his…dog. No wonder Alan Scott didn’t walk the dog over to the Justice Society. But if you think that sucks, here’s comes the real embarrassment.


The Point Radio: Alfred Hitchcock Comes To ‘Psych’

The Point Radio: Alfred Hitchcock Comes To ‘Psych’

USA Network’s PSYCH is ending the season with a bang – or actually a scream. Series star JAMES RODAY directed and co-wrote a special tribute to Hitchcock and he takes us behind the scenes right here – plus Wondercon gets a DOCTOR WHO premiere, we get a RED SKULL and you will get comics on the iPad!
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And be sure to stay on The Point via iTunes - ComicMix, RSS, MyPodcast.Com or Podbean!

Follow us now on and !

Don’t forget that you can now enjoy THE POINT 24 hours a Day – 7 Days a week!. Updates on all parts of pop culture, special programming by some of your favorite personalities and the biggest variety of contemporary music on the net – plus there is a great round of new programs on the air including classic radio each night at 12mid (Eastern) on RETRO RADIO COMICMIX’s Mark Wheatley hitting the FREQUENCY every Saturday ay 9pm and even the Editor-In-Chief of COMICMIX, Mike Gold, with his daily WEIRD SCENES and two full hours of insanity every Sunday (7pm ET) with WEIRD SOUNDS!

FOR FREE or go to GetThePointRadio for more including a connection for mobile phones including iPhone & Blackberrys