Tagged: Superman v. Batman

Marc Alan Fishman: Iron Batman v. Super Captain America

superman-ironman

In the not too distant future we’ll be privy to both Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Overly Long Titles and Captain America: Civility and Zombies. Seemingly, both will deal with complimentary issues pertaining to the culpability of collateral damage surrounding the super-inhabited world. In lesser terms, it’s pretty clear when you level a city (or level half of one, and almost use another as a projectile) someone has to pay. And no, I don’t mean asking Tony or Bruce-Bruce for a spare billion to cover the insurance.

At the core of both movies – and yes, I’m speculating – we’re dealing with the balance of proactive protection versus reactive process improvement. Regulating and regularly checking the populace for gifts is certainly one way to do it. It’s no different, one might postulate, than registering a weapon they own. Iron Man’s stance, as is Mr. Wayne’s, is cemented in fear of the unknown. How are we to protect the ones we love when the man down the street could be a psychopath with a gun or just Mr. Psycho? Forcing the population to divulge their hidden talents by way of polite force might be one way to hedge your bets. Because you don’t know when someone might grow up to be Speedball.

That being said, does creating such a registry or law become a civil liberty issue? In the comics, it’s the basis for Cap’s catharsis. Cry freedom, Mr. Rogers. And to Superman’s point: holding him in check when there’s literally nothing on Earth that can do that is just a waste of resources. The best you can do is trust that Big Blue will keep us safe. Being proactive effectively allows for the proliferation of some unforeseeable doomsday device built to destroy a hero gone wild. And if you build it? Well, it’s inviting someone to fire it – whether Kal-El is cuckoo or not. Better, I suppose, if you make plans to build it after the first building accidentally collapses due to super-fighting? I guess I’m unsure.

The topic is very real when we live in a nation that needs an executive order to help suppress out-of-control gun violence. Could you imagine the field day Fox News would have if New York was actually attacked by invading aliens? I can here the subsequent call of candidate Donald Trump to first “build a wall between dimensions… and make the Chitauri pay for it.” and then “…ban all super powered people from being in our country until we figure it all out”. If not Trump, perhaps a war mongering Chris “The Blob” Christy, Ted “Bomb Them Till They Glow Like Dr. Light” Cruz, or Dr. Ben “Sleepwalker” Carson would chime in with a retort that the destruction of Metropolis occurred not because newly freed political prisoners from the Phantom Zone were exacting revenge for their lost world… but because President Obama didn’t allow the NSA access to General Zod’s Facebook. But I digress.

The truth of the matter is that there’s no right answer. Batman and Iron Man have every right to want to be as informed as possible about the dangers of the world. They are tinkerers and toy-makers of the highest degree. A problem is built to be dismantled, and put back together better; be it your shrapnel-filled heart, or the world at large. So too though is Captain America and Superman’s right to say that our country was built on the ideology of freedom. That a man is innocent until proven guilty. For as much damage that befell Sokovia or Metropolis, there is no blame to be had towards those who tried to protect it. Ultron and Zod pulled the triggers. The heroes merely jumped in the line of fire. They couldn’t help the falling debris. The needs of the many outweighed the needs of the few. Wait, that was Star Trek!

So, whose side will you be on? For me, I’ll be on the side of being entertained. Because my bleeding liberal heart in the real world still longs for the day Scarlet Witch whispers “No more guns.”

Dennis O’Neil: Time Out Time

Superman Snowman

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…

Please?

The weather oracles out here say that we can expect some sleet mixed with tonight’s rain and if that happens, if we’re blessed with the “wintry mix,” we should cherish it because we may not see it again, not this year. Mighty hot winter. I would like to snort a little fire and and decry global warming, but I’m no meteorologist (and neither is your friendly neighborhood politician) and so I can’t say with any authority that global warming is the sole cause of the soaring temperatures we here in the northeast have been liking/hating. But surely the climate change is in the mix somewhere.

After tonight’s sleet, if it comes to pass, nothing more of its kind is in the forecast.

A month or two ago, we bought me some heated gloves. They’re still in the wrapping.

Meanwhile… what we have here is a bardo week – an interval. All our favorite television superheroes are having winter rests and the new entries are yet to debut. There isn’t much I can add to the dialogue. We’ve been pleasantly surprised with Supergirl; the maid of might seems to have found a comfortable niche between fantasy/melodrama and old fashioned charm and every week she gives us a pleasant hour. The other costumed heroes are holding their own and that’s righteous enough for me.

And on the cinematic front, the big movie, the one we have been anticipating as though it is the Second Coming, set box office records from the get-go and is still setting them. Looks certain to earn more than a billion dollars very early in its run. Yay, I guess. I almost wish I didn’t know that and I could look at the movie, when I get around to it, as just a movie. As disclosed in last week’s column – and admit it, you were thrilled – I saw the first Star Wars before it opened, knowing almost nothing about it, and that’s a good way to experience entertainment. Though its true that for most of mankind’s involvement with storytelling, the listeners knew the ending of the story being told before they heard it, so novelty isn’t a requirement, just something that’s occasionally nice.

Next up, and at last: Superman v Batman. That probably won’t shake the Earth, but who knows?

Later: lots and lots and lots of superhero flicks, including Suicide Squad, based on comics by our own John Ostrander.

And about those comics: Yahoo’s news column recently listed all the comics that would be available in the coming week which, once again, demonstrates that our oft-maligned medium has gained full parity with all the other media. It’s also given me a venue in which to be damn lucky and that’s no bad thing to be grateful for as one year folds into another.

Mike Gold: Looking Forward

agent-carter-header-2

In these waning days of 2015, our media tends to look backward at all the great stuff that came down during the previous year. That’s because there’s damn little that happens between Christmas Eve and New Year’s morn and people like me are tasked with filling space. This plays nicely with my powerful sense of cynicism. Hey, it’s a living.

But what the hell. For all practical purposes 2015 is already history (and I hope that comment doesn’t come back to bite me in my ass). Instead, in a fit of optimism I’d rather talk about what I’m looking forward to in the new year.

When it comes to the mother medium, I eagerly await the return of Bitch Planet, easily my favorite new series of 2015. Actually, I have yet to stop being pissed at Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro for having the audacity to take a vacation.

The third and final volume of the graphic novel series March, Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell story of the struggle for civil rights, is due out this coming year. If you haven’t read the first two books, you’ve got time to catch-up. This series carries my highest recommendation. By far.

DC and Marvel have retconned and rebooted and reimag

Bitch Planet, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro, March, John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell, Savage Dragon, Superman v Batman, Deadpool, Doctor Strange, Benedict Cumberbatch, Agent Carter, Hayley Atwell, Civil War, Skottie Young

ined their respective universes to death, so it’s hard for me to show any enthusiasm for their upcoming projects. Why bother? They’ll only be retconned and rebooted and reimagined still again. Give me the stability and pure fun of Savage Dragon any day.

We’ve got lots and lots of comic book based movies and television coming up because Hollywood lives to run stuff into the ground. I can’t say that Superman v Batman or Civil War makes my pulse race – we’ve seen it before, and besides I have no reason to be optimistic about any Warner Bros. superhero flick. While I hope for the best, the comics movies that are putting the salt on my popcorn are Deadpool and Doctor Strange – which are two different movies.

Our pal Emily Whitten talked about the Deadpool flick in this space yesterday afternoon and backed up her enthusiasm with 32 links, so I don’t have to be repetitious. I will say that from the trailers and the hype this appears to be a movie that will either be a lot of fowl-mouthed fun and a much needed satirical jab at the form… or a complete disaster. I like both the character and the lead actor, and the campaign has been very amusing so I have reason to be optimistic. We can always use a good laugh.

Doctor StrangeDoctor Strange has been one of my favorite characters since Lee and Ditko invented the psychedelic superhero way back when I was still (barely) a pre-teen. He’s never really been able to hold onto a title of his own, but he’s been a vital – even critical – part of the MCU for over a half-century. And casting Benedict Cumberbatch as the Sorcerer Supreme (which still sounds to me like a Baskin-Robbins flavor of the month) seems perfect.

As for comics-on-teevee, I’m looking forward to the return of Agent Carter because the first series was my favorite comics-based series on broadcast television. Hayley Atwell will also be reprising Peggy Carter in the Civil War movie, which is set in contemporary time. Peggy will be real old and nobody expects her to make it to the end-credits, but, of course, that doesn’t mean she won’t be in future flicks. It’s comics, folks.

What would I like to see in 2016? Hey, I’m glad you asked. I’d like to see a year of solid storytelling that does not reply upon overworked and overproduced “events” and variant covers (except those by Skottie Young) and phony deaths – in comics, that’s redundant – and astonishing resurrections. Honest, comic books are stories; let’s get back to good stories.

You know, the kind from which they make movies and teevee shows.

Have yourself a safe, productive and amazingly entertaining new year. You deserve it.

John Ostrander: Casting About

Amanda-WallerThis week the Internet was all a-twitter with news that the movie version of Suicide Squad, the series that I created in 1987, had been mostly cast. (You can read about it here.) The film is scheduled to debut in August 2016 and will be the first Warner Bros. DC film after the Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice flick that shows up earlier that year.

As with any comic book movie, there has been substantial debate over the casting, largely focusing on Will Smith as Deadshot, the inclusion of the Joker at all (whether played by Jared Leto or not) and the possibility of Oprah Winfrey playing Amanda Waller. Heck, my fellow columnists Mike Gold and Marc Alan Fishman have already chimed in. I held forth in an interview on what I thought of the casting and why. I’m going to hold forth a little here as well. I need to get a column in and it would seem strange if everyone else here was talking about the movie and the casting and I didn’t.

Let me say upfront: I haven’t seen the script and I haven’t been consulted. Nor do I expect to be. I have no track record in Hollywood and Warner Bros. is putting a lot of money into this. A lot of money. The salaries alone will be substantial. It’s not a time to be using an amateur and that’s what I am as far as movies are concerned. The film’s writer and director will have their own take on the characters and they maybe, probably will be, different from mine.

That’s how it should be. The needs of a movie are different than the needs of a comic book. When I started doing the Squad, my versions of the characters were substantially different than how they were portrayed before. I took charge of the characters, tried to keep them consistent with who they were, but I didn’t ask if I could change them up. I just did it. It wasn’t gratuitous; it was always in service of the story I was telling. I fully expect those doing the movie to do the same thing.

It makes sense that they would go for the biggest names they could get for the characters; the general public doesn’t know anything about the Squad. This movie is positioned right after the Superman v Batman flick so it’s going to be high visibility. For the sake of not only this film but for the whole DC movie franchise, it has to sell a lot of tickets. Lots and lots of tickets.

Again, let’s be honest – I’m glad that the Squad has had so many of loyal fans over the years but there aren’t enough of them to fill a single theater for more than a week and that’s only if all of them go and do it more than once. If a Squad movie is going to be a success, it has to bring in the general public in droves. How do you do that? You feature the Joker, Will Smith, Jared Leto, Tom Hardy, and maybe Oprah Winfrey. Those are names that the general public knows. They sell tickets.

Yes, I have a vested interest in a success and it hinges on the character of Amanda Waller. The name Suicide Squad, most of the characters in it – they all existed before I used them. I don’t participate financially when they get used again. Amanda is different; she was my creation and I have what is called “participation” when she gets used in other media. In other words, I’ll make some money for doing nothing more than being a swell fellow. It also depends on how important to the film Waller is and how much she is used. A big name – such Oprah – makes it more likely that she’ll have an important part. Oprah ain’t doing no cameo. Over and above the fact that I really think she would be wonderful in the part, she makes my participation better.

I want the movie to succeed. I want it to spawn sequels. I want it to have merchandising; I want an Amanda Waller action figure. I’m crass enough to admit I want it to make money because then I make money. The best way for it to do that is to be a damn good story and that’s what I want more than anything else.

We’ll see come August 2016. I can’t wait.

 

Marc Alan Fishman: What I’m Thankful For, 2014 Edition

Much like several of my mates here on the ‘Mix, I hit the wall of inspiration. What fell off the top of that wall? Seasonally appropriate random thoughts! So, without further adieu, allow me to waste a bit of your time with all the things I’m thankful for this year!

The Unshaven Comics Fanbase

OK, I know. Pander much, Fishface? Well, suck it, haters. At the top of my comic-centric list of things I’m thankful for are the group of folks who have chosen to flock to my li’l studio make every line I draw worth making. I’ve said it before, and Rao knows I’ll say it again: when a complete stranger is willing to stop and listen to your pitch and see your product and proclaim a positive retort as to the quality of the story and/or visuals, well then, there is little else professionally I find more invigorating. Behind many of those tables in Artist Alley lay men and women still a little bit scared no one will appreciate their wares. And to see that over the last six years or so we’ve raised a small group of loyal fans across Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and over to New York? Well, it means I have plenty of reasons to be glad I spend as much time as I do at the drawing board (er… computer).

Comic Books on TV

How could I not be thankful that my DVR now overflows with the highest quality comic book adaptations on the small(er) screen? They’re not perfect, but Gotham, The Flash, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and their brethren are delivering far beyond my expectations. Back in the spring when the words “Hail Hydra” were whispered on air, my jaw dropped. Suddenly a decent show became appointment-worthy. And with a few shifts in the team dynamics, some more intrigue, and a little bit o’ Patton, the show continues to be a fancy feast of Marvelous content whilst we wait for the next blockbuster (put a pin in that). Over on the DC side, it’s hard not to smile and geek out over this current iteration of the scarlet speedster. Sure, there’s some similar team-building and freak-of-the-week tropes that were trotted out on the progenitor Arrow, but it was clear from even the pilot that this show was doing it’s damnedest to do it right. And here, almost half a dozen episodes in, and I’m excited to see where The Flash will run to when it’s running at full speed. Natch. Suffice to say, I could go on, but I think it’d be better if I finally type those words Mike Gold was afraid I’d belch out a few months prior:

It’s equally a shame and wonderful when the comic books on TV are higher quality than the ones on the shelf. And for that hypocrisy, I’m very thankful.

The Movies

Good lord. The Winter Soldier. Days of Future Past. Guardians of the Galaxy. And, heck, Big Hero Six. What more can I say, that hasn’t already been said? How about this: Thank you, Universe*.

* 616, for those who want to be completest. Prove me wrong in 2015, Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Angst.

Giving Up Printed Comics from the Big Two

After my beloved piece from a few weeks back (I mean seriously, it got over 50 likes, kiddos!), I think I made my case for why I’m done with DC and Marvel’s printed fare for the time being. As much as I want to like both of them, frankly, they’ve become too predictable, too bloated, and to prone to too-predictable-too-bloated epic crossovers that I have to read. Well? I’m damn thankful that I don’t have to, and I choose instead to spend my shekels on Image, Boom!, Avatar, and the independent comic book creators who choose to push the boundaries of the medium we all love… and love to criticize.

Not Running Afoul of Michael Davis

I mean seriously, do you read his column? That dude can seek justice, retribution, and vengeance all before breakfast. Don’t get me wrong, I look forward to when Unshaven Comics gets out to the San Diego Comic Con so we can see the Black Panel for ourselves… and inevitably say something wrong. It’s gonna happen. But for now, I’m totally in the clear. Except I stopped writing reviews for MichaelDavisWorld this year, and uhh… is it too late to take this back? Screw it. Lean into wave, my pappy used to say.

Doctor Who

I’m still super duper behind, kiddos. But rest assured, it only took four episodes of Series 8 to assure me two things: Peter Capaldi is my Doctor, and I really do like Doctor Who. I won’t lie. I watched every episode of House so many times I truly wanted the universe to give me Doctor House. Capaldi is as close as I’m gonna get to that, and it’s enough to make me excited to dive into the remaining episodes buried away before the Christmas Special I’m told I’ll need to see. No humbugs needed.

A Bright Present… A Brighter Future

There was so much good in 2014, for us nerds. But the biggest thing I’m most thankful for is that if you’ve read this far? You know that there’s so much more on the horizon. Marvel will continue to dominate the box office. DC will attempt to compete (and competition breeds better products). Once the epic-crossovers are done doing whatever they are doing? The Big Two might even return to telling good stories confined to single books that don’t feel compelled to be unnecessarily gritty, grim, or modern for the sake of a quick sale. OK, that might be a little too optimistic, but I’m in a good mood. Beyond that, I know Unshaven Comics will be launching a major kickstarter when our first graphic novel is complete, and with that will come a new set of problems, solutions, and ultimately fans. It brings everything back full circle, don’t it? Don’t it?

It does. Happy Turkey Day, ComicMixers.