If you haven’t read The Sculptor, stop reading this and go get yourself a copy immediately,
Need more persuasion? Okay, but you’re missing out on valuable time that could be spent reading this awesome book. I’ve been a fan of Scott’s since Zot because it was funny and human and had a villain named Art Deco. More people became fans when he published the brilliant Understanding Comics. There is no one who uses the graphic story medium to better effect than Scott McCloud.
The Sculptor showcases McCloud’s mastery of technique. His use of color is impeccable. The book is black and white with blue tones, giving the different scenes a variety of moods and weights. The way he uses overlapping word balloons reminds me of an Altman movie. The panel arrangements speed up time and slow it down, depending on the needs of the character.
All of this is in service to the story: David Smith is a frustrated artist trying to make it in New York. He makes a deal with Death (not the cute girl but an old Jewish man who reminds me of my mom’s Uncle Harry) to have 200 days when he create whatever art he wants, in exchange for dying at the end of the deal.
Then he falls in love.
Meg isn’t anyone’s dream girl. A struggling actress, she has serious emotional problems including, I think, a variation of bi-polar disorder (Note: I am not a doctor). Still, her energy and her compassion strike a chord with David. It’s not an easy relationship for either of them. Maybe that’s why it’s so easy to believe it.
I’ve seen people compare the story to Faust, and I guess I get that analogy, but it doesn’t really hold up. David doesn’t ask for fame or power – he just wants to make his art the way he wants to make his art. He doesn’t even negotiate for a gallery show where people can see his work.
It’s all about the art.
A major character in this book is New York City. Not the New York of Friends or Sex and the City or even Peter Parker, this is the New York of cheap rent, scummy landlords, tight money and brilliant, artistic friends. It’s the New York I wanted to live in when I came here nearly 40 years ago. So much so that I almost thought the story took place at that time, until I noticed everyone had cell phones.
I thought that New York was gone. Maybe I’m just too old for it. I’m grateful to The Sculptor for letting me live there again, for at least as long as it took to read.
And another thing! It’s bugged me lately that critics seem to think that superhero movies are the root of all evil. It’s a genre that gets sneers from everyone, even though it’s relatively new (I would say it started with Superman in 1978).
Okay, we can discuss whether or not Thor: The Dark World was as good a film as The Imitation Game. I don’t think it was. Still, it brought happiness to millions. I think that’s a good thing.
And it gives a lot of people a chance to make a living in a field they love. Or, as Marvel writer Gerry Duggan said on Twitter Sunday night after J. K. Simmons won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar, “J Jonah Jameson beat two Hulks to win an Oscar, then Ra’s al Ghul said there are too many comic adaptations. #Oscars2015”
I very much enjoyed Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I enjoyed it so much that I want to discuss the plot in a way that will quickly get in to spoiler territory. If this bothers you please leave now and come back later. (more…)
On the eve of the Academy Awards, the Tweeks look at multiple Oscar-nominated [[[Gravity]]], starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. (And some quick coverage of [[[Thor: The Dark World]]] DVD, because reasons.)
The opening sequence of the new Marvel One Shot, All Hail the King, has been released by Disney. After the events of Iron Man 3, Trevor Slattery (Sir Ben Kingsley) is locked up in a high-security prison. He has gained widespread infamy and is the subject of an in-depth profile for a documentary film.
Directed by Drew Pierce and starring Sir Ben Kingsley and Scoot McNairy, All Hail The King will be available on Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World releasing in 3D and HD Digital February 4th, 2014 and on 3D Combo Pack (3D Blu-ray™, 2D Blu-ray, Digital Copy), Single-Disc Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand February 25th, 2014.
Synopsis: Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World continues the big screen adventures of Thor, the Mighty Avenger, as he battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from a shadowy enemy that predates the universe itself. In the aftermath of Marvel’sThe Avengers, Thor fights to restore order across the cosmos… but an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.
Cast:Chris Hemsworth (Marvel’s Thor, Marvel’s The Avengers, Snow White and the Huntsman) as Thor, Natalie Portman (Marvel’s Thor, Black Swan, Star Wars Episodes I-III) as Jane Foster, Tom Hiddleston (Marvel’s Thor, Marvel’s The Avengers, War Horse) as Loki and Anthony Hopkins (Thor, Silence of the Lambs, Nixon) as Odin.
Director: Alan Taylor (TV’s Game of Thrones, TV’s The Sopranos, TV’s Mad Men)
Screenplay: Christopher L. Yost (Revolutionary Road, Snitch)
Christopher Markus (Pirates of the Caribbean franchise)
Stephen McFeely (Pirates of the Caribbean franchise)
Story by: Don Payne
Producer: Kevin Feige, p.g.a. (Marvel’s The Avengers, Marvel’s Iron Man Franchise)
Executive Producers: Louis D’Esposito (Basic Instinct, Marvel’s Iron Man, Marvel’s The Avengers)
Victoria Alonso (Marvel’s Iron Man, Marvel’s The Avengers, Big Fish)
Craig Kyle (X-Men: Evolution, Ultimate Avengers, Iron Man: Armored Adventures)
Alan Fine (Marvel’sThe Avengers, Marvel’s Iron Man, Marvel’s Thor)
Nigel Gostelow (Batman Begins, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Da Vinci Code)
Stan Lee (Marvel’s Iron Man, Spider-Man, Marvel’s Thor)
Release Date: February 4, 2014 for Digital 3D (Select Retailers) and Digital HD
February 25, 2014(Direct Pre-book: TBC; Distributor Pre-book: TBC)
(3D Combo Pack, BD, DVD & Select Digital Retailers)
· Never-Before-Seen Extended and Deleted Scenes
· Gag Reel
· Exclusive Look – Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier
o Get an exclusive first look at the latest installment in the Captain America franchise and its incredible cast of characters, including Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow, Samuel L. Jackson as Director Nick Fury, Chris Evans, our hero Steve Roger’s, his new ally Sam Wilson, aka the Falcon played by Anthony Mackie, and a mysterious enemy from the past…the Winter Soldier played by Sebastian Stan.
· A Brothers’ Journey: Thor & Loki
o In this 30 min feturette go behind the scenes with filmmakers and cast as we explore two of the most iconic characters in the Marvel Universe with stars Chris Hemsworth (Thor) & Tom Hiddleston (Loki), and journey through the key moments that have defined and endeared these characters to audiences around the world.
· Scoring Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World with Brian Tyler
o Go behind the scenes with the filmmakers and acclaimed composer Brian Tyler for a look at the creation of the movie’s stunning original score.
· Audio Commentary with Director Alan Taylor, Producer Kevin Feige, Actor Tom Hiddleston (Loki) and Cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau
I’ve gone into hundreds, maybe thousands of theaters, but entering the Regal Cinema last week was a bit unique. This Regal had only been in business a few days – to all intents and purposes it was brand new – and so everything about it was clean and pleasant and orderly, the rugs unspotted, the air untainted, the seats deep and sumptuously padded. And I think I felt a slight tingle of anticipation as I crossed the lobby.
I wonder if I felt a similar tingle the first time someone, almost certainly my mother, took me to the picture show. I would have been just past toddlerhood and so my world would have still be surprising and numinous and I’d be into a strange place, my hand in another, familiar hand, stepping into a semidarkness full of strangers, looking up at a big white thing that suddenly brightened and was full of motion and I was in the presence of something new and wonderful. Remember – this was in the early 1940s. In that era, a boy barely past infancy would never have seen even a television, nor would anyone else he knew because the video invasion was not happening until after the war, so pictures that moved? And talked? Magic!
What did I see? Maybe a newsreel – they still showed newsreels, back then – and maybe a Three Stooges or a Pete Smith Specialty. And a cartoon? Woody Woodpecker or Bugs Bunny or Mighty Mouse or Donald Duck? (If it was a Donald Duck, I would have also seen, the first of many such sightings, the name “Walt Disney,” though, of course, the letters would have been only incomprehensible shapes, reading being as yet an unsolved mystery.) Then, the feature, probably a double feature, long pictures about… cowboys? Or people who did funny things, like the Three Stooges? Or both? Might have been both! Why not both?
Marvel superheroes didn’t yet exist when I toddled into the land of cinema, though they sure as shooting exist now and it was a Marvel movie that I saw last week at the Regal: Thor: The Dark World. Enjoyed it, the wife and I, and since I never worked on the Thor character during my employment at Mighty Marvel, I brought no particular baggage to the event. I left my (sumptuously padded) seat thinking that Thor was Marvel’s answer to the Tolkein adaptations – those Hobbits and their quest and their adventures – and that the filmmakers were doing something some science fiction writers were doing about about 50 years ago, conflating mythology with sf, and doing it pretty well, too. And they’re doing it under the aegis of the company started by Donald Duck’s boss.
I saw Walt himself when he appeared on the Disneyland television show in 1954, when I would have been about 15 and, well… something about him bothered me, just a tiny bit. What? Could it be his mustache? It was like the lip hair sported by a recent presidential candidate, Thomas Dewey, who my parents didn’t vote for, possibly because he was a Republican and his opponent, Harry S. Truman, came from our home state of Missouri. Something else, though? Hey… the bad guys in the cowboy movies – not the bad guys out on the trail who got shot or punched by the good guys, but the sneaky bad guys who lurked in back rooms and schemed – they often had those kinds of mustaches.
And all those years past, sitting in the darkness next to a parent – did I see a mustached bad guy on the screen and is that why I didn’t instantly like Walt Disney? You tell me.
Most movie reviewers have been acting like teenage girls over Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston in Thor: The Dark World. But only ComicMix gives you real teenage girls to review the movie! (We even got siblings with light and dark long hair, just to keep with the theme of the film.)
Take a look as Tweeks Maddy and Anya review the blockbuster and find out whether Marvel is reaching the audience they’re hoping for, and who the cuter Hemsworth brother is…
I saw Thor: The Dark World last week with my usual bunch of hyper-critical Fairfield County buddies. Most of us (oddly) agreed the movie was great fun.
This is not a review of the Thor movie. A review should be more in-depth than four words, although in this Twitter-Totter world I realize this is akin to shouting “Hey, kids, get off of my lawn.”
The movie put on the big screen the type of energy and enthusiasm with which I associate the classic Marvel Comics in general – and with Jack Kirby in particular. Of all the superhero movies that have come down the pike over the past decade, Thor: The Dark World was less consumed with the Greek Angst Chorus than any other I can recall. Admittedly, I haven’t seen them all but, c’mon; did anybody actually pay money to see Catwoman?
I’m all for social commentary and significant subtext. I get the allegorical nature of The X-Men franchise. I appreciate Peter Parker’s sundry traumas. I totally understand that Bruce Wayne is in desperate need of some Xanax and a really good shrink. And I could have a swell time doing a Marxist analysis of Tony Stark. But every once in a while, it’s nice to pull the stick out of the nether-region and settle down for a good ol’ time.
It’s the same reason why I watch Robot Chicken and my favorite DC title is Tiny Titans. Well, that and the fact that Tiny Titans is one of the few DC Comics that actually makes any sense.
I realize that, as a comic book editor (let alone as a writer, broadcaster and professional fussbudget) my name has appeared in a lot more than a handful of Important Message Stories. And it will continue to be. Wait until we start telling you about the Hello Herman graphic novel. But an endless stream of Important Message Stories undermines their significance – concepts drown in the endless seas of moral dilemma.
Moreover, I advocate that we deserve Great Fun. The day-to-day slog through the shitstorm of life is tough enough. Let’s sit back for two hours and watch a bunch of talented actors chomp up the scenery without getting all hung up about reality.
It’s been a while since we’ve done one of these, and this time we’re bringing in Sara Raasch to mix things up a bit with Glenn Hauman as we talk about Thor: The Dark World.
Glenn: So. How long have you been waiting for this film?
Sara: I was actually less hyped about this than any of the other Marvel films. I enjoyed Thor, but of the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase One, excluding The Incredible Hulk, it was my least favorite.I didn’t buy tickets till after a friend saw it at the premiere. The thing that made me choose to go to the opening night screening rather than waiting was Loki. I really feel like he and Banner stole the show in The Avengers. So as it became clear that he was going to have a large role in Thor: The Dark World, I became more excited about it.
Glenn: What worked for you here that didn’t work as much in the first film? What improved for you?
Sara: I liked that the movie took itself more seriously than the first film and that it did away with the sorta slapstick Greek god fish outta water humor. I was glad he grew out of his petulant teenager phase.
Glenn: Thor was really Thor, in other words. Not so much humbled as humble.Although he still has trouble making his parents happy.
Sara: True. But that’s true to the comics and his back story.
Glenn: In so many ways, the story of Thor is one of family— not dysfunction, per se, but disapproval. In the first movie, Thor was a headstrong kid who couldn’t make his dad happy. In this one, he’s a more mature individual and he still can’t make his dad happy– and this time, it’s more Dad’s fault.
Sara: Yes, but even within that, they are all dedicated to each other.
Glenn: Very true. Thor and Frigga are still even loyal to Loki, at different levels.
Sara: The other thing that I found so much improved from the first movie was the size of the world. The first movie seemed very small. So much of the film was spent in that town in the middle of the desert. Where as in Thor: The Dark World we got to see Thor and crew across the 9 realms.
Glenn: And even on Earth, we get London and Greenwich as compared to New Mexico.
Sara: And then the Asgard sets were stunning.
Glenn: Did you see the film in 3D?
Sara: I did, which I normally wouldn’t do– I hate 3D movies. But I really wanted to see the 5 minutes of Captain America: The Winter Soldier footage.
Glenn: Do you feel the actors improved, or the characters and what they were given to do?
Sara: In general, both. I felt like the acting was consistently good with a few exceptions. Zachary Levi’s character fell flat for me. And as always, Kat Dennings plays Kat Dennings.
Glenn: But not as annoyingly as in 2 Broke Girls, so thanks for small miracles.
Sara: I thought Christopher Eccleston was good, but not exceptional, which is shocking becuase in general I love Eccleston.
Glenn: Eccleston was good, although it led to a particular moment of dissonance— when you see dimensional rifts opening up over England, my instinctive reaction is to wonder where the Time Lord is— and here he’s on the wrong side.
Glenn: And while we’re on the subject of bad guys… your object of affection…
Sara: So, okay, I’m obviously biased here, becuase I think Tom Hiddleston is the bee’s knees.
Glenn: You and half of the female audience for these films.
Sara: That being said. I really do think he’s a great actor. And I thought Loki was well done. For me the interactions between him and Thor really worked. And It was nice to see his character get at least a glimmer of redemption after the events of The Avengers.
Glenn: The thing that the movies have brought in a way the comics didn’t get for a long time if ever, is the family bond between these two. Only recently (he says, revealing his age) have they acted like siblings.
Sara: And I thought that really came across. Even after Loki denies his adopted Asgardian legacy, these two really are brothers. And they are each driven to achieve greatness and glory in their own way
Glenn: And they may still do so, although… well, why ruin the surprises?
Sara: You know I have a strict no spoiler policy!
Glenn: Yep. So we won’t even mention the fun cameos. However, we can say to stick around to the very end of the credits for two add-ons, right?
Sara: Yes, reasonable to say.
Glenn: How about the rest of the cast?
Sara: Wait, there were people in this movie other than Tom Hiddleston?
Glenn: Yes. The one with the big biceps? The crazy guy without pants? The hot chick in the leather armor?
Sara: Can I be Sif when I grow up?
Glenn: Well, I won’t complain if you grow up to be Sif.
Sara: I thought Chris Hemsworth did an excellent job as Thor. He has the range as an actor to pull of his machismo bravada as well as his softer moments with Natalie Portman.
Glenn: Hemsworth showed more charm than his previous outings, as though he’s finally found the right balance to play at being a Norse thunder god, a prince of the realm, and still a guy who can’t quite get everything to work perfectly and is a bit troubled by it.
Sara: I’m not sold on the chemistry between him and Portman.
Glenn: Me neither, but there’s certainly more here than, say, with Hayden Christiansen.
Sara: I was gonna reference that.
Glenn: Well, when you have that kissieface moment on the lake right out of Episode II–
Sara: Ugh. Ohh, how can we forget Idris Elba reprising his role as Heimdall. I was super disappointed that he was not, in fact, cancelling the apocalypse.
Glenn: He was actually the one character that seemed a bit diminished from the first film.
Sara: His performance felt pretty phoned in. He seemed one dimensional, and in general Elba can act, so I can’t help but wonder whos fault it was, his, the writers, the directors.
Glenn: I blame whoever had the idea to have him take off his helmet. It made him… fallible, rather this bronze guardian. So— is it worth seeing again?
Sara: I’d watch it again. In 2d this time. Like I said, I’m not big on 3d in movies in general and I didn’t feel that the 3d in Thor: The Dark World was either particularly groundbreaking, well done or integral to the movie experience.
Glenn: I think this was an upconversion job, and it really didn’t need to be. But with this film we now have scale that we didn’t have before, now that the origin movie’s out of the way. Granted, there’s still a lot of setup being laid for the next few films…
Sara: NO SPOILERS! But yes, I’m excited for the next pieces of the MCU Phase 2. As long as Marvel can avoid another misstep a la Iron Man 2.
Glenn: Well, the tough one is two films down the road. Can we at least tell people to rush to see it or next week’s Agents of SHIELD may be spoiled for them?
Sara: Yeah I think that’s fair game.
Glenn: Watch the film! And hope that the TV show measures up.
Sara: Fingers crossed for a Loki cameo next week!
Glenn: Hey— no spoilers, remember? We post this, and those women who just can’t get enough of Tom Hiddleston are going to be all a-flutter.
In advance of next week’s release of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel on Blu-ray and DVD, Warner Home Video has released this infographic. This tells you al you need to know about Krypton, or at least the world as depicted in this past summer’s reimagining of the Action Ace. The film has grossed over $662 million worldwide, which, given its production budget of $225 million, means it is on the cusp of profitability. Ancillary sales, including the domestic home video release, should push it into the black before the year is out. Box Office Mojo notes that it may not have soared to the heights anticipated by Warner Bros and its DC Entertainment subsidiary. In dollars, it ranks tenth as a comic book adaptation, although it is the top grossing Superman film dating all the way back to Superman and the Mole Men.
Rotten Tomatoes says the film was perceived as only 56% fresh, dubbed by major media critics as too somber. Richard Roeper, for example, noted, “There’s very little humor or joy in this Superman story.” Fans were divided over this sterile and somber version of the archetypal superhero, sharply criticism the filmmakers and DC for letting Superman commit murder. In comparison, this weekend’s Thor: The Dark World is already trending at a strong 75% fresh.
DC Entertainment has bet a lot on this interpretation, letting it be known that this should be considered the first installment in a unified DC Cinemaverse. Already shooting for a summer 2015 release is a sequel which will include a Caped Crusader owing much to Frank Miller’s groundbreaking The Dark Knight Returns. Fans already have their knives sharpened for flaying Ben Affleck’s performance as the Darknight Detective without seeing a single frame of film, a habit that can be traced back to the first announcement of Michael Keaton donning the cape and cowl. The sequel is also rumored to be introducing Diana, the Princess of Themyscira with current theory being that Jamie Alexander, Lady Sif in the Thor series, is in talks with the studio.
What is expected to follow would be a Justice League movie while DC and Warner have been coy about whether or not the television reality seen in Arrow and its intended Flash spinoff would also be set in the same reality. Given the success of Disney, Marvel and ABC has had with integrating Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with the feature films, one would think they would follow suit.