Tagged: Warner Bros

Michael Davis: The Avengers … Or The Anatomy Of The Bitch Slap.

Mickey Mouse just bitch slapped Scooby Doo. Donald Duck just put his foot up Shaggy’s butt. Goofy just cold cocked Velma.

Disney just kicked Warner Bros’ ass.

Marvel just told DC “fuck the New 52!”

This all happened the moment The Avengers movie opened.

The Avengers is the best superhero movie ever made.


Yes, this is just my opinion but consider this: I’ve had my problems with DC Comics but I’m a huge fan of the DC universe. I’ve always considered Superman The Movie the best superhero movie ever. I thought that because Superman works on so many different levels and it still holds up decades later. Superman The Movie is over 30 years old and it still works. It was made without the crazy shit that exists now in special effects and it still works.

In the movie, that mofo caught a helicopter in 1979 without CGI, without Industrial, Light and Magic, and it still works.

You get that? That mofo (Superman to those unhip out there) caught a helicopter without the 2012 computer magic that exists today and I was all in!

What does that mean really? It means a good superhero movie is not just about guys or girls in tights who fly and have lots of fights throughout the film.

Superman The Movie remade the character but kept the original story intact. The story was the story of Superman that everyone knew before they went into the theater to see it, yet it was also new. That’s hard to do.

I’ll say that again. That’s hard to do.

Don’t think so? Did you see The Punisher movie when the Punisher was not even in his costume? Did you see the Captain America movie when Cap walked from the North Pole? Those were horrible movies to be sure but Hollywood gets it right sometimes and still screws some of the comic book mythos for no reason. That’s no reason except some guy in the room with juice gives a “note” that he thinks is a good idea and the other monkeys in the room agree.

For instance, take what I consider a great superhero movie, Batman. That’s the 1989 version – but yes I still love the 1966 version! For some reason known only to whothefuckever came up with it they made the Joker the killer of Bruce Wayne’s parents.

I bet if the same guy worked on Superman he would have said, I have an idea! Let’s make Superman from Compton instead of Krypton!”

Hollywood seems to think they know better than the people and the industry that created the property and that’s why doing a superhero film that respects the source material is so hard.

Just ask Alan Moore.

I’m lucky enough (or badass enough if you happen to be a pretty girl impressed by this type of bullshit) to work in Hollywood. If some studio wanted to make a movie out of one of my creations I would most likely let them do what they want even if they disagreed with my vision of my creation.


Because what I do is not art, it’s entertainment.

So as a writer who has three books coming out between late 2012 and mid-2013 (if the Earth is still here) I can say without hesitation: Hollywood, take my work and make it a movie. If you want my input, great! If not, then write me a big check and spell my name right in the credits.

As a writer I have to be smart about the way the business of entertainment works. I have to play the game. That said, I will not roll over like a little bitch if you want do something so stupid like making Static Shock a white kid (that was a suggestion by a studio executive) or you tell me some dumb 1950s shit like black superheroes don’t sell. Yeah, that happened as well.

So I will bend but I won’t break when confronted with real world scenarios when it comes to being a writer.

But as a fan? As a fan I won’t stand for any shit that does not fit my view of what a great superhero movie is and first and foremost is respect the source material!

The Avengers movie not only sticks to the comics, it adds to the brand.

Not easy to do.

Marvel Studios and Disney produced a superhero movie that rabid geek fan boys can take a girl and even if that girl hates all things geek she will love this movie.

Result? Possible tapping of some ass.

I’m watching The Avengers in 3-D. Live action IMAX 3-D. The Avengers!!! I’m watching the Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, The Black Widow and Hawkeye and they are the characters I know and love. This is what I want as a fan-this is what all comic book fans wants from their superhero movies.

That’s why, for my money, this is the best superhero movie ever done.

Warner Bros. can’t even get the goddamn Justice League movie made.

That’s why Tony Stark just made Bruce Wayne his bitch.

TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Emily S. Whitten Gets The Scent!

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold Gets Nancy, Good!


MIXED REVIEW: Glenn and Mike Geek Out Over “The Avengers”

We each saw The Avengers at fan-filled midnight screenings, separately but equally. We tried to avoid any spoilers here, but we can’t guarantee we hit that mark. And, being who we are, there are a couple of teasers in this dialog.

MIKE: Did you see it in 2-D, 3-D, or IMAX?


MIKE: Me too. This was the first movie ever that I can recommend in 3-D.

GLENN: Which is amazing, considering it was upsampled to 3-D. The film was converted to 3-D during post-production for the theatrical release. But it certainly paid off.

MIKE: The 3-D imaging credits were as long as the Manhattan phone book.

GLENN: Someone asked me point blank if The Avengers is the greatest superhero movie of all time. I said I don’t know about that, it has some very tough competition. But hands down, it’s the greatest superhero battle movie of all time. Act Three in particular is just completely packed with the loving destruction of the New York skyline, and in 3-D it’s incredibly staggering. It’s also fast and fun, as compared to the smashing of Chicago in Transformers: Dark Of The Moon… that just felt drawn out and more akin to a disaster movie. Here, it’s battle, action, and a much better feeling of scope and scale.

MIKE: Yes. It was a real superhero battle in the classic Marvel sense: everybody fights each other then gets together to fight the bad guys. And I’ll never be able to look at Grand Central Terminal the same way again.

GLENN: Or the Pan-Am building. Or 387 Park Avenue South, or Marvel’s address on 40th Street. All of that and they didn’t blow up any of DC’s offices. Have we reached detente?

MIKE: Well, they blew up CBS’s first teevee studios. Which is funny, as this was a Paramount movie.

GLENN: Not really a Paramount movie, Disney bought ‘em out but they had to keep the logo on.

MIKE: And, of course, Paramount got a truckload of money and, I’ll bet, a piece.

GLENN: Exactly.

MIKE: Did you notice they hardly ever referred to anybody by their superhero name – other than The Hulk, who is obviously different from Banner, and Thor, who is, obviously, Thor.

GLENN: I think everybody got name-checked at least once.

MIKE: Yeah. Once or twice. Period.


Watch The New Trailer and Viral Campaign site for “The Dark Knight Rises”


Anne Hathaway as Catwoman in The Dark Knight R...

There’s new viral stuff up at http://www.thedarkknightrises.com/ (if anybody makes it to the Empire State Building, let us know what you find) and we have a new trailer for The Dark Knight Rises to show you.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ “The Dark Knight Rises” is the epic conclusion to filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Leading an all-star international cast, Christian Bale again plays the dual role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. The film also stars Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle; Tom Hardy as Bane; Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate; and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake. Michael Caine plays Alfred; Gary Oldman is Commissioner Gordon; and Morgan Freeman reprises the role of Lucius Fox.

“The Dark Knight Rises” hits theaters July 20.

Martha Thomases: The Farmer and the Cowman Should Be Friends

As a child growing up, I loved cartoons. At that time (the 1950s and early 1960s), that’s a bit like saying that I loved breathing. There were cartoons on Saturday morning, and cartoons every afternoon. The movie theater near my Grandmother’s house had Saturday matinees that were three hours of cartoons.

But I loved comic books more.

My husband, John Tebbel, was the first animation maven I ever met. He not only knew the difference between Disney and Warner Brothers, but he knew the individual directors, and quickly taught me how to spot Tex Avery, Chuck Jones, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnson. He explained who the Fleischer Studio was and why I should care.

We went to animation festivals in Ottawa, Canada and Annecy, France. I saw films by George Dunning that weren’t Yellow Submarine. I met Bill Scott and June Foray. We would go to the Jay Ward store when we were in Los Angeles.

Naturally, I tried to share my love of comic books. My success rate was lower. He liked Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman. He loved Kyle Baker. Milk and Cheese made him laugh out loud. Still, he never quite got the superhero thing.

I’m not writing to celebrate two geeks in love. I’m writing about how sometimes, we let our differences divide us. Do you like Marvel or DC? The Big Two or independents? Broadcast or cable?

We defined our affection for two art forms that were graphic storytelling. One moved and one didn’t. One had finite time limits and one didn’t. Each of us, with our affection for our chosen art, could appreciate the other’s favorite.

I would like our political discourse to work at this level, but that isn’t going to happen as long as there is so much money and power involved. However, if there is anything that would make my husband’s life more significant, it would be if we could each of us share our love for pop culture with the rest of the world. Instead of fighting over which piece of the pie is the biggest or the best, we could have more pie.

John liked pumpkin. I prefer blueberry.


SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman


JOHN OSTRANDER: Casablanca At 70 – As Time Goes By

AS I SAID LAST WEEK AND THE WEEK BEFORE  AND THE WEEK BEFORE THAT – WARNING: I’m assuming that people reading this have seen the movie and thus will be fine with my discussing elements of the plot. If you’re one of those who haven’t watched the movie, do yourself a favor and DON’T READ THIS. See the movie instead and have your own experience with it. Trust me. You’ll be glad you did. If you need a plot synopsis, imdb has a good one here

This is the fourth and final installment in my examination of the classic Warner Bros. film, Casablanca. Not that I couldn’t go on (and on and on) about it further but I figure there are limits to the patience of all of you out there and I thank you for indulging me thus far in looking at one of my own favorite films.

Possibly yours as well. Roger Ebert has noted that, while Citizen Kane is generally respected more as the better film, Casablanca may be better loved, probably showing up on more all time best lists.

One of the amazing things to me is,that as it was made, most of those working on Casablanca didn’t think much of it. The principle actors were not crazy about it and Ingrid Bergman had a legitimate complaint in that, as production started, no one knew with whom Ilsa was going to go – to Rick or to her husband, Victor Lazlo. By accounts, Claude Rains referred to it as “a piece of crap,” which is startling to me considering the number of classic lines he gets. Paul Heinreid, playing Victor Lazlo, fumed about his part because he felt it would undermine his viability as a romantic lead in other films. Instead, as critic Pauline Kael noted, it defined him as a very stiff actor. Ingrid Bergman found him to be a prima donna.

The script has been used by many people, including myself, as a prime exhibit of how to tell a story. Robert McKee in his amazing book, Story, uses it as an important example in story construction. Yet, there are three scriptwriters credited on the film, a fourth unaccredited writer, and the producer, Hal Wallis, came up with the closing line! What a writing hodge-podge!

Casablanca started with an unproduced, unpublished play called “Everybody Comes to Rick’s” by Murray Bennet and Joan Alison. It was bought by Warner Bros. and re-named Casablanca to play off of a previous hit for the studio, Algiers. Hal Wallis came on to produce it and, to my mind, that was key. Wallis superbly did one of a producer’s primary functions – hiring the right people for the right jobs.

He hired Michael Curtiz to direct and brought in the Epstein Brothers – Julius and Phillip – as the principal screenwriters. After the attack of Pearl Harbor, they left the job to help Frank Capra in his series Why We Fight and Howard Koch was brought in to assist, although there are those who claim little or no work of his was used in the film. Casey Robinson, who was unaccredited, added important scenes of Ilsa and Rick in Paris. The Epsteins returned to finish the script.

The Breen Office – the Hollywood Censor – had some problems with the script and so Ilsa and Rick’s love affair in Paris is never shown to be sexual (although we all know it was) nor is Captain Renault trading exit visas for sexual favors (although we all know he did). Ilsa, after all, was a married woman, although she thought her husband was dead. I think both story elements are stronger for their not being explicitly stated. Trust to the audience’s imagination: it’s bound to be filthier than anything shown.

What is also interesting to me is that Claude Rains’ character, Captain Renault, is gay. That certainly wouldn’t have been stated but, despite Renault’s compulsive womanizing, I think it’s there. In describing Rick to Ilsa the first time Renault meets her, he says “if I were a woman, I would be in love with Rick.” I think Renault is also deeply in the closet; the above described womanizing is his attempts to hide his homosexuality, especially from himself. He defends Rick to the Nazis, he covers for him, and, in the end, walks away into the night with him. For me, Renault’s sexual orientation just adds another layer to an already fascinating character.

The film is chock full of fascinating characters, right down to small parts like Sascha, the bartender, Carl, the waiter, the jilted Yvonne and on and on. Only three members of the large cast were born in America: Bogart, Dooley Wilson (Sam), and Joy Page as the Bulgarian newlywed Annina Brandel (fun fact – Page was also the step-daughter of WB studio head Jack Warner). The others were all foreign born and many were refugees from Nazi oppression in Europe, which adds to the film’s authenticity. They lived the parts they were playing.

The film was fairly successful when it first appeared and it won three Oscars: scriptwriting, direction, and best picture. Famously, Jack Warner leapt up when the latter award was announced before Hal Wallis could and claimed the prize. It so infuriated Wallis that he would soon quit Warner Bros.

The film would become more highly regarded as time went by with many of the classic icon shots and posters of Bogart coming from it. I have watched it over and over again and gotten something new from each viewing. Its lines are endlessly quoted because they continue to reverberate. It’s romantic, it’s suspenseful, and it has great characters. It was very much a film of its time but it has become a film for all time.

I would love to do something half as good. I’ll keep working at it.

Go watch a great movie. Go watch Casablanca.

MONDAY: Mindy Newell, R.N., CNOR, C.G.


CW To Reshoot “Arrow” Over Fashion Issues

Due to recent events in Florida, Warner Bros. has decided to put its foot down. With the first promotional image for the new CW drama “Arrow” debuting a few weeks back, some were questioning how politically correct it might be to have a hero donning a hood to fight crime.

DC President Diane Nelson held a press conference this morning to disway the rumor mill:

“DC Comics wants to make it clear that we have been, and will always be at the forefront of fashion for our original licensed creations. But our heroes exist in a very real world… one that reacts to all of today’s issues. Given the recent tragedy in Florida, we’ve decided to make some improvements across the board to ensure the utmost sensitivity to everyone affected. Simply put, a good guy can’t wear a hoodie.”

With that being said, it was learned that DC will be reshooting “Arrow” with a new to-be-released costume, as well as make several changes to existing characters. The new Shazam will have his costume altered once again. Co-Publisher and lead costume designer Jim Lee noted “Shazam will now feature baggy cargo shorts, a red and gold short sleeve tee-shirt with white long sleeve shirt underneath, and his new trademark Kangol hat. We felt it was time to really bring the character into today’s marketplace.” In addition to that, copies of Superman: Earth 1 will be recalled, and have it’s cover replaced, as it features DC’s flagship character donning the aforementioned fashion faux-pas. Also, Static Shock will be removed from continuity completely, and any mention of him will be disavowed.

“Ultimately we have a responsibility to our readers to reflect the common values everyone shares. At this time, this means having to ensure no character is dressed in an offensive matter. In any event, it will not keep us from delivering the finest product in the marketplace we can.” Nelson concluded.

ThunderCats Season 1 Book 2 coming to DVD on June 5

thundercats-season-1-book-2-300x373-3774618BURBANK, CA (March 5 2012) – A betrayal. A reluctant leader. A journey like no other. A roaring return for a mighty menagerie of animation icons. Join Lion-O, Panthro, Snarf and more as Warner Bros. Home Entertainment releases ThunderCats: Season 1, Book 2 on DVD June 5, 2012. The two-disc set includes eight action-packed episodes from the second half of the acclaimed first season of ThunderCats. Starring Will Friedle, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Madeleine Hall, Satomi Kohrogi, Matthew Mercer, Eamon Pirruccello, Kevin Michael Richardson, Dee Bradley Baker, Clancy Brown, Corey Burton, Robin Atkin Downes and Larry Kenney, ThunderCats is executive produced by Sam Register with Michael Jelenic and Ethan Spaulding producing. The DVD set is priced to own at $19.97 SRP and has an order due date of May 1, 2012.tcats_ep9_still_4-300x168-4057141In this reimagining of the seminal series from the 1980s, the ThunderCats are back in an all-new animated series that purrs with sensational stories starring your favorite characters in a sharp new telling of the story of prince Lion-O’s ascension to the throne — and those who would thwart his destiny at any cost. Along with Lion-O, follow the adventures of Tygra, Panthro, Snarf, Cheetara, WilyKit and WilyKat. As the threats of Mumm-Ra ring in their ears, these determined Cats know what they must do: find the Book of Omens, which holds the key to their future. Using his powerful Sword of Omens to achieve “sight beyond sight,” Lion-O guides his friends across the lands, facing vicious foes and making new allies. Prowl with the ThunderCats in this all-new adventure series through outer wastelands, magical forests, other dimensions and even to the legendary temple that conceals their ancient secrets! (more…)

REVIEW: Mad Season One, Part Two

Mad Magazine worked in the 1950s when it debuted because it was subversive in its own way. At a time when conformity was the ideal, Mad went out of its way to skewer that very conformity, poking at the pop culture icons of the day, from its comic book brethren to movies and the nascent field of television. But it was smart humor, written and illustrated by some of the greatest talents working in the field. Its shift to black and white magazine was a desperate move at the time, avoiding the coming of the Comics Code Authority, but it also let the magazine grow in scope and influence. Being skewered by Mad’s usual gang of idiots was a badge of honor, usually proudly worn.

With time, the magazine became stuck in a pattern while the world around it changed and only offers up occasional bursts of brilliance these days. Still, it remains a cultural touchstone and spawned a long-running late-night sketch show that bore little resemblance to the magazine. More successful was the animated version of Mad, produced by Warner Bros. Animation for its sister division, Cartoon Network. Made up of eleven minute shorts, it has relied heavily on only parody since its September 2010 debut. Other carryovers from the magazine have included Spy vs. Spy and some of Don Martin’s cartoon panels coming to life.

The pedigree here comes from executive producer Sam Register, who has normally handled the more action-oriented fare; and Kevin Shinick (Robot Chicken) and Mark Marek (KaBlam!), far more accustomed to comedic stuff.

Recently, Warner Home Video released Mad Season One, Part Two, containing thirteen episodes of the show, which ran between February and June 2011. The parodies range from kid-oriented shows like Pokemon to older-oriented offerings including The Social Network (The Social Netjerk). Sometimes, the titles are funnier than the episodes themselves, especially Smallville: Turn Off The Clark. You wonder if some of the audience watching gets that Law & Ogre is Law & Order?

While the parodies tend to be smirk inducing to laugh out loud funny, they are only a small piece of what Mad is all about and it’s a shame that some of the mainstream social mores the magazine was brilliant at puncturing is totally absent here. There was an edge and bite to the mag at its best but all a new generation is learning is that everything they watch, read, and hear is ripe for parody. I think they knew that.

The quality of the animation is fine but the eleven minute structure needs to be more flexible so the jokes are made and we move on. Interstitials, like the Sergio Aragones margin pieces, would have been nice to have to connect everything.

The only bonus you get on the disc is a Mad digital comic which proves to be funnier than some of the installments themselves.

REVIEW: “Justice League: Doom”

justice-league-doom1-300x402-7902089If you’ve been a fan of Warner Bros.’ direct-to-DVD DC Universe movies, you are no doubt eagerly awaiting the February 28th release of Justice League: Doom. ComicMix’s own Glenn Hauman and Mike Gold attended a press screening of the movie, along with the mandatory press conferences and post-game roundtable discussion. We decided to take a conversational approach to our preview – not quite a review, as we’re avoiding spoilers. Still, if you’re extraordinarily anal retentive (the fanboy/fangirl affliction), you might want to just look at the pictures.

Glenn: The story, and the universe, felt familiar – not just because we’ve known these characters forever, but because it was Dwayne McDuffie’s take on them, his POV from Justice League and from Justice League Unlimited. One of those “you don’t realize how much you miss it until it’s gone” things.

Mike: DC’s animated universe came about organically, from the original Fox Batman Adventures through Doom… with major exceptions like that Teen Titans and that unnecessary and initially unwatchable The Batman series a couple years ago. Dwayne played a major part in that Justice League animated universe to be sure, but those Batman and Superman series created the foundation of this universe, as well as the bouncing off point for many of the actors.

Glenn: Speaking of the DC animated universe: one thing that was weird for me, throwing a new bit of unexpected unfamiliarity, was meeting Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman for two decades, because he just doesn’t quite look the part in real life – he looks more like the Scarecrow. I found myself mentally covering up his face from his nose up, superimposing a cowl on him. Or am I just that weird?

Mike: Yeah, Conroy is pretty skinny and he’s got a great face. But I think he’d be perfect as Jason Blood or Orion of the New Gods.

Glenn: Conroy as Jason Blood, live action? Oh, that works really well.


MARTHA THOMASES: The Death and Marriage of Superman

The Internets (by which I mean, mostly, Facebook) buzzed this week with a YouTube video, The Death and Return of Superman. It’s really funny, written, directed, and starring Max Landis, son of one of my favorites, John Landis, and also the writer of this week’s box-office champ, Chronicle.

If you haven’t seen it yet, take a look:


I like everything about this but the premise: that the powers-that-be at DC Comics decided to kill Superman because it was an easy way to draw attention to their flagship character and thereby increase his popularity.

Not true. If anything, in 1992, Superman was more popular than he had been since the John Byrne relaunch.

If DC was going to pull a stunt to make Superman more popular, they would have done it when I was first hired to be publicity manager at DC, in the summer of 1990. I remember going to a meeting about upcoming story lines, and being told that the big event for that fall was that the new Robin (Tim Drake) was going to get a new costume. Not just any costume, but one with a design actually approved by Tim Burton.

Oh, and Clark Kent was going to ask Lois Lane to marry him. And then she was going to say, “Yes.”

“That’s a much bigger story,” I said.

“No one cares about Superman,” I was told. “But the fans will want the first issue with the new costume. Push that story.”

I pushed them both, but, as instructed, I devoted more resources to Robin. I spent thousands of dollars having a costume made and finding an actor to wear the costume for a press conference. I got approvals up and down the Time Warner hierarchy.

For Superman, I sent out a simple press release. And that story exploded.

Over the next two years, Superman became more and more popular. The public followed the stories about Clark and Lois like they were Kardashians (only really in love). The wedding became such a hot story that Warner Bros. television wanted in, and created a series, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

There’s more money in television than in comics. The wedding would have to wait.

Here’s the part I didn’t know about until years later. The powers-that-be at DC needed a reason to stop the wedding. To their credit, they turned the problem over to the editors, writers and artists who worked on the series. Why would the wedding be postponed? Could Clark and Lois fall out of love?

No, that wasn’t in character. Even though they hadn’t taken vows, they were going to be together until death did them part (or, as fate would have it, The New 52). The only way to stall a wedding would be for one of them to die. Whose death would be more dramatically interesting?

The Death of Superman was never about killing Superman. It was about setting up the next storyline, World Without a Superman. These stories showed how the world went on without the Man of Tomorrow, and how he continued to have an impact on our lives.

We know Superman came back, and Landis does a great job of pushing the more ridiculous aspects to their (il)logical extremes. It’s funny stuff, and it’s funny because he actually knows something about comics.

Still, twenty years later, we’re still talking about it. The stories remain in print. Whether or not you liked it, the fact remains that the stories resonated with readers.

We all remember where we were when we first heard that Superman died.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman