Tagged: X-Men

Marc Alan Fishman: How To Succeed In Comics Without Really Trying

fishman-art-131221-150x43-3070732Consider this a free lesson in becoming a rich and successful writer, be it in Hollywood, comic books, TV, movies… whatever. Yes kiddos, you too can be a mega-player in the game if you follow my patent-pending advice. And since there’s no use to wasting time, let me get to them write now. Get it?

Copy someone better than you. See, I’m already gonna copy legendary John Ostrander, who in his article this very week gave out five tips to aspiring writers as well. But as you’ll learn, babe, it’s not about who did it first… just who does it next. I recall, fondly, that one of my professors at college had his intro to screenwriting class begin the year by dissecting their favorite romantic comedy for structure, and then literally rewrite it according to the corresponding skeleton etched out. Nifty, eh? So when the chips are down and your screen is blank, just boot up Netflix, and get prepared to appropriate your masterpiece.

Retcon it, reboot it, or make a prequel/sequel! Why waste your time creating an original piece of work when you can start where someone else started? As a natural next-step of copying someone who is better than you, you can get oodles of dollars by simply refraining from even considering originality as an option. DC Comics may have canceled a Batman series recently, but you best believe that someone else will fill in the slot the second they see an uptick in BatSales. It’s their New52 M.O.: when sales spike, it’s time to expand! Justice League look good? Make it dark! Make it American! Make it StormWatch! Err… Simply put, if you want to be a resource to those folks who sign the big checks? Then be prepared to take on the franchise when the original creator is off doing whatever it is “artists” do. Remember, you want to be writer… not an artist.

When the editor says “Jump”, already be in the air. When you’re in the air? Be screaming “Is this high enough?!” You see, in today’s market, the writer is just another tool in the box. One need not be “good” as much as “serviceable.” When he-who-signs-the-paychecks demands you kill a character off, or refrain from being “too gay,” you salute them, thank them for their bold choices, and immediately write exactly what they’re looking for. If they’re vague? See tips #1 and #2 above. You can never go wrong by pitching to them that which they already know. At the end of the day, they want money. The market proves to us day in and day out that one need not break barriers, blow minds, or explore new territory with our creative fiction. What sells today is what sold yesterday… with a shiny new coating.

Kill off as many characters as needed to feel edgy. Look kids: sex and death sell. Nothing in fiction is off limits. Hell, they killed a major character on Family Guy not even a month ago, and boom, he’s back. Captain America? Time bullet. Batman? Time warp. Thor? Ragnorak. The X-Men? Time vortex. Get violent if you need to. Hell, Man of Steel and The Avengers leveled near entire cities to make their point. Better yet, they gave away the secret to how you end things afterwards. Want your audience to leave with a knowing smirk on their face? Have your heroes be a bit witty amidst the wanton destruction, and maybe let them get a sandwich. Need your audience to feel remorse for all the devastation? Have your hero scream in agony, and then end on the witty retort. Boom. Roll the credits, and whatever you do… Do not forget the stinger. Thanks to Mickey, we have to end everything, and then end it again. Or, pull a Jackson: end your piece, and then end it eight more times. Each time make it gayer and more emotionally despondent. People eat that crap up like McRibs.

Remember that the critics, fans, et al don’t matter anymore. In the age of the Internet, everyone is a critic. Thanks to news sites, blogs, somehow-still-alive newspapers, social media, et cetera, every new release is covered by hundreds of would-be pundits. No matter your score, trust me, you’re fine. If you deliver an atrocity? You’ll pop up on everybody’s Worst Of lists, and your sales will spike as rubber-neckers come to guffaw. Get a middle of the road review? Just head to the comment section, and accuse yourself (anonymously) of being gay, racist, or a gay-racist. Then, as yourself, open up an Instagram account, and post angst-riddled notes of how depressing your life is. Soon enough, they’ll forget if your work was any good anyways. Hell, go apeshit and you could end up like Charlie Sheen. He went AWOL, and nabbed a 20/90 backend multi-season pickup for a show so by-the-book, most scripts are handled via an AOL mad-lib generator.

As far as fans go, just know that you’re safe. When you do an acceptable job writing up the expectable (it is a word now.), only elitist Onion readers will get up in arms. Do you really care if a horn-rimmed glasses wearing, curly mustachioed, corduroy and bow-tie bedazzled Arcade Fire fan thinks your work is shallow and pedantic? Do you mind that I just lifted a line straight off The Simpsons? Of course you don’t! At the end of the day, you want a paycheck and a fluffy credit. I want a yes-man. It’s a win-win situation.

The key to this all is simple. The world is going to end eventually. You’re either going to be frozen is actual carbonite (rich people have the technology – for real) or buried in a pine box right off the highway. It’s your call. Live and eat well by doing what they tell you to do, or have a backbone and visible ribs. The choice is yours. Your foolproof plan is laid out above.

When you’re famous, do me a solid and link back to this article. I’m cold, and extra readers keeps my furnace running.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

MONDAY: Mindy Newell


Wolverine vs. Sabertooth Motion Comic Comes to Blu-ray January 14

Wolverine vs SabretoothAt the start of the New Year, Marvel fans are invited to witness one of the most ferocious battles in the Marvel Universe. The superstar team of writer and Executive Producer Jeph Loeb (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and Artist Simone Bianchi (Astonishing X-Men) team up to deliver the thrilling comic book action adventure WOLVERINE VS. SABRETOOTH. This pulse-pounding story captures the biggest rivalry of the Marvel Universe in Marvel Knights Animation’s WOLVERINE VS. SABRETOOTH DVD, debuting for the first time on home entertainment shelves nationwide on January 14, 2014 from Shout! Factory.

This highly anticipated Marvel Knights Animation adventure boasts unparalleled storytelling combined with rich visual animation and insightful bonus content. This deluxe DVD is collected in a unique comic book style packaging that bridges the comic book to DVD concept. Marvel Knights Animation’s WOLVERINE VS. SABRETOOTH DVD is priced to own at $14.97 SRP.

An exclusive behind-the-scenes bonus content feature provides an intimate and retrospective look at the development and production process of this amazing story. Marvel Knights Animation remains true to the heritage of panel-by-panel graphic storytelling, boasting groundbreaking illustrations, sensational soundscapes, and of course, the explosiveness of the mighty Marvel universe. Behind every image and every word lies the genius of Marvel’s celebrated creators.


Superstars Jeph Loeb (TV’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and Simone Bianchi (Astonishing X-Men) team up for the biggest, best and, quite possibly, last battle between Wolverine and Sabretooth! These sworn foes have been locked in an endless grudge match that goes back longer than either can remember – or even imagine. The key to victory is eons old, and it’s certain to rock their world. Think you’ve seen Marvel’s fiercest go toe-to-toe before? Those were just warm-ups!

Bonus Features Include:

Brand new retrospective featurette includes interviews with Jeph Loeb and Simone Bianchi.

Total Feature Running Time: +/- 66 minutes

The Point Radio: Why AGENTS OF SHIELD Disappointed You


After a tremendous start to the season, Marvel’s AGENTS OF SHIELD has faced a few challenges, mainly in growing an audience that keeps waiting for familiar super heroes to show up. We talk to Joss Whedon,  Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb and EP Jeffrey Bell about just why they isn’t likely to happen. Meanwhile, X-MEN:APOCALYPSE starts to build a cast, and what TV are you tweeting about?

THE POINT covers it 24/7! Take us ANYWHERE! The Point Radio App is now in the iTunes App store – and it’s FREE! Just search under “pop culture The Point”. The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or on any other  mobile device with the Tune In Radio app – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

Shout! Factory Unveils 20th Anniversary Edition of The Shadow

The Shadow Blu-rayThe Shadow, the template for most of comic books’ mystery men, captured America’s imagination in radio and pulp magazines for decades. His paperback revival in the 1960s and 1970s (the latter with spectacular covers from Steranko) led to his brilliant portrayal by Denny O’Neil and Michael William Kaluta in the short-lived DC Comics adaptation. Currently, he’s cutting down the weed of crime for Dynamite Entertainment but this overlooked gem of a film is worth a look. Here are the official details:

Who knows what evil lurks in the shadow of men? The Shadow knows! Adapted from the long-running classic radio program and Walter B. Gibson’s popular pulp fiction, legendary crime-fighting superhero The Shadow comes to life in the 1994 film adaptation THE SHADOW, starring Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) from visionary filmmaker Russell Mulcahy (Resident Evil: Extinction, Highlander). Brimming with non-stop action and suspense, this wildly entertaining cinematic adventure also stars John Lone (The Last Emperor), Penelope Ann Miller (Carlito’s Way), Peter Boyle (Everybody Loves Raymond), Ian McKellen (X-Men), Jonathan Winters (The Smurfs) and Tim Curry (The Rocky Horror Picture Show). On February 25, 2014, Shout! Factory will release THE SHADOW: COLLECTOR’S EDITION Blu-ray™, featuring new high definition transfer of this cult classic and all-new interviews with filmmaker Russell Mulcahy, Alec Baldwin, Penelope Ann Miller and more.  A must-have for movie collectors and pop culture enthusiasts to complete their entertainment library, this definitive collector’s edition Blu-ray release of THE SHADOW is priced to own at $29.93 SRP.

Alec Baldwin stars with Penelope Ann Miller as the legendary crime-fighting superhero in “The wittiest action-adventure since Indiana Jones!” (NBC News). Donning his sweeping black cape and disguise, The Shadow takes on his most dangerous nemesis yet: the last descendant of the great Genghis Khan whose weapon of choice is an atomic bomb. With the fate of humanity hanging in the balance, they square off for a spectacular battle in a dazzling mixture of mind-blowing special effects, humor and a dose of the macabre that will hold you spellbound!




Music by JERRY GOLDSMITH, Music Supervisor JELLYBEAN BENITEZ, Co-Executive Producer STAN WESTON,

Costume Designer BOB RINGWOOD, Edited by PETER HONESS, Production Designer JOSEPH NEMEC, III.

Director of Photography STEPHEN H. BURUM A.S.C., Executive Producers LOUIS A. STROLLER, ROLF DEYHLE,



Special Features:

  • New interviews with Director Russell Mulcahy, Alec Baldwin, Penelope Ann Miller, Production Designer Joseph Nemec, III., Director Of Photography Stephen H. Burum and Writer David Koepp
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)/DTS Master Audio 5.1/1994/Color/108 minutes/Subtitles: English

REVIEW: The Wolverine

BD comboDespite being one of Marvel’s most insanely popular characters, Wolverine has struggled a bit on the big screen. Sure, Hugh Jackman defied expectations when he first signed on to play the Canadian mutant. After, in the comics, the guy is short and stocky whereas Jackman is over six feet tall. He fit the ensemble in the X-Men trilogy of films quite nicely, playing off James Marsden’s Cyclops as both vied for Jean Grey’s love only to both watch her die in X-Men: Last Stand.

If there was any character ready for a spinoff film, it was Wolverine but X-Men Origins; Wolverine was a bit of a messy disappointment, overstuffed with other mutants and telling his poignant backstory. Still, the character was tantalizing for 20th Century Fox so they went back to the drawing board – and the comics – for inspiration offering up this summer’s The Wolverine, figuring if the article helped define Batman as darker and more serious, it could only enhance the hero’s second outing.

Director James Mangold, who demonstrated he could do character and action in Knight & Day, worked with screenwriters Mark Bomback and Scott Frank to strip mine the first Wolverine miniseries, the best of the lot, you know, the one from Chris Claremont and Frank Miller.  While they pat themselves on the back for honoring the spirit of the mini, they also left out its darker tones and themes of obligation. About the only things in common is Japan for the setting and the kick-ass women, Mariko and Yukio. Beyond that, give me the miniseries over the overblown film.


I’m told the movie makes more sense in the unrated extended version now available on some DVDs. 20th Century Home Entertainment sent the standard combo pack, containing the Blu-ray, DVD, and Ultraviolet digital copy. As a bonus you can also download a Marvel Infinite Comic, an original digital story although I could never read it as it failed to properly load on both my laptop and iPad.

Since Jean’s death, Logan has isolated himself from humanity and mutantkind alike, speaking only to her phantom image, well handled by Famke Jameson. He’s lured back to the society by Yukio (Rila Fukushima), on behalf of Yashida (Ken Yamamura/Haruhiko Yamanouchi), whose life Logan saved during the bombing of Nagasaki decades earlier. He has since built up the most successful technology company this side of Stark Industries and is now dying. He offers Logan a chance to have his mutant healing ability taken away, letting him live out a normal lifespan. Although he refuses the offer, Logan is on hand long enough to see all the political and familial machinations going on, coiled tight to be unloaded the moment the man dies.


During the funeral, Mariko (Tao Okomoto) is attacked and Logan rushes to her aid as does her lifelong friend Harada (Will Yun Lee). At some point, though, Wolverine comes to realize his healing factor has been compromised and he’s suddenly injured and not getting any better.

While Logan and Mariko are on the run, they fall in love and Logan regains some of his humanity once again. Still, things can never remain idyllic so she’s taken, leading us to several set pieces that skip all attempts at ingenuity and characterization in favor of boring action with a climax taken from the first Iron Man. And while the script starts with the miniseries as a source, it borrows throughout the comics so we get Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) with littler explanation of who she is and what she really wants and the revelation that the claws are actually bone protrusions, something that may be addressed in next summer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past. The end credits segue from this story to the next film, a gimmick that every studio with Marvel characters now seems obligated to include.

The-Wolverine-Yukio-RilaWhile pretty to look at, the movie speeds along and never really lets any of the characters move beyond their logline definitions so all seem flat. The actresses do nice work with the little they’re given while the guys all feel way too thin.

Jackman’s Wolverine is nuanced. A tortured soul who watches everyone he loves die (except for Mariko – for now at least) as he ages past other friendships. The Logan in the miniseries tamed his soul through Japanese culture but that angle is sadly missing from here.

The Blu-ray transfer is lovely along with fine sound so watching is a pleasure and the story makes as much sense as it needs to. There are a handful of extras including “The Path of a Ronin”, a multi-part, 53:44 Making Of documentary that explores many facets of the character and the film’s production. You also get a brief alternate ending (1:34) where we see him presented with the yellow and blue costume. Finally, Bryan Singer turns up for a set tour (2:47) for the next installment. There’s also a Second Screen App for those who want additional content.

The Point Radio: Troma Studios And The Trials Of Being Indy


After nearly forty years of reel independence, Troma Video’s Lloyd Kaufman is still going strong, back on the big screen with RETURN TO NUKE ’EM HIGH Volume 1 (set to be released in NY and LA on January 10th) and a tribute at New York’s Museum Of Modern Art on the 9th. Lloyd takes us back to how Troma began. the hassles of being and independent studio and how he has embraced the new forms of video in a big way. Plus Zack Snyder finds his WONDER WOMAN, and The X-Men plan an APOCALYPSE.

THE POINT covers it 24/7! Take us ANYWHERE! The Point Radio App is now in the iTunes App store – and it’s FREE! Just search under “pop culture The Point”. The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or on any other  mobile device with the Tune In Radio app – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

Mike Gold: Will There Always Be Superman Comics?

Gold Art 131120Over a decade ago the head of what was then called Tribune Media Services told me that as far as the producer of the Little Orphan Annie musicals was concerned, he did not need the comic strip around in order to keep his Annie franchise successful. I responded, “Well, somebody’s figured out what Disney’s been up to.”

Walt Disney used to say that he always reminded people that the whole thing started out with a mouse. And to this very day – the 85th anniversary of the first Mickey Mouse cartoon was last Monday – Mickey has remained the (usually silent) Disney spokesmouse. So… riddle me this, Mousemen. Outside of a few direct-to-DVDs and a couple teevee shots, how many Mickey Mouse cartoons were made in the past 60 years?

There was not a single Mickey Mouse cartoon produced between 1953 and 1983. There’s been maybe four true Mickey cartoons produced since then, plus the short-lived House of Mouse show, some video games and a few cameos.

And tons of merchandising which, obviously, was not dependent upon the character’s presence on the large or the small screen.

Two of the biggest superhero characters of the 1930s through 1950s were The Shadow and The Lone Ranger. Both remain icons, but neither are vital forces in our cultural marketplace – despite what seems to have been a contest to see who could produce the worst Lone Ranger feature film. If this were, say, 1940, I suspect most people would say these guys would remain strong in one form or another for a long, long time. In The Shadow’s case, that would be until his radio show was cancelled on December 26, 1954. The Lone Ranger lasted on teevee until September 12, 1957; there was an animated series that ran for 28 episodes in the mid-60s.

So, I ask you: as a comic book, how long will Superman last? Or Spider-Man, or Batman, or the X-Men… you get the idea. In the 1940s, Superman was successful in comic books but even more successful as a radio series and a newspaper comic strip. The comic books were kept alive by the success of the Superman television series in the 1950s. National Periodical Publications, predecessor to DC Comics, didn’t need comic books to make a profit. In fact, if they didn’t own their own distribution network they might have canned the print operation when sales plummeted during the mid-50s.

Warner Bros. (DC comics) and Disney (Marvel comics) do not need the comic books in order to sell merchandising and produce movies and television shows, although producing good movies and teevee shows is always challenging.

The good folks at DC’s New York City office – including the vast majority of their editorial departments – have but a few more weeks to decide if they are going to move to Los Angeles in the spring of 2015. It’s a tough decision.

As a member of DC’s historical family, indulge me as I offer this piece of advise. If you want to move to Los Angeles, do so. But as soon as you get there, keep an eye out for other jobs. Warner Bros. and Disney do not need to publish comic books in order to keep their stockholders happy.

Just don’t tell them so.




Doctor Who Anniversary prequel – “The Night of the Doctor”

Rule One: The Moffat Lies.

Rule One-a: So Does The McGann.

After nearly a year of what showrunner Steven Moffat described as “lying through my teeth”, the prequel to the Doctor Who anniversary episode “The Day of the Doctor” reveals that the one fact that upset people the most is the one that was the biggest lie.

Watch, and squee with me. (more…)

Wednesday Window-Closing Wrap Up: November 13, 2013

Wolverine is the best Disney Princess #16, by Strampunk

Closing windows on my computer so you can open them up on yours. Here we go:

Anything else? Consider this an open thread.

Mike Gold: Thor Than The Greatest Fun The World Has Known

Gold Art 131113I 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.

Besides, reality is overrated.



FRIDAY MORNING: Martha Thomases!