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When a poster arrived in November at Midtown Comics promoting a Wonder Twins movie, with celebrity couple Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher in the title roles, many thought it was clever viral marketing for a planned Entourage movie or a strange hoax. That, or a cruel twist of fate (Super Friends alums Zan and Jayna were going to make the leap to the big screen before Wonder Woman?).
It was a hoax all right, as Marc Tyler Nobleman discovered — one orchestrated by The BatPodcast host Pat Evans, who told the author of Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman that, “with the spate of superhero movies being released, I think it was just me thinking it would be fun to do a spoof version of one.”
“I thought, ‘What would be the most preposterous superhero movie you could make?’ Naturally, the Wonder Twins sprang to mind,” he explained. “They were perfect, because it was just unbelievable enough a concept that it could be true, if that makes sense. ‘So crazy it might work’ kind of logic. And Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher were kind of the clincher because they are in the media a lot now as a real-life couple. So it added that extra layer of ‘huh?’”
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is easily my favorite Batman film of all time. The only Batman: The Animated Series theatrical release was an incredible achievement in animation for the era, and stands above most other full-length Batman features. The movie marks its 20th anniversary on Christmas, and the famed Alamo Drafthouse is planning a 35mm screening on Jan. 7 to celebrate, with some very special Mondo posters to be sold during the event.
Following the discovery that Shia LaBeouf’s 2012 short film HowardCantour.com is a nearly exact adaptation of Daniel Clowes’ 2007 comic Justin M. Damiano — minus the credit or permission from the actor — the Transformers actor took to Twitter Monday night to offer an apology and respond to rapidly growing accusations of plagiarism.
In a series of tweets, LaBeouf wrote (slightly edited for format), “Copying isn’t particularly creative work. Being inspired by someone else’s idea to produce something new and different IS creative work. In my excitement and naiveté as an amateur filmmaker, I got lost in the creative process and neglected to follow proper accreditation. I’m embarrassed that I failed to credit @danielclowes for his original graphic novella Justin M. Damiano, which served as my inspiration. I was truly moved by his piece of work & I knew that it would make a poignant & relevant short. I apologize to all who assumed I wrote it. I deeply regret the manner in which these events have unfolded and want @danielclowes to know that I have a great respect for his work.”
About an hour later, the actor wrote succinctly, “I fucked up.”
UPDATE 12/17/13 10:45 AM: CBR News reached HowardCantour.com star Jim Gaffigan’s management for comment: “Jim was an actor for hire on this project and had no creative input. We were all as surprised by this news as everybody else.”
UPDATE 11:05 PM: Shia LaBeouf has responded to reports via Twitter. Click here to read LeBouf’s response.
Actor and occasional cartoonist Shia LaBeouf has released online a short film titled HowardCantour.com, which stars comedian Jim Gaffigan as a defensive Internet film critic. Nothing wrong with that, except, as BuzzFeed noticed, the film bears a striking resemblance to Justin M. Damiano, a 2007 comic by Ghost World creator Daniel Clowes.
As the website points out, the film and the comic open with the same narration: “A critic is a warrior, and each of us on the battlefield have the means to glorify or demolish (whether a film, a career, or an entire philosophy) by influencing perception in ways that if heartfelt and truthful, can have far-reaching repercussions.”
It goes on from there. According to BuzzFeed and Wired, the film copies or approximates Clowes’ dialogue throughout, although LeBeouf – who, by the way, is on record as being a fan of Clowes’ work – has been quoted as saying the film came about “organically.”
Thor: The Dark World actress Jaimie Alexander donned her Sif garments again recently on a trip to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, spending an afternoon visiting with young patients. Marvel.com has posted a massive photo gallery of Alexander as Sif with many patients and staff, who were able to pose with the Asgardian warrior and in some cases, even hold her weapons. The actress also gave out signed Thor DVDs and posters.
Check out the highlights of Alexander’s trip to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles below.
Pete Holmes is on a superhero streak this week: After giving Logan his walking papers as Professor X in “Ex-Men: Wolverine,” the comedian returns to his periodic College Humor role as a dimwitted, foul-mouthed, Bale-voiced Badman in “Batman vs. Superman.”
This time, he’s approached by the Man of Steel to put their differences aside and work together, a proposition that perplexes the Dark Knight.
I just saw this, via the 2000AD forums: a collage image of Jock’s storyboards for last year’s Dredd film. Some of the Savage Wolverine artist’s concept work for the movie leaked onto the Internet before filming began, but as far as I can tell, this is the first time any sighting has been made of this particular aspect of his work on the production. The storyboards were lettered and compiled into comic book form by John J Hill Design.
Here’s the site’s description: “In order to secure financing for the comic book based sci-fi film DREDD, a package was put together for DNA Films consisting of the storyboards (drawn by acclaimed artist Jock) and script reformatted to create a comic book of the entire movie. The film was successfully produced and came out to critical (although not box office) success.”
This is a tantalizing proposition. Surely an “Art of” book must be on the cards, featuring this and all the pre-viz work done by Jock and the many other artists who worked on the movie? Wouldn’t that go some way to satisfying the film’s ever-vocal fanbase?
Gravitas Ventures has debuted a new full-length trailer for Dear Mr. Watterson, the Kickstarter-funded documentary that explores the influence of cartoonist Bill Watterson and his beloved comic strip Calvin and Hobbes.
It’s a six-year passion project by director Joel Allen Schroeder, who raised $25,000 in 2010 so he, producers Christopher Browne and Matt McUsic, and cinematographer Andrew P. Waruszewski could interview a slew of cartoonists, editors and fans, and then another $96,772 in 2012. Dear Mr. Watterson, which had its festival premiere in April at the Cleveland International Fan Festival, will debut Nov. 15 in theaters and On Demand.
The Internet is littered with the corpses of dead Wonder Woman movie pitches; heck, just within the last couple of weeks, Chronicle writer Max Landis let it be known during a Reddit AMA session that he intends to approach Warner Bros. soon. This morning, U.K. comics creator Nigel Auchterlounie posted this on his blog, linking to it on Twitter with the wise words “I’ve worked out how to do a #WonderWoman, took half an hour. DC could probably do better if they spent all day on it”.
For 30 minutes’ work, it’s not bad at all. That opening image reminded me of Zenith Book One: Tygers, so I asked him if it was a deliberate reference. He replied, “No. It must have been a subconscious thing. I loved Zenith so it is up there somewhere.” Auchterlounie stresses that this isn’t the movie the studio should make, but if he can come up with this on the spot in one morning, how hard can it be for Warner Bros. to figure it out with people working on the project full time? It’s a fair point: Both Warner’s television and movie wings have crashed multiple versions of Wonder Woman in recent years. Clearly people there have developed a severe case of the Yips over this character, while every comic reader slaps their forehead in disbelief.
The proposed “day of action” for the “Make a Dredd Sequel” campaign turns out to be a rather cleverly planned piece of corporate synergy. The date, Sept, 17, is of course a New Comics Day, and the day 2000AD Prog 1850 (as anticipated by ROBOT 6′s Brigid Alverson in this week’s Cheat Sheet), and Judge Dredd Megazine #340 are released. Both comics are optimized for new readers, featuring high-profile new series and contributors.
These new series include a Dredd strip based upon the movie continuity (as previewed here last week), and “Ordinary,” a creator-owned strip by the critically acclaimed team of Rob Williams and D’Israeli (again, previewed here last week); the press release from the publisher Rebellion flags the recent high-profile gigs for all the talent involved, such as “Damnation Station” being written by Mighty Avengers‘ Al Ewing.
Devotees of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy — particularly those who hoped a follow-up might center on Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s John Blake — may find a lot to enjoy in The Dark Knight Legacy, a seven-minute fan film that debuted this morning on Machinima.
Directed by Brett Register from a script by Woody Tondorf and Chris Landa, the short picks up a year after the events of The Dark Knight Rises, as Blake (as Nightwing) tries to “protect the symbol of Batman from the lethal, relentless attacks of a masked vigilante known only as the Red Hood.” (Fan-favorite character Stephanie Brown also makes an appearance.)
The producers hope to transform The Dark Knight Legacy into an actual series, and to that end they’ve turned to Indiegogo in an effort to raise $30,000. Watch the video below.
Matt Cowan’s handle on DeviantArt is “Matt Can’t Draw”, which isn’t necessarily true. Sure, he is more of a designer, a conceptual artist, than a straight-up “drawer.” His latest series, “Sounds Like,” is possibly a thinly veiled dig at the lack of imagination of Hollywood casting departments. Or is it just an excuse to draw his favorite characters together?
In any case, check them out below. And if you harbor some irrational prejudice against DeviantArt, Cowan’s work is also posted to his Tumblr.
You may recall that in January, Metalocalypse and Venture Bros. director Jon Schepp launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a documentary about Superman Lives, the abandoned Tim Burton film that would’ve starred Nicolas Cage as the Man of Steel, Chris Rock as Jimmy Olsen, Tim Allen as Brainiac. Well, that drive surpassed its $98,000 goal, and now The Death of ‘Superman Lives’: What Happened? has a teaser trailer.
And it’s very teaser-ish, with a lot of quick shots of websites that covered the campaign (including ROBOT 6), production art from the abandoned film, and glimpses of new interviews with the likes of Mark Waid and Grant Morrison — and all tied together by somewhat-haunting audio and video from a March Q&A in which Cage talks about the Kickstarter.
Better still, the trailer promises The Death of ‘Superman Lives’: What Happened? will arrive in summer 2014, which means by this time next year, we could know the full story behind what could have been “the weirdest Superman movie ever made.”
Badgers, those humble burrowing mammals, are big news right now here in the United Kingdom, where there’s a controversial cull going on in the southwest of England in an attempt to curb bovine tuberculosis in cattle herds. While other areas like Wales and Northern Ireland trial expensive attempts at vaccinating badgers, England is employing teams of marksmen to shoot the cute little buggers. I’m from a rural area where the local economy depends on dairy and beef production, so I know exactly where I stand on this subject. Not wanting to sound too heartless here, but it costs £600 to vaccinate a badger, while a bullet costs a few pence. And I do like a nice rib-eye steak washed down with a glass of milk.
Oddly enough, badgers seem to be having something of a moment in comics and pop culture these days, too: There’s Brock Blueheart in Fables, and Archie LeBrock in Bryan Talbot’s ongoing Grandville series, for starters. Depending on who you ask, the badger in book two of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was either Bill from the (90-plus years old, and still ongoing) newspaper strip Rupert the Bear or Mr. Badger from Kenneth Grahame’s classic children’s novel The Wind in the Willows. Grahame’s Mr. Badger is being reimagined in Dave Elliot and Barnaby Bagenda’s “Weirding Willows” in A1 as Victor Stoker. The gossip service Popbitch has its ongoing Baboon vs Badger debate (and recently posed the question to Bryan Talbot, with obvious results).
Ahead of the arrival of Iron Man 3 on Blu-ray and DVD, concept artist Phil Saunders (Iron Man, The Avengers) has unveiled some of his stunning designs for the Marvel Studios film. Along with some armors audiences never saw on screen, Saunders revealed an early take on one of the Extremis soldiers — and a behind-the-scenes tidbit:
In early versions of the script Extremis was based on Nanotechnology like in the comic book, and would have constructed some sort of internal armor structure to grant the enhanced soldiers super-strength and near-invulnerability. thematically they would have been a reflection of Tony Stark, wearing their “suits” internally rather than externally. Makeup would have subtly suggested that structure by deforming their skin in a mechanical way.
Check out some of the images below, and plenty more here.