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Comics fans who tuned in last night to the premiere of Fox’s ambitious reality series Utopia may have been shocked to see a familiar face: Bizarro creator Dan Piraro is the show’s host and narrator. Surprised? So is he.
“Think about it,” the Reuben Award-winning cartoonist writes on his blog. “I’m at home in my sweatpants working on my cartoon career like I’ve been doing for the past 30 years, a friend asks me if I’d like to do some voiceover work for a TV show and I’m thinking, ‘Sure. If I can make a few extra bucks talking into a microphone for a few hours a week, I’m game.’ A few weeks later I’m on national TV, posing for publicity shots, and going on press junkets. I didn’t even have an agent or a headshot when this started. People who’ve been working for this kind of break in showbiz for years must hate me, and I can’t blame them. To them, I can only say I’m sorry.”
Fox’s upcoming drama Gotham of course borrows heavily from 75 years of DC Comics history, with its own take on characters like James Gordon, Harvey Bullock, Catwoman, The Riddler and Bruce Wayne. And, as anyone who’s seen any of the promo spots likely noticed, it also co-opts comic book imagery, most noticeable in the shots of Martha Wayne’s broken pearl necklace and young Bruce screaming in the alley between the bodies of his parents.
But in the latest promo, called “Heroes Aren’t Born, They’re Forged,” Fox uses actual images created by a comic artist — former Detective Comics artist Jock, who’s responsible for perhaps the most iconic Joker cover in recent memory. His contribution to the TV spot is three beautiful scene-transition illustrations, featuring the aforementioned alley shot, a determined young Bruce and a sniveling Oswald Cobblepot.
You can see the other two pieces, and the promo spot, below. Gotham premieres Sept. 22 on Fox.
Never let it be said that Homer J. Simpson doesn’t have a social conscience. Also, never let it be said that he passed up an opportunity to stick it to Ned Flanders.
Responding to the viral sensation with impressive speed — this isn’t South Park, you know; animation typically takes time — Fox has released a video of Homer embracing the spirit, if not the actual title, of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. All right, maybe a glass of water isn’t in keeping with the spirit.
However, in grand Simpsons tradition, even that doesn’t turn out well for him …
Widely circulated photos have shown San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City Council President Todd Gloria riding the 200-foot zip line set up at Comic-Con International to promote Fox’s Gotham, but it’s The Hollywood Reporter’s Philiana Ng who delivers the winning image: a Batgirl cosplayer striking a pose as she glides across the Gotham City skyline.
Fox appears to be bringing even more comic-book flair to its heavily promoted Gotham with a series of Who’s Who in the DC Universe-style character images. IGN has debuted the first, featuring Det. James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) as drawn by Gary Frank, known for his work on Action Comics, the “Curse of Shazam” story in Justice League, and the upcoming Batman Earth One.
Warner Bros. Television promises more images will be revealed in the lead-up to the Sept. 22 premiere of Gotham on Fox.
Publishing | Archie Comics Co-CEO Jon Goldwater responds to Singapore’s ban of the third volume of Life With Archie, which features the wedding of Kevin Keller and Clay Walker: “Riverdale will always be about acceptance, equality and safety. I’m sad readers in Singapore will miss out on the chance to read such a pivotal moment in comics.” [The Hollywood Reporter]
Business | Devin Leonard looks at the possible effects of a Fox/Time-Warner merger on superhero movies; Time-Warner owns DC Entertainment, and Fox has the movie rights to some Marvel characters. The New York Times offers a broader overview. [Business Week]
Just as Fox’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes arrives in theaters, BOOM! Studios has announced it will release a miniseries that bridges the 10-year gap between the events of 2011′s Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the new film.
Written by Michael Moreci (Hoax Hunters, Curse), the November-debuting comic will chronicle the fall of humanity as a result of the Simian Flu and the rise of Caesar’s ape civilization. Additional creative-team details will be revealed later.
Fox may have pulled the plug on its fledgling late-night programming block, but Animation Domination High-Def is still chugging along online, delivering its own lead-in to Independence Day: a parody of the opening to the 1966 Captain America cartoon that celebrates — ahem, make that “celebrates” — the United States’ statistical rankings in the world.
Watch the ADHF sendup, and the original cartoon’s intro, below.
On a day rife with fake announcements and Photoshoppery, this April Fool’s Day prank is real (or, rather, “real”): Wolverhampton Station, in England’s West Midlands, has been renamed Wolverine Station, if only for today. It’s a stunt orchestrated by Virgin Trains and Fox to promote X-Men: Days of Future Past.
London24 explains that the station’s 65 signs underwent the change, which was even reflected in the departure board at London’s Euston Station. Other signs (below) warned travelers about the potential threat posed by mutants. (Local radio station BBC WM even got in on the action, tweeting its opposition with a poster that reads “Mutant And Proud.”)
Sunday’s episode of The Simpsons, “Married to the Blob,” not only spotlights a blossoming relationship between Comic Book Guy and a manga creator (which naturally threatens to be ruined by Homer), but also features guest appearances by Stan Lee and Harlan Ellison.
The Hollywood Reporter has debuted a featurette that goes behind the scenes with the two legends; it’s Lee’s second visit to Springfield, but for Ellison, it’s a new experience.
“I was here 12 years ago,” explains Lee, who plays himself as a Watcher-type character, “and I think I impressed them so that after 12 years they figured they had to have me back.”
Lee previously appeared in the 13th-season episode “I Am Furious (Yellow).” The Simpsons airs Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.
Although the tribute didn’t go exactly as planned, The Simpsons last night bid a touchingly appropriate farewell to actress Marcia Wallace, and her character Edna Krabappel, with a somber chalkboard gag in which a sad-eyed Bart writes “We’ll really miss you Mrs. K.”
Fox originally announced it would send off Wallace, who passed away Oct. 25 at age 70, with a 7:30 showing of “Bart the Lover,” the 1992 episode for which the actress received an Emmy Award. However, “technical issues” led to its last-minute replacement by “The Ned-Liest Catch,” the Season 22 finale in which Edna begins dating Ned Flanders.
The chalkboard bit was added to the opening of the new episode that followed, “4 Regrettings and a Funeral. Showrunner Al Jean announced the day after Wallace’s death that The Simpsons will “retire” Edna Krabappel.
The Simpsons will pay tribute Sunday to Marcia Wallace, who for the past 23 years was the voice of Bart’s teacher Edna Krabappel. The actress passed away Oct. 25 at age 70.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Fox will first replace a repeat of American Dad at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT with the 1992 Simpsons episode “Bart the Lover,” for which Wallace received an Emmy Award.
Fox has debuted Guillermo del Toro’s epic couch gag for The Simpsons‘ “Treehouse of Horror XXIV,” which features homages to some of the filmmaker’s own works – Hellboy, Blade and Pan’s Labyrinth among them — and horror classics ranging from The Birds and The Shining to The Phantom of the Opera and The Car. There are nods to such influential figures as H.P. Lovecraft, Ray Harryhausen, Edgar Allan Poe and Ray Bradbury, too. Heck, Hypnotoad from Futurama even gets a cameo.
Del Toro said in paying tribute to The Simpsons and his inspirations, he drew upon the MAD Magazine work of Mort Drucker, Will Elder and Harvey Kurtzman.
“They would try to cram so many references in,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “You as a kid could spend an afternoon on your bed with your magnifying glass going through a frame of Mad magazine and finding all these references to this and that.”
“Treehouse of Horror XXIV” airs Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.
Given the project’s title, it’s certainly understandable that fans might draw a connection between the newly announced Fox drama Gotham and the former DC Comics police procedural Gotham Central. However, as far as Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka know, one has nothing to do with the other.
I don’t know anything about that Gotham show, and I have no idea if it’s anything to do with Gotham Central in any way. I’m guessing not,” Brubaker, who co-wrote the comic with Rucka, said on Twitter shortly after the announcement. “[...] I only point this out because people keep congratulating me and as far as I can tell, this show has nothing to do with Gotham Central. And it’s weird to be congratulated mistakenly.”
But even if the show did have a connection to Gotham Central, Rucka wrote on his blog, “that wouldn’t matter, because DC owns the rights and the characters, as they should. This was work-for-hire, something all of us knew at the start.”
Gotham, which has been given a series commitment by Fox, is said to explore the origins of Jim Gordon and some of the city’s villains. Developed by Bruno Heller (Rome, The Mentalist), it centers on Gordon as a detective with the Gotham City Police Department, before he ever met Batman.
“Even when I was writing the best version [of the movie] I could with more of the darkness and nuance and the feel of Alan Moore’s comic, I remember saying a summer movie is not — I wanted to write that film because it was an opportunity for me, but this is not the way these characters should be portrayed. The perfect version of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen would have been a British BBC series with great character actors, where it doesn’t rely on them being handsome or a box office draw and special effects, along the lines of Torchwood and Doctor Who. With League, it isn’t so much the epic effects, it’s the characters. The idea that they’ve come around and are trying to do a TV show doesn’t surprise me. I think it’s a smart move. We’ll see how good it is.”