INTERVIEW: "Batgirl and the Birds of Prey" Hunt Rebirth's Oracle
Striking a tone somewhere between Napoleon Dynamite and Revenge of the Nerds, Ari Fararooy’s short film “The Incredible Hulk Hands” follows a nerd who turns the tables on his tormentors after he discovers a pair of magical items discarded in an alley: toy Hulk Hands.
That’s the entire plot, but I haven’t really spoiled anything, as the fun is in the execution. Everything from the cinematography to the music to the acting (by members of the sketch-comedy groups The Jasons and Momma Outta Bullets) works perfectly here, resulting in a fun — and funny — little film.
The BanHunLek metal workshop in Thailand specializes in creating hand-crafted art out of used auto parts. We’re not talking the quirky little figures your eccentric uncle threw together using a few discarded spark plugs, a bolt and those stick-on googly eyes. No, these are mind-blowing scrap-metal sculptures ranging from Batman and R2-D2 to classic Iron Man and the head of Gollum.
However, the most spectacular creation may be — oh, heck, it is — this highly detailed, and seemingly life-sized, Incredible Hulk. Check out the images below, and find more pieces on the BanHunLek Facebook page. Just don’t tell the WGN news team; they won’t be able to handle it.
The problem is that heroes win. Episodic storytelling can only get away with formula for a short amount of time before something has to change, and if there’s one constant to mainstream comics, it’s that the heroes should win. Maybe not all the time, but eventually.
When heroes lose, it bums us out. I’m not saying comics called “Magneto” or “Sabretooth” don’t sell well, it’s just they’re not going to sell as well as one labeled “Wolverine.” As readers, we come to see our heroes face a peril they will eventually overcome. Marvel’s Civil War and Dark Reign were great examples of the heroes ostensibly losing the battle, but in time (and a couple of other events later) they would win the war.
With every success our heroes experience, a greater challenge should be on the horizon. No one wants to see Spider-Man fight street-level criminals forever; let’s take him into space! Or put him with the Avengers! And so the stakes rise higher and higher with every foe defeated. Instead of having heroes face bigger and bigger catastrophes — Earth can only be in peril in so times each week — there has to be a different kind of challenge to keep our heroes on their toes and readers on the edge of their seats. So, we change the hero; maybe it’s some new powers, maybe it’s a new supporting cast, maybe we go facelift, costume change or new personality.
Take The Superior Spider-Man: Pretty much all of the above were thrown at Spider-Man to give the character a new look, new cast and new outlook. Stories began focusing less on if Spider-Man was going to win and more on how he was going to do it with Doctor Octopus in control. And because books with Doctor Octopus’ name on the cover won’t likely sell as well as those with Spider-Man’s, there’s little risk in making the switch for a while to see if it shakes things up. The old status quo eventually returns, and everyone feels like they got a little vacation.
Probably the best example of the personal shake-up is the Hulk. He’s somewhat of a cottage industry of protagonists in himself. He has tons of supporting characters, and some of the most important ones to the Hulk mythology are those in his own head.
WARNING: Some talk of Hulk #6, so please grab a copy and read along!
Even superheroes need to go to the doctor once in a while. And in an inventive advertising campaign from stock photography agency Shutterstock, they’re prescribed a host of medicinal cures.
Created with illustrator Ryan Quickfall, Shutterstock’s RxMen offers treatment for “comically exaggerated ailments” some heroes might experience. From Cerebrex migraine meds for Professor X to Purple Smash mood-swing remedies for the Hulk to Noiroprine insomnia spray for Batman, there’s something for just about any super-sufferer. If symptoms persist, please consult Night Nurse.
A few months back Utah-based freelance designer and comics artist Jake Parker revealed a series of Marvel characters he drew–Captain America, Wolverine and Iron Man among them — for his followers to enjoy. At that time, he asked readers to suggest other characters to add to the series. The past week and this week he revealed Spider-Man and Hulk pieces he completed in response to feedback.
It is particularly interesting to see how Parker uses one dominant color to tie each piece together with the respective characters’ costumes.
Black Friday has come and gone, and whether you were one of those who waited in line or simply scoffed at those who did, you’ll surely get a kick out of this great one-off comic strip by a storyboard artist known online as Sairobee. In this one-page strip, titlted “Happy Belated Black Friday, Y’All!”, the Los Angeles-based artist depicts an engaging and imaginative scenario: What if the Avengers went to Black Friday?
Bangkok’s prestigious Chulalongkorn University has apologized for a student mural depicting Adolf Hitler among a group of superheroes.
In a letter sent today to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which had complained about the banner, the Thai school said the administrators and students “deeply regret the appearance of this deeply offensive mural.” The university found that the students who created the image were “unaware of its significance” and have been given a verbal warning.
The enormous graduation banner, hung outside the Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts building, bore the word “Congratulations” above images of Superman, Batman, the Incredible Hulk and other heroes, and included Hitler in the background giving the Nazi salute.
A library in suburban Chicago fell well short of its $30,000 fundraising goal to purchase graphic novels, a comics-creating station and a 9-foot-tall statue of the Incredible Hulk, but thanks to the generosity of a California businessman, it’s still getting a life-sized Green Goliath to call its own.
The trustees of the Northlake Public Library launched an Indiegogo campaign on April 26 in hopes of expanding its collection of about 2,300 graphic novels and manga, adding computer software and hardware, and buying a Hulk statue that might help attract visitors. “This larger-than-life literary character will become a giant green beacon of light to highlight our graphic novel collection, our creation station … not to mention the library’s sense of humor and whimsy,” the campaign description reads. “The project will show off the fun side of the library and get the community talking. The HULK will force patrons to look at the library in a whole new way.”
But with mere days to go, the Indiegogo drive has raised just $3,710; the statue alone costs in the neighborhood of $8,000.
Earlier this week, it was Chris Davis Day at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, with the O’s celebrating the breakthrough season of first baseman by giving away bright orange T-shirts emblazoned with the unmistakable silhouette of Baltimore’s current favorite son as he cracks yet another ball over the outfield wall.
After spending the early years of his career bouncing between the Texas Rangers minor and Major league teams, Davis was traded to the Orioles in 2011, becoming an everyday player in time to experience the team’s 2012 rise and run at the playoffs before exploding this summer. As of this writing, he leads the American League in home runs, slugging and OBPS (on-base plus slugging), and has been alternating the lead in batting average and on base percentage with a handful of other players, including last year’s Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera and fellow Oriole Manny Machado.
But what, pray tell, does this have to do with comics?
Artist Mike Del Mundo has been turning heads with his covers to Marvel’s schizophrenic X-Men: Legacy, but we’re learning there’s more to Del Mundo than his mental (in a good way) work. I have no other way to say this, so I’ll borrow a line from a famous movie: Mike Del Mundo has a Hulk.
The above illustration is Del Mundo’s contribution to Marvel’s “Time Travel” series of variant covers, this one appearing on the upcoming Indestructible Hulk #12. But as I explored Del Mundo’s DeviantArt gallery, I found the artist has more than just a casual interest in the Green Goliath, especially putting him in situations outside of what you’d normally think.
Witness the Incredible Hulk … at a spin class:
I mean, yeah, of course there is, as we live in the age where our memories of the past are preserved for us in the cloud, so it isn’t a surprise. But I’d forgotten these things even existed until they popped up in my Tumblr feed.
“Dedicated to the appreciation and preservation of the most important art form of the latter half of the 20th century: PrestoMagix,” the Tumblr in question has all sorts of package shots of various PrestoMagix “games” from the late 1970s and early 1980s, including several Marvel and DC Comics ones. If you aren’t familiar with the magic (excuse me, magix) behind these things, basically they consisted of an illustrated background and an acetate sheet of various characters, vehicles, etc. The idea was that you put the sheet on the background and rubbed the back with a pencil, so the image on the sheet transferred to the background — thus creating your own little story.
Macedonian illustrator Marko Manev has designed minimalist superhero-themed posters before (check out his Watchmen and Marvel projects on Behance), but his latest series, Superhero Noir, is quite a step up from that work. These are powerful, cinematic, renditions of classic comic book heroes. No wonder these images are showing up all over the internet right now — they’re breathtakingly good, reminding you of how dramatic (or downright majestic) these characters can be when used right. No wonder that when the Bottleneck Gallery announced they were selling prints of a couple of these designs yesterday, they sold out in minutes.
As an Irishman, I must confess I don’t know much about American politics, and the only U.S. news channel my TV picks up is Fox News — but apparently you’ve just sworn in an Islamist Communist as President for his third term. Congratulations! This has also inspired street-art legend Ron English to release a commemorative limited-edition print called “Incredible Barack.” This isn’t the first time English has invoked Marvel’s Hulk in his work; in fact, it’s something of a recurring theme for the man.
I used to think Marvel was, consciously or unconsciously, driving its readers to quit serial comics and start reading trades. As evidence, there’s the standard list of complaints: inflated pricing, ads that don’t seem to generate any revenue, trade-ready scripting, variant covers, irregular but accelerated publishing schedules, etc.
The Marvel NOW! initiative has me starting to rethink that, however. See, I’ve been trade-waiting a lot of the Marvel comics I read, including the Jason Aaron-written Incredible Hulk. The first trade paperback collection of his run, which began in 2011, was released in late December. I just read it this week. And, of course, Marvel relaunched the Hulk with a new writer, new direction, new title and new numbering with Indestructible Hulk #1.
That’s one of several Marvel NOW! relaunches that happened almost on the heels of the previous relaunches — Wolverine went 17 issues in its new renumbering, the just-relauched Captain America was only on Issue 19, the similarly relaunched Thor on Issue 22 — and it was the first time I can remember reading a new trade that’s contents were made completely obsolete (from a keeping-up-with-the-goings-on-of-a-superhero-universe perspective only, of course) before it was even published.
I imagine a lot of the new NOW! premises won’t be around more than a year or two — Captain America can’t stay stranded in a different dimension forever, the Fantastic Four have to come back from space eventually, the original X-Men can’t be time-lost indefinitely — so I suppose this sort of thing could be happening on a more frequent basis. So if you trade-wait, maybe you’re waiting too long!
So, what did I wait for?
Crime | The burglars who broke into Flea Market Comics in Mobile, Alabama, left the cash register alone but stole $10,000 worth of comics, according to owner Stephen Barrington. The thieves cut three locks off Barrington’s storage units and replaced them with a combination lock, presumably so they could come back and get more. “It just left me deflated,” he said of the theft. “People would come in just to look at the covers on them because they were such a various period from the ’30s to the present and like I said anything on a display; they took.” [Fox 10 TV]
Passings | Kiichi Toyoda, the first editor-in-chief of the Japanese manga magazine Shonen Sunday, died Jan. 10 at the age of 87. Shonen Sunday is the home of Rumiko Takahashi’s InuYasha and Ranma 1/2 and Mitsuru Adachi’s Cross Game. [Anime News Network]