The Biggest Superhero Films That Didn't Happen, Part 2
Comic Books, Film
When the call went out over the weekend, scores of men, women, Elves, Orcs and, um, other things responded, descended upon Fort Radikov, with nothing less than the future of Middle-earth at stake.
Or at least it could’ve been easily mistaken for Middle-earth. It was actually a village in the Czech Republic, where dedicated LARPers gathered for “The Battle of the Fort,” an event set within the sweeping fantasy world created by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Although J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved novel clear states, “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit,” we’re not about to quibble when it comes to this amazing treehouse inspired by The Hobbit.
Located at Chateau De Soleil, a country house near Sturgis, South Dakota, the 400-square-foot treehouse features round doors and windows, Elvish signs, Sauron’s mask, a gauntlet with the One Ring, and even furry Hobbit-foot slippers.
A plan to build a J.R.R. Tolkien theme park in the Spanish coastal town of Rincón de la Victoria has attracted the all-seeing eye of Warner Bros.
Announced early this month by the town’s mayor, La Comarca (roughly, “The Shire”) was initially trumpeted as “a top-rated tourist attraction” based on the works of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings author. However, with a budget of just $2 million, the 20-acre Shire seems like a pretty low-rent affair; y’know, a gift kiosk, a couple of carnival cutouts and a gaggle of prickly Hobbits to pose for photos and pick up trash.
If you’re heading out to watch The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, odds are that you have at least a passing familiarity with the complex mythology underpinning J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth saga. If you don’t … oh, boy, do you have some catching up to do. And fast.
Luckily, CGP Grey has put together a four-minute (or so) primer, with nifty illustrations, that may help. Of course, it may also leave you tearing at your hair and shouting, “Wait, who’s Eru Iluvatar again?” and “But where the hell did Hobbits come from?” (It serves you right for coming in at the end.) But, hey, that’s preferable to trying to slog through the The Silmarillion.
Large diesel-powered airships dueling in the sky. That basic concept caught my attention last week when I discovered the Kickstarter for Skies of Fire, a new comic created and written by Vincenzo (Vince) Ferriero and Ray Chou with art by Pablo Peppino.
To understand the full scale of the project’s plans, particularly given that the Kickstarter has already well exceeded its goal, I conducted a quick email interview with Ferriero and Chou.
Conventions | The organizers of Asbury Park Comic Con emphasize they are getting back to basics, with a comics event that eschews movies and other media to focus solely on comics. The headline guests for the Saturday event are Michael Uslan, Al Jaffee and Herb Trimpe. [The New York Times]
Conventions | In Pennsylvania, the first-ever Nittany-Con drew about 400 people to enjoy the three c’s of comics conventions: Creators, cheap comics, and cosplay. [Centre Daily Times]
Conventions | And in New Jersey, the Hasbrouck Heights Comics Expo drew an equally enthusiastic, if somewhat smaller, crowd. [NorthJersey.com]
With The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hitting theaters Friday, fan interest is high — and some of those fans happen to be comic creators. Artist Daniel Govar and writer (and former comics executive) Ron Perazza are releasing today a unique one-off comic project on Comic Book Think Take celebrating an overlooked facet of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth stories: the walking songs of Bilbo Baggins.
The Road Goes Ever On is described by Perazza as “a lyrical presentation of the Shire” based on Baggins’ walking songs featured in the Middle-earth stories. In those original novels, the songs were featured in bits and pieces that are now collectively referred to as “The Old Walking Song.” Govar and Perazza have threaded those verses into one continuous piece that they’ve overlaid on a panoramic view of the Shire illustrated by Govar.
“It’s instructive to read something about a family wanting certain rights returned or better rewarded when most people really like what’s been done with those rights as opposed to their either not caring or actively hating the result. One of the reasons a lot of our comics-related issue discussions remain unsophisticated is that we frequently choose to fight our battles along fundamental “I like it”/”I hate it” lines and then kind of furiously stare at the other issues involved until we can find a way to make them comply to our initial impression. It’s no way to move forward.”
Spurgeon’s observation is helpful, because the first step in solving the problem is acknowledging the problem.
As Tolkien fans watch for the next update from the set of Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Hobbit, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is gearing up for the fall release of The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, the action RPG game set during the journey of the One Ring. Developed by Snowblind Studios, the game takes place in the great northern wastes of Middle-earth, where three heroes confront a growing army even as the Fellowship winds its way toward Mordor.
To encourage pre-orders through certain retailers, Warner Bros. Interactive is offering a digital comic produced by corporate sibling DC Comics, written by Northlanders creator Brian Wood and illustrated by Judge Dredd and The Authority artist Simon Coleby. Curiously, as IGN.com notes, gamers who pre-order through Toys ‘R’ Us will have access to both parts of the comic, while those who go through Amazon will only get Part 2.
The road goes ever on, and so does a very intriguing project that’s been cooking for over a year but to which I am just catching up now: Artist Sam Bosma is doing a suite of twelve illustrations based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy classic The Hobbit. Scroll through his extensive archive and you’ll find elves, trolls, giants, goblins, dwarves, eagles, wizards, Gollum and, of course, Mr. Bilbo Baggins, drawn in an absolutely sumptuous style.
Bosma often goes off-model in terms of hewing to Professor T’s descriptions from the books, but mostly in a rewarding fashion; I certainly never pictured the Elves wearing this high a hemline, but I’m not complaining. Bosma also posts exhaustive behind-the-scenes material on every drawing, walking you through his entire process from sketches and thumbnails through pencils and final Photoshop tweaks, which is a big part of the fun — check out the Mignolaverse influence on his sketches of Gollum, for example. If we get the Mirkwood spiders, Smaug and the Battle of Five Armies out of him, I’ll be a happy nerd indeed.
Check ‘em out, and if you dig ‘em, keep in mind that Bosma created the illustrations for the recently completed Picture Book Report project, which features similar illustration adaptations of great books by the likes of Lucy Knisley, Laura Park, Emily Carroll, Kali Ciesemier and many more. It’s like a bookshelf for your eyeballs. (Wait, that’s what a regular bookshelf is. Well, you know what I mean.)
(via Domatille Collardey)