Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. Even as some attendees unpack from last week’s Fables Con: Fabletown & Below in Rochester, Minnesota, other folks are checking off their to-do lists before heading off to Anaheim, California, later this week for WonderCon.
Meanwhile, our contributors rattle off their picks for the best comics going on sale Wednesday, from Bad Machinery, Vol. 1, to Superman Vs. Zod to East of West #1.
One of the strongest voices in comics over the past 20 years has been Warren Ellis, a write whose impressive body of work ranges from Next Wave: Agents of H.A.T.E. and Transmetropolitan to Global Frequency and Planetary to Fell and FreakAngels. In 2012, however, that voice was largely absent from the medium. For the past few years, Ellis has split his time at his time between writing comics and, increasingly, prose novels such as 2008′s Crooked Little Vein and commentating on society and culture for magazines like Wired and Vice. On Tuesday, Ellis’ second prose novel Gun Machine was released by Mulholland Books, combining his fascination with the layered history of cities with crime noir. I reached out to Warren on Tuesday and we corresponded by email to discuss the future of his career, of comics, and his place in it all.
Comics have become ideal source material in Hollywood’s eternal search for the next blockbuster. But in the numerous attempts to transform comic-book heroes into movie stars, some have, inevitably, failed in the making. I don’t mean failed as in bad, but rather adaptations that were announced only to be canceled before moving into production. For today’s “Six by 6,” I look at six instances of movies that spiraled into an early grave, and commiserate over what could’ve been.
1. George Miller’s Justice League: In 2007, Warner Bros. was hard at work developing a a feature based on DC Comics’ top superhero team. In September 2007, the studio announced the hiring of director George Miller of Mad Max and Happy Feet fame, and pushed to get the film finished before the writers’ strike. The proposed budget clocked in at $220 million, with set already being constructed by early 2008 in Australia. Producers even went so far as casting Armie Hammer as Batman, Megan Gale as Wonder Woman, Common as Green Lantern and Adam Brody as the Flash, before the project was abruptly shelved. After the creation of DC Entertainment in 2009, this Justice League movie was permanently canned in favor of a new approach. I would love to have witnessed a movie like this. Miller is an excellent, and mind-bendingly diverse, director, and much of the movie would have relied on the strength of the script.
In between writing the screenplay for the sequel to The Avengers, developing ABC’s S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot and executive producing Dark Horse’s Buffy-verse comics, Joss Whedon somehow found time to shoot a video “endorsing” Mitt Romney for president. Sure, it’s a bit surprising, considering that Whedon and Romney differ on myriad social issues (today, in any case), but the filmmaker has found common, if post-apocalyptic, ground.
“Y’know, like a lot of liberal Americans, I was excited when Barack Obama took office four years ago,” Whedon explains, “but it’s a very different world now, and Mitt Romney is a very different candidate — one with the vision and determination to cut through business-as-usual politics and finally put this country back on the path to the zombie apocalypse. Romney is ready to make the deep rollbacks in healthcare, education, social services, reproductive rights that will guarantee poverty, unemployment, overpopulation, disease, rioting — all crucial elements in creating a nightmare zombie wasteland.”
There’s more, of course. And along the way, Whedon gets in a little jab at Ayn Rand devotees, sure to make a few libertarians rethink their interpretations/warm embrace of Firefly.
The webseries Husbands is a sitcom about two gay celebrities who get drunk, get married and decide they have to stick with it because, well, it’s the right thing to do. It’s new to me, but with guest stars like Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day, it has picked up a bit of nerd cred, so this should come as no surprise: Dark Horse has a Husbands comic in the works. The creative team includes Husbands creators Brad Bell and Jane Espenson (Bell also stars in the series) and artist Ron Chan. The six-issue series will be published digitally and priced at 99 cents per issue, and it sounds like it will diverge a bit from the show. Espenson told The Insider, “Our show is set in a marriage-equalized world, so it’s already got a hint of an alternate-universe thing going on, [b]ut the comic books are going to totally dive into a whole [alternate-universe] premise. So we’re going from genre-curious to full-on genre!”
More of Chan’s art can be seen below.
That’s right, Joss Whedon now has his own action figure. Or, rather, figurine, as Entertainment Weekly notes it doesn’t have moveable joints. But whatever you want to call it, you can get Whedon as one of four mini-figures packaged with the collector’s edition of Morgan Spurlock’s documentary Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope. Spurlock, Stan Lee and Harry Knowles are the other three.
The Whedon and Spurlock figures will be available with the DVD exclusively at Toys ‘R’ Us beginning July 10, which means fans may even get a chance to have them signed by the filmmakers themselves at Comic-Con International in San Diego. Wait, that means you’d have to take them out of the package — so just have them sign the plastic case.
Where do I start? There are so many things in the Avengers movie that it’s super difficult to find just one idea and use it to explain that this was … this was a dream come true. In my lifetime, there is a big-budget Avengers movie written by and starring incredibly talented people, and everyone I know is going to see this. Not just a few friends with a bootleg tape we can groan over, but a real-life movie full of real live people who have no idea that Hawkeye is deaf in one ear or that the Avengers have a charter by which they elect chairmen to lead them. But there they are, selling out seats in midnight showings, crowding theaters overseas, all there for the excitement of seeing these characters do heroic deeds on the silver screen.
I once asked Geoff Johns at a signing if he liked the (at the time) new Teen Titans Go cartoon show. Johns was writing a very in-depth and classic Teen Titans run in the comics, and I would have thought that the incredibly anime attempt at storytelling might have irked him. Instead, he told me that he loved the show and that it was amazing that thousands of kids who watched it now knew who Cyborg was. As I left the theater and two teens passed me by in delirious midnight showing glee and shouting to one another about “Oh my god, Arrow Guy! I thought Captain America, but- ARROW GUY!!” I think I get what Johns was talking about.
So where do I start? At the amazing fact that this movie even exists and will make tons of money? At the continuity kept between this movie and the rest of Marvel Studios productions? With all the massive character development or all the massive action that took place around (and during) the character development? In fact, this movie has so much going for it, it’s nearly overwhelming to watch. If anything, its great success as comic book storytelling brought to film could be its greatest detriment.
WARNING: I’m going to try and not reveal too much as far as spoilers, but it’s safe to say that’s going to be difficult in a movie this awesome. I’m just going to want to grab you and shout, “Oh my God, Arrow Guy!” So if you’ve seen the movie or just want to read about someone who has, join us in the link below!
“I guess the thing that I want to say about fandom is that it’s the closest thing to religion there is that isn’t actually religion. The love of something and what it’s trying to accomplish or mean are usually very separate. The people who are like, ‘Well you can’t do it. That staircase was seven steps, not five.’ They totally missed the point of this. When I first met the comic book writer Brian Michael Bendis, we were talking about comics and he told me his favorite letter was, ‘Daredevil would never say that. Die. Die. Why can’t you just die?’ [...] And Bendis can’t, by the way. Sunlight, stake through the heart, beheading, he won’t die. He’s actually very powerful. [...] Yeah, you know, he likes to get his head cut off at parties. But that thing of needing to replicate and to venerate this thing that we love isn’t about that thing’s philosophy. Those two things are separate. Hopefully, the idea in Buffy was that they were so entwined that there wouldn’t be people who loved that show excessively that didn’t get it.”
NOTE: The images have been removed at the request of GQ.
Wonder Woman artist Cliff Chiang and GQ designer Benjamin Bours have revealed Chiang’s illustration of director, screenwriter and comics scribe Joss Whedon for a feature in the May issue of the magazine titled “The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth.”
“It’s always a treat to do some editorial illustration,” Chiang writes, “and when it’s a portrait of somebody as beloved in the comics scene as Joss Whedon, I couldn’t ask for a better subject.”
See a much larger version of his illustration below, and visit Bours’ website to see more pages from the Whedon profile.
There were, let’s face it, numerous warning signs about Buffy: The Vampire Slayer Season Nine, not least of all the way that Season Eight had turned out. But adding a second ongoing book to the line? Joss Whedon only writing the first issue instead of the first arc, because of his commitments to Marvel’s The Avengers? There was, it seemed, little possibility that the series could regain the support or excitement it had at the launch of Season Eight. And then, to quote Jarvis Cocker, something changed. Continue Reading »
Apple.com has premiered the first trailer for Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope, the film by Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) examining the cultural phenomenon that is Comic-Con International by following the lives of five attendees.
As you can see from the cosplay-heavy trailer below, the documentary also boasts plenty of familiar faces, including Kevin Smith, Seth Rogen, Eli Roth and Stan Lee (who, along with Joss Whedon, is one of the executive producers.
Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope opens April 6.
When Editor Scott Allie told Comic Book Resources that Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 would take Buffy’s story “back to human issues … some of the biggest issues anyone can face,” fans knew he was alluding to her mysterious pregnancy. But with Issue 6, in stores today, the Slayer deals with her new situation head on, answering a question readers have been debating since last issue’s big revelation.
Spoiler warning: The following addresses a major plot point from Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #6.
Dark Horse Comics announced that they are adding their popular comics based on the television works of Joss Whedon to their digital store, starting today with a good chunk of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight and the first two issues of Season Nine.
Additional issues from Season Eight and Nine will be added over the next few weeks. Issues of Angel & Faith, which spun out of the events of Season Nine, will arrive next week. The Dollhouse one-shot and five-issue series will be added Nov. 23.
“This marks another important turning point in Dark Horse’s digital initiative,” said Mike Richardson, Dark Horse president and founder. “Joss Whedon’s incredible characters have become some of our most popular, and now fans from all over the world can see them like they never have been seen before!”
No doubt. Considering the fan base Buffy, Angel and, well, anything Joss Whedon does have, it makes sense that Dark Horse would want to make their “in canon” comics available via their digital store, and the natural question is “What took so long?” Given the titles are licensed from Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products, it wouldn’t be surprising if they had some legal/licensing issues to work through. Fans commenting on the news at the Whedon-focused blog Whedonesque are now asking if Dark Horse will move to a same-day-as-print schedule, which seems like a natural move.
After the jump you can find the release schedule for upcoming Whedonverse titles on Dark Horse’s digital app.
To find out what Andrew and the rest of the Robot 6 crew are reading this week, click below …
Comic-Con International in San Diego hasn’t officially started yet—tonight was Preview Night—but the news has been rolling in. So let’s take a look at today’s announcements
• Dark Horse announced three new projects earlier this evening. They will publish a comics adaptation of The Strain, the sci-fi/vampire trilogy by filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. The comic will be written by David Lapham with art by Mike Huddleston.
• They also announced a series written by Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello with art by Scott Hepburn. Orchid is about a 16-year-old prostitute in a dystopian future “becoming the Spartacus of whores.” Each issue will come with a music track by Morello.
• And finally on the Dark Horse front, they will publish comics set in the young vampire world of P.C. Cast’s House of Night novel series. It will be co-written by Kent Dallan with art by Joëlle Jones. You can see a trailer promoting all three new books on YouTube.