INTERVIEW: Gail Simone Guides 'Blockbuster Update' of Red Sonja, Vampirella and Dejah Thoris
In 2010, a time when the Star Wars prequels still lingered as a bitter aftertaste, Cliff Chiang created a set of posters that embraced both the franchise’s classic characters and the imagery of World War II-era propaganda campaigns– right down to the Empire’s version of “Loose lips sink ships.”
Now fast-forward four years, to a time when fans eagerly search for even the smallest details about director J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII, which will not only launch a new trilogy, but a new era. The latest scrap of information from the film’s set comes courtesy of veteran producer Frank Marshall — husband of Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy — who tweeted a photo of the warning that greets visitors at Pinewood Studios: Chang’s poster that oh-so-gently reminds us, “Loose Lips Bring Down Starships.”
Confession time: I haven’t seen the Season 2 premiere of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. yet. Don’t get me wrong, I want to, but things have been busy here, and when I do tune in (thanks, Hulu Plus!) I want to give it my full attention. TV has become very serious in recent years, and the best stuff tends to require the viewer to invest some brain power into the shows.
It’s a good thing, but it can get a little exhausting. And if you’re a Marvel fan, there’s a lot to keep track of in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Characters, locations, devices and plotlines might trigger some stored bit of trivia in your brain and lead to a different appreciation for the approach.
Here at The Fifth Color, I try to keep abreast of all the Marvel comics news I can, and it’s requiring me to track more and more movie rumors and casting decisions — which is weird because The Fifth Color began as a way to relate to comics and how we readers view the stories. But comics are becoming more than just you and the pages in your hand; there’s a now a strong media influence on how we see comics. Even something as simple as a mobile game can draw you into a comic shop and change how you see the books on the shelves. No joke, I had a customer show me a comic cover he had unlocked on a Marvel mobile game and ask me if we had that book in stock. He wanted to find out what it was about. That’s good marketing.
This week has already seen an incredible ancient Mayan-inspired Batman suit and a somewhat-disturbing supercut of all of Thomas and Martha Wayne’s onscreen deaths, so it’s perhaps only fitting that we close it out with something else Dark Knight-related: “Batman Evolution,” an arrangement of the live-action television and movie themes, performed on piano and cello — actually, 100 tracks of cello — by The Piano Guys.
While the music would be satisfying on its own, as you can see below there’s a beautifully shot video that prominently features the appropriate Batmobile for each of the themes (Neal Hefti’s 1966 “Batman Theme,” Danny Elfman’s 1989 “The Batman Theme,” and Hans Zimmer’s 2008 “Like a Dog Chasing Cars”). You may also notice how the cinematography and screen dimensions shift from theme to theme, reflecting each adaptation.
The inaugural campaign in 2013 helped to drive the film up the Blu-ray and DVD charts, generating publicity in the process, and this year organizers are seeking to do it again: The want fans on Wednesday to buy Dredd again, watch it with friends, talk about it online (using the hagshtag “DayofDredd, of course) — whatever they can to draw attention to the film. That includes signing 2000AD’s official petition.
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If your parents ever complained that all of those Spider-Man and X-Men comics would interfere with your school work, show them this: This spring the University of Baltimore will offer a course examining modern culture through the lens of Marvel’s films, television series and comic books.
Thought to be the first class of its kind in the United States, “Media Genres: Media Marvels” will not only explore the intricate plotlines, characters and backstories that form the Marvel Cinematic Universe but also try to understand our fixation with superheroes and fictional global threats. Students will also study Joseph Campbell’s monomyth of the “hero’s journey.”
Although we can never be assured that a film or television adaptation of Batman will be any good, there is one safe bet: It will likely include a depiction of the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne in Crime Alley (slow-motion shot of a broken string of pearls tumbling to the pavement optional, but preferred).
Gotham, which premiered Monday on Fox, was of course no exception, spurring Vulture to compile a supercut of the Waynes dying on screen, from Super Friends and Tim Burton’s Batman to Batman Begins and Batman: Arkham Origins. I imagine this is what Bruce Wayne’s nightmares look like.
Director Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will arrive in March 2016, and with it an avalanche of merchandise, from lunchboxes and clothing to backpacks and, of course, action figures. However, FigureRealm user STjuggernaut is already making life difficult for official licensees with his impressive custom creations.
Using bits and pieces from other characters — a She-Hulk head here, an Indiana Jones whip there — he’s crafted 4-inch scale figures of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and Ben Affleck as Batman (with and without his cowl). The join the Superman, Jor-El and Kryptonian villains he assembled based on Man of Steel.
It won’t be long before the Legion of Super-Heroes reappears in the New 52. This week’s two-page editorial spread (written by editor Brian Cunningham) teases next month’s “The Infinitus Saga,” a Justice League United arc pitting the newest batch of Leaguers against the future’s greatest super-team.
Providentially, rumors have begun circulating about the Legion’s possible jump to the big screen, as Warner Bros.’ answer to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Among the reactions to these rumors were Eric Diaz’s suggestions (at Nerdist) and The Beat’s conclusion that “I never got the Legion [but] this could be a charming and exciting film.”
To be sure, it’s way too early to evaluate the merits of a Legion film. Heck, there may not even be a Legion movie, if Batman v Superman underperforms. However, two things jump out at me from this coverage: First, the blockbuster Guardians has opened the door for adapting all sorts of superhero obscurities. Second, any adaptation must deal with — and most likely overcome — the Legion’s history (and history of reboots).
With regard to the latter, The Beat calls the feature “classic DC — a continuity-heavy series that has a smallish but rabid following, and a huge cast of characters who are sometimes oddballs”; and Nerdist notes that “DC has struggled to keep the book relevant” for most of the past 30 years.
[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]
Hot on the heels of the high publicized and false rumor that DC movies would be adopting a “no jokes” policy came that shining glimmer of hope, like a Big Red Cheese riding a gigantic ammunition shell through the sky. This week we got more details about the Shazam! movie, most of it serving just to whet my hunger for a major motion picture starring that most stalwart of Fawcett Comics heroes.
Will this be the much feared “grim and gritty” version that many fans had been envisioning since David Goyer and Zach Snyder took the helm of the Justice League, subsequently releasing image after image of scowling, unhappy superheroes? As the news came rolling in, it seemed more and more that it will not. First, it’s going to be produced under New Line, and not the parent Warner Bros. studio that will produce the Justice League movies. New Line president Toby Emmerich, in fact, stated in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that “It’s a DC comic, but it’s not a Justice League character” and that it “will have a sense of fun and a sense of humor.” Oh, Toby… your words are like honey to my ears.
Hello and welcome to Shelf Porn, our weekly look at one fan’s collection. Today’s collection comes from down south, as Scotty in New Orleans shows off his artwork, comics and much more.
If you’d like to see your collection featured here on ROBOT 6, you can find instructions on how to do so at the end of this post.
And now here’s Scotty …
Disney Consumer Products struck deals with more than 50 companies for Guardians of the Galaxy merchandise, ensuring store shelves are stocked with everything from a Big Blastin’ Rocket Raccoon Figure to the LEGO Milano Spaceship Rescue Building Set to the Rocket Raccoon Suit-Up Backpack.
But somehow, nobody thought to license — spoiler alert? — a dancing Baby Groot.
Disney has announced it will bring Big Hero 6‘s Baymax and Hiro Hamada to Disneyland and Walt Disney World this fall to greet fans as part of a promotional push for the animated film.
Although Captain America, Thor and Iron Man have previously appeared at Disneyland, this will be the first time Marvel characters have greeted visitors at Disney World.
Publishing | Leyla Aker, Viz Media’s vice present of publishing, and Kevin Hamric, its director of publishing sales and marketing, discuss the state of the manga market and how the company’s books are selling through the print and digital channels (including comiXology, where Viz just signed on last month). One interesting tidbit: Viz products are carried by 64 percent of Diamond Comic Distributors’ accounts (i.e., comic shops). “Some of the store owners just don’t understand manga yet,” Hamric said. “They’re like librarians were years ago. They’re afraid of it, but if it’s children’s and Pokemon, or has a tie-in, especially to anime or television, then they’re not afraid to take it.” [ICv2]
Publishing | Tom Spurgeon talks to Drawn and Quarterly’s Tracy Hurren about the company’s new website, which launched this week, as well as life in the D+Q offices. [The Comics Reporter]
As fans gear up for the Friday premiere of Guardians of the Galaxy, YouTube sensation Forrest Whaley has released his shot-for-shot LEGO remake of one of the film’s trailers.
The video has received the seal of approval from Marvel, which publicized it on its website and Twitter accounts. Guardians of the Galaxy star Dave Bautista even got excited about it, tweeting, “Geek convulsions! This is my ‘its a major award!’ moment. So proud!”
Action Lab Entertainment, which publishes such titles as Princeless, Vamplets and Skyward, announced at Comic-Con International that it has acquired the license to the horror-movie franchise Puppet Master.
The comic series will be written and edited by Shawn Gabborin (Fracture, Snowed In), with franchise creator Charles Band selecting the roster of artists. No release date was given.
The film series debuted in 1989 with Puppet Master, the story of an elderly puppet maker named Andrew Toulon, who discovers an ancient Egyptian potion that he uses to bring his creations to life. Pursued by Nazis, Toulon hides the dolls and kills himself, only for the murderous marionettes to be revived 50 years later by a rogue psychic.
The original film spawned nine sequels and prequels, a four-issue comic, action figures and collectible cards.