Even as the casting search gears up for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, a push has begun online to convince the studio to fire director James Gunn over objections to a nearly two-year-old blog post that many view as misogynistic and homophobic. (Note: This post contains graphic language.)
The Feb. 17, 2011 post containing the results of a “Superheroes You Most Want to Have Sex With” poll, complete with Gunn’s commentary, was deleted at some point from the filmmaker’s website but the cached version resurfaced earlier this week on Tumblr before receiving further exposure Wednesday on The Mary Sue. Why Gunn’s post was only recently unearthed is a bit of a mystery (he was confirmed to direct Guardians of the Galaxy more than two months ago).
Gunn’s superhero sex poll includes male and female characters — 50 in all — ranging from Wonder Woman and Superman to Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel. While The Mary Sue notes “there’s nothing wrong about running a poll for the most sex-able superhero on your site,” the complaints arise over some of the filmmaker’s accompanying commentary.
Dismissed as a fad 10 years ago, big-screen adaptations bring comic book characters to millions of people every year. Just when you think they’ve peaked, out comes another blockbuster that tops the previous one. Sure, there are also the moderate hits and outright stinkers, but then there arrives an Iron Man or a Dark Knight or a Walking Dead or an Avengers. They’ve long passed the point of being a fluke. They even influence the collectors’ market, with optioning deals causing spikes in sales of back issues and original art, most recently demonstrated by the crazy prices people are willing to pay on eBay for The Walking Dead #1.
So if going from comics to film and television is so great, why is the reverse so rarely true? Comic books that adapt stories from other media (TV, film, video games, books, etc.) are only sometimes great and rarely garner the same kind of enthusiasm and attention. Someone who’s better at Photoshop than me should whip up one of those “said no one ever” images because no one has ever said, “I can’t wait for my favorite blockbuster movie to get adapted into a comic.” And yet most of us could barely keep our composure over the prospects of seeing Marvel’s The Avengers.
The Avengers star Jeremy Renner hosted Saturday Night Live this weekend, bringing with him not only a ratings boost — it was the second-highest rated episode of the season — but also a send-up of Marvel’s $1.5 billion blockbuster. The skit lampoons Hawkeye’s contributions to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as the archer runs out of arrows at a crucial time in their battle against the Chitauri. “I’m all out of arrows, I don’t have any more,” Hawkeye says. “So, uh, I guess I’m done, right? All right, I’ll be in the car. Stay safe!”
“It’s a more serious version of Superman. It’s not like a heart attack. We took the mythology seriously. We take him as a character seriously. I believe the movie would appeal to anyone. I think that you’re going to see a Superman you’ve never seen before. We approached it as though no other films had been made. He’s the king-daddy. Honestly that’s why I wanted to do it. I’m interested in Superman because he’s the father of all superheroes. He’s this amazing ambassador for all superheroes. What was it about him that cracked the code that made pop culture embrace this other mythology? What we‘ve made as a film not only examines that but is also an amazing adventure story. It’s been an honor to work on. As a comic book fan, Superman is like the Rosetta Stone of all superheroes. I wanted to be sure the movie treated it respectfully.”
– Man of Steel director Zack Snyder, discussing his upcoming reboot of Warner Bros.’ Superman franchise, as well as his 2009 adaptation of Watchmen
The Kickstarter campaign to fund a feature-length story reel for the stalled CGI-animated adaptation of The Goon ended successfully Sunday, exceeding its $400,000 goal by $41,900.
“Frankly, we don’t have the words to describe our APPRECIATION, Goon Fans,” the message on the Kickstarter page states. “We NEVER could have imagined how much SUPPORT we’d receive from this fan community. It’s truly been OVERWHELMING. Through your time, energy, dedication, and donations, you’ve given us an AMAZING opportunity to help keep The Goon Movie dream alive.”
That dream dates back to at least 2008, when it was announced that producer David Fincher and Blur Studio would adapt the acclaimed comic by Eric Powell. Progress soon stalled, however, as financing proved difficult. Test footage, featuring the voices of Clancy Brown and Paul Giamatti, was at last revealed last year, giving fans hope the project might eventually see the light of day. With few additional signs of movement, Powell gave in to pressure and revealed at Comic-Con International he would turn to Kickstarter.
The result of the campaign won’t be the actual film; that budget is pegged at somewhere around $45 million. Instead the $441,900 will be used to finance a story reel to shop to studios.
Oh, sure, he may have enslaved Hawkeye and Dr. Selvig, wreaked havoc on
Cleveland Stuttgart, Germany, and Cleveland New York City, and killed Agent Phil Coulson in Marvel’s The Avengers, but deep down Loki is a pretty swell guy. Er, god.
For proof you need look no further than this week’s Journey Into Mystery #645, which marks the departure of writer Kieron Gillen, whose take of “Kid Loki” has made the pint-size god of mischief beloved by Tumblr users the world over. Gillen’s final “Journey Into Stationery” letter page starts with a laudatory message from a certain Tom Hiddleston, who knows a thing or two about Loki:
Writer of the Year
• Ed Brubaker
• Geoff Johns
• Mark Waid
• Robert Kirkman
• Scott Snyder
Penciler of the Year
• Greg Capullo
• Ivan Reis
• J.H. Williams III
• Paolo Rivera
• Ryan Ottley
• Ryan Stegman
To see what Ales and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Three months after teasing he would give in to pressure and use Kickstarter to help fund the stalled CG-animated adaptation of his comic, The Goon creator Eric Powell launched the campaign this morning. Although the film’s budget has been pegged at $45 million, the drive’s goal is $400,000 to pay for a feature-length story reel to shop around to studios.
Billed as an effort by Powell, producer David Fincher, Blur Studio and Dark Horse Entertainment, the campaign asks fans to “Help us make a NEW KIND of animated film … one that’s LOUD, VIOLENT and OFFENSIVE TO YOUR GRANDMA.”
Announced in 2008, the animated movie has been slow moving as the producers searched for financial backers. “The Goon is in the exact same position it’s been in for the past couple of years,” Powell said in January. “Prepping the design and script while searching for funding.” About a year ago, the cartoonist shared well-received test footage that featured the voice talents of Clancy Brown and Paul Giamatti, who are set to return for the story reel and the eventual feature.
The New York Comic Con officially kicked off this afternoon, with fans eager to get inside and publishers eager to begin releasing news into the wild. So let’s see if we can’t herd some of those announcements together. Here’s a round-up from today:
• DC Comics Co-Publisher and artist extraordinaire Jim Lee will team with Batman scribe Scott Snyder on a new Superman title next year, just in time for the Man of Steel’s return to the silver screen. “This will play along with the other Superman books in the sense that it’s in continuity, but we really wanted to carve out our own territory,” Snyder told CBR. “This really is sort of the biggest, most epic Superman story we could do together while having our feet planted firmly in continuity and making sure that everyone had enough room.”
DC also unveiled a Kia Optima that features a Batman design by Jim Lee.
• Marvel announced three more Season One graphic novels: Iron Man, written by Howard Chaykin with art by Gerard Parel; Thor by writer Matthew Sturges and artist Pepe Larraz; and Wolverine, written by the team of Ben Blacker and Ben Acker, with art by Salva Espin. Also, Cullen Bunn returns to Deadpool with Deadpool Killustrated, a miniseries that pits the Merc with a Mouth against Moby Dick, Sherlock Holmes, Beowulf, Don Quixote and more. Spoiler alert: he’s gonna kill them.
Undeterred by numerous legal setbacks, failed dot-com Stan Lee Media on Tuesday filed a $5.5 billion copyright-infringement lawsuit against Disney, claiming the entertainment giant doesn’t actually own the Marvel characters featured in such blockbuster films as The Avengers, X-Men: First Class and Thor, and the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. The dollar amount reflects the estimated revenue from box-office receipts, licensing and merchandising dating back three years, the statute of limitations for copyright infringement.
The complaint, filed in federal court in Colorado and first reported by Deadline, has its roots in Marvel’s 1998 bankruptcy, when CEO Isaac Perlmutter ended the $1 million-a-year lifetime contract with Stan Lee, negating the legendary writer’s assignment to the company of his rights to his co-creations. It also freed Lee to form Stan Lee Entertainment, which later merged with Stan Lee Media, with infamous entrepreneur Peter F. Paul. That company in turned filed for bankruptcy in February 2001; just four months after SLM emerged from protection in November 2006, shareholders filed a $5 billion lawsuit against Marvel. Stan Lee Media has had no connection to its co-founder and namesake in more than a decade; in fact, the two have sued each other on a few occasions.
Joe Lambert, alum of The Center For Cartoon Studies, has illustrated the poster for the movie about his alma mater, Cartoon College. The documentary features an insight into the surprisingly dramatic goings-on on an MA course dedicated to turning out graphic novelists, alongside a wealth of interviews with an all-star cast of alt-comics legends, all of whom have been associated with the school as visiting faculty and thesis advisors.
Each fall The Center for Cartoon Studies invites 20 of the world’s most promising aspiring cartoonists and graphic novelists to the ramshackle village of White River Junction, Vermont for a no-holds-barred education in comics. Those who complete the two-year program earn a Master of Fine Arts degree and are ready to face the uncertainty of a career in one of the world’s most labor-intensive, drudgery-inducing art forms. Cartoon College is their story.
Featuring a who’s-who of the biggest names in literary comics, including Chris Ware, Lynda Barry, Art Spiegelman, Francoise Mouly, Scott McCloud, Jason Lutes, and James Sturm, among many others, as well as the music of Beulah, Archers of Loaf, Portastatic, Tortoise, Tokyo Police Club, Quinn Marston, The Hot IQs, Fire Tapes, and an original score by Jason Zumpano, Cartoon College is a fast-paced look at a school where the stakes are high and spilled ink and tears are often the only reward.
There’s an impressive selection of Lambert’s comics available to view at his website
(Via the always great Drawn)
Entertainment Weekly has debuted Mondo’s Dredd 3D poster created by Jock for Fantastic Fest, which begins Thursday in Austin, Texas. Founded in 2005, the annual event is the largest genre film festival in the United States, and this year plays host to a screen of director Pete Travis’ Judge Dredd adaptation, attended by stars Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby, and screenwriter Alex Garland.
Initially at least, poster be available only at the festival; however, any left over will be sold online. Jock has been working a lot lately with Mondo, the collectible art boutique arm of Alamo Drafthouse, producing limited-edition posters for The Dark Knight Rises and The Raid: Redemption.
Dredd 3D opens Friday nationwide.
Marvel Studios is moving from Manhattan Beach, California, its home for the past four years, to new offices in Glendale, just minutes from Walt Disney Studios’ Burbank lot. Marvel Animation opened its studio in Glendale earlier this year.
Variety reports the relocation, expected to be completed by the spring, will affect as many as 150 employees. The exact location of the new building hasn’t been made public.
Marvel Studios moved its executive and production offices from Beverly Hills to Raleigh Studios Manhattan Beach in 2008 (before Marvel’s purchase by Disney), becoming the largest tenant at the 23-acre facility. There it filmed parts of Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers.
The trade paper notes that the loss of Marvel won’t hurt Raleigh too much, however, as James Cameron’s production company has signed a five-year deal to film the next two Avatar sequels there.
Marvel on Monday urged the Second Circuit to deny Gary Friedrich’s attempt to revive his copyright claims to Ghost Rider, reiterating that the writer no only signed away his rights to the character three decades earlier but waited too long to file his lawsuit.
Friedrich sued Marvel, Columbia Pictures and Hasbro, among others, shortly after the 2007 release of the first Ghost Rider movie, insisting he had regained the copyright to the fiery Spirit of Vengeance some six years earlier. He argued he created Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider in 1968 and later agreed to publish the character through Magazine Management, which eventually became Marvel Entertainment. Under the agreement, the publisher held the copyright to the character’s origin story in 1972′s Marvel Spotlight #5, and to subsequent Ghost Rider works. However, Friedrich alleged the company never registered the work with the U.S. Copyright Office, permitting the rights to revert to him in 2001.
In December 2011, a federal judge rejected Friedrich’s lawsuit, finding the writer gave up ownership to the property when he endorsed checks that contained language relinquishing rights to Marvel’s predecessors. The judge said Friedrich signed over all claims to the character in 1971 and again in 1978 in exchange for the possibility of more freelance work for the publisher. (Two months later, Marvel agreed to abandon its 2010 countersuit accusing Friedrich of trademark infringement if the writer would pay $17,000 in damages and stop selling unauthorized Ghost Rider merchandise.)
The writer appealed in July, arguing the court erred in ruling that the language on the back of Marvel paychecks in the early 1970s and in the 1978 contract were sufficient to constitute transfer of copyright. However, his attorney also reasserts the claim that the agreement was entered into under duress, with Friedrich told “if I wanted to continue to work for Marvel that I would have to sign it.”