INTERVIEW: Gail Simone Guides 'Blockbuster Update' of Red Sonja, Vampirella and Dejah Thoris
When Lucy Day’s car burst into flames as she rushed her injured partner to the hospital, her friendly neighborhood Spider-Man swung into action.
A bad day quickly turned worse Saturday for the Eastbourne, England, woman, who’s pregnant with her second child: Her partner Stephen Grant had cut off his finger in the lawnmower, leading Day to pile him and their 3-year-old daughter into the family Land Rover for the mad dash to the emergency room. But while en route, their vehicle caught fire, forcing them to the side of the road.
That’s when, right on cue, Spider-Man arrived. Or rather children’s entertainer Tom Roche, who was on his way to a birthday party dressed in a Spider-Man costume.
If we’ve learned anything from comic books and their adaptations, it’s that superheroes seldom choose their own aliases. More often than not, they’re dreaming up by enterprising reporters or gruff, cigar-chomping editors. Such is the case with South London’s new masked crimefighter, dubbed the “Bromley Batman” last week by a local newspaper.
It’s “God awful,” he told the Evening Standard, which gave him the name in the first place. Conceding he’d never thought about adopting an alias, he said, “As a young boy I always enjoyed The Shadow, so if any name then that one kind of makes some sense.”
It took a lot for Bruce Wayne to become Batman: a lot of money, a lot of training and a lot of determination (or, y’know, obsessiveness; potato, po-tah-to). However, if you’re not the sole heir to a multimillion-dollar fortune — at least $682 million of that would go toward the mansion, Batmobile, gadgets and, yes, butler — you can at least become Batman-like.
It may be a while before fans see Batman and Green Arrow team up on television or in film, but in Corpus Christi, Texas, it’s another story.
The Corpus Christi Caller profiles Hector Peña, who for the past three months has dubbed himself the Batman of Corpus Christi — an identity he modeled after the Batman of San Antonio (yes, there is one). Dressed in a costume from Party City, the Navy veteran makes appearances at school and community events and even private parties, in hopes of sending a message to kids.
Longtime arch-enemies, Batman and The Joker faced off once more on Wednesday, only this time about a plan to require Times Square’s costumed characters to be licensed.
Wearing makeup and a red suit embellished with black bats, the Clown Prince of Crime told New York City Council’s Consumer Affairs Committee that the bill amounts to “fascism.”
“I might look like a clown but I’m speaking from the heart,” the New York Daily News quote The Joker, aka Keith Albahae, as saying. “I do this from my heart and not for tips. OK, I do ask for tips. And many people are glad to give them, but this is about the First Amendment and this is about discrimination. This straight-up seems like fascism.”
As strange as Marvel’s recent teasers haven been, with offbeat remixes of events past, they’re nothing compared to the inter-company mashup captured Tuesday afternoon on Hollywood Boulevard.
CBS Los Angeles reports that the Hollywood Walk of Fame, long a hotbed for costumed mayhem, erupted about 5 p.m. as Batgirl struggled with Mr. Incredible in a brawl that drew in a colorful cast of characters. Reporter Suzanne Marques offers play-by-play of the video, shot by a production company that happened to be working nearby:
In response to a series of attacks in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood, a group of masked men has taken to the streets on weekends in an attempt to make the area safe.
However, NBC 7 San Diego reports the members of the Xtreme Justice League — among them, Midnight Highwayman, Vigilante Spider, Spartan and Freedom Fighter — aren’t out to fight the criminals. Instead, they hope to identify and report crime, and distract wrong-doers with their costumes.
Being a real-life superhero just got a little more real for a couple of Seattle-area vigilantes.
Famed costumed activist Phoenix Jones, founder and leader of the Rain City Superhero Movement, disbanded the group in late May only to reform it days later — only with more attention paid to the physical fitness of the budding vigilantes. In a recent interview with Seattle’s KING 5 TV, he said the area’s superhero community had become watered down by by an influx of new members, some of whom employed unethical tactics — carrying illegal weapons or refusing to give police their identities — or weren’t so “super” when it came to physical exertion.
Superhero comics are typically about good versus evil, and a growing number of people are taking those lessons to heart — and to the streets — as honest-to-goodness superheroes. Los Angeles photographer Dean Bradshaw has captured some of them in a new series titled “Real Life Superheroes.”
This photo set features heroes like Nevada’s We The People (above) and 18 others, many of whom are based in California. Eighteen of these are new creations dreamed up by the hero, with only one — Chicago’s Moon Knight — taking his name and design from an existing character. Here’s a selection of some of the portraits, but visit Bradshaw’s site to see all of them.
Turns out, real-life superheroes have the same problems as their fictional inspirations. First there was Phoenix Jones and his Spider-Man-esque contentious relationship with Seattle police, and now a group of costumed crimefighters in East Jordan, Michigan. are embroiled in their own Civil War.
The Detroit News has shared the story of Petoskey Batman (Mark Williams, pictured above with his girlfriend Brittany Scott in a Batgirl costume) and Bee Sting (Adam Besso), former friends and partners turned enemies, in a feud sparked over leadership of their superhero squad, the Michigan Protectors. At this point, it’s probably smart to reiterate that this was an article that appeared in a local newspaper, about actual people.
Typically when we report about the costumed characters on Hollywood Boulevard or in New York City’s Times Square, it’s because of their alleged misbehavior: assault, theft, all-out civil war. But this time the superheroes are actually, well, the heroes.
Los Angeles’ KABC reports that on Friday, well-known character impersonators Jennifer Wenger and Christopher Dennis (aka Wonder Woman and Superman) were taping a segment for Jimmy Kimmel Live when Wenger was attacked by a cowboy boot-wearing transient who’s apparently infamous for bad behavior.
“She got in my face and she flipped my lip, and then punched me in the face,” Wenger told KABC. And that’s when the Man of Steel stepped in. “I’m then reflecting all of her boot throws,” Dennis explained. “She actually hits Wonder Woman again with a boot. I reflected it and it just kind of ricocheted off my arm and hit her in the face.”
In a real-life crossover, two men dressed as Batman and Captain America rescued a cat from a house fire in Milton, West Virginia, on Saturday.
Unlike other would-be superheroes like Phoenix Jones, the pair — aka John Buckland and Troy Marcum, respectively — weren’t out on patrol; the trouble came to them. Buckland, a former firefighter who served with the Department of Defense in Iraq, runs a service called Heroes 4 Higher that sends costumed superheroes to parties and other events to “bring an age-appropriate, positive message of inspiration, safety and daring to dream.”
Buckland and Marcum were doing just that at an American Legion post when a fire broke out in a house nearby. Seeing the smoke, they dashed to the house to check whether there was anyone inside. Marcum broke the window, and as the smoke poured out, Buckland said, “I reach down and grab something furry.” That was the cat; the homeowners turned out to be out of town, but their cat was overcome by smoke and had to be resuscitated by Buckland.
Comics | A CGC-certified 9.6 copy of 1963’s The X-Men #1, by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, fetched a private-sale record of $250,000 in a deal brokered by Pedigree Comics. That same comic, said to be one of just two certified near-mint copies in existence, went for a then-record $200,000 in March 2011; a 9.8 copy sold at auction in July 2012 for $492,938. The all-time record remains the $2.6 million paid in a 2011 auction for a near-mint copy of Action Comics #1. [CGC Comics]
Comics | Joe McCulloch puts together a nice guide to the self-published comics of Steve Ditko. [Comics Alliance]
Comics | If you want to read Franco-Belgian comics but don’t know where to start, Jared Gardner has you covered, with a brief introduction and some recommended works that have been translated into English. [Public Books]
If you were left confused this week by reports of a brawl breaking out among costumed heroes on Hollywood Boulevard left you confused — two Captain Americas vs. one Spider-Man? — TomoNews US is on hand to sort things out with a typically absurd animated recreation of events.
If the work looks familiar, it’s because these are the folks at Next Media Animation, the Taiwanese studio that previously brought us such gems as explanations of Miles Morales as the new Spider-Man and the insanity of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. This video isn’t nearly as outlandish as those — sorry, no depictions of a Taiwanese wall-crawler strangling a panda — but it does envision what the fight at the Madame Tussauds kiosk might’ve looked like, complete with blood spurting from an unnerving mouth on Spider-Man’s mask.
In retrospect, the Superhuman Registration Act doesn’t seem like such a bad idea after all: First there were reports of assault, and theft, by Spider-Man, and then there was that late-night attack by She-Hulk. Now Civil War has broken out among costumed heroes on the streets of Hollywood.
According to CBS Los Angeles, Spider-Man and two Captain Americas (perhaps one was that crazy Cap from the 1950s) came to blows Wednesday afternoon on Hollywood Boulevard, near the Dolby Theatre. The cause? A turf war among superhero impersonators — who, like their Marvel Universe counterparts, operate with little regulation — and accusations of harassing tourists.