"Justice League": Exploring How Superman Returns (Again)
Comic Books, Film
Even if you don’t care for the characterization of Batman’s greatest foes as foul-mouthed, trash-talking, crotch-grabbing street criminals, you have to appreciate the impressive (and hilarious) lyrics in this gangsta-rap parody “Straight Outta Gotham.”
I mean, come on, it drops a reference to actor Frank Whaley and the 1994 comedy-drama Swimming With Sharks. That has to count for something. But, seriously, this video is great — and definitely not safe for work. Or for home, if you have impressionable children that you would prefer didn’t embrace F-bombs (or, for that matter, the erratic filmography of Frank Whaley).
When an annoying, if confused, Dark Knight challenged a baffled, yet patient, Man of Steel last fall in the stop-motion animated short “LEGO Batman vs. Superman,” the confrontation didn’t end well for the Caped Crusader. Not well at all.
Now, nine long months later, Tommy Williamson and BrickNerd Studios have returned with the sequel “LEGO Batman vs. Superman 2: Dawn of Justice Desserts,” which finds the World’s Greatest Detective just as we left him: stuck beneath the overturned Batmobile.
Sure, an early encounter with a bat inspired Bruce Wayne’s costumed identity, and they undeniably add much-needed ambience to a subterranean lair. However, as Alfred Pennyworth tries to explain in this animated short from Dorkly, keeping thousands of the winged mammals creates some serious problems, not the least of which is the guano the devoted butler must clean from every surface.
“We are running out of Robins rather quickly,” he informs the Dark Knight. “They keep coming down with Ebola for some reason.”
While those Catwoman sunglasses we showcased earlier this month are undeniably awesome, maybe they’re not quite your style. Perhaps while you’re lounging on the beach you prefer to imagine yourself in Themyscira or, I don’t know, Central City. No matter, now Sun-Staches has you covered.
The company that makes the sunglasses/mask combos has expanded its line of comic book-themed novelty eye wear to include Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Spider-Man, Robin and Poison Ivy. (There are also Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but I’m not sure anyone over the age of 10 can get away with that.)
While many of us might stumble across a piece of driftwood on the beach and simply see something to further clutter up our shelves or mantles, French artist Ann Foucher envisions whimsical characters like an ogre, a farmer, Batman and Robin, and Darth Vader (yes, the Dark Lord of the Sith can be whimsical; maybe).
DC Comics is attempting to prevent the singer/actress Rihanna from registering a trademark for “Robyn,” arguing that it’s too similar to the name of Batman’s sidekick.
As first reported by Pirated Thoughts and The Outhousers, Rihanna — born Robyn Rihanna Fenty — filed the trademark application in June 2014 as part of a larger effort to build a fashion and cosmetics empire (she also filed an application for her last name). “Robyn” is intended to be used for “providing on-line non-downloadable general feature magazines,” which apparently sent up a red flag for DC’s lawyers.
Gerry Conway has written more comics than I care to count, including career-defining runs on The Amazing Spider-Man and Justice League of America. During his tenure at DC Comics in the 1970s and ‘80s, he co-created Firestorm, Steel the Indestructible Man, Vixen and Vibe (among many others). He wrote the first relaunch of New Gods and helped craft the Robin-to-Nightwing transition. Recently, he’s been calling attention to the use of “derivative” comics characters in other media — for example, the Flash TV show’s Caitlin Snow, who shares a name, a scientific background, and a Firestorm connection with the most recent version of Killer Frost’s alter ego.
DC responded to Conway’s concerns with assurances of fair compensation, but the matter also goes to the heart of the publisher’s shared universe.
DC Collectibles has debuted its second wave of action figures based on the upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight video game.
Revealed by MTV News, the figures of Catwoman, Commissioner Gordon, Nightwing and Robin stand between 6.5 inches and 6.75 inches tall, and feature somewhere around 20 points of articulation, as well as character-specific accessories and (in most cases) interchangeable hands. They join Wave 1’s Batman, Scarecrow, Harley Quinn, Arkham Knight and the Gamestop-exclusive Red Hood, released in April.
Kotobukiya has unveiled Batman and Robin as the next statues in its DC Universe Super Powers ARTFX+ line, inspired by the popular 1980s action figures. They will join Superman, Green Lantern and The Flash.
Standing a little less than 8 inches tall, the 1/10th-scale statues are non-articulated, but otherwise recreates the look of those original figures, right down to the fabric cape and the articulation cuts.
On the heels of Harley Quinn, the first images have surfaced of Square Enix’s Batman: Arkham Knight Robin Play Arts Kai action figure.
Based on the upcoming video game from Rocksteady Studios and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, the figure comes with removable hood, two pairs of interchangeable hands, bo staffs, bo staff shields and display stand.
On the teeny-tiny heels of those Guardians of the Galaxy figures, Funko and Vinyl Sugar have announced a Batman Dorbz series that manages to make even Killer Croc look cuddly.
Set for release in July, the series of 3-inch vinyl figures also boasts Batman, Robin, Batgirl, Harley Quinn and the Penguin, all sporting that irresistible smile. The Joker is curiously absent, but maybe he’ll pop up in a later wave.
Nine months after the debut of Grayson: Earth One, writer/director Hisonni Johnson is back with the second episode of the fan-produced web series, which reimagines the origin of Nightwing.
Titled “The Boy and the Bullet,” this chapter picks up moments after the previous episode, following young car thief Jason Todd who, “in another life,” becomes the second Robin. However, in this continuity, “Jason is left to navigate America’s most dangerous city in search for purpose, safety and a family to call his own. Unfortunately … he finds one.”
In April, DC Comics released solicitations for its July titles alongside an extra batch of advance listings for the September Futures End-related one-shots. This week, in a move that’s perhaps unintentionally similar, the publisher’s February solicits arrive amid advance info about the spring’s Convergence tie-ins.
The scheduling gap isn’t quite as great — only a couple of months here, as opposed to five months last time — and I can understand why DC would want to avoid a lot of negative fan speculation about Convergence. Still, it steals some thunder from the current batch of solicitations, which try to compensate with a raft of Harley Quinn variant covers (including, strangely enough, one for Harley Quinn itself). In addition to her own series and Suicide Squad, Harl also gets a Valentine’s Day Special, another hardcover collection, a statue, an action figure, and a guest-shot in Deathstroke. At this rate I’m expecting her to be Wonder Woman’s new Amazon queen.
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French photographer Sacha Goldberger, who previously made a splash with images of his 91-year-old grandmother as a superhero, exhibited his latest series “Super Flemish” over the weekend at the Grand Palais in Paris. As you might have guessed from the title and the above photo, the project features superheroes (and villains), Star Wars characters and other pop-culture figures — as if they were posing for Flemish paintings.
But these are indeed photographs, requiring models, costumers, hair and makeup artists and the like. And, as you can see from the gallery on Goldberger’s website, he even recruited his grandmother again. See more images, and photos from the exhibition, on Goldberger’s Facebook page.
Although the first issues of Who’s Who and Crisis \on Infinite Earths got a headstart in the closing months of 1984, January 1985 kicked off DC Comics’ 50th anniversary in earnest. No doubt real life — i.e., the DC offices’ upcoming westward move — is preventing the publisher from starting the 80th anniversary celebrations this January, and the solicitations certainly don’t have much in the way of commemoration.
(To be sure, the month’s variant-cover scheme involves the 75th anniversary of The Flash, which Robot 6 contributor J. Caleb Mozzocco has already covered extensively on his own blog.)
Therefore, while the real fireworks will probably have to wait another couple of months, the January solicitation tease the return of Robin, changes in the Super-status quo, and other various and sundry plot churning.
One thing that jumps out at me from these solicits has to do with numbering. Now, we all love numbering — big versus small, gimmicks versus straightforward integer progression — but the January books are soliciting the 38th issues of the remaining original New 52 titles. That puts the 50th issues of those series on track for January 2016; or, more likely, February 2016, if next September is another “take a break for a set of specials” month. If I were DC and wanted to relaunch my various titles, and I were a year away from a set of 50th issues, I’d probably wait a year.