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Quote of the Day | Clancy Brown on comic adaptations

cowboys and aliensCowboys & Aliens was a completely manufactured myth of a comic book. They went in and sold the idea of Cowboys & Aliens based on a one-sheet of what they thought the cover of a comic book might be, then sold it as a movie, then created as a comic book. They backed in to the comic book part of it. The book itself isn’t actually very good. It’s worse than the movie.

I did another one like that — Hellbenders was an idea that J.T. Petty had, and he wrote it as a script. One of the producers got the idea to pitch it around as a comic book. As soon as something is a graphic novel or a comic book or has another life in a another medium, people sit up and take notice and are more willing to write the check.

I don’t know why that is — well, I think it’s obvious why that is: Because the traditional properties like Superman and Batman and the Marvel characters — Spider-Man and so on — they’re all money machines. So, people are trying to create that. [...] Everything is being optioned now to be turned into franchises because of the success of Walking Dead and a few that have made the transition. Mostly, people walk into a room and pitch a movie — and the first question if they don’t say it in the original pitch is, ‘Is this a graphic novel or comic?’ and of course you say, ‘Yes’.”

– actor Clancy Brown, who has a good deal of experience with comic-book adaptations, discussing Cowboys & Aliens Hollywood’s continued attraction to comics


A baby’s adorable reaction to ‘Man of Steel’

man-of-steel-flightZack Snyder’s Man of Steel was easily one of the most divisive films of 2013. Some loved it, some hated it — but either way, there were few that didn’t have a strong opinion about it. The film has since had its home video release, and one father took it upon himself to find out what his 16-month old son thought of the movie by filming his reaction to the scene were Superman finally takes flight and uploading it to YouTube.

The child’s reaction is, of course, completely adorable.

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Best of 7 | The best in comics from the last seven days

bestof7-feb9

Welcome to Best of 7, where we talk about, as it says above, “The best in comics from the last seven days” — which could be anything from an exciting piece of news to a cool publisher’s announcement to an awesome comic that came out. Looks like I’m flying solo this week, so without further ado, let’s get to it …

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Grumpy Old Fan | This looks like a job for…

All-New Superman Now!

All-New Superman Now!

Putting Geoff Johns (writer), John Romita Jr. (penciller), and Klaus Janson (inker) on Superman sends a strong message to the cape-comics marketplace. At its core, that message seems to be “we’re not fooling around with the Man of Steel.”

Whether clad in T-shirt or Kryptonian armor, Superman has been the face of the New 52, in good ways and bad, since the 2011 relaunch. A Johns-written, Jim Lee-drawn Superman was part of the first New 52 comic published, namely the first issue of Justice League. Therefore, it’s eminently appropriate for one of DC’s highest-profile writers to take on its flagship character in his eponymous series. Likewise, art by longtime Marvel stalwart JRJr and veteran inker Janson is also appropriate to Superman’s central position in DC’s superhero line.

However, Johns also comes to Superman with a certain set of expectations, starting with his anticipated tenure. Writer/artist George Pérez and finisher Jésus Merino kicked off the current series, but they didn’t stay long; and for several months Superman struggled to find a consistent creative team. Incumbent writer Scott Lobdell came aboard with issue #13 and is scheduled to stay at least through April’s issue #30. That’s a year and a half, give or take a Villains Month, and it’s allowed Lobdell to leave his mark on Superman’s adventures. Moreover, Lobdell arrived about two-thirds of the way through Grant Morrison’s run as Action Comics writer, so for about a year, Lobdell has at least offered some consistency while Action tried to lock in a creative team. Johns has just come off two years writing Aquaman — not to mention multi-year runs on Green Lantern, Action, Flash, JSA, and Teen Titans — so it’s not unreasonable to think he’s got at least a couple of years’ worth of Superman in him.

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Comics A.M. | Al Plastino’s Superman art arrives at JFK library

Superman's Mission for President Kennedy

Superman’s Mission for President Kennedy

Comics | Once the paperwork is complete, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library will officially own the original artwork for the 1964 DC Comics story “Superman’s Mission For President Kennedy,” fulfilling one of artist Al Plastino’s final wishes. Plastino, who passed away Nov. 25 at age 91, was surprised to discover at New York Comic Con a month earlier that the pages hadn’t been donated to the library five decades earlier, as he’d been led to believe, but were instead set to be sold at auction on the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. The auction was put on hold until questions of ownership could be resolved, and Plastino spent the final weeks of his life campaigning for the return of the artwork, even petitioning a judge to force the auction house to reveal the name of the seller. DC Entertainment intervened in December to acquire the pages and give them to the library. “We are thrilled to receive this historic artwork and look forward to sharing it with the public when the legal transfer is completed,” library director Tom Putnam said in a statement. [Newsday]

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Shuster estate’s case may be over, but Superman fight continues

Superman Unchained #1

Superman Unchained #1

Although an appeals court seems to have brought to an end the Joe Shuster estate’s bid to reclaim the artist’s stake in Superman, The Hollywood Reporter reminds us that the fight by Jerry Siegel’s heirs is far from over.

According to the website, attorney Marc Toberoff — he represents both families — is scheduled to file a brief next month on a pending appeal of a March 2013 ruling that affirmed the writer’s family relinquished any claims to the Man of Steel by accepting a 2001 offer from DC Comics that permits the publisher to retain all rights to Superman (as well as Superboy and The Spectre) in exchange for $3 million in cash and contingent compensation worth tens of millions.

Toberoff maintains the Siegels never accepted the DC offer (the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found otherwise), but even if there was a contract, then the publisher failed to perform. That explains the addition last year of the line “By Special Arrangement with the Jerry Siegel Family” to the credits of any DC title featuring Superman, a stipulation of the 2001 agreement.

However, Wright noted that breach-of-contract claims are a matter for state court, and don’t affect the enforceability of the 2001 agreement. So, a separate lawsuit remains an option for the Siegels, even if — or perhaps when — they exhaust their copyright case.

As The Hollywood Reporter points out, while the Siegel heirs still face “incredibly long odds,” their fight isn’t over yet.

Appeals court denies Shuster heirs rehearing in Superman battle

From Action Comics #1

From Action Comics #1

In the latest — and, quite possibly, final — legal blow to the estate of Joe Shuster, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied a petition for a rehearing of its November decision that effectively brought to an end what a three-judge panel described as “the long-running saga regarding the ownership of copyrights in Superman — a story almost as old as the Man of Steel himself.”

Deadline reports that the one-page order closes the door to any more petitions for rehearing before the Ninth Circuit, leaving the Supreme Court as the only option left to attorney Marc Toberoff, who last year pledged, “My clients and I are prepared to go the distance.”

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Talking Comics with Tim | Aaron Kuder on ‘Action Comics’

Kuder-banner

Action Comics is quickly becoming a fan favorite since the creative team of writer Greg Pak and artist Aaron Kuder boarded the series. With the release last week of Action Comics #27, it seemed like a good time to interview Kuder and get him to explain how his experience as a budding electrician had an influence on Lana Lang’s current career choice of electrical engineering.

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Watch Patton Oswalt tell Jerry Seinfeld how he’d kill Superman

seinfeld-oswalt

It seems like it was just the other day — it was Monday, to be exact — that Jerry Seinfeld was offering his assessment of director Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, and already he back, talking more about one of his favorite subjects: Superman.

This time it’s in the latest episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, in which he and actor (and occasional comics writer) Patton Oswalt climb into a 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 … only to have it break down. Fortunately, that gives them time to talk about DC Comics’ 1992 storyline “The Death of Superman,” and how Oswalt would kill the Man of Steel.

“Superman gets his powers from our yellow sun, but he’s here every day, soaking up that energy,” Oswalt explains. “So make it a thing where it’s like, the longer he stays here, now it’s starting to kill him — and then there’s a massive disaster looming: ‘Do I stay and stop this thing happening and die in the process, or do I leave and save myself?’

I have to agree with Seinfeld: That’s a solid premise. However, Oswalt has a far more difficult time coming up with his favorite superhero. Watch the video below.

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Update: Brittney Williams’ ‘Daily Planet Files’ is still adorable

daily planet files2

You may recall in late October we spotlighted The Daily Planet Files, a fan project by Brittney Williams that focuses a bit more on the less-super aspects of the Man of Steel’s life, namely his day job at Metropolis’ premier newspaper. Williams is back now with even more art, including adorable character designs for Lois Lane, Clark Kent, Superman and Jimmy Olsen, and a cast shot that adds Steve Lombard, Perry White, Ron Troupe and Cat Grant into the mix.

“After working on what has now become The Daily Planet Files since May of 2013, I’m finally happy with the designs and what this has developed into,” Williams writes on her blog. “Who know what surprises 2014 holds for these guys.”

See some of the art below, and even more on Williams’ blog.

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Quote of the Day | Super-fan Jerry Seinfeld on ‘Man of Steel’

seinfeld-superman

“I was so happy that they made another Superman movie! I’m really reluctant to be critical of it in any way. But I thought the glossing over of the figuring out a secret identity and why he felt he needed one was a huge missed opportunity for that character, and one of the most interesting things about Superman is the whole secret identity. So to me it was too much action/violence and not enough character study.”

– comedian, and famously die-hard Superman fan, Jerry Seinfeld, addressing director Zack Snyder’s divisive Man of Steel in a Reddit AMA

(via Badass Digest)

Color art from Jock & Max Landis’ ‘Adventures of Superman’ tale

jock-adventures-of-superman

Jock has debuted what I believe is the first look at color art from his upcoming Adventures of Superman collaboration with Chronicle screenwriter Max Landis. The Eisner Award-winning artist released an inked page from the two-part story, titled “The Sound of One Hand Clapping,” last month.

As the two pages indicate, it’s poised to be a rather nontraditional Superman tale, as it pits the Man of Steel against the Clown Prince of Crime, who usually busies himself with a more grounded nemesis.

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Comics A.M. | ‘Kuroko’s Basketball’ creator breaks silence on threats

Kuroko's Basketball

Kuroko’s Basketball

Creators | Kuroko’s Basketball creator Tadatoshi Fujimaki remained silent over the past year while hundreds of threatening letters were sent out to retail stores that sold the manga and anime, venues that hosted doujinshi (fan comics) events connected with it, and even his alma mater, but now that police have arrested a suspect in the case, he has made an official statement. Fujimaki expressed relief that the suspect had been caught, thanked the police who were involved in the investigation, and promised that more chapters of Kuroko’s Basketball are on the way. [Anime News Network]

Conventions | Salt Lake Comic Con producer Dan Farr is voicing his support for the construction of a “mega hotel” near the Salt Palace convention center. The Utah state Legislature ended its legislative session without passing a $100 million bill to fund such a hotel, but backers hope to see it revived in the next session. Ticket sales for the 2013 convention topped 50,000, and Farr told the local news station, “A convention center hotel would be a big help for us.” [Fox News 13]

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Grumpy Old Fan | Twelve DCs of Christmas

The Old Man could change a fuse quicker than a jackrabbit on a date

The Old Man could change a fuse quicker than a jackrabbit on a date

Because it’s the day after Christmas, and I don’t want to write 1,500 words about Forever Evil and its Justice League tie-in — except to say they both felt a lot like stereotypical Lost, and not necessarily in a good way — here’s a stocking’s worth of number-based observations about DC past and present.

Twelve Crisis issues: I talk a lot about 1984-85′s Crisis on Infinite Earths, mostly because it so completely transformed not just DC’s shared-universe continuity, but its publishing philosophy. On its merits, Crisis is a mixed bag, pairing stunning visuals with a sometimes-flabby narrative. However, despite its sprawl, COIE ended up with a definite structure. The first four issues deal with a mysterious antimatter onslaught which destroys whole universes, apparently including the familiar Earth-One and Earth-Two. The final page of Issue 4 is nothing but black “smoke” clearing away, revealing blank white space. Issues 5 and 6 offer vignettes on the five surviving universes, as time periods intersect in “warp zones” and ordinary people see multiversal counterparts of departed loved ones. Issues 7 and 8 are, to put it bluntly, the Big Death issues, with Supergirl saving her cousin from the Anti-Monitor and the Barry Allen Flash destroying Anti-M’s latest doomsday weapon. Issues 9 and 10 feature the “Villain War” and a two-pronged time-travel assault on Anti-M’s efforts. That ends with a shattered, otherwise “blank” comics panel, as the Spectre wrestles Anti-M for control of history itself — and issues 11 and 12 feature the heroes of a new, singular universe fighting a final battle against the Anti-Monitor. Today’s decompressed (and sometimes decentralized) Big Events focus more on character moments and slow burns, and more often than not they don’t have to streamline fifty years of continuity, but Crisis remains a model for just how big an Event can be.
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Max Landis-Jock story confirmed for ‘Adventures of Superman’

jock-joker-supermanDC Comics has revealed the new lineup for its digital-first series Adventures of Superman that includes a two-part story by Chronicle screenwriter Max Landis and Eisner-winning artist Jock. The announcement of their collaboration, titled “The Sound of One Hand Clapping,” provides context for the page Jock tweeted last week (at right), featuring the Man of Steel and the Joker, the latter depicted in styles from different eras, artists and media.

Other creators in the January lineup are B. Clay Moore and Gabriel Rodriguez with the three-part “Exposed,” Fabian Nicieza and Phil Hester with “The Coming of … Sugar & Spike,” and Ron Marz and Evan “Doc” Shaner with the three-part “Only Child.”

The son of filmmaker John Landis, Max Landis made a splash last year with Chronicle, the found-footage sci-fi movie directed by Josh Trank (and based on a story by both of them). Since then, he’s become widely known for his 17-minute rant about, and recreation of, the death and return of Superman, and a much longer video in which he explains his elaborate idea for a reboot of the storyline that DC had reportedly considered for a weekly series he’d have co-written by Greg Pak. (Landis says because of his schedule and changes at DC regarding a weekly title, the project never went anywhere.)

The new Adventures of Superman lineup debuts Jan. 6 with Moore and Rodriguez’s “Exposed”; Landis and Jock’s “The Sound of One Hand Clapping” follows that storyline on Jan. 27.

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