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Welcome to Best of 7, where we talk about “The best in comics from the last seven days” — which could be anything from an exciting piece of news to something great fans are doing to an awesome comic that came out. So let’s get to it …
All it took was a television adaptation for iZombie fans to get a statue of protagonist Gwen Dylan, designed by series artist Michael Allred. Revealed this morning by TV Guide, the DC Collectibles sculpture by Phil Ramirez is about 9.25 inches tall; it goes on sale in November for $99.95.
The statue doesn’t much resemble actress Rose McIver, who plays the lead in The CW’s upcoming supernatural procedural, but some might argue that the show doesn’t much resemble the Vertigo series by Allred and Chris Roberson.
This past week (ish), DC Entertainment was so pervasive in the television upfronts, it almost made me forget the company still publishes comics. Joining Arrow on the 2014/2015 TV schedule will be adaptations of The Flash, iZombie and Constantine, as well as the Bat-prequel Gotham. (And hey, that was Caity “Black Canary” Lotz reprising her role as Don’s pregnant-hippie “niece” on Sunday’s Mad Men!) Moreover, we’ve now seen a moody black-and-white photo of Ben Affleck as Batman, standing next to his new Batmobile and ready to dominate the next Superman movie; and The CW has shown us a nifty little clip of the Flash in action.
While I’m prepared to like all of these shows, and certainly willing to give them reasonable opportunities to succeed, once again they remind me that no comic — and certainly no superhero comic — can be adapted to live-action with complete fidelity. Indeed, by taking its cue directly from the comics of the ‘40s and ‘50s, the old Adam West/Burt Ward Batman show was one of the more faithful projects. Likewise, the pilot of the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman series didn’t go too far from Diana’s earliest adventures in All Star Comics #8 and Sensation Comics #1. However, I don’t think that approach would work these days.
When Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles debuted in 1984, I was far too wrapped up in the full-color adventures of The New Teen Titans, Uncanny X-Men and New Mutants to pay much attention to their black-and-white escapades. And when the heroes in a half shell made the leap first to animated television and then to live-action film, I considered my self too old to follow along. And that’s unfortunate, because it means I missed the 1990 appearance by Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo on The Oprah Winfrey Show, a proposition so ridiculous that it requires video proof to be believed.
Fans of the supernatural Western The Sixth Gun who were upset last year when NBC passed on the television adaptation may want to pack for an impromptu trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico. That may be the only place you’ll be able to watch the unaired pilot.
A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin, who last year bought the Jean Cocteau Cinema in downtown Santa Fe, has announced the venue will stage two screenings of the episode on May 23.
Happy Mother’s Day and welcome to Best of 7, where we talk about “The best in comics from the last seven days” — which could be anything from an exciting piece of news to something great fans are doing to an awesome comic that came out. So let’s get to it …
Publishing | In the wake of the ban in Saudi Arabia of the animated adaptation of The 99 comic, creator Naif Al-Mutawa writes about what he had to go through in the first place to get approval in that country for the Islamic superheroes (one of the steps was the sale of Cracked magazine at a loss so his company would be sharia-compliant to the satisfaction of an Islamic bank). He looks at what led to the fatwa, and concludes by seeking one of his own, posing questions for the clerics who issued the decree. [The National]
Publishing | As part of its five-year anniversary celebration, Multiversity Comics surveys such industry figures as Eric Stephenson, Rachel Deering, Tom Spurgeon and Gina Gagliano about the biggest changes that have taken place during that time, and where comics are headed. [Multiversity Comics]
Much like Hydra, the subversive organization set on world domination, Stephen Colbert is a master deception, and of the long game.
For the past eight and a half years, we’ve been fooled by the talk-show host, who’s so adept at the art of subterfuge that, in the wake of Steve Rogers’ “death” in 2007, he was bequeathed Captain America’s shield, which to this day is displayed — like a trophy! — on the set of The Colbert Report. Heck, he was so bold, so self-assured, that he even made a run for the White House in the Marvel Universe (a bid that was unsuccessful, thankfully).
For two months this winter many of us were swept up in HBO’s True Detective and the serpentine search by detectives Rust Cohle and Marty Hart not only for a serial killer but also for the meaning of life and the nature of good and evil. And while not everyone was satisfied with the ending, most of us remain enthralled with the writing of Nic Pizzolatto and the existential nihilism of Matthew McConaughey’s character.
And now we can experience both again, in a decidedly different form, with Time Is A Flat Circus, which combines dialogue from the crime drama with panels from the long-running comic The Family Circus. It’s as terrific as you imagine.
What did you do last weekend? Nothing much, probably; no real reason to get excited. After all, it was just another awesome Marvel movie opening. Granted, “awesome” isn’t an objective description, and surely some people had a pretty miserable time. But judging from reviews, user ratings and my own anecdotal observations, odds are a significant majority of the approximately 11 million people who watched Captain America: The Winter Soldier enjoyed it.
The film has been thoroughly reviewed — you can read CBR’s take here — so I won’t get into a big assessment. (Suffice it to say, I liked it.) Instead ,what I want to talk about is the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, and how it hasn’t just successfully adapted stories and characters, but the very experience of the Marvel Comics Universe.
It is now well-documented that Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige is a big comics fan. The difference, however, is that he didn’t grow up with them, but schooled himself on Marvel’s stories while working under producer Lauren Shuler Donner on the first X-Men movie. That distinction might have given him the ability to view the characters and concepts without being hindered by nostalgia, and helped him to dissect how Marvel’s framework could be used for future movies. Hollywood is an even more collaborative business than comics, so it’s unlikely that credit rests solely with Feige. But he certainly was an advocate for leaning more faithfully into the source material.
While everyone else is trying to get a hotel room for this year’s Comic-Con International, Conan O’Brien is already planning for 2015.
TBS has announced he’ll head to San Diego July 2-8, 2015 for a week of shows, marking the first time a late-night talk show has broadcast from the annual event. Conan will set up at the historic Spreckels Theatre, just minutes away from the San Diego Convention Center.
In the build-up to Sunday’s premiere of Turn, the Revolutionary War thriller based on Alexander Rose’s fascinating 2007 book Washington’s Spies, AMC has released a beautifully illustrated online comic that details the backstories of the members of the Culper spy ring.
Turn: Origins is drawn by Steve Ellis, known for his work on High Moon, Box 13 and The Only Living Boy, and penned by Turn writer LaToya Morgan, whose credits include Shameless and Parenthood. Kevin Colden did the lettering.
The National Cartoonists Society has announced the divisional nominees for the 68th annual Reuben Awards. They join the finalists for the Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year Award — Wiley Miller (Non Sequitur), Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine), Hilary Price (Rhymes With Orange) and Mark Tatulli (Heart of the City, Lio) — revealed in late February.
The winners will be announced May 24 at the annual NCS Reuben Awards dinner in San Diego.
If you were surprised by that promotional campaign by Sony Pictures and the United States Postal Service featuring Stan Lee and Spider-Man, you may want to sit down for this one: Evian stakes out its own Amazing Spider-Man 2 tie-in with a commercial that introduces the world to Spider-Baby, a web-slinging, rope-skipping, dancing infant-sized mirror version of the wall-crawler. The TV spot is either inspired, or completely insane, I can’t decide.
Titled “The Amazing Baby & Me 2,” it’s the latest commercial in Evian’s “Live Young” campaign (aka the baby series).
The government of Saudi Arabia has banned the animated adaptation of the comic The 99, saying its representations of Allah’s names and attributes cannot be tolerated.
Based on Islamic concepts but intended by creator Naif Al-Mutawa to promote universal values, the comic features 99 ordinary teenagers and adults from across the globe who become imbued with magical powers. The title and premise refers to the 99 names and attributes of Allah.
According to Dubai’s Gulf News, Saudi Arabia’s Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta issued its decision in response to a complaint about the series’ broadcast on the Saudi-owned television channel MBC3.