"Justice League": Exploring How Superman Returns (Again)
Comic Books, Film
Although it’s the all-star sing-a-long from last night’s final episode of The Colbert Report that’s getting the attention this morning — it involved everyone from Henry Kissinger and Cyndi Lauper to Big Bird and Joe Quesada — it’s what came afterward that holds a special place in our hearts.
Having killed his old nemesis Grimmy the Grim Reaper, Stephen Colbert discovers he’s now immortal (cue Highlander effects), a condition he finds “kinda lonely, a little snacky.” Directionless, he takes to the rooftop, shouting “What do I do know?” while holding two prized possessions that didn’t get put in his yard sale: a Sting sword from The Lord of the Rings, and Captain America’s shield.
The Colbert Report host and all-around expert on Star Wars Stephen Colbert returned to his popular Comedy Central show after a week away, and there was one pressing piece of news he made sure to touch upon: the debut of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer. But not just any aspect of the teaser.
“Check out this awesome lightsaber! It’s a lightsaber with too many lightsabers on it,” Colbert said during his show’s opening segment. “It’s a menage-a-sabre. Sadly, there are some stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herders out there who aren’t thrilled with the new Jedi weapon. They say if these things are supposed to protect your hand like sword hilts, it wouldn’t work, because the first time you crossed lightsabers, and it slid down to the bottom of the blade, your opponent would cut through the little side-sabers and cut off your hand.”
As most readers likely have seen by now, Marvel confirmed last night on The Colbert Report that Sam Wilson is the new Captain America, but you may not caught a heartbroken Stephen Colbert learning from Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada that, alas, he won’t be the one taking up the shield. Watch the video below.
Colbert made a pretty good case for himself, saying, “Obviously, you have to be truly patriotic, you have to look decades younger than your actual age. … It should be someone who actually owns Captain America’s shield. That’s right, that’s right — the shield has been up there since 2007. I needed it for my battle against Nickelback.” (It was actually given to Colbert by Quesada during the “Death of Captain America” storyline.)
Leave it to Stephen Colbert to draw on Tony Stark for his lead-in to an interview with French economist Thomas Piketty, whose bestselling book Capital in the Twenty-First Century examines wealth and income inequality in the United States and Europe since the 18th century. An important topic, sure, but not exactly the stuff of superhero comics.
But in last night’s episode of The Colbert Report, Colbert found a way to liven up a potentially dry topic with the help of Iron Man … and his new goatee, of course. Or is it a Vandyke? Whatever.
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).
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 a cool publisher’s announcement to an awesome comic that came out. So get ready to fly really, really fast as we reverse the Earth’s orbit and head back for a look at the last seven days in comics …
March: Book One debuted Tuesday from Top Shelf Productions, earning high praise and a lot of attention for Congressman John Lewis, co-author Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell. But last night the graphic novel garnered arguably the highest accolade of all: the coveted Colbert Bump.
Lewis, the civil-rights pioneer who spoke at the 1963 March on Washington, appeared on The Colbert Report to discuss the book, which chronicles his early life in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King Jr. and the Selma to Montgomery marches.
Ever the guardian of American values, Stephen Colbert has cast his scornful gaze on the latest threats to everything wholesome: Man of Steel and Iron Man 3.
On last night’s episode of The Colbert Report, the talk-show host took on the Warner Bros. franchise reboot first for casting English actor Henry Cavill as the embodiment of truth, justice and the American way, and then for its liberal agenda. Showing a clip in which Superman explains to Lois (Amy Adams) that on his world, his “S” symbol means “hope,” Colbert rages, “They’re saying Superman is Obama! Think about it: They both rise from Midwestern obscurity, become the most powerful man in the world, and, if I’m not mistaken, Krypton is the capital of Kenya!”
His “big problem” with Iron Man 3 is that Marvel turned to China for financing, resulting in a special cut of the film, featuring scenes with Chinese actors, product placement and an alteration of the villain’s name from the Mandarin to “Man Daren.”
“Why is Iron Man fighting the husband from Bewitched?” Colbert asks.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz, an MIT professor who serves on the advisory board of Freedom University, a Georgia organization that provides college-level instructions to all qualified students, regardless of their immigration status, appeared last night on The Colbert Report to discuss immigration reform. As Diaz and host Stephen Colbert “debated” a pathway to citizenship and a guest worker program, the conversation soon turned to … the Superman Question.
“Every generation of Americans has to answer what we call ‘the Superman Question,'” Diaz said. “Superman comes, lands in America, he’s illegal, he’s one of these kids, wrapped up in a red bullfighter’s cape. You’ve got to decide what we’re going to do with Superman. Are we going to give him the boot and say, ‘You know what, you’re an illegal, you’re not an American,’ or are we going to have compassion and say, Listen, this kid was brought here before he knew, this could was brought here and he didn’t have a say in whether he was going to come, but he’s living in this country and –”
Aquaman has been the
caudal fin butt of jokes since at least the 1970s, when the mighty King of the Seven Seas was depicted as the weak link of the animated Super Friends, relying on his teammates for a ride to the nearest body of water. Since then he’s been mocked by everyone from Craig Ferguson and Jeff Dunham to the writers of The Big Bang Theory and Robot Chicken.
And now the Aquatic Ace has been drawn into the 2012 presidential campaign — oh, the humanity! — by none other than Stephen Colbert. On last night’s Colbert Report, the
conservative pundit political humorist took a look at Fox News’ efforts to downplay the meaning of Mitt Romney’s foundering battleground-state poll numbers, saying, “The Romney campaign is only on their third reboot since the convention. We’ve had Businessman Romney, Foreign Policy Romney, Latino Romney. But we still haven’t seen Aqua-Romney. … He uses his mental powers to tell fish that 47 percent of them are just lampreys.”
Longtime Legion Academy student Lamprey could not be reached for comment. Watch the full segment below.
I was immensely impressed in early December, when Stephen Colbert recommended Glenn Eichler & Joe Infurnari‘s new First Second book, Mush!: Sled Dogs with Issues, to The Colbert Report viewers. Admittedly, Colbert is slightly biased, given that Eichler (the author of the frozen tundra/talking sled dogs/quirky humans comedy-drama) writes for the Comedy Central show. However, while many of the show’s writers have projects they’d love to have promoted by their boss, it’s relatively rare when Colbert uses the show’s forum to promote his staff’s projects. As a result, once I saw the endorsement, I made a mental note to track down the creators after the holidays for a potential interview. By some stroke of luck, the book’s artist, Infurnari, instead contacted me in mid-December to see if I was interested in covering his latest project (you bet I agreed to email interview with him and Eichler). I appreciate the collaborators’ willingness to discuss the project, particularly when Eichler shared the origin of his honed sense of comedic timing (having worked in an “editing room for a lot of animated half-hours for TV” [he was a story editor for MTV’s Beavis & Butthead in the mid-1990s, as well as creating and producing the television show, Daria]). Once you’ve read the interview, be sure to enjoy First Second’s preview of the book.
Tim O’Shea: Joe, I love the way you convey the intensity and energy of the dogs when they are working, how did you arrive upon conveying that particular style of kineticism?
Joe Infurnari: The story hinges on the idea that not doing what you love leads to discontentment and unrest. For the team of sled dogs featured in this book, running is their bliss and the time they spend not running breeds trouble. So it was important to make the times the dogs were running as full of energy and joy as possible.
Quick slashing lines, splashes of ink, dramatic foreshortening and powerful diagonals are some of the ways I tried to bring to life the rush of running through the trails. I also knew that if it looked quickly drawn, then that energy would come through in the movement of the characters. When it came to the final inks, I was very comfortable drawing the book and I think the art reflects that. The inks are decisive, gestural and full of energy.
The final piece to the puzzle was the use of sound effects to add a visual punch to the high action running sequences.
Digital | Retailer Brian Hibbs responds to recent comments around the price of digital comics, commenting on how “channel migration” could effect comic retailers: “The concern of the comics retailer isn’t that there IS digital — fuck, I’m totally all for a mechanism to drive a potentially wide segment of customers to the medium of comics itself. How can that NOT help me? But, rather, that enough customers will ‘change channels’ (of purchase), so as to make segments of work unprofitible to carry. I’ve been pretty straight with you — most periodicals are but marginally profitible; most books are largely unprofitible. That we have stellar, break out, oh-my-god-it’s-like-printing-money successes like WALKING DEAD or BONE or SANDMAN doesn’t mean that this is the way all books can follow. Quite the opposite in fact! So what this means is that even losing a TINY portion of the readership through Channel Migration could potentially have dire effects. Seriously, if I lost just 10% of my customers, I’m done. And what we also know is that when physical stores close, most of that readership for comics UTTERLY VANISHES. The gist of this is that losing 10% of sales to migration could mean that the other 80% of that stores’ sales are COMPLETELY LOST.” [The Savage Critics]
You might remember back in 2007 when talk show host Stephen Colbert was given Captain America’s shield after Steve Rogers was apparently (but not really) shot to death. Joe Quesada, Marvel’s editor in chief, passed the shield on “to the only man who has the red, white and blue balls to carry the mantle” — the “conservative” talk show host/comic fan whose show runs on the Comedy Channel.
Well, as we learned in June, Captain America isn’t exactly dead, so schoolteacher and Robot 6 reader Robt Seda-Schreiber has served Colbert with “a legal document called a writ of replevin that I have prepared.” Here’s what it looks like:
“As I am sure comes as no surprise to anyone, Captain America, aka Steve Rogers, has returned (‘reborn’ if you will) from his supposed death. More to the point, reports of his death were greatly exaggerated in the first place. It was under this false pretense that Mr. Colbert was ‘bequeathed’ said shield, so it would follow that the good Captain’s shield be returned to him post-haste,” Seda-Schreiber writes. “I bring this legal action in his name, with the help of my brilliant & beautiful lawyer-wife.” Check out his blog for updates and to find out exactly what a writ of replevin is.
(And a closer look at the writ makes me wonder if it IS actually legal … there’s a really good chance the sheriff who signed it was a Life Model Decoy …)
On last night’s episode of The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert spied a spider crawling on the face of Pope Benedict XVI and posed a hypothetical scenario that would make Stan Lee proud: “… Given all the toxic waste and loose nuclear radiation all over Eastern Europe, if that spider bit the pope we might soon have … Spider-Pope!”
“He could shoot holy water from his wrists,” Colbert continued. “Trap atheists in his web, and every time someone used birth control his popey-sense would tingle!”
As JK noted yesterday, Neil Gaiman appeared on The Colbert Report last night to answer Stephen Colbert’s charges about Gaiman’s children’s book The Graveyard Book.
“Isn’t there a danger here that our children will stop being frightened of graveyards?” Colbert asked in the interview. “Because without that how are we supposed to get them to eat their vegetables?”
You can watch the full episode at the Colbert Nation website.