The Dark Knight Rises
Devotees of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy — particularly those who hoped a follow-up might center on Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s John Blake — may find a lot to enjoy in The Dark Knight Legacy, a seven-minute fan film that debuted this morning on Machinima.
Directed by Brett Register from a script by Woody Tondorf and Chris Landa, the short picks up a year after the events of The Dark Knight Rises, as Blake (as Nightwing) tries to “protect the symbol of Batman from the lethal, relentless attacks of a masked vigilante known only as the Red Hood.” (Fan-favorite character Stephanie Brown also makes an appearance.)
The producers hope to transform The Dark Knight Legacy into an actual series, and to that end they’ve turned to Indiegogo in an effort to raise $30,000. Watch the video below.
“When I work for DC, anything I create I get a piece of. Lucius Fox, for example, who was in the last trilogy of Batman movies played by Morgan Freeman, bought my new house. At Marvel, I did see a check off The Wolverine, the current film. But as a rule I don’t any of the ancillary money off of all of the toys and soaps and shampoos and skateboards and God knows what else that features the character.”
– veteran writer and editor Len Wein, who co-created the Batman supporting character Lucius Fox and the wildly popular Wolverine, talking about his compensation for film adaptations during a Television Critics Association panel for the upcoming PBS miniseries Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle.
According to TheWrap, Wein said that although there have been six movies featuring Wolverine, “esoteric rules” mean that he was only compensated for the most recent one, because it was named for the character. The requirements are so strict that he didn’t receive a check for 2009′s X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
This post concerns a movie that (if all goes as planned) won’t start filming until next year, and won’t be in theaters until 2015. I know next to nothing about it past the basic premise, a handful of cast members and a few educated guesses. Nevertheless, once I read the Superman/Batman movie announcement, two words kept popping into my head:
See, I can’t help but think that in the sequel to Man of Steel, the Darknight Detective may get equal billing, but will necessarily have a subordinate role. This is not perfectly analogous to introducing Scarlett Johannson’s super-spy in Iron Man 2 — for one thing, that film wasn’t called Iron Man and Black Widow — but her role there was defined largely by the plot. Batman’s role in the as-yet-untitled sequel seems likely to have similar restrictions.
Indeed, we know some broad restrictions already: Batman won’t be played by Christian Bale, and the Christopher Nolan-directed trilogy doesn’t take place in the same “cinematic universe” as Man of Steel and this (prospective) new set of DC-superhero movies. That probably also means no Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, or Joseph Gordon-Levitt in S/B.
Is the goal for comics to become a mainstream form of entertainment an unattainable goal? That seemed to be the angle Tom Spurgeon took on Monday’s Deconstructing Comics podcast and in his additional commentary at The Comics Reporter. He feels the industry is better served by regaining a few hundred thousand more devoted readers to restore unit sales to mid-six-figure levels. While comics have shown there is longevity in niche markets, that doesn’t eliminate the possibility of also attaining a larger readership.
With March’s estimated direct market sales figures showing yet another double-digit month of growth, manga publishers giving anecdotal reports of the manga market stabilizing, and something of a convention boom going on, there’s no better time than now to re-examine how comics can secure a healthy and vibrant future. Taking advantage of this growth is tricky because, as Spurgeon mentions, no one is exactly sure why the turnaround happened. Although people complain about DC Comics’ New 52 being a mess and Marvel crossovers not having the punch of the Civil War days, overall sales are rebounding. Was it digital comics? Was it the mainstream press for the New 52 or Marvel NOW, or some other stunt? Is it the Hollywood movies?
Gather ‘round, kiddos, because we begin with another tale of Gen-X adolescence!
From 1977 through 1986, I grew from a snot-nosed third-grade punk into a snot-nosed (I had allergies) high-school senior, accompanied along the way by at least one big-budget sci-fi/fantasy movie milestone.* Specifically, right in the middle of the run were three sequels by which every self-respecting fan swears: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Superman II (released in the United States in 1981) and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982). Each built on its predecessor using darker elements and/or more “mature” themes, because each had the sequel’s luxury of an established setting.
For Young Tom, though, the cumulative effect of these three movies was mind-expanding, if not mind-blowing. I’m not talking about Empire’s Big Reveal (echoed coincidentally in Khan) or the unsettling sight of a powerless Clark Kent. Instead, each catapulted the fevered suppositions of a junior-high imagination to higher levels of awareness. I went into the theater each time wondering will this be as good? and came out giddy at how much better each one was.
So what’s this have to do with comics? Read on …
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where we reveal our picks for the best Super Bowl ads … er, where we talk about what we’ve been reading lately. Today our special guest is Sonia Harris, who writes a weekly column – Committed – for Comics Should Be Good, and is a graphic designer on books such as Butcher Baker the Righteous Maker (collected in hardcover now from Image Comics) and upcoming comic books SEX (beginning March) and The Bounce. (beginning May).
To see what Sonia and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
For all of the ridicule Christian Bale received for his 2008 tirade on the set of Terminator Salvation, it turns out the Oscar winner is a kindhearted guy, visiting with victims of the shooting at The Dark Knight Rises screening in Aurora, Colorado, and flying the family of a 4-year-old cancer patient to have lunch with him at Disneyland. And now the actor has put a smile on the face of an 8-year-old Batman fan who’s battling leukemia.
Butcher Billy, the Brazilian artist sometimes known as Bily Mariano da Luz, is turning into something of a Robot 6 favorite. His latest project posted at Behance is “Batman: The Nolan X Burton Experiment,” smashing together Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman and Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy to sometimes humorous, often illuminating, effect. By placing their differing elements in proximity, these images reveal both what was good and what failed from these two adaptations. (Such as, hey Tim, you cast Lando Calrissian as Harvey Dent, then do absolutely nothing of consequence with the character in either of your films? What was that all about?)
As Bily writes: “But are they really that different? How much of all that is really classic and timeless and how much is pure recycling to modern times? Are those elements cool enough to stand even if taken from their own environments? How those concepts would work if they were mixed into one another?”
If it’s the first Grumpy Old Fan of 2013, it must be time for “Ten From the Old Year, Ten For the New.” For those who came in late, every January I evaluate 10 predictions/observations from the previous year, and present 10 for the next. Accordingly, first we have commentary on 2012′s items.
1. The Dark Knight Rises. I had three rather superficial questions about the final Christopher Nolan Batman movie. First, “[c]an it make a skillion dollars?” Not quite — while it did make over a billion dollars worldwide, it didn’t make as much as its predecessor domestically, and it came in second to The Avengers. Next was “[w]ill it have Robin?” Well … [SPOILER ALERT] it depends on your definition of “Robin,” I suppose. And finally, referring to certain issues about Bane’s elocution, “[w]ill it have subtitles?” Nope — as it turns out, they weren’t needed. Instead, Bane’s accent was perfectly suited to breaking not just Batman, but Alex Trebek as well.
At the end of every year Carla Hoffman and Tom Bondurant exchange emails about the fortunes of the Big Two. Look for Part 2 on Wednesday!
Carla: Here we are, heading toward the year the Mayan calendar might not have thought would ever come: 2013. The future gets closer and closer! Technology advances! Politics change! And yet, comic books are still here. How cool is that? It’s been a heck of a year, full of ups and downs, movie premieres, new #1 issues and the never-ending race to produce better, faster comics.
I have to admit, Image has been doing a really great job keeping up with the Big Two, producing award-winning books in a variety of formats and getting involved in TV to draw new readers into a wide array of comic book genres. But we’re not here to talk about them! We’re here for the greatest shows in town, the Merry Marvel Marching Society and … our Distinguished Competitors.
My first question is kind of a no-brainer: How’s the New 52 treating you these days? And, after a year, is it still the “New 52″?
Tom: Well, as a practical matter, it’s the “New 52″ for as long as DC wants it to be. Actually, I think I have stopped seeing that little blurb on the covers. I happened to look at Aquaman #15 yesterday, kind of out of the corner of my eye, and was surprised it was there. Part of me thinks that it could confuse those hypothetical new readers, but then I thought that about “Earth One,” and that doesn’t seem to have hurt those books.
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U.K. animator Rob Brindle just may have come up with the greatest comic-related gif of all time. Brindle has form with comics, having brought those filthy funsters Modern Toss‘ work to television in the past. Struck by Batman’s odd posture on the cover of the The Dark Knight Rises DVD cover (“Batman looks funny on his new DVD. So I made this in tribute. Suggested listening for accompaniment: Blackout Crew – Put a Donk On It“), Brindle has animated it for maximum pelvic impact.
As much as I love a bangin’ donk, I’d suggest Christian Bale looks like he’s been caught mid-Time Warp:
Stop-motion animator and LEGO fan Nicolas of Paranick Filmz, who’s already recreated the first two trailers for The Dark Knight Rises using the colorful building-block toys, has now moved on to the third — and as you might expect, it’s a lot of fun. It kind of made me wish Christopher Nolan had worked with LEGO from the start …
DC Comics announced The Dark Knight Rises prequel comic on Friday:
Can’t get enough of the epic conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy? Then download THE DARK KNIGHT RISES: PROLOGUE app from DC Comics, sponsored by Nokia and available on Nokia Windows Phone devices. The app features an exclusive motion-comic from writer Joshua Williamson and artist Jorge Jimenez that serves as a prologue to THE DARK KNIGHT RISES film. The app also include social media share options and links to other apps tied to the film.
Proving once again that he’s the biggest comic fan in the WWE, Rey Mysterio appeared at tonight’s SummerSlan pay-per-view event dressed all in black, sporting a cape and bat ears. Wrestling’s equivalent of Batman wasn’t able to fully “rise” in his match against The Miz, but at least he looked good while doing it.
At past events, the high-flying Mysterio has worn outfits inspired by the Silver Surfer, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Joker, Flash, Iron Man, Captain America and the movie Avatar.
If the trailer for Batgirl: Spoiled wasn’t enough to whet your fan-film appetite, there’s now Batman: Puppet Master, a short set in the aftermath of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight as the Gotham City Police Department calls in an expert to help bring Batman to justice: FBI Special Agent Edward Nigma.
However, Nigma doesn’t merely want to catch the Dark Knight; he wants to deduce his secret identity, proving that he’s the world’s greatest detective. To that end, he enlists the assistance of some of Arkham Asylum’s inmates — Arnold Weskler and Peyton Riley (aka the first and second Ventriloquist), and Victor Zsasz.
Directed by Bryan Nest from a script by Chris Wiltz, Batman: Puppet Master is described as “a film created by fans for fans and it delivers an exciting storyline that will introduce fans to new versions of Mr. Zsasz, The Ventriloquist, and Edward Nigma (aka The Riddler), who fans were expecting to appear in Nolan’s third Batman film.”