The Biggest Superhero Films That Didn't Happen, Part 2
Comic Books, Film
With a doctor’s freedom at stake, a Turkish court as asked a committee of experts to take up the question of whether Gollum from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings is good or evil.
Bilgin Ciftci faces up to two years in prison on charges that he insulted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by comparing the politician to Gollum in a series of photos posted on Twitter.
When the call went out over the weekend, scores of men, women, Elves, Orcs and, um, other things responded, descended upon Fort Radikov, with nothing less than the future of Middle-earth at stake.
Or at least it could’ve been easily mistaken for Middle-earth. It was actually a village in the Czech Republic, where dedicated LARPers gathered for “The Battle of the Fort,” an event set within the sweeping fantasy world created by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Although J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved novel clear states, “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit,” we’re not about to quibble when it comes to this amazing treehouse inspired by The Hobbit.
Located at Chateau De Soleil, a country house near Sturgis, South Dakota, the 400-square-foot treehouse features round doors and windows, Elvish signs, Sauron’s mask, a gauntlet with the One Ring, and even furry Hobbit-foot slippers.
It took LEGO enthusiast Michał Kaźmierczak seven months and 55,000 bricks to create a replica of the iconic gates to the Dwarven kingdom of Erebor from The Hobbit. It was a massive undertaking that would’ve satisfied most any hobbyist. But not Kaźmierczak.
No, the super-builder decided to take on the interior, too. Now, months (again) later, it’s complete — standing 7 feet tall, stretching 6 feet wide and consuming more than 120,000 bricks total. And it weighs a whopping 286 pounds.
A plan to build a J.R.R. Tolkien theme park in the Spanish coastal town of Rincón de la Victoria has attracted the all-seeing eye of Warner Bros.
Announced early this month by the town’s mayor, La Comarca (roughly, “The Shire”) was initially trumpeted as “a top-rated tourist attraction” based on the works of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings author. However, with a budget of just $2 million, the 20-acre Shire seems like a pretty low-rent affair; y’know, a gift kiosk, a couple of carnival cutouts and a gaggle of prickly Hobbits to pose for photos and pick up trash.
If you’re heading out to watch The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, odds are that you have at least a passing familiarity with the complex mythology underpinning J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth saga. If you don’t … oh, boy, do you have some catching up to do. And fast.
Luckily, CGP Grey has put together a four-minute (or so) primer, with nifty illustrations, that may help. Of course, it may also leave you tearing at your hair and shouting, “Wait, who’s Eru Iluvatar again?” and “But where the hell did Hobbits come from?” (It serves you right for coming in at the end.) But, hey, that’s preferable to trying to slog through the The Silmarillion.
In the past year, both Loki and Superman have dropped by Sesame Street to teach the beloved characters valuable (and not at all sinister) lessons, and this week it’s Magneto’s turn. Or is that Gandalf’s?
Appearing alongside Sir Cookie Monster, Ian McKellen is tasked with telling young viewers what the word resist means. But considering that Cookie Monster doesn’t even know, it’s up to the actor to explain, using a couple of vaguely familiar examples.
“Say there was something you really loved, and it pulled you towards it like some sort of powerful magnet,” says the Master of Magnetism. “If you were able to control yourself and not go near it, you would resist it.”
No one is likely to mistake this for a hole in the ground, but Hobbit devotees looking to continue the experience beyond the trilogy-ending Battle of the Five Armies may want to consider a stay at the Hobbit House in Thailand.
Just two hours from Bangkok, the rental cottage is entirely above ground, but otherwise bears a fairly decent likeness to Bag End, right down to the round green door and earthen roof. Luckily, however, this version has air conditioning and wireless Internet, still unavailable in the Shire, despite Saruman’s efforts to modernize.
Conventions | The organizers of Asbury Park Comic Con emphasize they are getting back to basics, with a comics event that eschews movies and other media to focus solely on comics. The headline guests for the Saturday event are Michael Uslan, Al Jaffee and Herb Trimpe. [The New York Times]
Conventions | In Pennsylvania, the first-ever Nittany-Con drew about 400 people to enjoy the three c’s of comics conventions: Creators, cheap comics, and cosplay. [Centre Daily Times]
Conventions | And in New Jersey, the Hasbrouck Heights Comics Expo drew an equally enthusiastic, if somewhat smaller, crowd. [NorthJersey.com]
With The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hitting theaters Friday, fan interest is high — and some of those fans happen to be comic creators. Artist Daniel Govar and writer (and former comics executive) Ron Perazza are releasing today a unique one-off comic project on Comic Book Think Take celebrating an overlooked facet of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth stories: the walking songs of Bilbo Baggins.
The Road Goes Ever On is described by Perazza as “a lyrical presentation of the Shire” based on Baggins’ walking songs featured in the Middle-earth stories. In those original novels, the songs were featured in bits and pieces that are now collectively referred to as “The Old Walking Song.” Govar and Perazza have threaded those verses into one continuous piece that they’ve overlaid on a panoramic view of the Shire illustrated by Govar.
The road goes ever on, and so does a very intriguing project that’s been cooking for over a year but to which I am just catching up now: Artist Sam Bosma is doing a suite of twelve illustrations based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy classic The Hobbit. Scroll through his extensive archive and you’ll find elves, trolls, giants, goblins, dwarves, eagles, wizards, Gollum and, of course, Mr. Bilbo Baggins, drawn in an absolutely sumptuous style.
Bosma often goes off-model in terms of hewing to Professor T’s descriptions from the books, but mostly in a rewarding fashion; I certainly never pictured the Elves wearing this high a hemline, but I’m not complaining. Bosma also posts exhaustive behind-the-scenes material on every drawing, walking you through his entire process from sketches and thumbnails through pencils and final Photoshop tweaks, which is a big part of the fun — check out the Mignolaverse influence on his sketches of Gollum, for example. If we get the Mirkwood spiders, Smaug and the Battle of Five Armies out of him, I’ll be a happy nerd indeed.
Check ‘em out, and if you dig ‘em, keep in mind that Bosma created the illustrations for the recently completed Picture Book Report project, which features similar illustration adaptations of great books by the likes of Lucy Knisley, Laura Park, Emily Carroll, Kali Ciesemier and many more. It’s like a bookshelf for your eyeballs. (Wait, that’s what a regular bookshelf is. Well, you know what I mean.)
(via Domatille Collardey)
Welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly round-up of the comics and other stuff that have escaped the unread stacks of books next to our beds. Our special guest this week is Nathan Edmondson, writer of the Image comics Who is Jake Ellis?, The Light and Olympus. To see what Nathan and the Robot 6 crew have bene reading, click below.