Mimicking comics in more ways than one, Warner Archive is offering a variant cover to its upcoming release of Shazam!: The Complete Series. The standard cover features a photo collage of the series’ main actors (see below), but the variant will have artwork by Jerry Ordway, creator of DC’s well-regarded Power of SHAZAM! series from the late ’90s.
It’s pretty smart marketing, too, because according to Super Hero Hype (who’ve confirmed with Warner Archive), the Ordway cover is only available to those who pre-order the series before its release date on Oct. 23. A lot of older fans have fond memories of watching the live-action show over a bowl of Fruity Pebbles on Saturday mornings, but haven’t seen it since and don’t know if it’s as good or fun as they remember. Younger fans don’t know what it’s like at all. Waiting to hear some buzz by others who’ve seen the new DVDs before spending $34.95 on the set is a reasonable strategy, but the Ordway cover makes it more enticing to go ahead and plunk down that $35 on a blind buy. Fortunately, we have more than a month to make up our minds.
Warner Archive isn’t so cruel as to make this the only way to get the art from Ordway’s cover, though: The Warner Archive podcast has a promotion going where you can get a poster version for free.
[I've] pretty much been given free rein on Captain America and Daredevil and all the stuff I’ve written for [Marvel] to do whatever I do because they like what I do. Still, I know what I’m doing. I know the superhero comic has to have a fight in it. I know there has to be a bad guy. I know that at the end of the day, the problem will not be solved by talking about it but will be solved by two people punching each other in the face. Although I have gotten away with letting the bad guys win a lot of the time, which is more true, I think.
David Milch said, when he created Deadwood, that part of Deadwood was wanting to exorcise — I think he worked on Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue, and he thought it was bullshit that every week they were solving crimes when in the real world people were always getting away with it. He wanted to do something about crime the way crime really is, where crime is corruption and crime is behind everything. It’s much more about what’s really going on in our country right now, where Bill Clinton deregulates the media and now we have seven companies that basically own America. Sometimes when I’m writing a superhero story I wonder if they really have to punch each other in the face. Is that really going to solve anything? I feel the same way sometimes when I watch episodes of Law & Order. I’m like, “Yeah, right. You found the sex offender and now everything is fine.” TV is big on closure, but I think closure is horseshit in real life. I’m still haunted by stuff I did in my teen years when I think about it too much.
There’s a lot to chew on and pick apart and mull over in Tom Spurgeon’s long, fascinating interview with writer Ed Brubaker on the occasion of the launch of the next installment of his and Sean Phillips’s crime comic Criminal this week, but this is the passage that jumped out to me. I’ve often said that the core idea behind superhero stories is “extraordinary individuals solving problems through violence”; now that I think about it, what sets Brubaker’s Captain America and many of his other superhero comics apart is that the violence committed by their extraordinary individuals tends not to solve much of anything.
Morrison, Finch, Cornell, Paquette, Snyder, Daniel, Tomasi, Gleason, Scott…Larroca?: A Batman news round-up
Not since Bane broke all the lunatics out of Arkham Asylum has Batman had this eventful a week. Perhaps to avoid the avalanche of news coming out of San Diego next week, DC has spent the past few days announcing a slew of new Batman projects and creative teams. And heck, even Marvel got in on the act, sorta…
I had no idea Mad founder Harvey Kurtzman ever did any work for Sesame Street, but lo and behold animator Michael Sporn has the images to prove it. (via Cartoon Brew, which also has a YouTube video of the finished cartoon)
Did someone tell me that the English producer/director Tupaq Felber is attempting to do a six-part adaptation of Peter Bagge’s Apocalypse Nerd for the BBC and I just conveniently forgot? Egad, I hope not. At any rate, above is the teaser trailer Felber put together. Hopefully the BBC will pick it up tout suite and BBC America (or some other Brit-loving American channel) will bring it stateside soon. (via)
Apparently back in the mid-80s Batman and Robin had to support their crimefighting habits by shilling for a retail store chain. Hey, batmobiles don’t come cheap. No doubt they had an added incentive in the fact that the Joker ran the competing chain. Man, he sure does enjoy gouging customers! (via)
It’s not comics, but I thought I’d share it anyway. The above is Statuesque, a short film written and directed by Neil Gaiman for the Sky1 drama series 10 minute Tales, starring Bill Nighy and Amanda Palmer. (via)
We’ve certainly done our share of review-preview posts over the past several days, but I still have this last bit of business to address. This is the third year I’ve done a ten-and-ten list, so why stop now?
(Click here for last year’s post.)
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The good folks at Flog! found this odd 1970s television ad for Excedrin pain reliever animated by none other than Burne Hogarth, co-founder of the school of Visual Arts, Tarzan artist of renown and author of several how-to books used and referenced by just about every cartoonist on the map.
Welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading. Pull up a chair and sit down, won’t you? Our guest this week is Bill Kartalopoulos, who teaches classes about comics and illustration at Parsons, is a contributing editor for Print Magazine, and a comics reviewer for Publishers Weekly. But he’s probably best known as the Programming Coordinator for the SPX convention in Bethesda, MD.
Bill and everyone else has quite a number of books by their bedside table this week, so we’ll get right to it. Be a dear and click on the link below, won’t you?
Marvel Comics pays homage to the recently canceled daytime soap opera Guiding Light by making their 2006 Halloween crossover with the 70-plus-year-old TV show available for free on their digital site. I recall the TV version of the mash-up being pretty thoroughly trashed. Can’t speak for the comic though.
Oh, the last episode of Guiding Light runs today as well. Just in case you were interested.
No doubt inspired by his arrival to Comic-Con, Tom Spurgeon has made up a list of what he feels are 10 properties that should be fast-tracked into movies or TV shows. No. 1 on the list is Dr. Strange, and Tom has an interesting suggestion as to who should don the Eye of Agamotto:
While some folks reading that original post thought I was hinting at Johnny Depp being best suited for the role, the actor I was thinking of was actually Leonardo DiCaprio. A number of you probably just vomited, but DiCaprio is already 34, he can act, he’s as believable as Downey Jr. — albeit in a different way — as someone who once had a glamorous career, lost it and has seen tough times since, he’s a major motion picture star, he has considerable onscreen charisma it’s fun to see him embrace rather than flee and he’s adept at playing romance. But so many actors would do.
Go check out the whole list. There are some interesting and eclectic choices found there.
The 2009 San Diego Comic-Con kicks off in two weeks. If you are a publisher, creator, retailer or any other kind of exhibitor who would like to let folks know about any special plans you have for the show (panels, signing schedules, exclusives, debuts, etc.) drop me an email and I’ll run it here.
Webcomics | Gardner Linn, one of the creators behind Registered Weapon, sent word that the first print collection of “the webcomic about a crime-fighting robot who used to be a cash register” will premiere at San Diego, “guerrilla style.”
“Booths will soon be an outmoded concept in the every-man-for-himself comics industry of the future (just like paper and paying for things), so writers Gardner Linn and Chris Thorn will be hitting the show guerrilla-style, passing out copies to anybody who wants one (and even more people who don’t),” he writes. “And keep coming back to http://registered-weapon.com for more info as the con approaches, and new comics four times a week.”
BTW, I really dig this webcomic; go check it out if you’re looking for off-the-wall laughs.