Spectacular Spider-Man in March

Spectacular Spider-Man finally has a release date - March 1.

It's not new, but here's the trailer if you haven't seen it.


Comic Book Thesaurus

I'm holding onto the phrase comic book, but it seems there are new terms popping up everywhere. I think all of the comic book movies last year were based on graphic novels. And I read a new one yesterday in my wife's Redbook. (Hey - I just can't bring myself to leave my comics laying around in the bathroom.) It talked about how the animated film Persepolis was based on an illustrated autobiography. I hadn't heard that one before. Good grief, what's next? Should we start referring to our comics as "pictorial fiction"?

I'm sticking with comic book.

Not to detract from the fact that Persepolis does indeed look like an interesting, even socially relevant movie.

It got a limited release here in the States yesterday. Who knows if it'll come anywhere near here. Maybe if it gets good Oscar buzz. Here's a trailer if you haven't seen it.


The Reluctant (Super)Hero

I happened to see the trailer for Hancock, Will Smith's new superhero movie, when we went to see National Treasure today. Have you seen the trailer for it? It looks like it could be hilarious...but you never know with these kinds of things.

Check out the trailer below, or visit the site to the right.


Turok is how old?

Shows how much I know.

I've got that cool foil cover of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter #1 from Valiant floating around in my comics collection. It's not worth anything - you can buy it on eBay right now for about a buck. And I remember playing Turok on my brother's Playstation many moons ago. I always figured it was a cheap comic that was based on the video game. Come to find out, the Valiant comic (1993) came out about four years before the first video game (1997). So I was obviously wrong there.

But now I just found out that Turok's been around since the 50s. How'd I miss that? Spending too much time working and not enough time reading comics, I guess. So, anyway, Turok made his first appearance in 1954 in Gold Key's Four Color Comics #596. He's had several incarnations as well as several video games since then.

What's the point of all this? In February, Genius Products and Classic Media will be releasing Turok: Son of Stone, an animated feature on DVD. Going for about $20, the hour-and-fifteen-minute animated film was supervised by Tad Stone (who is responsible for the Hellboy animated movies - see that blog to the right). It looks interesting, but I'm not sure it'll be worth buying. Here's the trailer.

It looks like it coincides with the release of a new Turok game for Playstation 3 and XBOX 360. This trailer looks a little more interesting.


Watchmen pics, Spirit Blog, Swamp Thing DVDs

In a similar vein to the 300 side-by-side comparisons, here are a few Watchmen pics that compare scenes in the movie to the comics. (Note that it's on Maxim's website, so you may want to wait until you get home from work.)

The Spirit has a production blog (link to the right).

The Swamp Thing series is coming out on DVD (link under Premiers & Releases). I've never seen it, but this is another one of those things I'd be tempted to pick up sight unseen. (On a side note, Amazon finally has Justice League: New Frontier available for pre-order.)


Film Release Updates

Added the new Asterix film, though it doesn't have a US release.

Wanted has been pushed out a few months to the right. I guess I won't have to do a double feature of that and Superhero on March 28.

Punisher: War Zone has a release date of next September.

Thanks to Comics2Film.


November 2007 Previews Pop Culture Crossover

OK, so still don't have the December Previews that came out a couple weeks ago, but I was able to hunt down November's issue outside of Gatlinburg, TN.

Here's a few comics on sale in January, from movies and television. Bones, I finally got around to the comics you've been talking about. Let me know how you like My Name is Bruce.

  • Dr. Who #1 (new series, IDW)
    Science fiction buff that I am, I never seemed to get into any of these series. I believe this series is based on the current show running on Sci Fi.
  • Star Trek: Alien Spotlight: Borg (one-shot, IDW)
    Ah, the ever-popular Borg. IDW's series continues, spotlighting the alien races from Star Trek.


  • Evil Dead #1 (4-part mini, Dark Horse)
    This is Bruce Campbell, returned to his roots. This adaptation comes with some additional scenes.
  • My Name is Bruce (one-shot, Dark Horse)
    Continuing with the Bruce Campbell theme, this is based on his movie due out sometime in 2007. I think we're awfully close to that date slipping a bit.
  • Star Wars: Vector (crossover, Dark Horse)
    Crossover that seems to run through all of the current Star Wars titles. Every episode is listed in Previews, and probably on Dark Horse's site.


  • Simon Bisley's Paradise Lost (graphic novel, Verotik)
    I actually enjoyed the epic poem in high school. This adaptation should be interesting.


  • Crayon Shinchan Vol. 1 (TPB, CMX (DC))
    You know, I've just never caught the bug on animated, foul-mouthed kids. Apparently, this is the manga the Cartoon Network Adult Swim caroon is based on.
  • Gumby: Volume 1 (TPB, Wildcard Ink)
    I love stop motion - I really need to get my hands on some of these episodes. Collects issues #1-3.
  • Speed Racer: Chronicles of the Racer #1 (new series, IDW)
    This might be a little before my time, but still, it's something I never really got into. This is based on the cartoon, but watch for the movie adaptation coming soon.
  • Voltron Complete Omnibus (Hardcover Collection, Devil's Due)
    It seems to be theme this month, but this is a cartoon from my childhood that I never seemed to watch. This 304-page hardcover collects the entire series - both volumes.

This is the part where you tell me what I missed.


Thanks for the Riddles!

Well, it seems Bones got lucky with that last one. Riddler here again, and this one's a bit tougher, so you cwazy wabbits aren't likely to get it so easily. And since Christmas is approaching, the prize up for grabs is last year's Batman ornament from Hallmark! It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world.

The director rounded up Buffy, the Scorpion King, and Stifler,
But we're not talking about that Tale.
We're talking about a previous story,
The notorious film.
Brother and Sister play Sister and Brother,
Playing with time and space,
The sparrows are flying again.

Once again, one answer per person! No guessing!

Note: The answers to these riddles will always be something I've mentioned in this blog - not necessarily comic-related.

Attempting to answer assumes agreement to the Riddler's rules.


Sonic Boom!

OK, this isn't entirely comic-book-related. Though it's not completely un-comic-book-movie-related since Udon has been releasing comics based on the title. But, as you may know, Capcom is working on a new version of Street Fighter.

But what I wanted to mention here were some hilarious movies I came across - Street Fighter: The Later Years. Zangief and Dhalsim round up the gang to capture some of the old magic. Here's episode 1:

They've got five full episodes up at the link above.

And in case you haven't seen it, here's the trailer for Street Fighter IV.


XIII: The Conspiracy

While looking up some other comic book movie connections in A History of Violence, I stumbled across the fact that a XIII mini-series is in the works. If you're not familiar with it, that's the Belgian comic that the Ubisoft game is based on. Don't know why this is so under the radar (unless it's because it's not a done deal - though that never seems to stop anyone), but after a little hunting, and translating of French web pages, I finally came across some information.

The series is called XIII: The Conspiracy (even if you Google that, there are only 20 hits: second-hand news sources, foreign-language web pages, and the text of a book with a 13th chapter that starts out "The conspiracy..."). The mini is slated to be in production right now, starring Stephen Dorff (as XIII) and Val Kilmer (as Mongoose). The best information came from the British production company Power, which seems to be one of the companies involved in making the XIII mini-series. Here's their October 2007 story. Unfortunately, Google must not crawl their sites - I had to translate a French blog to find this (my French isn't that good - I had to use the Google translator).

The series starts out like the game (and I'm assuming the comic). XIII washes up on the beach with amnesia, only to find out he's being hunted for the assassination of the president. Judging from the cult following, it makes for a great comic book; from personal experience, it makes for an amazing game. If you don't know the story, here's a more complete synopsis of the adaptation from Power's page:

XIII: The Conspiracy opens with the assassination of the first female US President Sally Sheridan who is shot dead by a sniper during her Independence Day speech. Her assassin narrowly escapes the scene with his life, national security hot on his heels – or so it seems.

Three months later, an elderly couple discover the body of a wounded man washed up on a beach. The young man (Stephen Dorff) cannot remember the slightest thing about his own identity. The only clue is a tattoo on his neck, “XIII.” Meanwhile, in the Whitehouse, government intelligence is still conducting the search for the President’s killer. With the elections just weeks away, a confirmed suspect could swing the vote for the administration. Hours after XIII’s location is picked up by covert intelligence, elite special ops forces are swarming the couple’s house in Cape Fear. Running on adrenaline and instinct, XIII tactically takes out the soldiers one by one. Is this who he is – a killer?

On the run, clinging to one desperate clue after another, XIII begins to piece back his life, fragments of his memory returning. Finally captured, he learns that he has been given a stolen identity and placed undercover to flush out a group of conspirators threatening to overthrow the government. Ensconced within the highest echelons of power the conspirators run their own security agency alongside the Government’s. Both are out to find him.

The only way for XIII to get his own life back is to play bait. A dangerous game, especially when you don’t know who you really are.

The official IMDB page lists a number of actors attached to the series (including Greg Bryk from History of Violence), but doesn't include Dorff and Kilmer.

If anyone has any more current info, I'd love to hear about it.


A History of Violence (2005) mini review

based on a comic

A History of Violence is an exploration of the cycle of violence and whether or not, once begun, it can be stopped.

Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) is a small-town diner owner and family man who garners national attention when he foils a robbery in his diner late one night. He also gains the attention of a mobster (Ed Harris, Creepshow) from Philadelphia who mistakes him for a gangster with which he has an old score to settle.

With this kind of subject matter, you can't expect a film made for all ages; but the story is engaging, if you can handle a movie with adult subject matter. Directed by David Cronenberg (best known for 80's thrillers such as Videodrome and The Fly, and the more recent VR experiment eXistenZ), Violence is edgy, intense, and worth a watch.

The film is based on the graphic novel of the same name, written by John Wagner (probably best known for co-creating Judge Dredd). It was published by DC - first under the Paradox Press imprint, then under Vertigo. A History of Violence also includes Sumela Kay (Kittie Pryde, X-Men) and Stephen McHattie (who's had appearances in Birds of Prey, Mutant X, M.A.N.T.I.S., and voiced Shade in Justice League), and Greg Bryk (Mutant X, and an upcoming XIII mini-series (!)).

See it if you can handle a mature insight into the cycle of violence.

Don't see it if you're looking for "family friendly".


Heroes vs. the Shark

For some reason, I haven't been looking forward to watching Heroes as much as I was last season. If I only have time to watch one thing in the evening before I go to bed, and I check the DVR, the latest episode of Reaper or Chuck is likely to beat out Heroes. Being the superhero junkie that I am, this is a bit disconcerting. Especially since it was probably my favorite show last season.

But this past week's episode seemed like it turned a corner (or was at least in the process). I was happy to see that they're going to start giving some answers - just as I'm wondering if this show is going to end up on our cancellation list, it seems they're going to start giving just enough info to keep you watching.

Plus, Krista came across an interview from creator Tim Kring. She was reading the Pop Candy blog when she saw a link to an Entertainment Weekly article. Apparently, even the shows creator realized (with the help of declining ratings) that the show was a tad slow and Hiro was spending too much time in Feudal Japan.

So now I'm really looking forward to the rest of the season. Are you still watching?

You know, in an interesting side note, I probably actually saw that episode of Fonzie jumping the shark, live the first time it aired. Ah, nostalgia...


rock and roll Superhero

Something else that I stumbled across - rock and roll Superhero.

Sounds like a fascinating documentary of the ups and downs of a rock band - and their experimentation with superheroes...

See more at the official website. This'll go on my Christmas list.


Confessions of a Superhero

It's funny how some movies can fly under the radar, so to speak.

I came across the documentary Confessions of a Superhero after stumbling across a post on the blog Comic Alliance. It's the story of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Hulk - about 4 people who dress up daily as these superheroes as they try to make it in Hollywood.

I'll be picking this up when it comes out. Take a look at the website if you want to find out more.

Justice League: The New Frontier

Not available for pre-order, yet, but Justice League: The New Frontier finally has a release date: February 26. I'm looking forward to this - David Boreanaz (Angel, Bones) is Green Lantern, Neil Patrick Harris is The Flash, Lucy Lawless is Wonder Woman.

No word yet on Teen Titans: The Judas Contract.


October 2007 Previews Pop Culture Crossover

I haven't even picked up the November Previews, yet - but here's October a few weeks late. I strayed from more listings of the same. More Warhammar, more Bloodrayne, more Battlestar Galactica, more Highlander, more Transformers, and, yes - more horror movies. There are a few of the same old thing, but I tried to stick with the new and different.

  • Dr. Who Classics #1 (new series, IDW)
    Reprints of old Dr. Who comics.


  • Darkman #1 (new series, Dynamite Entertainment)
    This superhero makes the film to comics transition, rather than the reverse.
  • Indiana Jones Omnibus, vol. 1 (TPB, Dark Horse)
    Good timing with the making of the next movie - contains 3 out of print stories in a 352-page volume.
  • Se7en (Hardcover, Zenoscope Entertainment)
    Collecting the seperate issues.


  • The Complete Clive Barker's The Great and Secret Show (TPB, IDW)
    This huge 300-page collection comes in 3 different versions, including hardcover, and $125 limited edition hardcover.
  • The Iliad (Marvel Illustrated) #1 (8-part mini, Marvel)
    This is different - Homer's classic tale. Helen of Troy - the face that launched a thousand ships.
  • Forgotten Realms: The Legend of Drizzt (Hardcover, Devil's Due)
    464 pages of Dungeons and Dragon-y goodness - collecting the adaptation of the Forgotten Realms trilogy.
  • Shakespeare's Henry V (Graphic Novel, Classical Comics)
    Well, we've got the classic stories this month. This even comes in an unabridged version.
  • Tales of Zorro (Anthology, Moonstone)
    Collection of 18 stories - available in TPB and Hardcover.


  • GI. Joe vs. Transformers (Hardcover, Devil's Due)
    Massive, nearly 500-page collection of all 4 volumes.


  • Army of Two (Graphic Novel, Prima Publishing)
    Based on the intense new game from Electronic Arts. Well, it looks intense from the trailer on the EA site. The game is available for preorder.
  • The Stranded (mini?, Virgin Comics)
    Not technically a pop culture adaptation, but the first team up between Virgin Comics and the SciFi Channel.

From the "Is-This-Really-Necessary" Department. The Kiss 4K Kissmas Special. Written by Chuck Dixon? I think we're stretching here. Did anyone pick up the mini? Was it any good? (Or any "count", as we say here in Alabama).

Bonus: In the October Previews there's also the Smallville Series 2 action figures that were in (from DC Direct - due out in May). It's the Smallville version of the Justice League - yup: Green Arrow, Aquaman, Cyborg, Impulse, and Superman (well, Clark). They look pretty impressive, too. Now, if we could only get whoever is doing these sculpts to redo the current Buffy figures, I'd pick some of those up, too.


Comic Book Movies - Investigative Research

It appears that Pathfinder is similar in it's genesis to The Fountain (which I still haven't seen, dadgummit). I heard recently that Pathfinder (recently released on DVD) was based on a Dark Horse comic. Lo and behold, I do an internet search, and a ton of sites came up saying the same thing. But it doesn't seem to be that simple. Keep searching, and a number of sites (including some info on IMDB), indicate that it's based on the 1987 movie Ofelas.

So what's the truth? Well, aside from discussions about whether or not we can actually know truth, it appears there's a bit in both. According to this article on Movies Online, the producers originally intended to do a remake of the 1987 film. They ended up meeting director Marcus Nispel and the movie took a bit of a different path, so to speak.

As Nispel took the film in a slightly different direction, he was having trouble getting it off the ground, and he describes in this interview with Coming Soon how he decided to make it into a comic, and soon after, the film was greenlit. While it appears there was some synergy between making the comic and making the film, it's not technically based on the comic. More like The Fountain, it was a movie with a troubled production that became a comic, but was finally released as a movie.

There...all better. I can sleep tonight, now that I've got my head wrapped around the unraveling of another comic book movie mystery.


Angelina - From Video Games to Comic Books

Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman can be seen in the Wanted trailer that's up on the new site for the movie - see link to the right (in the Upcoming Films section).

Actually, if the movie is as good as it looks in the trailer, it could kick some serious butt. Here's hoping comic book movies continue to get better.


Riddles in the Dark

Haha! Riddler here, taking over the blog for a moment to stump you slow-thinking cretins with a Halloween riddle. Methinks you'll have to chew off your own leg to get out of this snare. The winner for this month wins the recent horror-themed Manbat mini-series. That's right - all 5 books. But as bonus, it'll come with Superman #666, Hack/Slash: Slice Hard, and all 3 Halloween comics solicited by Previews a few months ago. Think you're an insane genius like me, Francis? Maybe you'll be able to figure this one out, but I doubt it.

Delectable, like tearing flesh from the bone,
Though 20 years pass, it stays as sweet,
The oh-two remake, bitter fare,
The oh-seven prequel, did they dare?
It feels like Miami Vice, looks like CSI,
He spreads his wings like an iron butterfly.

The first to comment with their answer on this blog post is the winner. One answer per person - no guessing!

Note: The answers to these riddles will always be something I've talked about in this blog - not necessarily comic-related.

Attempting to answer assumes agreement to the Riddler's rules.


Minor Updates

Update of upcoming movies:

According to Marvel News, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, starring Hugh Jackman, has received a release date of 5/1/09. (added to releases)

Incredible Hulk, Hellboy 2, and The Spirit all have official sites out. (links at right)

Alos note that Hellboy 2 also has a new production blog on the site.


September 2007 Previews Pop Culture Crossover

Better late than never! Well, if I was late in August; I'm really late this month. Of course, when your Local Comic Shop (LCS) doesn't save you a Previews like you asked, and you can't seem to find one anywhere, it's hard to look over the whole catalog...finally, Hit Video in Huntsville gave me their old desk copy. I told him I wanted it for my comic blog, but he didn't really seem to be interested. But it was pretty cool for them to just give me their old copy.

So here I am, writing the September Previews crossover. I didn't want to mess up my run so far, so here's last month's list of other-media trades, new series and graphic novels for last month's Previews.

(Maybe I'll follow up next week with October's.)


  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus, vol 3 (TPB, Dark Horse)
    Since I got turned on to Buffy so late, it'll be nice to have all the early comics collected into just a few volumes.
  • Heroes (Hardcover, DC/Wildstorm)
    The collected on-line comics find print - all 34 chapters from season one.
  • Tek Jansen #1 (offered again, Oni Press)
    Yes - Stephen Colbert's fake adaptation from his "unpublished novel." Is the comic so bad they couldn't get rid of the entire run the first time around?


  • Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash (6-part mini, DC/Wildstorm / Dynamite)
    It's a movie monster smorgasborg. Nightmare on Elm Street meets Friday the 13th meets Evil Dead. Good grief.
  • God Loves, Man Kills ("Premier" Hardcover, Marvel)
    Hardcover release of the series that X2: X-Men United was partially based on.
  • Highlander: Way of the Sword #1 (mini, Dynamite Entertainment)
    So, are the comics as good as the first movie, or as bad as the second? (The third doesn't even count.)
  • Wanted (Top Cow, Graphic Novel)
    Re-release of another comics-to-film project - this one starring Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman. Due out March of next year.


  • Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born ("Premier" Hardcover, Marvel)
    The collected edition of Peter David and Robin Furth's comic adaptation Stephen King's Dark Tower series. Rumor has it, there's more to come.
  • Dracula vs. King Arthur (TPB, Silent Devil)
    Interesting idea...
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray (6-issue mini, Marvel)
    The price of immortality. Marvel Illustrated's take on the classic book.
  • The Wind in the Willows - Classics Illustrated Deluxe Volume 1 (Graphic Novel, Papercutz)
    Adaptation of the classic book - if it's done well, this could be a pretty cool addition to any comic collection.


  • Red Lotus: Mark of the Warrior (One-shot, Arcana Studios)
    From an animated series on Spike (this past summer). I completely missed it - was it any good?


  • World of Warcraft #1 (new series, DC/Wildstorm)
    New ongoing series based on the on-line fantasy game.


  • Shifter #1/2 (prelude to a 4-part mini, Fangoria)
    Not really a crossover, but it's Michael Madsen starring in a comic book.

Anything else worth mentioning that's coming out in November?


30 Days of Night (2007) mini review

based on a comic

A few years ago, Steve Niles developed a story for a movie pitch - what would happen if vampires visited the northern-most cities in Alaska that go for weeks without sunlight? The movie pitch didn't work out as well as he wanted, and he ended up pitching it to artist Ben Templesmith as an idea for a comic book. A little later, 30 Days of Night was published by IDW. [While you'll continually hear that the movie was based on a graphic novel, it was originally published in regular comic book format as a 3-part mini-series.] As you know by now, the idea came full circle and was released to theaters this past Friday.

That's the plot - a group (tribe? pride?) of vampires, comes to Barrow, Alaska, looking forward to a complete month without having to view the sun (Wikipedia's got an interesting article on Barrow - take a look to see the facts). The film stars Josh Hartnett (Sin City) and Melissa George as Eben and Stella (see also the 30 Days of Night mini-series sequel of the same name - Eben and Stella). Eben is sheriff of Barrow; Stella is his estranged wife. Together with a group of people from the village they attempt to survive until the sun comes out again (including Mark Boone Junior (Flass - Batman Begins, and Wristcutters (!)) and Joel Tolbeck (Ghost Rider)). In addition, the Stranger is played by Ben Foster (Angel - X-Men: The Last Stand, The Punisher).

While it was a good movie, I think that it fell a bit short as a horror film. It just wasn't scary - it was very intense, extremely suspenseful, and very, very bloody - but it's not going to keep me up at night. (Not like that creepy girl in Ringu. *shudder*) It's an interesting take on the vampire tale, and I thought it was worth the time and money spent. It's got a lot of the sensibilities of the comic (which I just finished a little while ago). The story strays somewhat (as is expected), but there are a lot of scenes and lines lifted right from the page.

Dark Horse Comics had a credit (see their name up on the credits at the beginning) - apparently, Mike Richardson (founder of Dark Horse) had some hand in getting it made; he's actually in the IMDB credits as producer (as well as Timecop, The Mask, Hellboy, Son of the Mask, the upcoming Hellboy 2, and the Hellboy animated movies). I probably missed his name in the movie credits. Sam Raimi (director of Spider-Man 1, 2, and 3, and Darkman; producer on Darkman II, III, and Timecop, and the upcoming Priest) is also listed as producer.

See it if you like horror films.

Don't see it if blood makes you a bit squeamish.


This Stuff Never Happens To Me

I'm sure that every comic fan knew about this before me - my mom e-mailed me Wednesday night with the story.

But apparently, a comic book store owner in Ellwood City, PA was snatched up the opportunity to buy a Near Mint version of Detective Comics #27.

Newsarama even got an interview Tuesday.

Of course, some stories may not have the comic book ending...there's a possibility he got took.


Wristcutters: A Love Story

I guess this festival favorite finally found a release date.

This is pertinent, why?

Simply because Wristcutters: A Love Story is based on the short story Kneller's Happy Campers.


The graphic novel, Pizzeria Kamikaze was also based on that short story.

So, while it's not quite a comic book movie, Wristcutters almost makes it.


The Riddle Game

Win Jim's Junk Cool Stuff

I was thinking the other day (actually, about 8 or 10 months ago - it's taken me this long to actually do this) that I need to get rid of a lot of the comic-related stuff I've accumulated over the years. I was trying to figure out what to do with it, and thought I might just give it away to the good people who visit my blog.

So, starting in October, I thought I'd invite The Riddler, once a month (approximately), on some random day, to post a riddle. Whoever comments on that post first with the correct answer will win something cool (or at least that I think is cool) from my collection.

Good Luck!

Note: The answers to these riddles, will always be something I've talked about on my blog...though not necessarily comic related.

The fine print:


All you have to do is be the first to comment on the riddle post of Comic Books, Movies, and Superheroes with the correct answer.

If you are the first correct answer, and you have a link to your blog or website in the post, I can maybe find some contact info there - otherwise, you can find my e-mail by clicking my profile and looking under the About Me section.

And let's give this an honest try! If you think you've really got the right answer - just post once.

The really fine print:

By attempting a guess at the riddle you agree that the prize is awarded upon the condition that Jim is not liable whatsoever for any injuries, losses or damages of any kind resulting from the acceptance, possession or use of any prize; no matter what kind of stupid thing you do. You also agree that Jim shall not be liable in the event of any hardware, software or other malfunctions of any kind, whether due to human or technical error. Jim is also not liable if the delivery agency mutilates or loses the prize en route. All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply. Void where prohibited by law. And let's just play nice!


Terminator Homage in The Batman

Did anyone catch the homage to Terminator in The Batman last Saturday? At first I thought it was just a reference, but the more I look back at the movies, I think it may have been a conscious homage. Of course, we have Metallo - who kind of looks like the Terminator, anyway; but the one that jumped out at me was Robin's "Hasta la vista, baby!"

It wasn't until after I started looking at screencaps did their seem to be more than just the reference above. Maybe just a coincidence, but tell me these look like an accident...

And the spoiler-filled final moments of both:


Release Updates

Added the Dimension Films comedy Superhero at the right, slated for March 28, 2008.

Afro Samurai is up at iTunes - $1.99 an episode, or $9.95 for the complete "season". Hey that's a savings of...oh, it's not. I doubt it's the uncut version; it's listed under TV Shows. Maybe I'll finally get to watch it.

And, apparently, I completely missed the El Muerto (The Dead One) DVD release a couple weeks ago. Crap. That's not on iTunes. I guess I'll have to either buy it or find it at one of the expansive local movie stores we have in Florence.

Thanks to Comics2Film and SuperheroHype!


Heroes and Watchmen Redux

(Very minor spoilers for Heroes and Watchmen, if you haven't seen the season premier or read the comics.)

I was watching the season opener of Heroes on Monday and couldn't resist the even stronger Watchmen feel I was getting. Think the movie will be this good? While I talked before about the parallels between the two, it's beginning to bleed into the plot lines.

In Watchmen, someone is killing the current generation of superheroes; in Heroes, someone has been taking out the older generation. Not a perfect parallel (and not a perfect summary), but enough to get that feeling of deja vu.

Is this something that's completely in my head - or has someone else noticed it?

And BTW, the current month's Previews shows that DC is offering the on-line web comics collected in a Heroes hardcover graphic novel. I think I'll be picking this up.


And here I am...

...visiting the comic book store in Springfield.

Thanks to simpsonizeme.com.


Up, Up, and Away! (2000) mini review

superhero film not based on a comic

Scott Marshall is the son of Jim and Judy Marshall, who are Bronze Eagle (Robert Townsend) and Warrior Woman (Alex Datcher), the world’s foremost superheroes. Will is about to turn 14, but unfortunately his powers haven't yet developed.

I'm not sure why this sounds so familiar, but it does.

Oh, wait - I know why. Because the plot of this TV Disney movie is almost exactly like the plot of a Disney movie that hit theaters about 5 years later - Sky High. It's so close, in fact, that I'd be willing to bet that Sky High is merely a remake of Up, Up, and Away! but with real actors, real dialogue, and a real plot. The execution is a bit different, but the similarities are obvious. It tries to explore the same kind of tough coming-of-age issues that its remake does, but doesn't connect with its audience. At least not the over-5 age group. My 5-year-old daughter seemed to like it OK. The characters are basically what you might expect in a 7-year-old made-for-TV Disney film - lame, two-dimensional, unbelievable. The writing is equally sad. You could say it's the kind of movie that's made for kids, but there's not really much there for anyone if your age is in the double digits.

It was at least interesting they way they attempted to bring other superhero universes in - references to Superman, Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and even the Green Hornet as real characters in the world. But I think it could have been done much more creatively. "We had Spider-Man and Mary Jane over last night - do you know how to get web out of carpet?" just wasn't that funny.

George Jefferson (ok, Sherman Hemsley, who has actually appeared on The Incredible Hulk and Lois & Clark) even appears as Scott's grandfather, Steel Condor. Robert Townsend did play the lead in the blockbuster Meteor Man, but otherwise, this movie is a veritable Who's Who of superhero bit parts. The "star", Michael J. Pagan, had parts in The Black Scorpion. Ty Olson, who plays flunky Barker has had bit parts in Elektra, X-Men 2, The Crow TV show, and even an episode of Krypto the Superdog. One of Scott's teachers, Ms. Parker, played by Benita Ha, has had parts in X-Men: The Last Stand, Catwoman, Blade: The Series, and Smallville.

See it if you've got young kids into superheroes - I guess they might like it.

Don't see it if something good is on TV, like The Jeffersons reruns, or even Halle Berry's Catwoman movie.


August '07 Previews Pop Culture Crossover

Well, August is over. Tomorrow is Labor Day, holiday officially heralding the coming of Fall. When I started doing these, I honestly intended to do them toward the beginning of the month, instead of after the month was over. Anyway, here's the wrap up of notable (IMO) pop-culture-related trades, series, and graphic novels for August's Previews.

  • New Battlestar Galactica: Pegasus (One-shot, Dynamite Entertainment)
    Prequel of the new series, following the other Battlestar.
  • Doctor Who Volume 1: Voyager (TPB, Panini Publishing)
    From Previews (yes, I'm out of my own words, plus, I don't know anything about Dr. Who, except that he time travels, and there are about 27 versions of him): "The first of two volumes featuring the sixth Doctor's complete comic strip run from the pages of Doctor Who Magazine!"

  • Beowulf #1-4 and Beowulf TPB (mini/TPB, IDW)
    Adaptation of the Gaiman-scripted, completely CGI film. Yes, Previews is soliciting all four issues of the mini and the TPB in the same book.
  • Kong: King of Skull Island (mini, Markosia)
    Based on a book that is both a prequel and sequel to the original King Kong.
  • Legends of the Dark Crystal Vol 1: The Garthim Wars (Graphic Novel, Tokyopop)
    Actually, there's a preview of this manga prequel in Jim Henson's Fantasy Film Collection (I just got the cool gift for my birthday - it contains DVDs of Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and MirrorMask). But to be honest, there's not enough there to make any kind of judgement - I hate it when comic previews just amount to character sketches.
  • Trick 'R Treat #1, 2, 3, 4 (mini, Wildstorm)
    Adaptation of horror film Trick 'R Treat - in theaters this Halloween. At least it's not a prequel.

  • Beowulf (Graphic Novel, Markosia)
    This one is graphic novel based on the original myth. (Interesting timing!)
  • Brian Jacques' Redwall (Graphic Novel, Philomel Books)
    Adaptation of the first book of the Redwall series.

  • The Clive Barker Collections: Hellraiser vol 1-3 (TPBs, Checker Book Publishing)
    Anthologies based on Barker's film.
  • Dracula (Graphic Novel, Barron's Educational Series)
    Bram Stoker's classic, shipping in time for Halloween.
  • Myth Adventures! Another Fine Myth (Graphic Novel, Airship Entertainment)
    Ah, I loved the Myth Conceptions books in high school. It would be interesting to see how they translate to comic form.
  • The Savage Sword of Conan (TPB, Dark Horse)
    Massive 542-page collection from the 70s Savage Sword of Conan magazine.

  • Hellboy Animated, Vol 3: The Menagerie (TPB, Dark Horse)
    I hear these are really good (thanks, Bones), but haven't really tried them. Though I've enjoyed both movies.
  • Gargoyles: Bad Guys #1 (mini?, Amaze Ink/Slave Labor Graphics)
    I always thought about watching it, but never caught Disney's toon on television - wasn't it on Fox? This comic highlights some of "the toughest villains in the Gargoyle's universe."
  • Mercs #1 (new series?, Dynamite Entertainment)
    Adaptation of the third-person shooter.

  • The Haunted Mansion Vol 1: Welcome Foolish Mortals (TPB, Amaze Ink/Slave Labor Graphics)
    Special edition collection of stories from the first 6 issues of the comic series based on the Disney ride.

Previews has more than that, but I'm not about to list everything. What'd I miss that you're going to pick up?


Sky High (2005) mini review

superhero film not based on a comic

Will Stronghold is the son of Steve and Josie Stronghold, who are Commander (Kurt Russell) and Jetstream (Kelly Preston), the world’s foremost superheroes. Will is about to start high school, but unfortunately his powers haven't yet developed. I'm not sure why I relate so well to the kid who is going to a superhero high school and is the only one there who hasn’t developed extraordinary abilities. Maybe it's because I hated high school. Maybe it's because I never felt like I fit in. Maybe it's because I still don't have my super powers.

Whatever the reason, there’s something about any coming-of-age film that allows you to relate to the characters, and Sky High is wonderful as a superhero coming-of-age film that doesn't take itself too seriously.

Though Sky High is a light, fun film, it explores tough issues like growing up and the labels that we tend to place on people, mainly to make it easier to judge them. It’s got great superhero action, awesome 80s music covers (I Melt with You, Everybody Wants to Rule the World, Voices Carry, Just What I Needed, and And She Was for starters), and Bruce Campbell (Darkman, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3, and even an episode of Lois & Clark), who is hilarious as the coach, Sonic Boom.

Other notable cast members include Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman - duh, and an appearance on Smallville), Cloris Leachman (who did a voice in the failed Gen 13 animated pilot, and appeared in an episode of Wonder Woman), Dave Foley (Monkeybone, and voices for The Tick and The Batman), and Patrick Warburton (Men in Black II, The Tick (live action), an episode of The Batman) as the voice of Royal Pain.

See it if you want to watch a fun superhero film that can appeal to the whole family.

Don't see it if you're not in the mood for something light.


Updated Movie Dates and Fall Premiers

Some hard and fast dates for upcoming projects.

The Watchmen movie apparently has a website, a date (3/6/09), and a production blog. Take a look at the right. (thanks to Comics2Film)

A date's been set for The Spirit (1/16/09). (thanks to SuperheroHype)

I scoured the 'net for the fall premiers...scroll down a bit on the right to the Premiers / Releases section to get a complete list of superhero and comic project premiers next month.


Priest Pushed Back

So that's why it didn't come out last weekend.

Apparently, release of the Priest film (based on the Tokyopop manga) has gotten pushed back to the first quarter of 2008. I'll pop it back into the list of upcoming films (right) when I hear of a more solid date.

Thanks to E. Favata.


I'm a Marvel...I'm a DC Interview

Have you had a chance to check out the I'm a Marvel...I'm a DC videos I mentioned a couple months ago? Well, Marvel's got an interview with the creator, Michael Agrusso. If you enjoyed the videos, I thought you might like to take a look...


"This isn't good. Yeah...definitely not good."

Ironically, while Flash Gordon was laying in his torture chair, saying these words, I was watching the pilot of this new Scif Fi series, thinking the same thing.

I don't know - it just seemed a bit hokey. Bad acting, poor dialogue. Kind of like a poorly made 80s scif fi film. But it definitely doesn't have the heart of the 1980 incarnation. They are trying to put that feel into it. The commercials for the show look much better than the pilot - and feature a remake of the Queen Flash Gordon theme song. (But I do love how they advertised the Flash Gordon (Saviour Of The Universe Edition) DVD during the show.)

This isn't the only crappy new comic-book-related Sci Fi Channel premier in the last couple of weeks. Stan is once again showing the world how stupid comic books can be. Who Wants to Be a Superhero? season 2 has started, and it looks like it's going to be the same insipid reality show as last time. The thing is, it has a lot of potential. It just seems like whoever is the creative brains behind the show is just going to be stuck writing Stan's corny "comic book" dialogue.

I still can't believe Hygena (Fighting Grime and Crime!) is the name of a superhero that made it onto the show.

Hmmm...right now I'm watching the second episode of the season and Stan just told one of the superheroes, "No one takes a superhero seriously without his pants on." I think no one who sees this show will ever take comic books seriously...


Stardust (2007) mini review

based on a comic

So, technically, is Stardust a comic book movie? Well...it's actually a storybook, laden with illustrations. Not the same form of sequential art as you're used to seeing in a comic. However, it was published by a comic book company, written by a comic book writer (though he has also written several novels), published under a comic book imprint, in a comic book format, as a comic book mini series.

Close enough.

Stardust (Being A Romance Within The Realm of Faerie) was written by Neil Gaiman, and published by DC Comics under the Vertigo imprint as a 4-issue mini-series in 1997, illustrated by Charles Vess. The mini was collected, then novelised by Gaiman, with some modifications (take a look at some of the questions Gaiman answers at that last link). And if you watch the film, it notes that it's based on the novel. I was able to pick up the original series and am excited to read it now that I've seen the movie. Unfortunately, the film didn't meet the extremely high hopes I had for it; my wife on the other hand (not into comic book movies or fantasy) was not expecting much and was pleasantly surprised. I guess it depends on what we take into it.

Stardust is the story of Tristran, who crosses the wall at the edge of his village into a magical realm in pursuit of a fallen star for his true love. Easier said then done, when a trio of witches and a bevy of princes are after the same thing. It's a magical tale which I'm sure doesn't do the original justice. That's a pretty big assumption, given that I haven't read the original and that I'm not even overly familiar with Gaiman's work (*gasp*), but I just have a feeling. Directed by Matthew Vaughn (in negotiations to direct the upcoming Thor), the overall idea was amazing, and the acting was excellent. Charlie Cox was good as Tristran, and Claire Danes was great as Yvaine. Some of the bigger names in the film include Robert Deniro, Michelle Pfeiffer (Batman Returns), Peter O'Toole (Supergirl) , and Rupert Everett. Other parts include Jason Flemyng (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, From Hell) and Melanie Hill (From Hell).

But, the movie was just ok; it really seemed to be missing something. The humor seemed shoehorned in, as if the funny parts were added in later to make it appeal to a larger audience. And the story just didn't seem to flow well, as if parts were cut from a larger story and sewn back together.

It was good, but it just should have been more. I think I was also disappointed in the fact that it didn't seem like the Realm of Faerie was truly a different world from ours. It just seemed like our world with a bit more magic.

You might ask how I can give Stardust and Underdog the same rating. Part of my philosophy for rating movies is to understand the genre. The latter is intended to be a silly family movie based on a corny old cartoon. The former is a serious fantasy based on a story by one of today's foremost authors and comic writers. I think they succeeded at about the same level.

See it if you you're jonesing for a light-hearted fantasy film.

Don't see it if you expect to be blown away by a film adapted from Gaiman's work; maybe you should just rent Mirrormask or wait for Death: The High Cost of Living.


Underdog (2007) mini review

superhero film not based on a comic

In the classic superhero tradition, a failed police dog ends up in the hands of mad scientist Dr. Simon Barsinister, and in an accident with some experimental chemicals, he becomes the rhyming canine superhero, Underdog!

Well, it's not Oscar material, and it's not the pinnacle of filmmaking, even if you consider that it's based on a 60's cartoon, but it is a lot of fun. Several laugh out loud moments and a number of references to the old 'toon serve to make an enjoyable family film. Of course, the ending was completely anti-climactic, with a bunch of sappiness to top it off, so that was a bit disappointing.

Jason Lee (Chasing Amy, The Incredibles), is a decent Underdog, and Peter Dinklage (from the amazing non-comic movie, The Station Agent) plays a wonderful Barsinister. Though I'm not normally a fan of the live action stuff we've seen from Patrick Warburton (The Tick live action series, Men In Black II; also voicing a police detective on The Batman and the voice of Royal Pain in Sky High), he plays a pretty good part as Barsinister's lackey. Jack, the boy who befriends Underdog is could have been better, and even Jim Belushi (who actually did a voice for The Tick cartoon) should have done a better job. Amy Adams (from an early episode of Smallville) plays Polly Purebred, Underdog's love interest; Jim Garret (who's had voice parts in Justice League, Superman: The Animated Series, the '05 Fantastic Four cartoon, Batman: The Animated Series, The Tick, and even played a part in Lois & Clark) voices Riffraff.

On a side note, one of the screenwriters (Adam Rifkin) happened to also work on the comic movie Zoom.

See it if you want to take the kids to an enjoyable superhero film.

Don't see it if you won't take it for what it is - a goofy family movie based on a goofy 60's cartoon.


July '07 Previews Pop Culture Crossover

It's still July (so I'm ahead of schedule?) and here are some TPBs, one-shots, and #1's listed in July's Previews for September.

  • Serenity: Those Left Behind (HC collected mini, Dark Horse)
    Joss Whedon's bridge between Firefly (the show) and Serenity (the movie). This one's supposed to be a "fan favorite". I'll have to read it after I finish watching the entire season of Firefly on DVD. (Note: Target still has it for about $20.)

  • Borderland (One-shot, Viper Comics)
    Based on a film which is, in turn, based on the true story of a US and Mexican police officer investigating a cult just south of the border, hunting for human sacrifices.

  • Buckaroo Banzai vol 1: Return of the Screw (TPB, Moonstone)
    Continuing the adventures from the 80s cult film; includes a ton of extras.

  • Friday the 13th Summer Vacation #1 (mini, Wildstorm)
    Is it a prequel? A sequel? Who knows. Dare I say, who cares?

  • Ghostbusters: Legion (TPB, Eighty Eight MPH Studioes)
    This should hold you off until the next sequel comes out - it collects the 4-part mini, along with a San Diego comic-con exclusive.

  • New Line Cinema's Tales of Horror #1 (new series or mini, Wildstorm)
    Will it never end? Oh, wait; these are sequels to both Nightmare on Elm Street and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. There's more than one way to milk a cat (or a comic book horror fan).


  • Artemis Fowl vol 1 (Graphic Novel, Hyperion Books)
    Are these any good? I've seen the books in stores, but haven't looked at them.

  • Dark Hunger (Graphic Novel, Berkley Books)
    Based on the Dark Series of vampire novels by Christine Feehan.

  • The Escapists (HC collected, Dark Horse)
    Based on the no-longer-fictional comic in The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.

  • Gods of Asgard (Graphic Novel, Studio E3)
    Comic adaptation of Norse myths.

  • King Lear (Graphic Novel, thecomic.com)
    That's the one; based Shakespeare's play.

  • Looking Glass Wars Hatter M (HC collected mini, Desperado)
    Based on a series of novels (The Looking Glass Wars Trilogy). The web site makes me want to buy the comic.

  • Pizzeria Kamikaze (TPB, Alternative Comics)
    This comic is based on a short story, but a film based on it (or based on the story; or maybe both) is making the festival rounds as Wristcutters: A Love Story.

  • Ray Harryhausen Presents Sinbad Rogue of Mars (5-part mini, Bluewater Production)
    Though more properly adapted from a series of stories, than books.


  • Ring of the Nibelung (Graphic Novel, ExPress Publishing)
    Adaptation of Wagner's opera.

Picking any of these up? See anything I missed? Take exception to my disparaging comments about endless additions to one-trick horror films?


Mattel's DC Superfriends

Britt over at Kung Fu Rodeo noted that the new DC Superfriends line of action figures were available at his local Target. Due to an odd coincidence, Krista had just bought me a new toy...er...phone for my birthday, and offered to drive so I could play...er...investigate the new features (yeah - that's the ticket). I just so happened to be reading that post just as we were driving by the Florence, Alabama Target.

So I made her take a detour, and we went inside to hunt for treasure.

Unfortunately, we couldn't find the DC Batman for me my son, but I discovered something else, and was able to pick him up these new wooden Spider-Man and Hulk figures designed to be played with the Learning Curve Play Town toys. They've also got a Wolverine/Captain America set.

I'll still be looking for that DC Superfriends Batman, but I'd say it was a successful stop.


I've got all the answers.

Well, the world's most over-rated comics creator has given his advice to all the screenwriters and directors out there on how to make a good comic book movie.

Stan Lee's 10 Rules on How to Make a Good Comics Movie is only one part of movies.com's POW! A Complete Guide to Comics & the Movies (presented, of course, by Who Wants to Be a Superhero). Most of them actually kind of make sense, but after such celebrated hits as Stripperella and Lightspeed, I'm sure everyone's knocking down Lee's door to find out his secrets on adapting comics and superheroes into other media. C'mon Stan - maybe you should follow some of your own advice. 'Nuff said.

While you're there, take the quiz. I got a crappy 10/12 right. Maybe I should relinquish my blog...


Unclaimed Dawn Bust

Happened across this (Joseph Michael Linsner's) Dawn Bust Statue (no pun intended) at the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama today. It had a $100 price tag on it, and I tried to get on eBay with Krista's phone to see what it was going for - but I couldn't connect for some reason. I wouldn't have been able to tell, anyway. Currently they're going for nearly $200 in the eBay stores (and it appears that's what they're going for on the web), but I don't know what people are actually spending on them. There's currently one going for $60, but it's got a week left. This must be a fairly rare item; there aren't any recently completed auctions I could find.

Well, if you're interested in one for rock-bottom prices, head on over to Scottsboro!

(Note: I didn't actually see this one...I didn't have the presence of mind to snag a pic with my phone, and I grabbed this pic from one of the current eBay auctions...)


Fantastic Four mini review (2005)

based on a comic

While studying a cosmic storm, Victor Von Doom, Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd - Mr. Miracle on an episode of Justice League), Sue Storm (Jessica Alba - Sin City), Ben Grimm, and Johnny Storm (Chris Evans - TMNT) are all exposed to cosmic radiation. In traditional comic book fashion, the radiation gives them super powers. The origin story is done well - and that's not easy in comic book movies - it's not shoe-horned in like we see so often. Reactions to these new abilities run the gamut - friendships are strengthened, others fall apart; people realize that with great power comes great responsibility, want to use their powers for personal gain, or are driven mad. And, we see how Dr. Doom becomes the arch-nemesis of the Fantastic Four. But director Tim Story does a decent job of pulling it all together. While he doesn't have any background working on comic films, one of the writers (Michael France) had previous experience working on Hulk and The Punisher.

I think this film gets a bad rap. It's not the best piece of cinema ever made, and there are some hokey parts, but as far as comic book movies go, it's an enjoyable film. It's got great action, great special effects, and good pacing - it's not too slow or too fast. The acting's believable, and it's even got a little emotion (or maybe that's just me). You've got to willfully suspend some disbelief, but that's to be expected in a superhero movie.

And the climactic final battle is definitely worth a superhero team movie.

See it if you want some mindless superhero fun.

Don't see it if you expect superhero films to be cinematic masterpieces.


June '07 Previews Pop Culture Crossover

Well, now that June is over, I thought I'd post the June listing of trades, one-shots, and new series that were solicited in Previews.

  • Stargate SG-1 2007 Special, "Teal'C" cover (Pulsar Press, One-Shot)
    I'm not sure why they felt the need to add an 8th cover to this one-shot from April, but here it is.


  • Aliens vs. Predator: Omnibus Volume 2 (TPB, Dark Horse)
    Dark Horse, continuing their offering of these massive trades - 448 pages, including Deadliest of the Species.
  • Army of Darkness: From the Ashes #1 (mini, Dynamite Entertainment)
    Ash once again fights the Deadites.
  • Dee Sniders's Strangeland: Seven Sins #1 (4-part mini, Fangoria Comics)
    Are comic book horror movie prequels the cool thing in 2007? Does this movie really need one?
  • George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead: Hunger (one-shot, Avatar Press)
    Prequel to the 1968 horror flick, telling the story of one of the undead from the film.
  • Splinter of the Mind's Eye (Star Wars 30th Anniversary Collection Volume 8) (TPB, Dark Horse)
    Fond memories of reading this book when I was kid. I don't think it's canon any more...but, sweet nostalgia!
  • Conan and the Midnight God (TPB, Dark Horse)
    Collecting the mini-series.
  • Dark Tower Gunslinger's Guidebook (one-shot, Marvel)
    Guide to the world of the Gunslinger; coinciding with the final chapter of the Gunslinger Born series.

  • Dark Sector (one-shot, Top Cow)
    Video game prequel (at least it's not a horror movie) to Dark Sector, a creepy-looking new first person shooter due out in 2008.
  • Gears of War #0 (series?, Boom! Studios)
    Based on the hit video game.

From the "Enough Already" category...not only is Wildstorm's By Himself #1 another horror film prequel, it's another Texas Chainsaw Massacre prequel.

Anything that I skipped that you're looking forward to?


Top Cow comes to XBox

I'm sure this won't be Gears of War or Halo, but it looks pretty cool nonetheless. I've always been a fan of the first person shooter...

I happened to notice this commercial the other day sitting in a restaurant that had some game on the TV - it looked interesting, and I was suprised when I saw what it was - based on the Top Cow comic The Darkness.