A Day Late and a Dollar Short

Superhero Movie finally put up a site. Good grief - it's only a month away. I guess the movie won't have to live up to the hype.


Confessions of a Superhero (2008) mini review

about superheroes

You may not know Christopher Dennis, Jennifer Gerht, Maxwell Allen, or Joseph McQueen; but you know who they are when they hit Hollywood Boulevard - Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, and The Incredible Hulk. Chris, Jennifer, Maxwell, and Joe are actually aspiring actors who make their living playing superheroes in front of Grauman's (previously Mann's) Chinese Theater while trying to find their big break. See them as they struggle with real life, and at times blur the line between reality and fiction (sometimes bordering on delusion). Confessions is an inside look at the subculture of characters roaming Hollywood Blvd who are struggling actors trying to make in the City of Dreams.

Director Matthew Ogens paints a vivid picture of what it's like to be these superheroes - a candid look at their day-to-day struggles. But there seemed to be something missing - maybe it would have added something if the director not only drew the viewer into their lives, but could have made more of an emotional connection with the superheroes. I'm sure that's not an easy feat for a documentarian, but we miss a feeling of empathy with these folks trying to reach their dreams, and all we're left with is sympathy.

For more info, check out the official site, or the director's MySpace page.

See it if you enjoy documentaries, like a good indie film now and again, or are just curious to take a look inside the lives of these struggling actors.

Don't see it if you're more inclined to stick with fictional superheroes.

(OK, technically, I know this is an '07 release, but I'm sticking it in 2008 since most of us couldn't see until the release of the DVD in January '08.)


The Surrogates

The year is 2054, and life has been reduced to a data feed. The fusing of virtual reality and cybernetics has ushered in the era of the personal surrogate, android substitutes that let users interact with the world without ever leaving their homes. It's a perfect world, and it's up to Detectives Harvey Greer and Pete Ford of the Metro Police Department to keep it that way. But to do so they’ll need to stop a techno-terrorist bent on returning society to a time when people lived their lives instead of merely experiencing them.

It's late, and I'm a bit tired, so instead of trying to come up with a description for The Surrogates, I dropped in Top Shelf's blurb for their first TPB. Variety reported last November that Bruce Willis had the starring role in Disney's film adaptation, and I'm adding it to Upcoming Films on the right because on Wednesday, they reported that Disney had set a release date.

It sounds like a great idea. If I remember correctly, Phantom Power had some positive things to say about the comic. Willis's comic book-related films seem to do better than his sci fi films. I wonder how a sci fi comic adaptation will fare. Let's hope this one is more like Unbreakable or Sin City, and less like Fifth Element or Armageddon.


January 2008 Previews Pop Culture Crossover

Quite a group of TPBs, minis, one-shots, and graphic novels coming from various areas of pop culture solicited in the January Previews.

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus #4 (TPB, Dark Horse)
    More Buffy goodness. I don't normally list every new omnibus and TPB, but it is Buffy. Guess I better go back and finish the 3rd one before this comes out.
  • Serenity: Better Days #1 (mini, Dark Horse)
    Prequel to the film, written by Joss Whedon himself.


  • Army of Darkness/Xena: Why Not #1 (4-part mini, Dynamite Entertainment)
    Good grief. I don't even think I have a commentary on this.
  • Buckaroo Banzai: The Prequel #1 (2-part mini, Moonstone)
    Sounds like they try to weave more crazy stuff in than even the film does.
  • DNA Hacker Chronicles #1 (TPB, Abrams)
    Prequel to The Gene Generation. What's up with this film? Is it straight to DVD? When will it be out? Plus, is this another chicken-and-the-egg thing? Is a comic based on a movie or vice versa? More on that later...
  • Fritz Lang's M (TPB, Abrams)
    Out-of-print mini series, packaged with the DVD of the 1931 film.
  • The Godfather Chronicles #1 (new series, Boom! Studios)
    I guess you could argue this belongs under Books, but the films really gained the notoriety. This comic continues the story of the Corleone family, and the first arc is written by Mark Waid.
  • Largo Winch Volume 1: The Heir (TPB, Cinebook)
    Comic that the upcoming French film is based on.
  • The Last Winter (graphic novel, Image)
    Creepy looking film due out on DVD this summer. Ron Perlman and James LeGros? What's not to love? Here's the film's site.


  • Avengers Fairy Tales #1 (4-part mini, Marvel)
    I've been tempted to pick up these series from Marvel - their superheroes as fairy tale characters - but I haven't, yet. Are they any good?
  • Dark Tower: The Long Road Home #1 (5-part mini, Marvel)
    Marvel's second adaptation of the Stephen King series.
  • Dark Wraith of Shannara (graphic novel, Del Rey)
    Sequel to the original Shannara trilogy. I could never get through that series...I'm not really sure why.
  • Holmes (graphic novel, AIT/Planetar)
    Appears to be a really off-beat adaptation of Sherlock Holmes.


  • Star Wars: Clone Wars Photo Comic (one-shot, Dark Horse)
    They sure are milking this photo comic thing. I guess if people keep buying it, they'll keep making it.


  • Dead Space #1 (6-part mini, Image)
    Prequel to a Electronic Arts sci fi / horror game coming out in October. The game sounds Alien-esque, but it look pretty dang scary. Here it is at EA's site.


  • Super Friends #1 (new series, DC)
    Based on Mattel's new Super Friends toy line. (I gotta get me - I mean my son - a Batwing!)

Well, there was just too much stuff to list everything. Is there anything you liked that I missed? Maybe that new Star Trek: New Frontier series?


December 2007 Previews Pop Culture Crossover

Finally got that December Previews. Guess I'll have to keep getting these on-line so this doesn't happen again. Special thanks to morpuddypond who sent me the copy I used for this edition. Hope you enjoy Rex Libris - it went out in the mail today!

OK; so here's my monthly Previews list of interesting comic crossovers with movies, television, books and video games. So, I'm a couple months late, but I've got January and February waiting in the wings!

  • 24: Cold Warriors (one-shot, IDW)
    48 pages of commercial-free Jack Bauer. Does this mean every 2 pages is a full hour of Jack's life?


  • The Terminator Omnibus Volume 1 (TPB, Dark Horse)
    Terminator gets the massive book treatment in this 352-page volume.
  • Jumper: Jumpscars (TPB, Dark Horse)
    It's a comic-book prequel! I still can't tell if that's a combo of "Jumps Cars" or "Jump Scars". The film's out now...it actually look interesting - here's the site.

  • Lords of Avalon: Sword of Darkness #1 (6-part mini, Marvel)
    Swords and sorcery. Adapted from Kinley MacGregor's book.
  • Moby Dick #1 (Marvel Illustrated) (6-part mini, Marvel)
    I've been meaning to pick this up for years. Which raises the question - do you read the book or the comic first?
  • Rogue Angel: Teller of Tales #1 (mini, IDW)
    Never heard of this series of books. Dang, I'm really late with this list - this is already out.
  • Tiger and Crane #1 (4-part mini, Bluewater Productions)
    Chinese folk hero Wong Fei Hung (or Huang Fei-hong) is probably the most prolific film character - he has been portrayed in well over 100 movies. Out of the few I've seen, Jackie Chan's Drunken Master films and Jet Li's Once Upon a Time in China series are pretty amazing. This mini-series teams Wong Fei Hung up with an American spy to prevent the Japanese from winning World War II.
  • Zorro #1 (new series, Dynamite Entertainment)
    Originating in the early 1900's Zorro has also been the subject of numerous stories and films. This incarnation is written by Grendel creator Matt Wagner.


  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (graphic novel, Dark Horse)
    I have a special place in my heart for the first person shooter, Star Wars: Dark Forces, but looking at the game this comic is based on it may just surpass it. I'm just glad it's coming out for the PS2. Check out the official site
  • The World of Dungeons & Dragons #1 (new series, Devil's Due)
    I haven't picked up any of the Dragonlance or Forgotten Realms series Devil's Due has put out (though I was a major fan of the books based in both worlds back before marriage, family, job, and blogging), so I don't know the quality of the stories they're currently publishing. I wonder if this series will include stories outside those two worlds.

Some of these books are already shipping...anyone care to share if they're any good? And did I miss anything worth noting?


Man-Thing (2005) mini review

based on a comic

In the swamps of Bywater, Lousiana, someone is killing anyone who wanders in after dark. Is it the crooked owners of the new oil rig, the troublemaker that wandered into the swamp and hasn't been seen for months, or is it the Man-Thing?

Man-Thing burst onto the Marvel scene at nearly the same time as Swamp Thing did at DC in the early 70's. From what I've read, it's chalked up to one of those coincidences (like having 2 meteor movies come out at the same time). Anyway, although they have similar etiologies, Man-Thing seems to be a bit less human (at least functionally).

Man-Thing was released straight-to-DVD. Well, it first appeared on the Sci Fi Channel, which made me think it was produced by them specifically for release on cable, but the television version is rather cut up. Make no mistake, this is no made-for-TV-movie. It's rated R and is intended to be much more of a horror film than the campy 1982 Swamp Thing.

The movie is fairly good for a going straight to cable, and ending up on Blockbuster's shelf a couple months later. It doesn't stand out as one of the better comic book movies, but it's worth a watch. There are a few corny moments, but for the most part, the film is pretty solid and keeps you interested.

See it if you want to see the rare horror-film-based-on-a-comic-book.

Don't see it if you want to stick to good wholesome superhero-beats-up-the-bad-guys comic-book-based films.


Pop Candy's Comics Crash Course

Over on her Pop Candy blog, Whitney Matheson is offering a 4-part crash course in comics. Understandably, this is primarily for non-comic-afficianodos, but I'm sure it'll be interesting nonetheless. She starts with 25 Essential Graphic Novels.

Some good stuff - a lot I haven't yet read; a few I haven't even heard of.


The Return of Swamp Thing (1989) mini review

based on a comic

Note: Swamp Thing spoilers...

Even though he is killed by Swamp Thing in the first film, Dr. Arcane is back; he's after the formula for immortality, and only Swamp Thing and Arcane's stepdaughter Abigail (Heather Locklear) stand in his way.

I think they tried too hard to play up the campiness in this movie, making Locklear's character just plain corny, and adding a couple overacting kids into the mix. Rather than making the movie any good, it just makes it that much worse. Add to that the weird, interspecies love story, and you've got a real stinker (Heather Locklear falls in love with Swamp Thing and they spend some...odd...intimate moments together - I know the relationship between the two is taken from the comics, but the way it was played in the movie is just disturbing).

The make-up and costume for the Swamp Thing is better than the first movie (it was, after all, made about 7 years later), but he seems much more like a guy in a rubber suit in this film. The monster is played by the same actor as the first film (Dick Durok), where he talked, for lack of a better term, in a much more "monster-like" voice. In the sequel, however, he talks with a normal voice. This just makes it seem like he's actually a normal guy in a Swamp Thing costume.

The only thing I think I really liked about this film was that in the opening credits they showed a number of actual shots from the comics, which was an interesting way to introduce the movie.

Other comic connections:

  • Besides playing the evil Ursa in Superman and Superman II, Sarah Douglas (Dr. Zurell) has done a couple voices for the Batman and Superman Animated Series.
  • Heather Locklear once did a voice in Batman: The Animated Series
  • Joe Sagal (Gunn) appeared in Barb Wire

See it if you just have to watch the follow-up to the original, good film.

Don't see it if you don't want to be disappointed by another sequel that fails to reach the heights of the original.


Superhero Movie Trailer

Finally, a little info about Superhero Movie. Here's the trailer!

Superhero Movie

Good grief. Everything's on myspace these days. Here's hoping they didn't put all the funny parts in the trailer. Of course, I only laughed a couple times, so if they did, it doesn't bode well for the movie.

Super Obama Girl

I realize I'm way behind the curve when it comes to news.

But, hey - it's superhero-related and politically relevant. The perfect match! Plus, it's kinda funny.

And here's I Got a Crush on Obama - the video that started it all.


Oh Riddler, Where Art Thou?

So, the Riddler's not returning my calls.


But I've got one better. I'm totally peeved that I haven't been able to find a December 2007 Previews to do my "Pop Culture Crossover" for that month. You can't even find someone trying to overcharge for one on eBay. Does anyone out there have one they want to get rid of?

How about a trade? If you'll send me a copy of the December 2007 Previews, I'll send you the first trade of Rix Libris (it's only been read once and it's near mint). But please make sure it's December! I'd hate to get a copy of Previews and find out it's the wrong one. We can do it this way - the first person to post that they will send me a December 2007 Previews, and follow it up by actually sending it - I'll return the favor by sending them my only copy of Rex Libris. I don't care what kind of shape the Previews is in as long as I can read through it - writing in it, dog-eared pages, whatever. As long as it's readable, since I'm not going to be saving it. If you've got the Marvel issue, too, that'd be great, but it's not necessary.

Thanks in advance!