Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Finally, A JLA Movie! "Wonder Twin Powers... Activate!"

It was 46 years ago that The Justice League of America first appeared in The Brave and Bold #28. Almost immediately, fans started fantasizing about the movie. Well our prayers have been answered, and we have the success of “X-Men: The Last Stand,” to thank for it.

An insider tells me, Warner executives are tired of Marvel making more successful movies than DC. After the last X-Men movie, they green lit the JLA movie. After much searching, they hired Kieran and Michele Mulroney to write the script. Kieran is best known for writing the screenplay for “Mr. & Mrs. Smith.”

In 2002 Warner began developing a Batman vs. Superman movie. I have been told the director—Wolfgang Peterson—quit the project to make "Troy" after much frustration. Warner shopped for a new director and finally buried the idea with the success of both “Batman Begins” and “Superman Returns.”

Currently, all three members of the “Holy Trinity” of the JLA have movies in the works:

The new Batman movie, “The Dark Knight,” will again star Christian Bale. My sources tell me that Frank Miller, not Chris Nolan, may be directing the movie. Heath Leger (A Knight’s Tale) will play the Joker. (keep the Brokeback Batman jokes to yourself). Aaron Eckhart (Thank You for Smoking) will play Harvey Dent/Two Face. It is also rumored that Maggie Gyllenhaal (Sherri Baby) will play Rachel Dawes instead of Katie Holmes. (You would think after having L Ron Hubbard’s baby, Tom would let her out of the dungeon.)

The new Superman movie, “Superman: The Man of Steel,” will again star Brandon Routh and be directed by Brian Singer. The movie would have been shelved if not for its international success. Executives are demanding a shorter more action packed movie. I am told that we should expect several villains.

The Wonder Woman movie’s release date has been moved to 2009. Joss Whedon is no longer the director. I have been told that he was pissed that Wonder Woman had a crappy origin and fought shitty villains. Eva Green (Casino Royale) is presently the favorite to play the Amazon princess.

With these members of the Justice League already on the big screen, will the same actors play the heroes? Do we want a JLA movie with different actors? I have already complained about Famke Janssen (Jean Grey) being cast as Bethany Cabe in the new Iron Man movie. Am I the only one who cares about continuity? In my right opinion, if an actor appears in the same “universe” as two different people, one of them better be a clone.

I’m also worried it may be tricky to make this movie believable. In a live action movie, it is difficult to make flying characters using heat rays and magic rings appear realistic. On top of that, there is going to be an equally powered group of villains. This is why we didn’t see much flying in the X-Men movies. With little effort, this movie could become a laughing stock.

Good or bad, we want the movie. You can’t get cheesier than the 1970’s Super Friends and they currently are some of my favorite DVDs. I can't wait!


Check out this fan created JLA Movie Trailer:

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Marvel Civil War, No Bang, No Whimper. "Can't we all just get along?"

Civil War #7, the final chapter of the Marvel Comic series, hit the shelves this week. Has it lived up to the hype? Was it worth the delays? Let’s review the whole series from the start.

The Story So Far

The first issue of Civil War set a perfect stage. It starts with the New Warriors filming the latest episode of their “reality” television show. For the ratings, they decide to capture a band of villains on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. Microbe is ignored when he points out that these guys are, “…way out of our league.” Chaos ensues and concludes with Nitro blowing himself up. Unfortunate for the New Warriors (and kiddies on a bus) the explosion destroys a large chunk of Stamford Connecticut and is telecast live on TV.

This event leads the US government to pass the Superhuman Registration Act. No longer would the government allow those with super powers run around unbridled. This forces the heroes of the Marvel Universe to quickly take sides. Those in favor of the act line up behind Iron Man. The heroes concerned with maintaining their freedom are forced underground and form up behind Captain America.

The second issue kept the surprises coming. In the last few pages, Spider-Man takes his mask off and reveals to the world that he was Peter Parker. Wow! Who the hell saw this coming? Of all the super heroes in the Marvel Universe, Spider-Man needs his secret identity. He has the most to lose. His family is not made up of other superheroes and he can’t protect them with his money. They (and he) are totally vulnerable.

Tony Stark convinces Peter that it is his only choice. By not complying, he makes Mary Jane and Aunt May coconspirators. Tony would help him protect his family. Besides they lived in Stark Tower now.

The third installment was one hell of a fight. It ended with one of the best final pages in history. The God of Thunder, Thor, appears after a long absence and is ready to kick some major ass. It was spectacular. The buzz was ecstatic!

The first few issues of Civil War provided a much needed shot in the arm for the sickly comic industry. Tons of magazines, newspapers and television shows ran stories on the event. New readers were daily walking into comic book stores for the first time. Not even the recent deluge of comic movies was able to do that. Even more surprisingly, many of the disgruntled comic fans of the 1990s were returning.

The issues Civil War raised could not have been timelier. The parallels between the Marvel Universe and our own were easy to identify. The Patriot Act, the torturing of war criminals, the definitions of terrorists and freedom fighters, were all reflected. And as it is in real life, there were no villains in black and heroes in white. The Marvel super heroes, like us, were living in the shades of gray.

Then the delays started. Blamed on a hundred different things, Marvel pushed back the release dates for the remaining issues. Fans and store owners alike were outraged. But it didn’t slow sales. As usual, many quickly said it was all a sales ploy. However, it seemed the delays were to accommodate Steve McNiven. His tremendous art was taking longer than anticipated.

Issue four hit the shelves with mixed emotions. The art was stellar (as usual), but the story seemed rushed. It could all be summed up as one big fight that climaxed with the clone of Thor killing Goliath. Surprise, controversy erupted. Some accused Marvel as being racist and others said Marvel was playing it safe by killing a useless character. (Read my blog about it)

Issues five and six also seemed rushed, and like issue three nothing significant happened. They were mostly summaries of what was occurring in the regular titles. Reed and Sue Richards separated, Spider-Man realized he was wrong and turned on Stark, and the Thunderbolts new roster were a band of “controlled” super villains. Fans gave it a pass. It’s okay. We all understood that Marvel was building up momentum for the epic final battle in issue seven. Feel the anticipation.

The Story Now

A few days ago I got my hands on a copy of Civil War #7. I read it immediately. It was impressive from the very beginning. Captain America smashed Bishop’s head in the ground after yelling, “AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!” Ha, Ha! Awesome! Turn the page…

Then it was over. It was over and nothing happened! All the build up! All the controversy! The months of delayed gratification! For this!? It not only didn’t end with a bang, it didn’t end with a whimper. It barely ended with a fizzle.

In a nutshell, Captain America quit. Some random civilian causes Cap to realize all the destruction their Civil War had caused. So he quits. He says, “We’re not fighting for the people anymore…” pulls off his mask and allows himself to get arrested. WTF?

He can’t do that. That is not the way Cap goes down. Good or bad, that’s not the American way. Keep in mind; Cap is not just responsible for himself, he is responsible for the lives of all the heroes who have given up their lives to follow him. Damn, Peter Parker alone goes from the proverbial frying pan to the fire and then flops out into hell.

What if Captain America had this attitude during World War II? What if after we stormed Normandy or we saw the destruction in Europe he decided to just quit? Hey, Hitler might be evil incarnate, but think of the real estate. I know a lot of you think I am blowing this out of proportion, but I’m not. What about personal freedoms? What about standing up for what’s right? Are the rights of the many worth more than the rights of the few? Is peace our goal regardless of the cost?

Possibly Mark Millar is trying to comment on the current fiasco in Iraq? I hope not. It really doesn’t work as a solution. I am more inclined to believe that he was forced to bring the whole thing to a quick resolution. But that sucks as an answer as well.

To me, the best part of Civil War has been the tie-ins. Amazing Spider-Man, Avengers, Fantastic Four, and Black Panther to name a few, have been great. I can’t imagine trying to read Civil War without reading all the other stories. In fact, reading them all made the whole series a lot better.

What do you guys think? Am I way off?

Do you think they are going to kill Aunt May? The new issue of Amazing seems like they might. I believe Civil War should have ended with the death of Mary Jane. What a perfect way to show that heroes need their secret identities.

What do you think will happen with Tony Stark? Is there any way he can be trusted again? I think not. This might be a good opportunity to turn him into a villain. Probably not with the new movie and all.

Let me know your opinion.


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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I'm Back...Just in time for the end of Marvel's Civil War!

Okay, okay. I'm back. Thanks for all the great posts and emails. Yes, I know I have been gone for quite a while. No, I haven't given up. Here go the excuses…

As most of you Atlanta, GA readers know, my wife and I have sold our comic book store. After 16 years of sweat and toil we have finally let our baby go. It wasn’t an easy decision, but we knew it was the right one to make. Our focus for the past few years has been developing our web business. After trying to be dual focused for so long, we knew it was time to dedicate ourselves full time to it. So the day after Thanksgiving, my wife and I signed the final papers and sold our baby (or teenager) to the new parents. We have been competitors and friends of theirs for years and are very happy with our choice.

I want to make it clear that I am in no way leaving the comic book industry. I am now dedicating myself to writing. If things go as planned I should be able to let you know about a few up and coming projects I have in the works. And with all the extra money I am going to receive when I prove I am the father of Anna Nicol’s baby, it should be a lot easier.

Also, as I mentioned, we are dedicating ourselves to our online business. For those of you who don’t know, we sell comic books and related items at http://www.heroesdirect.com/servlet/StoreFront . It has been quite tedious getting all the web design and inventory management figured out (any volunteers out there?). Until we get it finished, we would appreciate any support and business you can give us. We have a pretty strong customer base right now, but can always use more.

Much like a regular store, we take preorders from Previews (this way you can get discounts), or you can set up a pull box with us. Just give us a list of the titles you want and we will pull them weekly for you. Every time you get $25.00 or more in your box, we will mail them to you with FREE shipping! That’s right FREE! This way you get all the benefits of a local store and aren’t screwed with shipping. If you are interested check out the web page and drop us and email.

To all our former brick and mortar customers, I want to take the time to thank you. We did not get the opportunity to thank most of your personally. This is our only regret. You guys have been our family and we will always be grateful.

For all you guys who aren’t from Atlanta and want to read more gossip and crap about comics, I’m getting there.

So much has happened since my last posting. Joss Whedon is no longer doing the Wonder Woman movie; so we don’t have to worry about the bad Diana choices. Then there’s that Ghost Rider movie….the new Fantastic Four….300... Oh and did you hear HBO is going to make a series out of the Preacher comics. And, Brian K Vaughan is going to start writing for the television show Lost.

Check back tomorrow, I have just finished reading the end of Marvel’s Civil War. I have been dying to bitch (I mean talk) about it. Viva Captain France....I mean America....oh...I'll wait till tomorrow. (and yes I am joking...take it easy my French friends.)


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