Writer/director Joss Whedon gave “Marvel LIVE!” the exclusive first interview after the announcement of Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” during Marvel Studios’ Hall H presentation. You can expect a new spin on the Ultron origin story and a global outlook.
“Machinima” provides a recap on the news coming out of Comic-Con about a Superman vs. Batman movie. The news is very brief amounting to a quote from a confrontation between Superman and Batman from Frank Miller’s “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.” However, there is no indication that this story will be the basis for the new movie.
At a pivotal moment, our hero (played by Henry Cavill), asks a pastor for guidance. His advice on whether or not to trust the humans is, “You must take a leap of faith. Trust will follow.” “Man of Steel” proves that a leap of faith will be rewarded. Both Warner Bros., and its audience, have taken the big leap. Warner Bros. chose to create a movie with some bite to it. And audiences have chosen to give it a chance. Since “The Dark Knight,” it seemed all superhero movies were destined to go dark. However, the script by the same talent behind “The Dark Knight,” David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan, remains true to Superman’s innate power to uplift.
“Man of Steel” mines fertile ground in what is far more than just an origin story. This is simply one of the best Superman stories, period. The trailer and the publicity photos don’t do it justice if you can imagine that. You really just need to see it. I wasn’t sure what to expect but this is an exceedingly good movie. It’s as if everything you know, or thought you knew, about Superman has been cleared aside and you go into this completely fresh.
Come to think of it, you do briefly see a young man out in the Alaska wilderness in one of the trailers. That’s the spirit to this film: cut to the chase, rough and tumble, direct and honest. You’ve got Zack Snyder (“300,” “Watchmen”) directing so you can expect a gritty vibe. Snyder lets all his men be manly men with a strong sense of purpose. You get impressive male performances, notably from Russell Crowe, as Jor-El; Kevin Costner, as Jonathan Kent; and Michael Shannon, as General Zod.
Looking back to 1978 and Richard Donner’s “Superman,” what “Man of Steel” accomplishes is to naturally present a thoroughly contemporary Superman. There is room for pauses, and even hesitation, but it’s at a quicker and steadier pace. There is a sense of urgency running throughout “Man of Steel” that is a lot of fun to watch. Does Henry Cavill measure up to Christopher Reeve? Does Amy Adams measure up to Margot Kidder? Yes, in very different ways. It’s a more no nonsense approach. You won’t find Henry Cavill endlessly fumbling with his fedora or Amy Adams looking just a bit hung over from partying with a rock star. There just isn’t time for it. Even the name, “Superman,” is barely uttered by Lois Lane before the plot pushes us elsewhere. There is so much invested in this very purposeful story that we don’t even need to worry about Clark Kent, ace reporter, at all. Save that for another story.
Krypton is anything but window dressing in the story. The opening scenes on Krypton are so vivid and well put together that you feel you could linger there much longer. Russell Crowe commands the screen as Jor-El. The dispute over how to save Krypton escalates out of control. Michael Shannon, as General Zod, makes for a satisfying villain with just the right sense of menace. In this case, it’s not mere jealously or some maniacal thirst for power that drives the bad guy. General Zod sincerely believes in what he’s doing and will stop at nothing to get there. The fact he’s trying to save his people gives our plot that added weight and clarity.
Thankfully, this Superman movie got it right. It just feels right. It’s the Superman movie for these times without trying too hard to be so. Henry Cavill gets to be a young man trying to find himself without once coming across as a brooding self-loathing Eddie Vedder wannabe. Maybe if he’d worn a hoodie that would have been too much. But no hoodies to be found here. Amy Adams is so natural as Lois Lane that we don’t even care that she’s not a traditional brunette Lois. And yes, she’s every bit a woman matched up to the salty Margot Kidder. And leading the Daily Planet is editor-in-chief, Perry White, played with gusto by Laurence Fishburne. An Afro-American as Perry White in 1978 would have raised some eyebrows but not today.
1978’s “Superman” seems to have had the luxury of playing things a bit slow and off tempo and hardly veering off the well-worn path Superman movies and comics had known since they’d started. But, in 2013, you snooze and you lose. Superman might have appeared a daunting task to get right but “Man of Steel” found a way to make it look easy.
“Man of Steel” keeps that leap of faith flying steadily in the air. It will not only make you believe a man can fly. It will give you faith in more Superman movies to come.
Leave it up to Warner Bros. Home Entertainment to bring to life the hit video game as a full-length animated feature film. You can count on Warner Bros. to provide the entertainment. In this case, you’ve got a feature that will truly appeal to any age.
As you can see from the sample clip above, this is something that is literally age-appriate from 3 to 103. This just released clip features Robin (hilariously voiced by Charlie Schlatter) giving chase to Catwoman. The humor is snappy with a contemporary vibe while the plot never goes dark. Sure, it’s Batman in the spotlight but, as we all know, this is a very versatile character and, for this animated feature, you’ve got him here for light action and laughs.
LEGO BATMAN: THE MOVIE is now out! Visit Warner Bros. Entertainment here.
Arlen Schumer is your perfect guide into the world of comics and pop culture. He is a leading authority on comic book art. He knows the subject inside and out. After graduating with a degree in Graphic Design from RISDI, Mr. Schumer apprenticed with legendary DC Comics artist Neal Adams. Subsequently, Mr. Schumer went on to a career not as a comic book artist but as a comic book-style illustrator. A member of the Society of Illustrators, Mr Schumer took his already impressive career one step further and began to lecture on the artistic merits of the comic book art form. This led to his book, the award-winning “The Silver Age of Comic Book Art.” He regularly provides VisauLectures about comic book art that educate, inspire, and bring up for discussion intriguing and exciting aspects of comic book art.
This Sunday, May 5, will be an opportunity to see Mr. Schumer’s latest VisuaLecture, “Comic Book Art History: The First 24 Years!” If you’re not in the NY metro area, then you can still see this presentation streamed live. Just visit www.arlenschumer.com for details. You can also read the previous post just below this post.
Here is the Comics Grinder podcast interview below. We chat about comics and childhood. We also talk about how comics can be misunderstood and what can be done about it. One thing, no doubt, that is helping to motivate and educate the public about comics is Mr. Schumer and his VisuaLectures. They aren’t just lectures. They are lively engagements with the subject and, most definitely, visual. Keep an eye out for many more to come, including a tribute to Joe Kubert, Carmine Infantino, and a look at the development of the Black Panther character at Marvel Comics, a creation led by Jack Kirby. You can read the VisuaLecture about Jack Kirby’s Black Panther in a special Avengers issue of Alter Ego, details here. And you can read the VisuaLecture tribute to Joe Kubert in Comic Book Creator, details here.
“COMIC BOOK ART HISTORY: THE FIRST 25 YEARS!” is the latest in Arlen Schumer’s impressive VisuaLecture series on the comics medium. It is a not-to-be-missed presentation. If you happen to be in the area, see it in person at Stepping Stones Museum in Connecticut this Sunday, May 5. Or, you can view it as a live-streaming video. Details are below.
Arlen Schumer is one of the leading historians of comic book art. His presentations are lively, highly informative, and, of course, very visual!
THIS SUNDAY MAY 5th, 2013 @ 3:00pm! In an incredible multimedia gallery space, part of Stepping Stones Museum’s YES2 Youth Program’s 1st Comic Book Mini-Convention! A screen the size of a small IMAX to project on! Comic book images like you’ve never seen ’em before!
I’ll be going though not only “The First 25 Years” of my comic book history works (since my instigating the Fall ’88 PRINT mag special comics issue), but “the first 25 years” of my childhood and young adult years, from being the art director of BATMANIA mag in high school to working for Batman’s greatest artist, Neal Adams, after art school (like getting paid to go to graduate school), and then creating a career illustrating in a comic book style, and parlaying comic book history to audiences around the country!
And hey, adults–it ain’t just for kids! There’ll be plenty of adults/parents, and ALL ages are invited!
And if you CAN’T make it in person…
LIVE-STREAMING VIDEO ON USTREAM! Go here at 4:00pm EST: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/stepping-stones-museum-forchildren
Stepping Stones Museum
Mathews Park, 303 West Avenue
Norwalk, CT 06850
203 899 0606
What has to be a comics shocker, news is out that Andy Diggle has stepped down as the next writer for “Action Comics.” Even before the first issue released, Andy Diggle announced that he will not succeed Grant Morrison as writer on “Action Comics.” This is what Andy Diggle had to say on Twitter, March 20, 2013:
“Sadly, I’ve decided to walk away from Action Comics for professional reasons.
It was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make, especially with Superman’s 75th anniversary and Man of Steel on the horizon.
But it was the right decision. No regrets. Onwards!
Sincere thanks to Matt Idelson for inviting me to follow Grant Morrison on Action Comics. I hope we still get to work together someday.
Thank you to all the fans who’ve expressed their enthusiasm in anticipation of my run.
I wish nothing but the best of luck to whichever new creative team picks up the red boots and cape.
Many of you were planning to pick up Action Comics for the first time. I hope you still do.”
Andy Diggle is an immense talent. You can currently catch his writing, teamed up again with the artist Jock, for the short series, “Snapshot,” published by Image Comics. There is also “Doctor Who” for IDW; “Thief of Thieves,” with Skybound; and “Uncanny” with Dynamite. Yes, the man is busy. But this is “Action Comics” we’re talking about! Well, some things are meant to be.
Tony Daniel, the artist for this next round of “Action Comics,” will now be both artist and writer for the remainder of the run.
Add this news to Josh Fialkov walking away as writer for “Green Lantern Corps” and “Red Lanterns.” In that case, Fialkov would not go along with plans by DC Comics to kill off a key Green Lantern character, John Stewart.
The news of Andy Diggle’s departure can only open up the wounds from Rob Liefeld leaving DC Comics while he was writer on three titles, “Hawkman,” “Deathstoke,” and “Grifter.” This story is all about alleged editorial interference with the writer and provides a window into the process. This is what Liefeld had to say on Twitter on August 22, 2012 about his departure:
Last week my editor said “early on we had a lot of indie talent that weren’t used to re-writes and changes…made it hard.” Uh, no, it’s you.
We wish everyone the best. It is unfortunate but it appears to explain a lot.
If “Batman Inc. #8” was the must-have a few weeks back, then DC Comics scores again with this week’s must-have issue, “Action Comics #18.” You will notice that DC Comics decided to go with two other guys at the helm of this last issue: Nosirrom Tnarg and Selarom Sgar. You have to wonder how that happened. How can such an important issue be left with these two unknowns in charge? Oh, wait a minute, it’s Grant Morrison and Rags Morales after all – their names are backward in the credits in keeping with this story’s theme! Ha. Ha. That brings up one of the best scenes in this issue. This should not be a spoiler. But be warned, if you don’t want to know anything about this last issue. Basically, this is a chance to express some initial thoughts as we all read this together and process it.
Ever wonder what Alexander Hamilton would look like if he was Batman? Well, probably not. But Berlin artist/designer Aslan Malik sure did. He went all graffiti on some legal tender and rendered himself some superheroes. DC Comics, take a look at your Justice Leauge now! Applying paint directly to a $50, $100, $20, $10, and $5, Malik turned Grant, Franklin, Jackson, Hamilton, and Lincoln into Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Batman, and the Flash. But what about the most iconic, and most easily accessible cash of them all, the mighty $1 bill? What about George Washington?
Warner Bros. continues to bring out gems from its archives with the second season of “Superboy.” The plot that launches the season provides us with a Lex Luthor that rivals the Joker in twisted evil. That alone is worth the price of admission as we see Luthor, played by Sherman Howard, chew up the scenery. He dares to force Lana Lang into marrying him and to put Superboy in hospital, at least temporarily.
There is something strangely edgy about this particular Lex Luthor story that will appeal to any Superman fan, or Batman fan for that matter. Among other things, you also get a rather odd take on Metallo and even a face-off with Dracula, which would have fitted in with some of the weird things going on at DC Comics at the time. And, yes, we like weird things. Season 2 of “Superboy” is available now and you can find it here.