Tag Archives: Wonder Woman

Superhero Movies Face No Kryptonite as They Soar into 2018

A great year ahead for superhero movies.

Author: Anna Galich

When it comes to fighting for the share of a film audience, the battleground is extremely tough. However, amidst the blockbusters, period pieces, and Oscar fodder, one genre has risen above all others and against all odds reigned supreme both in terms of commercial success and cultural reception. That’s right, superhero movies provide us with some of the most lucrative and successful films in recent years, and their star is only going to continue to rise. But what does the future hold for superhero films? And will the current trajectory ever slow down?

Super Success

2017 was a good year for superhero flicks. According to Box Office Mojo Wonder Woman grossed $412,563,408, and was the 3rd highest grossing film of the year, while Thor: Ragnarok achieved $312,641,320 and 7th place, and Justice League closed out the Top 10. The success shows that superhero movies are still drawing in the public and achieving box office targets. As long as the targets are being met, the studios will still continue to produce films about superheroes. The first female-led superhero movie bolstered the position for DC, with Gal Gadot’s performance as Wonder Woman being highly praised – and with that success comes a possible new subgenre for countless other female superheroes who may have been overlooked over the years.

Hope for the Future

2018 looks to continue the rise of the superhero movie genre, with Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool 2, and Ant-Man and the Wasp providing sequels of previously successful films. Based on the eponymous villain, Venom will offer an alternate view of the Spider-Man series – which itself received a revamp in 2017, replacing Andrew Garfield with Tom Holland for the Spider-Man Homecoming origin story. Revamps are common in the genre and actually in fitting with the comic books they are based on, which regularly kill off characters, such as when Spider-Man was killed in 2012 only to be revived again. The trick the studios have to pull is to stick to the genre’s roots while finding new and exciting ways to explore superhero backstories and mythos.

Fresh Meat

But with the regurgitation of heroes in sequel after sequel (Iron Man and Captain America both have 3 films each, with appearances in crossovers and the everyone-involved Avengers films), and the retelling of the same story (Spider-Man has had 3 different actors; Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland in only 15 fifteen years), there leaves little space for new superheroes to change the genre up. However, one hero, whose exploits were documented in the 1986 movie Highlander, is in the pipeline for a remake. The remake will introduce newer fans to the character, who already has a fan base and in niche areas even appeared as a popular game on the homepage of Betway Casino, featured as an online slot game. The game features content from the classic franchise and can give you a sense of how popular the movie (directed by Chad Stahleski of John Wick fame) will be.

Superhero movie franchises abound.

Franchise and Fans

The superhero movie continues to see a positive return at the box office due to the franchise nature of the genre. The films are based on premises, not plots, which are conducive to expanded arcs, backstories, and fleshed out worlds of characters long forgotten in comic books. As many are based on comic books, which have established audiences, and come from a genre, which also has dedicated fans, studios are more likely to produce superhero movies due to the likelihood of a higher turnout. The established fan base could explain why so many superhero films are given the green light, but easy fans wouldn’t account for the genuine financial success the films achieve.

Marvel vs DC

The Marvel vs DC battle, which dominates the comic world, and has begun to dominate the world of cinema, is another factor that keeps superhero films alive. If only one franchise existed, filmmakers could grow complacent and produce subpar stories knowing people will watch them. The healthy competition and so-called battle the companies are involved in helps keep each franchise fresh in order to stay ahead of the competition. With DC’s release of the Wonder Woman film, Marvel are already considering further exploring Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow in her own feature. The character starred in many of her own comics, which explored the backstory revealed in Age of Ultron. The opening of major action movies to female leads provides a wealth of avenues that the superhero films can go down – just don’t mention Halle Berry’s 2004 flop as Catwoman!

The Comic Book Industry

The superhero genre of films also helps keep the comic book industry alive. By introducing fans to a character, they can then delve into the entire back catalogue of that character, and everything they have done before. Given that many started in the 1950s, fans potentially have a large amount of material to sift through, helping to build the franchise effect that keeps audiences interested film after film.

The superhero genre, after years of hard work and failed attempts, has finally solidified itself as the head of the box office and a creator of sure-fire hits. The future of the genre looks bright, and filmmakers have to just decide which aspect to focus on. While flops can still occur, the unwavering success of the last spate of films shows just how successful the genre actually can be.

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Filed under Comics, Commentary, Guest Column, movies, superhero movies, Superheroes, Superman

Comics Grinder Winter Giveaway!

It’s time for a Comics Grinder Winter Giveaway!

I have some treasures to give away. Here is the plan: I will mail out any of these treats to you in return for a little good cheer back. My prime objective is to get more folks to become aware of my book of collected works in comics, “A Night at the Sorrento and Other Stories.” What I ask of you is to read the book and give it a review on Amazon. Of course, say whatever you like. I will truly appreciate the feedback. And it can be as short and sweet as you like too. You can easily purchase my book (or read for free) at Amazon. Just go right here. I think this will be a natural fit for my thoughtful readers.

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Movie Review: WONDER WOMAN

Finally, Wonder Woman gets her very own movie!

“Wonder Woman” is simply the movie to see rounding out its third weekend with U.S. sales at $275 million and $570 million worldwide. You may have noticed there are a lot of showings, including 3D and 4DX versions, and they sell out quickly. All of this is for very good reason. This Wonder Woman movie is very sharp and Gal Gadot in the main role commands the screen at all times, even more so, I dare say, than a Ben Affleck or a Henry Cavill. That had to be part of the thinking behind this first ever Wonder Woman major motion picture. The stumbling block all these decades was supposed to have something to do with whether or not a Wonder Woman movie could ever deliver the box office of a Superman or Batman movie. The answer is YES!

Yes, Wonder Woman can Kick Ass!

“Wonder Woman,” directed by Patty Jenkins, is certainly one of those exceptional movie events. It comes out of that urgent need to get it right. The most brilliant step in getting it right was to set the story during World War I. When was the last time you saw a major motion picture set during WWI? Any young person walking in to see this movie would shrug. There have been a select few, including 2004’s “A Very Long Engagement,” starring Audrey Tautou. The original Wonder Woman comic book was inextricably linked to World War II since it came out during that era. But to rework that same terrain would have been dreadfully tiresome for many a fan. Setting things back to an entirely different epoch opens up different and more compelling options, bringing it all back to basics in a very intriguing way. What could be better than to have a young and idealistic goddess confront “the war to end all wars”? I can imagine that being the pitch to the story by Zack Snyder (Man of Steel) that was fleshed out in the screenplay by Allan Heinberg (Grey’s Anatomy).

HOLLYWOOD, CA – MAY 25: Actors Gal Gadot (L) and Lynda Carter attend the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Wonder Woman” at the Pantages Theatre on May 25, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

The beauty of “Wonder Woman” is how purposeful it is. Yes, we are dealing with the inevitable origin story. But that becomes a big plus as this is used to full advantage. The opening scenes set in Themyscira, the idyllic world that Wonder Woman comes from, have a refreshing vibe to them. There is a certain amount of dutiful explaining going on but, right from the start, we see quick and steady progress from our main character. We see Diana, the little girl, get the early training she demands. In no time, she has grown into a young woman more powerful than even she could imagine. And, all the while, this phase of Diana’s life, comes across not as merely backstory but as essential. Most importantly, there is a sense of urgency and suspense. In a different era, not too long ago (not exactly over with), this depiction of a female paradise could have easily fallen prey to titillation. More harmful than any supervillain, that would have been the worst sucker punch Wonder Woman could have endured.

Yes, a Wonder Woman can be VERY SUCCESSFUL and POPULAR!

So, let me jump to my big point. I went to see this movie with my 21-year-old daughter. She was not really all that aware of the Wonder Woman TV show, starring Lynda Carter. I tried to explain that it was part of its era, the ’70s, and less enlightened. It was too easy to make Wonder Woman a sex symbol for that show. And my daughter quickly picked up on that and said she appreciated how this new Wonder Woman was not sexualized in that way. I also mentioned that I have read more than one account, over the years, of women claiming to have been inspired as little girls by the spinning Lynda Carter did on the show to magically transform into a superhero. Girls would spin and spin and spin. Again, my daughter picked up on that. She said she was more interested in Gal Gadot’s impressive Taekwondo kicks. I am sure that Lynda Carter would understand.

“Wonder Woman” offers a whole new way for girls to be inspired. They no longer have to just spin and spin and spin. What a remarkable job this movie does in playing catch-up. Had a movie just like this come out in Lynda Carter’s heyday, it would have been hailed as nothing short of revolutionary. Superman and Batman movies have dominated the pop culture landscape for decades having left a Wonder Woman movie at a considerable disadvantage. How this movie overcomes that, with a genuinely inspiring main character, clearly demonstrates that there is a demand of strong and powerful female characters. In fact, the revolution continues and this movie manages to depict Wonder Woman as leading the way.

“Wonder Woman” is distributed by Warner Bros. Visit the official Wonder Woman movie site right here.

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Filed under Batman, Comics, DC Comics, Movie Reviews, movies, Superheroes, Superman, Warner Bros., Wonder Woman

GIRL POWER Books to Help Planned Parenthood. Downtown Bookworks to Donate From Sales

Downtown Bookworks

Downtown Bookworks

For the next two weeks, Downtown Bookworks (a woman-owned and women-run business) will be donating a portion of the proceeds from sales of My First Book of Girl Power and The Big Book of Girl Power to Planned Parenthood.

Help spread the word. This is a great way to stand with Planned Parenthood, an organization that empowers women. The Downtown Bookworks campaign runs from March 1st thru March 15th.

My First Book of Girl Power

My First Book of Girl Power

The last page of The Big Book of Girl Power sums up how Downtown Bookworks feels and why it supports Planned Parenthood through its donation campaign:

“When women get together to do good things, nothing and nobody can stop them!

What are your your special powers?

How will you use them to make the world a better place?”

Downtown Bookworks would love to see you and your kids enjoying their books. Please connect with them by sharing your comments and pictures on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Visit Downtown Bookworks right here.

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Filed under Comics, Downtown Bookworks, Planned Parenthood, Superheroes, Women, Wonder Woman

Review: ‘Investigating Lois Lane: The Turbulent History of the Daily Planet’s Ace Reporter’ by Tim Hanley

Lois Lane Tim Hanley

There is no Lois Lane without Superman. Okay. But is there no Superman without Lois Lane? That makes sense too but it’s more complicated than that, as Tim Hanley points out in his new book, “Investigating Lois Lane: The Turbulent History of the Daily Planet’s Ace Reporter.” Lois Lane. Who is she? What Hanley concludes is that the general public has got a good handle on this: Lois Lane is a smart, capable, and determined journalist. But it took DC Comics a very long time to come around and understand this.

Lois Lane and Superman, circa 1970

Lois Lane and Superman, circa 1970

In a book that is brimming with facts, Tim Hanley provides a highly accessible read on an iconic character that has been put through the wringer. Hanley’s 2014 book, “Wonder Woman Unbound” was highly insightful and entertaining. With this new book focusing on Lois Lane, I think he’s really hit the nail on the head. Here is a female character who has been a part of DC Comics right from the start and holds a unique position as the key partner to Superman, the most celebrated superhero of all time. As a significant female character in pop culture, we have in Lois Lane an informative gauge of how women have been depicted and treated in media and society in close to a century in America.

Superman and Lois Lane, circa 1938

Superman and Lois Lane, circa 1938

Lois Lane began as a “sob sister” on The Daily Planet in 1938. As a woman, she was initially relegated to answering letters from women readers seeking advice on love and relationships. But Lois was persistent and it wasn’t long before she was holding her own with other newspapermen. She had to not only be tough, she had to be exceedingly single-minded. No fiancé for her. Along comes Superman and he sort of spoils things for Lois since she now finds herself more often the damsel in distress than the self-controlled ace reporter. This is a holding pattern that Lois will not break free from for the next thirty years. And, when she does, Lois is subjected to some pretty cringe-worthy attempts to revamp her character as a new feminist seeking justice for women, minorities, and any and all causes.

Superman and Lois Lane in "I Am Curious (Black)!"

Superman and Lois Lane in “I Am Curious (Black)!”

The jumping the shark moment for Lois comes when she decides to go undercover as an African-American woman in 1971. This is a story I was not aware of by any means. Hanley, I’m sure, does not expect readers to be familiar with this. Instead, I’m sure, he relishes in revealing these gold nuggets that have been lost to time. We come to see just how ill-conceived this story was and just how desperate DC Comics was to catch up with Marvel Comics that seemed to effortlessly keep up with the times. This particular story was entitled, “I Am Curious (Black)!” It is referring to a popular subversive Swedish film, “I Am Curious (Yellow).” That is provocative but decidedly tone deaf too as that film’s greatest notoriety was as pornography. Hanley goes on to say that the whole idea of having Lois Lane in blackface is bizarre and repugnant. I can see where this story might have worked had it attached itself to “Black Like Me,” the 1961 true account of journalist John Howard Griffin, a white man going undercover as a black man.

Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder in "Superman: The Movie"

Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder in “Superman: The Movie”

Hanley’s strength is in enthusiastically retelling each Lois Lane story as it rolls out. In Hanley’s hands, even the most popular stuff feels fresh and alive. With clarity and nuance, he brings to life the behind-the-scenes aspects to “Superman: The Movie” and how Margot Kidder would go on to provide the definitive template for Lois Lane. We come to see that, when it comes to Lois Lane, every step in the right direction is highly significant since they happen sporadically. What does the future hold for Lois Lane? Well, from what I found in this book, Margot Kidder remains a viable model to follow. Lois Lane can be as brash, and relevant, as writers can make her. Perhaps she’d be a bit like Tina Fey in “Whisky Tango Foxtrot,” which is an imperfect example at best, but the point is that we have barely scratched the surface on the character of Lois Lane after nearly a century. It’s time to pick up the pace. As Hanley’s book makes clear, Lois Lane remains a character full of potential who continues to resonate with potential fans.

“Investigating Lois Lane: The Turbulent History of the Daily Planet’s Ace Reporter” is a 288-page trade paperback, published by Chicago Review Press. For more details, visit Chicago Review Press right here.

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Filed under Comics, DC Comics, Lois Lane, Superman, Tim Hanley, Wonder Woman

Review: ‘The World According to Wonder Woman’ (Insight Legends)

Wonder-Woman-Matthew-Manning

Wonder Woman. How well do you know her? What I love about this new book from Insight Editions is how accessible this great American icon has been made. Writer Matthew K. Manning and illustrator Paul Bulman have explored everything you’ve ever wanted to know and some things you may have thought you knew.

Wonder-Woman-Paul-Bulman

Each and every aspect of Wonder Woman triggers a new story. This book is all about sticking to canon. Manning does this by having Wonder Woman speak for herself in journal entries. For instance, we get a firsthand recollection of her growing up in Themyscira. Just to set the record straight, Wonder Woman explains, that whole thing about her being formed from clay was just a ruse. Her mom was having an affair with another god. Being born from clay sounded like a good idea at the time.

Insight-Editions-Wonder-Woman

Think of this as a guidebook in a picture book format. There is a level of sophistication here that will appeal to fans of any age. Manning maintains an engaging conversational tone while peppering his narrative with bona fide comics facts, as in describing how Wonder Woman joined the Justice League; as well as integrating Greek mythology as in comparing superhero secret identities with Zeus incognito walking amongst mortals.

The beauty of this book lies within its crisp and concise structure. Add to that Bulman’s dynamic artwork, and you have a truly informative, entertaining, and compelling book. I leave you with one last example. Any fan will appreciate the four-page spread featuring all the gods in Wonder Woman’s orbit from the New 52 DC Comics universe. Very impressive for fans and casual readers alike.

“The World According to Wonder Woman” is published by Insight Editions. This is a hardcover 64-page book in full color priced at $16.95. For more details, visit Insight Editions right here.

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Filed under DC Comics, DC Entertainment, Insight Editions, pop culture, Wonder Woman

Review: WONDER WOMAN EARTH ONE by Grant Morrison–well, not quite yet.

Finally, "Wonder Woman Earth One" by Grant Morrison. I nearly fell out of my chair when I found out it was released!

Finally, “Wonder Woman Earth One” by Grant Morrison. I nearly fell out of my chair when I found out it was released!

Yes, “Wonder Woman Earth One” has been out since April but I had completely lost track. It’s been years, and years. You know, since the first teasing out of news of Grant Morrison possibly writing a Wondy book. He had said he’d turn her into the woman she was always meant to be or some such hogwash. I mean, who cared about the faux psychoanalysis, really? But Grant Morrison is a solid guy with a fun and creative mind. He could write something interesting, perhaps too interesting! So, that’s why DC Comics settled upon giving him an Earth One story to do, something that allowed him to flex his muscles and ooze his juices as he pleased–and it would remain outside of proper Wonder Woman canon or whatnot.

Alright then, so what did we end up with?? All of you comics geeks already know, right? But I don’t care so much about superhero comics. Well, I sort of take that back. It needs to be interesting! Do you get that? I know a lot of you out there do get that. Okay, here is where I leave my placeholder. I will drop in an ellipsis, a bunch of dot, dot, dots, like this “…..” and that lets me know to come back to it in due time. You know why I’m telling you this? Because I just realized I won’t be coming back to this for yet another long, long while. How about April 12, 2016!!

The following is the latest teaser from DC Comics. Read it and you’ll find the familiar Wonder Woman origin story. So, I’m not sure why Grant Morrison would need to tell this retread of a tale. Is a story that so closely follows canon a story that requires a writer like Grant Morrison who is only supposed to be summoned to completely blow your mind? Well, just saying:

Following tradition of Superman, Batman, Teen Titans comes Wonder Woman Earth One in 2016. Earth One is a series of Graphic Novels set in a new universe separate from the current DC Universe.

From the masterful minds of Grant Morrison (FINAL CRISIS, THE MULTIVERSITY) and Yanick Paquette (SWAMP THING, BATMAN, INC.) comes the most provocative origin of Wonder Woman you’ve ever seen — a wholly unique retelling that still honors her origins.

For millennia, the Amazons of Paradise Island have created a thriving society away from the blight of man. One resident, however, is not satisfied with this secluded life — Diana, Princess of the Amazons, knows there is more in this world and wants to explore, only to be frustrated by her protective mother, Hippolyta. Diana finds her escape when Air Force pilot Steve Trevor, the first man she has ever seen, crashes onto their shores. With his life hanging in the balance, Diana ventures into the long forbidden world of men. The Amazons chase after her and bring her back to Paradise Island in chains to face trial for breaking their oldest law…staying separated from the world that wronged them.

Thought provoking yet reverent, thoroughly modern but still timeless, the power and courage of Paradise Island’s greatest champion — Wonder Woman — is introduced in this new addition to DC’s New York Times best selling Earth One original graphic novel series.

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Filed under Comics, DC Comics, Grant Morrison, Wonder Woman

Review DC COMICS – THE NEW 52: THE POSTER COLLECTION from Insight Editions

DC Comics - The New 52: The Poster Collection

DC Comics – The New 52: The Poster Collection

This is one colossal book. It’s 40 posters featuring art from the biggest names in the DC Universe. This is “DC Comics – The New 52: The Poster Collection,” published by Insight Editions. All in one place, you get an eye full of iconic cover art from the most popular DC Comics titles since the launch of the New 52 in 2011. The book of posters is 12″ x 16″, priced at $24.99, and proves an excellent collection of contemporary DC Comics artwork.

Wonder Woman Poster with issue from comic book for comparison.

Wonder Woman Poster with issue from comic book for comparison.

If you love The New 52 comics, then this is a perfect companion piece. Here are some samples with the comic book alongside for comparison.

Action Comics Poster with issue from comic book for comparison.

Action Comics Poster with issue from comic book for comparison.

And, if you are somehow new to The New 52, this unique book will make an excellent introduction.

New 52 Batgirl Posters

New 52 Batgirl Posters

“DC Comics – The New 52: The Poster Collection” is available as of May 12, 2015. For more details, visit our friends at Insight Editions right here. You can also go here, here, and here.

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Filed under Comics, DC Comics, Insight Editions, The New 52

Review: Wonder Woman Hardcover Ruled Journal from Insight Editions

Wonder Woman Hardcover Ruled Journal

Wonder Woman Hardcover Ruled Journal

It’s always a pleasure to share with you items from Insight Editions. Here’s an inventive and useful item for superhero fans, the Wonder Woman Ruled Journal. Before it gives way to blank ruled pages, you get a few pages of Wonder Woman fighting Cheetah. In the midst of battle, she drops her journal with her strategic notes. The rest is yours to fill with your own adventure.

Wonder Woman Journal 1

The cover displays the Wonder Woman logo in silver against a red background with star patterns. The rugged and rubbery texture is reminiscent of a superhero costume. It is 192 pages, measuring 5.25″ x 8.25″. Who wouldn’t enjoy this distinctive journal? This is perfect for anyone on your gift-giving list. And, by the way, there’s a Superman version too!

Wonder Woman Journal 2

Insight Editions is dedicated to creating the very best illustrated books focusing on photography, musics, and pop culture. They are one of my favorite publishers and I look forward to sharing more of their exemplary work with you.

Wonder Woman Journal 3

The Wonder Woman Hardcover Ruled Journal is available as of May 19, 2015.

For more details, visit our friends at Insight Editions right here. You can also visit here, here, and here.

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Filed under Comics, DC Comics, DC Entertainment, Insight Editions, Wonder Woman

Comics in 2015: Wonder Woman: Earth One, Volume 1

From "Wonder Woman: Earth One," art by Yanick Paquette

From “Wonder Woman: Earth One,” art by Yanick Paquette

It was this time last year that I posted about looking forward to Grant Morrison’s “Wonder Woman: The Trial of Diana Prince.” Well, now it would seem to be an even better deal as that story will join forces with Earth One, an ongoing series of graphic novels published by DC Comics which retells the earliest adventures of various DC Comics characters. These stories give each character a freshening up on their origin story and on an alternate Earth so that it is free from, as they say in the comics biz, “continuity restraints.” That means that these stories don’t have to answer to what has already been sort of set in stone in the official DC universe. So, it’s like maybe a dream and it never happened, or maybe it did, but probably not. In the end, a good story should result.

Earth One titles slated for 2015:

Superman: Earth One, Volume 1-2 and Volume 3 will be released February 10, 2015.
Batman: Earth One, Volume 1 and Volume 2 will be released May 12, 2015.
Teen Titans: Earth One, Volume 1 to be released in 2015.
Wonder Woman: Earth One, Volume 1, originally slated for a Summer 2014 release, now slated for 2015.

The Wonder Woman Earth One graphic novel will be well worth the wait, with Grant Morrison finally tackling his first full-length Wonder Woman story and with art by the wonderful Yanick Paquette, who has worked with Morrison on “Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne” and “Seven Soldiers of Victory.” For more details, visit our friends at DC Comics right here.

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Filed under Comics, DC Comics, DC Entertainment, Grant Morrison, Wonder Woman