Every once in a while, all the awesome in the Universe seems to converge within a two day period. We're not sure why it happens, but it has, it does, and if our experience with the power cosmic means anything, we're sure it'll happen again. Dabblers might very well call these spectacular spectaculars Comic Convergences, but sometimes, even those words aren't enough.
This coming weekend of 02-04 April promises to be the first of 2010's Potentially Great Weekends, with3 mega-events exploding nationwide: (1)San Francisco's own gigantic comic convergence, Wonder Con, hits the Bay Area for a three-day show while(2)Apple's game-changing iPadgoes on sale promptly at 9am Saturday, one day before (3)Louis Leterrier'sClash of theTitanscharges into theaters on Friday - and in some places, tomorrow night.
So it'sTitansthat we'll tackle first. Yes, the iPad will undoubtedly change all our futures, butit will never hold a candle to the 1981 originalClash of The Titans, which, if you're like us, isn't just a film but a fond and fantastic childhood memory. No matter how sweet the special effects, no movie could ever be better than a kid's imagination - and to successfully remake, not relaunch (there's a difference) a titan like Titans is a task that makes killing a Kraken seem simple by comparison.
On one hand, it's good to know that Titans' screenwriters Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, along with directorLouis Leterrier, knew the enormity of the quest before them, but had their own inner kids on scene to guide them through the film's recreation. To remain faithful to their namesake, the filmmakers faced two main challenges, the first of which was not to lose the original's sense of fun and wonder despite bringing modern sensibilities to a storyline that could easily lend itself to the grim, darker tones of other modern epics. The inclusion of Pegasus, Bobo,Calibos, Medusa, and other characters that encouraged so many imaginations take flight 30yrs ago, was their second, and apparently, a feat not as easy as it may sound.
In a recent LA Times interview, Hay and Manfredi return several time to the concept of tonality; it's musical terminology (although its metaphorically found its way into discussions of literature and film) but the writers' intent is clear -- all the elements of the film have to feel the same, fit together, if a harmonious movie is to be made. And as cinematic sensibilities have changed fair amount the last three decades, the question of how best to fit Titans' many beasties into the new film required just as many answers.
In Clash of the Titans 2010, Pegasus, Perseus' (Sam Worthington) winged horse is no longer a wholesome white but a kick-ass black; Medusa, the snake-haired victim of the Gods' wrath and a woman with a deadly glare, became a more tragic character (and truer to Greek myth) as CGI allowed for an actual actress and more possibility than Ray Harryhausen's effective yet outdated stop-motion effects; the ultimate horror and main movie monster the Kraken achieve its mythic monstrosity; but Bobo, the oddly mechanical gift-owl of Athena in the original film and endearing fan-favorite, didn't click for the remake, at least very well. Hay and Manfredi noted only that he receives his nod in a brief cameo, and leave the details for film goers to discover.
Aside from the cosmetics, Clash of the Titans 2010 does, from all accounts, follow to one degree or another in the story footsteps of the original -- which, despite nostalgia's rose-colored glasses, strayed as far from actual Greek mythology as it did from any semblance of good writing or sensible dialogue. Harryhausen's stop-action figure-esque Medusa and Kraken don't come close to believable, and the party that today's widescreen THX SFX brings to audiences isn't one yesterday's thrills would even be invited to.
But from our point of view, believability doesn't ensure entertainment -- and 1981's Clash ofthe Titans was definitely entertainment. Yesterday's entertainment, of course, is today's camp. Considering that much of the first Titans charm is owed to its campy qualities, the same qualities that set the film's tone, it's difficult to imagine how the 2010 version remained the faithful remake Leterrier and co. intended to make. In so many ways, a Titansremake becomes a Catch-22: forget faithfulness and improve the faults of the first for a better story, or remain as faithful as possible and produce a movie that inevitably would be tough just to watch.
It's a road that lies somewhere between those two eventualities that team Titans set out to take, and whether they accomplished their quest or not remains to be seen - literally. And, as odd as it sounds, we think the film's treatment of Bobo, however short it may be, might also come to represent Titans 2010 in a larger context. In 1981, Bobo was a silly anomaly and an obvious nod to R2-D2,Star Wars' secret ingredient. Neither fits a modern context, but Bobo had one more modern-day epic strike against him - he was cute. Back in the day, not one kid in school would've wanted a Kraken to call their own, but Bobo was the bomb. For all that he was, a Clash of The Titans minus its bomb might very well become one, all by itself.
Leterrier's got a lot riding on this film; in fact, his hopes for a Marvelous tomorrow likely depend on it. As we've said, some weekends are just destined to be remembered; little metallic owls, not so much.
Clash of The Titans 3-D stars Sam Worthington, Gemma Arterton, Liam Neeson, and Ralph Fiennes and is directed by Louis Leterrier. The film opens Friday 02 April 2010. To find your local theater's show times, click HERE.
What Marvelous tomorrow does Louis Leterrier have in mind? Stick with abbracadabbling's Time Traveler and find out!
As tough as we were on Disney World's new Tron-o-Rail, both the once and future Tron movies captivate us in too many ways. Disney's first Tron made its debut almost twenty-eight years ago, introducing audiences to the concept of The Computer as Environment at a time when computers themselves were brand new technologies yet to be embraced. But that was then, this is now. And today, especially in (neon) light of the upcoming Tron:Legacy, Tron 1.0 looks like pure Retro.
Vimeo user Hexagonall thought so, too, but took his Retro-spectives one creative step further...or farther - back in time. Drawing from the minimalistic graphic art and film title designs of Saul Bass, the man who reinvented the movie title as an art form, and especially Bass' opening sequences for Alfred Hitchcock'sPsycho and North By Northwest, Hexagonall recreated Tron's opening credits. And from the bright blue lightcycle-like lines to the video's horny audio track, we're sure Saul Bass - and even Mickey Mouse - would approve. [via]Hexagonall on Vimeo: link
by Kayrock & Wolfy, Silkscreen, 26′x20″, 2001[via]
Highly recommended by every dabbler within a ten mile radius of our Springfield Home Office is Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law.The film's available on DVD and Blu-Ray/DVD combo today from Warner Bros Home Video, and if you didn't catch the good detective at Christmastime, now's your chance to do so.
Ritchie's Holmes is far less Agatha Christie or even strict Conan- Doyle than he is super hero, just the type of character that Downey Jr's getting used to playing quite well. Holmes' detective skills verge on the level of super-genius if not super-human, yet the character is anything but a super man.And like any good (super) hero, he's much better with a sidekick at his side - in this case, Law's Doctor Watson. The two share an immense fascination with each other that's funny to watch and wide open to subtextual interpretation.
Without being experts on Sherlock Holmes' many earlier incarnations, whether in literature or on the screen or stage, we're hard pressed to say if the current film's subtext is a theme that's new to the character or one found elsewhere. But Downey Jr's own Holmesian take is clearly unique, and he meets the time-honored seriousness of Arthur Conan Doyle's detective tongue pressed firmly against cheek.
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson have enjoyed many adventures before their most recent outing on the Big Screen, but this latest movie may be the biggest departure from canon that the characters have experienced. Instead of just tweaking the type of hats they've worn (shown in part but oh-so-well here by The Many Hats of Sherlock Holmes 1962-1983via), Ritchie's wrangled with his character's deeper aspects, creating new truths for old heroes. Our official DabbleRating:3 1/2Magic Hats.
Though the comics spotlight most often shines on the hottest drawers of the day, few linger in that light for long, and far fewer still leave their permanent mark on the industry or its fans. Dick Giordano, who passed away Saturday at the age of 77, was one of the few exceptions to that rule, and leaves behind him a heroic legacy of imagery and storytelling that defined superheroes for an entire generation.
The announcement came early 27 March 2010 from Giordano's business partner and comics creator whom he once served as mentor, Bob Layton:
Dear Friends & Colleagues,
It is my sorrowful duty to announce that legendary artist/editor/entrepreneur Dick Giordano passed away today. Few could ever hope to match what he accomplished in his chosen profession, or to excel while maintaining great humor, compassion for his peers and an unwavering love for the art form.
His unique vision changed the comic industry forever and all of those who work in the business continue to share in the benefits of his sizable contributions. I have been honored to call him a business partner, mentor and dear friend throughout the majority of my lifetime.
We will not see his like again.
Having recently just purchased one of my earliest childhood memories, DC Comics' tabloid-sized Justice League of America Limited Collectors' Edition C-46from 1976 which features Giordano's cover art of DC's top heroes speeding out from the JLA seal - an iconic image that has been recreated numerous times since and put into motion for the opening credits of at least one iteration of the Super-Friends cartoon - the penciller and inker was coincidentally on my mind the week before he died. As a kid, the comic book stories and their writers mean little, but the pictures mean everything. In retrospect, there's no doubt that Giordano was one of the main reasons I'm reading comics today.
My over-sized Justice League comic is only one of Dick Giordano's many invaluable contributions to comics and the superheroes he portrayed. Influenced by comics strip artists like Alex Raymond and Hal Foster, Giordano began his long career in comics in 1951 as a freelance artist, doing work for the majority of the publishers at that time. Most of his early years, however, were spent in Connecticut at Charlton Comics. By 1965, he had risen in the ranks to become the company's Editor-in-Chief, leading a resurgence of the publisher's "Action Heroes" like the Blue Beetle and Captain Atom under the pen of Spider-Man co-creator, Steve Ditko.
Giordano went to work for DC Comics in the late 1960's as an editor and inker, and along with writer Denny O'Neil and penciller Neal Adams, contributed his skills to one of the publisher's most important series of the time, Green Lantern / Green Arrow. He also lent his talents to other genre-defining books of the early Bronze Era, including Batman, and perhaps the two most significant of DC's Treasury books, Superman Vs The Amazing Spider-Man (1976)- the very first intercompany cross-over between the heroes of Marvel and DC - and 1978'sSuperman Vs. Muhammad Ali, a true collector's item that DC announced will finally be remastered and reprinted later this year.
As an Executive Editor at DC, Giordano was instrumental bringing two of the 1980's most pivotal series to print: Alan Moore's Watchmen and Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. Perhaps an ever greater achievement, many of comics best artists and writers, from Neal Adams to Jim Lee, may not be working in the industry today if not for Giordano's encouragement.
But for those of us here at the Springfield Home Office, and we expect for many comics fans across the country and the world, its Giordano's art, synonomous of superhero, that has left its greatest impression. While non-comics folks might not recognize Giordano as the man responsible, images of his Aquaman, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, among others, would be instantly familiar to even the uninitiated. Dick Giordano's portrayal of those and many other of pop culture's greatest characters has not only forged their name in history, but also his own.
Top: Aquaman by Neal Adams and Dick Giordano
Middle: DC Heroesinked sketch by Dick Giordano
Bottom: Wonder Woman inked sketch by Dick Giordano
To read more about Dick Giordano as well as view his comics art work, visit the artist's own websiteHERE. Google Books also features a 176-page online preview of Two Morrows Publishing's ChangingComics One Day At A Time, their 2003 biography of Dick Giordano, HERE.
To sate Your Graphic Imaginationand its voracious appetite, we're serving up some delicious Art Deco tonight - and it's superhero style, just the way you like it. Art Deco was big in the United States between 1925 and 1940, making the very popular movement a contemporary of comic books and superheroes, both of which grew up during the same period. Interestingly, Art Deco later became a major influence on the works of Andy Warhol and his fellow Pop Artists, many of whom also drew inspiration from the conventions of comic art and comic book storytelling.
Twenty-four year old Rodolforever is a Mexico-based illustrator and graphic designer who says he's got a passion for comic books. His latest designs - this Art Deco set of superhero movie posters - really capture the look of the Deco movement while portraying their heroes with a modern sensibility. We can't imagine that anyone wouldn't want one of these pieces on their tallest wall; Art Deco Superheroes- or, superheroes for decoration - is aesthetic common sense, plain and simple.
Find the time to visit Rodolforever on deviant artHERE, where you'll be able to view the rest of his awesome Art Deco series. Among the other designs, the balance of the Batman feature films plus a new one for Iron Man 2. Take a look: your graphic imagination will be pleased!
Confident in the abilities and aspirations of in-house writer Geoff Johns, DC Comics' EIC Dan DiDio placed the never-stellar Green Lantern franchise into Johns' hands for him to recreate. That was 2004-2005, and Johns had only been with the company since 1999. Yet inside of a half-decade, Johns had not only assumed writing duties on both JSA (with co-writer David S. Goyer) and The Flash, but also spearheaded the very successful relaunches of two other struggling properties, Hawkman and Teen Titans.Green Lantern, however, posed an even bigger challenge; the series was not only floundering, its main character had fallen out of favor (as chronicled in the 1994 seriesZero Hour: Crisis in Time), and as a result, had relegated to the sidelines ever since.
Today, the Green Lantern franchise has become DC's most popular, an unprecedented event. The character's tidal wave of success has sent the Green Lantern series - and its spin-offs including BlackestNight - to the top of the industry's monthly sales charts while also rippling through the rest of the publisher's line. In addition, an overwhelming new demand for Green Lantern product has given rise to numerous toys, tee-shirts, new comics, and even an animated feature film with a potential second one on the horizon. All of this, mind you, was not the result of some grand stratagem or business plan; GreenLantern's success was fueled by the fire of a good writer's imagination and his ability to see story on a grand, unlimited scale, the canvas of comics.
Even before Warner Bros. Entertainment formed their newest division, DC Entertainment, to proactively focus on the development of DC Comics' creative properties last September, the company had already been building upon Green Lantern's momentum since 2007, when they announced that a Green Lantern feature film was in the works with director Greg Berlanti. (See below for the rest of the story!) While changes have been made since, Green Lanternstarring Ryan Reynoldsbegan filming mid-March, under the direction of Martin Campbell in New Orleans.
Green Lantern's triumph wasn't achieved by good fortune, but by good writing. Still, as the pieces have fallen into place since Johns' began the character and title revamp with Green Lantern: Rebirthin late 2004, some measure of serendipity seems to have been involved. For the uninitiated, 'Green Lantern' is a title given to an entire corps of intergalactic space cops, much like 'Special Agent' is given to FBI officers. While the name is most often associated with Hal Jordan, DC's Silver Age hero who first appeared in 1959, there have been several Green Lanterns over time, each well-differentiated from the others and most of them still active characters in DC comics. Johns not only succeeded in taking the rather flat character of Hal Jordan and made it round, but immensely fleshed out the world to which all Green Lanterns belong.
Conceivably, were Ryan Reynolds not to return for a theoretical second Green Lantern film, another actor (or actress) could assume the lead rather easily without having to revamp the franchise. The same couldn't be said if Reynolds had been cast as Batman or even as DC Comics' Scarlet Speedster, The Flash. [And he had been, if only in the minds of fans hungering for a feature Flash film!]
There have been four incarnations of the theFlashsince the first appeared in 1940, yet as with Green Lantern, its the Silver Aged second generation Flash (and his alter ego, Barry Allen, who debuted in 1956) most people think of when they hear the word. Accompanied for most of his 'career' by his young sidekick Wally West aka Kid Flash, Barry Allen was the primary Flash in the DC Universe. As the power to run fast wasn't exclusive to his character, the Flash and many of the other fast runners in DC's stable evolved to be characters able to tap into 'The Speed Force,' the mysterious source of their similar super speed talents.
But Barry Allen was the preeminent speedster of DC's comics, until DC elected to end his adventures heroically in Crisis on Infinite Earths #8 (1985) and pass the Flash mantle on to the now-adult Wally West. In 2006, storytelling magic allowed for Wally's Flash to be removed from the scene so that his protege, Bart Allen, could succeed him. A less than popular move, Wally returned to his role a year later.
Warner Bros. desire to keep DC Comics' characters competitive across multiple media platforms and playing the same merchandising game as the heroes of Marvel Comics required that DC's most recognizable properties - the Flash being one - be consolidated and streamlined, essentially to be made as familiar as possible for the marketplace. That business need, among other factors and preferences, paved the road for Barry Allen's return from the grave to once again become not a Flash, but The Flash.
Aside from being both the obvious if not best man for the job, Johns had penned the adventures of Wally West as The Flashfrom 2000-2005 (and had developed a deep love for the hero) so the honor of returning Barry Allen to comics - and to popular acceptance - became his.
With his Green Lantern at full throttle and his limited series event Blackest Nightbreaking sales chart records, Johns ambitiously tackled The Flash's return. Aside from making the character one of BlackestNight's protagonists and therefore hedging its popularity on Green Lantern's 'star power,' Johns followed what he didn't have before - a business plan - and launched Flash: Rebirth in summer 2009.
To Johns advantage, The Flash has by and large been DC Comics' 'Number 5' hero (after Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern) since the late 1950's. But unlike the top three, DC's holy Trinity, Flash's popularity has carried no matter who wore the character's red and yellow tights.
The challenge for Johns and DC Comics is to make Barry Allen / Flash and future The Flash comics both matter. Like Green Lantern's ring and the 'Green Light' which gives it its power, the Flash has the Speed Force, the elusive well of speed that is wide-open to explore narratively - and we expect that as he did with the 'Light' in Green Lantern, Johns will find a way to make the Speed Force relevant to many of DC's characters and not just its speedsters.
It's almost essential that he does, because the world of The Flash is nowhere near as big as Green Lantern's outer space. Similarly, Flash has no Corps, and only a small supporting cast of similarly powered speedsters, most of whom are related to the main character. Also, the majority of Flash's villains - known as 'The Rogues' - play second fiddle to DC's most popular Rogue's Gallery, the Batman's. Johns has already worked hard to develop the Rogues as worthy adversaries during his first run on The Flash, and though he definitely gained them some ground, their ability to demand respect as true villains or even foils hasn't yet been accomplished.
The Flash, at least for today, doesn't appear offer the storytelling freedom inherent in Green Lantern. Since he began working on Rebirth, Johns has emphasized his focus will be on the character of Barry Allen, but it's pretty much what he has to do. But Johns' was DC's busiest writer last year, and Flash: Rebirth suffered serious delays as a result. In the span between issues, readers forget, and characters dissolve. Very recently, as part of Warner Bros' reorganization efforts at DC, Johns was promoted in February to the new position of DC's Chief Creative Officer. Though he has no intention of leaving Green Lantern or abandoning The Flash, it's far too early for Johns to predict where his focus, or his responsibilities, will eventually lie.
For now though, DC is sticking with the plan and betting on success. Joined by his former Adventure Comics artist Francis Manapul, Johns' new run on The Flash begins with next month's Issue #1 (14 April) and The Flash: Secret Files and Origins 2010(07 April). Then, the 'wait to see' if success happens will begin, and for a guy like the Flash, waiting around is not an easy thing to do.
Indeed, Johns submitted to Warner Bros a treatment for a Flash motion picture within the last couple years, as the character's name has been bandied about as a potential film property for quite some time - even before fans playfully cast Ryan Reynolds as its star. With his new role at DC Entertainment, he'll undoubtedly be on board with any Flash project the studio moves forward with. As of late last month, that move may come sooner than later.
Several comics news and film sites reported the week of February 25th that Warner Bros had returned to their first-named Green Lantern director, Greg Berlanti, to take charge of a new Flash film franchise. Berlanti, who also co-wrote Green Lantern and is a producer on the film, does seem an excellent candidate to do so, and as a life-long comics fan, obviously has passion behind his involvement.
Our experience with (and disdain of) the Rumor Mill keeps us from proclaiming Berlanti as Flash's helmer, especially considering that he's now the fourth director whose name has been attached to the potential project. With everyone waiting on Warner Bros to make good on their promises of big movie announcements this year to coincide with DC Comics 75th Anniversary, any plausible rumor will be greeted by enthusiasts as fact. As even Berlanti's most recent public interviews a week ago found him talking Green Lantern but dodging Flash, there are few facts to be had.
But happily, there are some. Berlanti said in one interview we found that Warner Bros is starting to think in the same way as Marvel, i.e., developing their superhero film franchises to be in continuity with one another, allowing them to share characters, stories, and a common world like their comic book counterparts. We'd figured as much ourselves, and Berlanti's comments make us think we've been on the right track.
Although Marvel's new model for their films has yet to succeed or fail, it's plausible, and seems to be sound. And as Marvel's film properties currently belong to several studios, coordination and likelihood of making the 'big picture' work would appear to be in Warner Bros. favor. Which is a very good thing, because once Green Lantern is flying high, it only makes sense for The Flash to be the next DC hero running towards the box office.
Green Lanternis scheduled to premiere 17 June 2011.
We're practically outing ourselves as closet Canadaphiles, but like love, great art knows no boundaries and neither do we. This afternoon, the DC Comics Artist Series proudly returns to feature the vibrantly playful work of J. Bone.
J.Bone is a Toronto based illustrator and comic book artist. A skilled writer, penciller, inker, colorist, and letter, Bone's one of the few comics artists today whose talents would enable him to create an entire comic book by himself. But to do would require an extraordinary amount of time, and Bone's extraordinarily prolific. In his sixteen-plus years as a comics professional, Bone's contributed to dozens of works, including Alison Dare for Oni Press, Michael Allred's Madmanand The Atomics, and Jingle Belle for Dark Horse Comics.
But Bone's most prominent contributions belong to his DC Comics resume. As a friend and frequent collaborator of Darwyn Cooke (whom we showcased in our firstSeries), Bone's stand-out talents have launched such series as The Spirit (2007) and Justice League: The New Frontier, on which Bone contributed both to Cooke's comics as well as the DC Universe Animated film.
Yet the work that best bears his signature may be better recognized by young comics fans rather than appreciating adults. Bone's name has become almost synonymous with DC's young readers imprint, Johnny DC, recently rebranded by the publisher as DC Kids. Having contributed his skills as a cover artist to nearly every DC Kidscomic on the stands, Bone recently celebrated his second anniversary as cover artist and series illustrator on SuperFriends, one of DC Kids' best-selling books and the inspiration for Fisher-Price's line of Super Friendstoys.
A very playful B'Wana Beast sprinting across the top of our blog, we follow with two different portrayals of Bone's Wonder Woman; together,three works that highlight Bone's individual skills as illustrator, colorist, penciller, and inker (as well as the many contributions he makes is support of artistic endeavors and worthwhile causes, including 2008's Wonder Woman Day.) But we'll soon discover that Bone's artistry extends far beyond superheroes, too. Surprises await as DC Comics Artist Seriesfeaturing the art of J. Bonecontinues!
If you'd like to get a jump on us and check out even more of Bone's super hero work, ComicVine provides a great overview of his cover art HERE while Comic Book Database offers a complete listing of Bone's comic book accomplishments HERE. And for a more personal exploration of his professional palette, J. Bone's Blah, Blah, Blog! is HERE.