Marvel: The Untold Story is a meticulous reconstruction of the history of the other Marvel Universe. It's the tale of the men and women who were creating all the characters and plotlines of the Marvel empire that currently dominates Hollywood. I've been as big a fan of the medium as anyone, for decades now, so I was glad for the opportunity to talk by phone to the author of this obsessive work, the very pleasant Sean Howe, who spent three years of his life writing this history. The book makes a great gift, as I hear Secret Santa season is upon us. And his Tumblr, [...]
Once a refuge for the maladjusted and the childish—and a cool dip in the pop art pool for the rest of our tired masses trudging through another summer—the comic book movie has shed its pulp trappings. It now strives for middlebrow respectability as a box office tactic. The new pitch is: After a hard day of tooling around in your Prius listening to "This American Life," why not come to the theater and spend some time with your pal Iron Man (played by Less Than Zero star Robert Downey Jr., so don’t forget to get a head start on your 80s party!) instead of curling up in front of the [...]
In Why I Did It, artists and authors explain just why they made something. This week, Matthew Lickona talks about the making of Alphonse: A Monster For Our Time, a comic book about, yes, an aborted fetus.
I mean, yes, what was I thinking? Here's the rationale I wish I could give.
A lot of good horror stories are moral anxiety writ large (see also: Frankenstein and humanity's attempt to put nature on the rack, The Bacchae as the first in a long line of what my friend Michael calls "you screw, you die" stories.) And I think it's fair to say that there is moral anxiety about abortion. [...]
Let’s start with my bias: I write comic book scripts for a living. As a kid, reading Batman for the first time, I was immediately drawn to the idea of a man dressing up as a Bat to prey on the superstitions of the wrong guy on the street. As bad as the bad guy got, Batman was worse. Like a living shadow, he scared his victims—and maybe me, too, a little bit.
It seemed a natural for the camera to try to bring him to the screen. And like a Frankenstein in tights, Batman was zapped to life in various states. First Adam West, with a game-show-host voice, fighting [...]
I don't want to be the guy arguing that a movie adaptation of a comic book doesn't do justice to the original comic. I especially don't want to be the one doing that about Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, because there have already been dark accusations about it being too fanboyish, and I am most definitely a fanboy for Scott Pilgrim the comic book. But the little things that bug me about the movie all ultimately feed into one big complaint: the wonderful treatment of female characters in the comic book gets lost in the transition to the big screen. It's what happens when you make a big action-filled [...]
This is a big week for the comic book industry. On Friday (at midnight!), the first of the summer blockbusters, The Avengers, opens in the U.S. The Avengers is, of course, one of three superhero actioners to be released this summer, with The Dark Knight Rises and the reboot The Amazing Spider-Man on deck. Then on Saturday, it's Free Comic Book Day, with free offerings from publishers, big and small, hopefully drawing in hordes of potential customers to stores. As comic book writer Fred Van Lente told me, “It’s a good annual promotion to get fresh faces in the stores. I was flown in to at an event at [...]
I'm of the school that believes that early movie reviews should be spoiler-free and not reveal anything about the plot. So feel free to read this and not be concerned that you're going to find out anything more about the story other than the fact that there's a cast of characters and it's a continuation of the first movie.
The recent trend with comic book movie series is to always be bigger than the movie that came before it. A lot of times this has to do with the fact that technology gets better each year, and as a result the imaginations of the movie creators are freed to execute [...]