9/30/2012

Director Tim Burton certainly has a unique artistic style; skinny bodies, sunken faces, sharp chins, big eyes, tiny hands and feet, lots of swirly stuff. So how would he handle the superhero team, the Avengers? Canadian artist Xenia "La-Chapeliere-Folle" Rassolova imagines it would look something...like this. Click to enlarge:
And just for comparison, here are Burton's designs for Batman Returns' Catwoman and Penguin:

[Via Deviantart via Geekologie]
Would you watch Tim Burton's Avengers?

[Image Source: Devianart]
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9/29/2012

With the recent reboot of the DC universe, a lot of people are asking where the industry will go from here. Will this be a genuine new start for the comics or is it just another publicity stunt? This isn't really new. Publishers are constantly trying new stories and plotlines to attract readers. Sometimes these changes make the character better. Other times, they have no real impact. Other times, it's a complete disaster that angers fans and alienates casual readers, making the character even less popular than before. That's why we decided to take a look at some of the worst comic book publicity stunts ever. 


7. Superman Gets Electrical Powers - In the late nineties, Superman was in trouble. Sales were slipping again, but he had just been killed and brought back to life. So DC came up with a plan to kill Superman's identity. They not only changed his costume, but his powers. For vaguely explained reasons, Superman lost all his old powers and suddenly transformed into an energy being with electrical powers. Even his costume changed, losing the cape. Funny thing, though - readers didn't care to see the Superman they knew for decades become a completely different superhero. That's why Superman abruptly got his powers restored and everything went back to normal. Well, sort of.


6. Wonder Woman Loses Her Powers - In the 1960's, Wonder Woman's popularity had sunk to her lowest levels. In a desperate attempt to make her relevant and capitalize on the popularity of the spy trend, Wonder Woman lost her powers and became a secret agent. While the stunt did get attention, readers didn't exactly embrace the new Wonder Woman. After all, Diana Prince without her powers isn't really Wonder Woman. She's just a woman. In the end, no less than noted feminist Gloria Steinem make a public call for Wonder Woman to get her powers back. Which she did.




5. Green Lantern Becomes a Supervillain - DC wanted to shake things up for Green Lantern - introduce a newer, younger Green Lantern. But how to get readers to accept the new Green Lantern? Simple. Make the old Green Lantern Hal Jordan into a mass murderer. In "Emerald Twilight," Jordan snaps because his city is destroyed, attacks all the other Green Lanterns, and becomes the supervillain Parallax. His reign of terror is only stopped by a new Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner. Unfortunately, it backfired. Readers were outraged at their beloved hero becoming a villain, and Rayner never really caught on like Jordan. It took ten years to fix this by claiming Jordan was possessed by an alien monster, and readers are still upset about it.

4. Deathmate Crossover - In the early nineties, the two independent comic companies Image and Valiant decided to collaborate on a crossover event called Deathmate. The premise was that Solar (one of the flagship superheroes for Valiant Comics) and Void (one of the flagship superheroes for Image) would fall in love, but their meeting creates an amalgam universe. An ambitious mini-series that took characters from two different companies, was designated by colors instead of numbers, spanned over a dozen issues, and was intended to be read in any order, Deathmate was already a challenge. Yet it got worse when most of the major writers refused to get involved, and those creators who were involved didn't really want to do it. Then Image Comics, already known for its reputation for unreliability, ran late on their half of the series. That made Deathmate an even bigger disaster financially, because readers would pre-order the comics, then cancel the pre-orders in frustration when the comics didn't show up. Then the retailers would re-order the comics, but by then no one wanted to buy them, so the unsold comics sat on shelves. It didn't help that Deathmate was poorly written and drawn to begin with. This stunt backfired horribly, leading to so much frustration and skepticism about the companies as a whole that sales for both companies' regular titles plummeted, Image and Valiant closed, and some even blame Deathmate for the comic crash of 1996 that almost destroyed the comic industry.

3. Spiderman "Revealed" to be a Clone - I won't bother to summarize the entire event of what came to be known as the Clone Saga, because even the writers themselves didn't have it figured out. What it boils down to is that Marvel decided that Peter Parker was too happy, what with his wife and child and successful job, so they decided to get rid of it. Specifically, they tried to erase twenty years of continuity by claiming that the Spiderman we knew all those years was just a clone, and the real Spiderman is a homeless guy who would just walk in and take over. The low point was when a stressed-out Peter Parker backhanded his pregnant wife, MJ. Sales of Spiderman actually declined during this period to the point where they had to retcon it again, and have it turn out that Peter really wasn't a clone after all, turning the whole thing into a complete mess.

2. Spiderman's Marriage Gets Erased - The comic book one-shot One More Day has become almost as reviled among fans as the Clone Saga. After Aunt May is mortally shot, Spiderman turns to Mephisto (the Marvel Universe version of the Devil) to save her. Mephisto agrees to do so, only in exchange for Peter Parker and Mary Jane's marriage. This leads to history itself being rewritten so that Peter and Mary Jane's marriage never existed. Marvel was again apparently motivated by a desire to make Parker more accessible, but it turned out just the opposite happened. People have questioned the entire concept, from why Peter Parker would turn to the Devil for help to how to reconcile decades of stories revolving around his marriage. The fallout is still going on with sales of the book dropping (although Marvel insists it's a general downturn in the industry, not One More Day-related).

1. Superman Dies - You may be surprised to see this as number one. After all, for years the comic industry has been telling readers that the "Death of Superman" storyline was a triumph. Record sales, bold new characters like Steel, praise from the industry for DC daring to do what no one else dared. All true. What they never talk about it what happened afterward - the collapse of the entire comic book industry. Chuck Rozanski makes a compelling argument that it was the death of Superman that caused the speculation bubble to burst, and comic readers to leave in droves. That's because of two things.

One, anyone who actually believed Superman would stay dead felt betrayed when he came back. It established once and for all that nothing is real in comics, and that publishers were willing to do anything (including exploit the real feelings we have for our heroes) just to sell a few more copies. Two, the issue where Superman dies ended up being worthless. That's when we all collectively realized that if a comic about the death of Superman wasn't worth anything, nothing was, and the whole comic collecting industry was a big joke. We're still feeling the effects of this publicity stunt, because the industry is shrinking, people are more likely to watch a movie about Batman than read the latest issue, and paper comics are going unsold on newsstands.


What do you think of these stunts? Any others that you can think of? Let us know in the comments.
[Image Source: Wikipedia]
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9/28/2012


Revolution has a huge premiere, but will the numbers hold up? Can Doctor Who fans say goodbye to the Pond's? What's the greatest television reboot of them all? How does Nathan Fillian want Firefly to come back on TV?

Above Image: Battlestar Galactica's Katee Sackhoff made honorary member of Star Wars 501st Legion
(Via ow.ly)

Revolution Opens Big, But Will It Last?
Blastr reports that NBC's Revolutions had a huge premiere of 11 million viewers. My brother already wrote a great review that covers most of what I feel about the show. The show might last, but I doubt it. The only way the show will succeed is if they manage to draw us into the main character Charlotte "Charlie" Matheson (Tracy Spiridakos). After the second episode I don't see it. She doesn't have that mix of spunk, sass and heart that made The Hunger Games Katniss so popular. On the other hand, I like the head of the militia Captain Tom Neville (Giancarlo Esposito) more every time I see him. Is it wrong to root for a homicidal murderer because you like his smile?
Oddmakers(0%-100%): What are the odds Revolution will last six episodes?
(Via Blastr)

Doctor Who Says Goodbye To Pond's
Tomorrow's episode of Doctor Who, "Angels in Manhattan," shows the final fate of Amy Pond and Rory Williams, known collectively to fans as the Ponds. While this hasn't been a great season it's done a great job of reminding us why fans love these companions. There have been some great moments. Whovians are always hard on new companions so x it's going to have her work cut out for her.
Tossup (Choose one): If you could only to keep one of the Pond's would it be: Rory or Amy?

Star Trek: The Next Generation The Greatest Reboot?
Some people complain that the new Star Trek movie is rebooting the series. Time magazine makes a great point that Star Trek: The Next Generation was the greatest reboot of a series ever. Not only did it use an entirely new cast, but also a new take on the original. It spawned a bunch of spin-offs, popular movies and a new generation of Star Trek fans. I guess reboots aren't so bad after all.
(Via Time)

Firefly: The Animated Series
Nathan Fillian said he'd like to see an animated series based on Firefly. Nothing less than brilliant. Low cost, high return and they can get the original actors to do the voices without interrupting their schedules. They made a movie happen. So why not a cartoon?
Oddsmaker (0% - 100%): What are the odds fans would watch a Firefly animated series?
(Via MTV)

Odds and Ends
What do you think of this week's news? Anything we missed?

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9/27/2012

Little kids, Star Wars, and kittens are all gold on YouTube. So here's Star Wars: A New Hope, as told by a three-year old. Looks like someone asks her to describe it, and she gives a slightly skewed summary. If there was a kitten in the background, the Internet would explode with cuteness.



[Via YouTube]

What did you think of the video?

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[Image]

"Captain Kirk was the man of action right down to the very end. They had him off punching out the bad guy...and meantime they had Captain Picard as the intellectual trying to dismantle the missile by doing it through the computer screen...That was Kirk versus Picard, right there in a nutshell." Dan Cray of the Los Angeles Times, on Star Trek: Generations


Above Image: Star Trek: The Next Generation Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart)

There's a vigorous debate about which Star Trek captain is better Kirk or Picard.  But Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise-D (NCC-1701-D) was the starship captain for a new generation of Star Trek fans.

The Star Trek captain was on the Star Trek: Next Generation series from 1987 to 1994. He appeared in four movies. He's had dozens of great lines.

Maybe your favorite Captain Picard quote is a common one like "Make it so." Maybe it's an obscure one like "There...are...FOUR...lights!" Or maybe you just like to drink Earl Grey tea "hot."

So, here's this week's question.

What's your favorite Captain Picard quote? Is there a line you use all the time?
[Image Source: Westworld]
 
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9/26/2012

One thing writer-director Joss Whedon brought to the table on Marvel's The Avengers is his famous skill at writing dialogue. We could go on about the one-liners, moving monologues, and witty banter from this movie, but decided we could show it, instead. Created by Tifferini Graphics, these iconic quotes from each character in the Avengers movie are depicted in a minimalist fashion with an icon representing each speaker. Click below to enlarge:










[Tifferini Graphics] via [F*** Yeah Avengers]

Which was your favorite quote? Any other quotes you'd like to see as a poster?

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[Image]

"Always two there are. The master and the apprentice," said Yoda.

Above Image: Star Wars: The Clone Wars Darth Maul (Sam Witwer) attacks Savage Opress (Clancy Brown).

A new clip from Star Wars: The Clone Wars season 5 premiere episode, "Revival" has been released by Lucasfilm. Here we see that "the rule of two" exists even between brothers Darth Maul (Sam Witwer) and Savage Opress (Clancy Brown).

Here's the official spoilery summary:
"Darth Mail and Savage Oppress continue to wreak havoc in the galaxy. As part of Maul's wicked master plan, the Sith brothers recruit a cutthroat band of pirates. Obi-Wan Kenobi leads the Jedi hunt for Maul, which results in a lightsaber-clashing confrontation that will prove deadly."

The fifth season premiere airs at 9:30am ET/PT Saturday, September 29th on Cartoon Network.

Who do you think will become the master and the apprentice? Will you be watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars? 
[Image Source: StarWars.com]
 
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9/25/2012

Batman versus Wolverine, a debate that has raged among the geek community for decades. Wolverine (nearly indestructable with razor-sharp claws, healing factor, and unbreakable skeleton) versus Batman (tactical genius with epic martial arts training and unlimited technology), who would win? It's been debated endlessly, but the webseries Super Power Beatdown decided to bring it to life, and answer the question, once and for all. Check out this awesome video that shows the results.



**SPOILER ALERT** If you haven't seen the video, go no further. If you have, read on for my thoughts on the results...




Personally, I disagree. It's canon that Batman had files with detailed instructions of how to kill everyone in the Justice League. If Batman can defeat Superman, Wolverine seems a piece of cake. But my disappointment at Batman's loss is slightly tempered by the sexy pillow fight in the end.

What do you think? Should Wolverine have won? Or should Batman have won?

[Image Source: YouTube]
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[Image]

Marvel's The Avengers is the must successful comic book movie ever. It's raked in over a billion dollars at the box office. It's been watched by millions and now that The Avengers is on Blu-Ray
it will be watched billions of times. But that doesn't mean you know the whole story.

"Hold onto your butts."

Here are the most surprising, shocking, and bewildering facts about the making of "Earth's Mightiest Heroes."

13. Nick Fury Was the Biggest Security Leak
[Image]

The Avengers script was under tight security with the code name "Group Hug." Unfortunately, the script was stolen and leaked online. Ironically, the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. was the source of the leak. Samuel L. Jackson used a printer while in Canada, and a digital copy of the script was left behind. The script was stolen thanks to Nick Fury's bungling.

12. Thank M. Night Shyamalan for Nick Fury
[Image]

When getting ready for Avengers Whedon had a specific vision of Nick Fury: Mr. Glass. Director Whedon explained that he loves Samuel L. Jackson's many acting roles from Pulp Fiction and more, but it was M. Night Shyamalan's Unbreakable that he wanted.

"Before we started shooting the film, I told Sam my biggest note to remember was 'less Shaft, more Glass (Jackson's character Elijah Price in Unbreakable).'" Whedon said, "I wanted to see a guy who could absolutely command a room with his voice that leaves no question of who is in charge of this enormous organization. I am also a huge Unbreakable fan, so I'm also very much in love with the great depth and well of sadness that he can bring to the character as well."

Thanks M. Night. We almost forgive you for Lady in the Lake. Almost.

11. The Shawarma Scene Was Inspired By the Crew's Real Friendship
[Image]

The cast of The Avengers were close off screen, as well as on. "It was like a circus crossed with a class reunion," laughed Joss Whedon on the final day of shooting. "Paparazzi and fans were everywhere and the cast was so happy to see each other, talk and catch up because they enjoyed hanging out together."  Whenever they shot a scene together as a group they would go out to eat afterwards. Just like in the post credits scene when the Avengers went out for shawarma. Except, unlike in the film, Loki went with them. Tom Hiddleston and Hemsworth were close from shooting Thor together.

10. The Hulk Was Inspired By Bill Bixby
[Image]

Mark Ruffalo's acting was inspired by the television show The Incredible Hulk. Producer Kevin Feige said, "Joss wrote the character so that audiences feel for Bruce Banner much in the way they felt for Bill Bixby. In The Avengers, Bruce Banner has a good sense of humor and he is not in a constant state of melancholy and moroseness. A lot of the laughs in the film come from the character and early on, when we saw what Mark was doing with the role, we felt we finally had an opportunity to present Bruce Banner the way we always wanted to."

Similar to the television Hulk series, Banner travels the world doing good. He settles in India because there is so much suffering there.

9. Hawkeye Could Have Taken Out the Hulk
[Image]

Originally, Hawkeye was supposed to have a number of arrows to use against The Avengers, including the Hulk. Jeremy Renner said Hawkeye didn't feel intimidated by the team. "Quite the opposite, he's the only one who can really take down the Hulk with his [tranquilizer-tipped] arrows." Renner told Entertainment Weekly. "He knows his limitations. But when it comes down to it, there has to be a sense of confidence in any superhero."

Concept art also shows an arrow that can take out Iron Man. Concept artist Fabien Lacey said, "It was really important to us that we gave him some credibility and some game changing weapons when it came to being able to battle with the other more well known Marvel heavy weights. One of the ideas we toyed with was giving him an arrow that could momentarily disable Iron Man."

Turns out, he wasn't just a guy with a cute bow and arrow.

8. There Were Real Soldiers in the Battle Scenes


The Avengers production shot battle scenes for New York City's 42nd Street in Cleveland, Ohio on East 9th Street. Army Reserve soldiers assigned to the 391s Military Police Battalion provided background action during the battle scenes. Staff Sgt. Michael T. Landis said using real soldiers made the scenes more realistic. He said, "It's easy for us to make on-the-spot corrections to tactics and uniforms, the director actually took our recommendation." Instead of watching actors pretend to fight in battles and screwing up "we used actual tactics that we know," Spc Daniel Lee said. "Instead of trying to teach civilians the same thing, we were able to accurately portray the fighting warrior."

7. The Scene With Banner And The Security Guard Was Supposed to Be Surreal

The scene where a naked Banner wakes up and talks to a security guard, while funny, was actually really important. As originally written, it was 12 pages long.

"I needed to get Banner from the horror of what he had done and almost killing Scarlett - or Natasha, I should say - in to, you know, a place where he was prepared to go back into that [Hulk] state." Whedon said. "He needs somebody who will just accept him. I sort of got him stuck in my head and I was like who is more accepting than Harry Dean Stanton? And, so I got to write this weird little scene - which when I wrote it was not little, it was about 12 pages long. I was like oh, this is great, Banner falls into a Coen Brothers movie! The fact that they even let me keep that concept and that we actually landed Harry Dean to play it was very exciting. "

Thanks to his director of photography Seamus Garvey, Whedon was able to cast Stanton.
"The idea was to put [Banner] in a slightly surreal situation with somebody who clearly had no problem with [The Hulk], just to make that little transition without milking it too much." Whedon added, "And besides, to work with Harry Dean and to quiz him about Alien and The Missouri Breaks? What a privilege!" Most of the scene was cut from the film but the extended cut is on the Blu-Ray.

6. The Avengers and X-Men Movies Are Connected 
 
Director Joss Whedon wrote a script treatment, and was one of the directors considered for X-Men. His script wasn't used, but two lines remained from his script. The first was the exchange between Cyclops and Wolverine: "It's me." "Prove it." "You're a d***k."

Whedon also wrote the worst joke in the film. Storm's line, "Do you know what happens to a toad when it's struck by lightning? The same thing that happens to everything else." Also, Whedon's X-Men comic "Gifted" inspired the plot of X Men: The Last Stand.

5. Agent Coulson's Uniform is an Expensive Suit

Agent Phil Coulson isn't a superhero. He has no powers. But he still wore a uniform. The character of Agent Coulson was created for Iron Man as the face of S.H.I.E.L.D, and actor Clark Gregg said the suit made him feel like a super hero.

"His costume is actually part of his disguise." Gregg said. "By the time I was doing some combat in the Marvel One Shots - wearing my black Dolce & Gabbana suit, which is actually really flexible and breathable - my costume really started to feel like my uniform. Its not the same as the Mark V Iron Man suit or Hawkeye’s amazing S.H.I.E.L.D gear, but it really is Coulson’s uniform. And when I put on that suit and shirt and tie, and sometimes my sunglasses, I kind of feel like I’m back home again. When I put on my costume and walked on set of The Avengers, and walked into a room on the Helicarrier with everybody else in their uniforms, I felt like one of the super heroes who is part of The Avengers - and my uniform just happens to be very expensive black material.”

Dolce & Gabbana suits can cost almost $3,000 dollars.

4. The Concept Artists Redesigned the Heli-Carrier Because of One Scene Change

Originally, the opening of The Avengers would have Captain America stumble outside and discover he was on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Heli-Carrier floating in the sky over New York City. Script writer, and director, Joss Whedon decided that it would be more dramatic to do the takeoff from the water. The concept artists designed the wings of the carrier flush at the flight deck level. Which meant you would see them as soon as you see the carrier. Whedon wanted the wings hidden under the water.

"When that decision was made we went into sort of a panic mode." concept artist Nathan Schroeder said. "How do we get the wings out of the shot and still make it look [right?] It has kind of a nice aggressive posture when the wings are up higher and if you bring the wings down it's not as interesting."

"So, we had to come up with some way that the wings could actually move. They kind of climb up and down on the side of the ship. So they start underwater, and if you pay really lose attention, they kind of elevate upwards and lock into a final position. If you see the original, when its in the water you can see there is bit of folded pieces where the wing is. And if you look at the underside of the Helicarrier you'll see that I put in some tracks on the front wings and back wings to suggest that's how it rides up and down."

3. Whedon Likes Black Widow's Feet

One of director Joss Whedon's trademarks is bare feet. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) fights off her interrogators wearing stockings and there's a closeup of her feet when she bends over to pick up her high heels. In all Pepper Pott's scenes, set at the apartment in Stark Tower, she is barefoot.

2. Mark Ruffalo Looks Like the Hulk...Without Makeup

A large brow. Thick lips. Small nose and deep set eyes. These are all the features of Mark Ruffalo. They are, coincidentally, the face of the Hulk. Joss Whedon wanted to use Mark Ruffalo's face, movements and voice for the Hulk. Something that had never been done by other live-action Hulks. The concept artists were instructed to take Ruffalo's face to make the Hulk.

Marvel concept artist Ryan Meinderding said, "Joss really pushed us to take some of the cues from those early Hulks and combine them with Mark Ruffalo's features. At first, we couldn't see how that would work - but he was dead-on in that direction. Mark's face really lends itself to hulking out, and we affectionately called the design 'Hulkalo'."

Not exactly the world's most handsome man.

1. The Movie Takes The Plot of the First Avengers Comic

In the first issue of The Avengers #1 (Sept. 1963), created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist/co-plotter Jack Kirby, it was Thor's brother Loki that caused the team to come together. In the movie, Loki again creates a threat too big for one hero to save the world.

References:
Updated 9/30/2012
What was the most surprising bit of Avengers trivia?

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