|OLD-TIME RADIO AND COMICS HEROES BURST BACK ONTO THE SCENE!03/28/12 @ 4:15 pm EST
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Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? (Hint: The guy dresses up in a cape and runs around at night. And it's not Batman.)
THE OWL #1 - ADVANCE REVIEW!05/21/13 @ 11:34 am EST
The Shadow still knows — as do Flash Gordon, the Lone Ranger, the Green Hornet and other heroes of 1930s and '40s radio shows, pulp magazines and movie serials.
These good guys are making a comeback, though mainly in comics and feature-length movies. Next month, The Shadow receives a comics reboot courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment, which also publishes ongoing series starring Flash Gordon and Green Hornet plus a new title with pulp hero The Spider that's due in May.
On the big screen, a masked Seth Rogen stung bad guys in last year's The Green Hornet. And in The Lone Ranger, in production for release in 2013, Armie Hammer rides tall as the title cowboy with Johnny Depp as his sidekick Tonto. Baby Boomers grew up watching the Clayton Moore TV series in the '50s, although the saga began as a 1933 radio show in Detroit.
Though these characters may not be as well known as today's comic-book superheroes or the Star Wars and Harry Potter clans, they were the bee's knees for a generation that was decades away from the Internet and iPods.
Before Batman, there was the alter ego Lamont Cranston donning the shadowy mask and hat while haunting radio waves as The Shadow, voiced by Orson Welles in the late '30s.
And before Superman and Captain America there was Flash Gordon, an all-American space adventurer who tussled with planetary tyrant Ming the Merciless in sci-fi comic strips by Alex Raymond and serial films starring Buster Crabbe.
"The '20s and '30s are seen as a very romantic age, with the criminal underworld of urban America and high adventure of exotic foreign locations providing a bit of an edge," says Garth Ennis, who is writing the new Shadow comic. "The reality, I'm sure, would have been mostly a lot more mundane and occasionally quite grim."
He's crafting The Shadow as a dangerous champion of law and order with a flair for the dramatic, and he is embracing one of the vigilante's oldest and most famous traits: his habit of laughing as he consigns his enemies to their doom.
"I decided to be fairly sparing with it," Ennis says. "If he started howling every time he threw a punch or fired a shot, it would get old fast. So I decided to preserve the laugh for moments of deep, dark, extreme humor."
His take on The Shadow comic is a bloody affair, where the mysterious figure dispatches bad guys with violent aplomb. More than 70 years ago, though, audiences had to visualize with their imagination what was going on during the radio-show exploits.
The popularity of the old Shadow and Green Hornet radio shows and their ilk in their heyday is best compared to programs children flock to today, such as Hannah Montana and Dora the Explorer, says Martin Grams Jr., a radio-show historian and author.
Back then, kids and adults would read books, pulps and comics because they were a cheap form of entertainment, and radio was an even bigger medium because it was free.
Some adaptations tank
While movies measure success with box-office receipts, commercial sponsors would gauge ratings of radio shows based on the number of giveaway premiums offered during the commercial breaks — such as various Lone Ranger rings and badges. They were then used to persuade sponsors to stick around because of a large listener base.
It wasn't just kids, either. Housebound and disabled people "who couldn't go visit their local movie theater had the opportunity to enjoy action and adventure with the turn of their dial," Grams says.
"The business of pop culture was defined during the 1930s and 1940s when movie producers snatched up the screen rights to popular radio programs and produced motion pictures, serials and film shorts based on the properties."
Since then, movie studios, TV networks and comics publishers have attempted adaptations of those characters, with varying results.
The Lone Ranger TV series began in 1949, ran eight seasons and defined the character for many. Flash Gordon sped off to space with live-action and animated shows, and a 1980 film became a cult classic with Sam Jones clad in a white shirt bearing the word "Flash."
But two more recent movies, The Shadow (1994) with Alec Baldwin and the 1996 Billy Zane vehicle The Phantom (based on the comic strip from the '30s), were not exactly heroic at the box office. And Disney's new big-budget John Carter, based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs pulp sci-fi hero, has thus far tanked.
"My theory is that modern audiences have a hard time accepting un-ironic heroism unless it's presented just right," says Eric Trautmann, writer of Dynamite's Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist series. (A devotee of the era, Trautmann has a Maltese Falcon on his desk, a statue of Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade, a Buck Rogers blaster and a replica 1930s radio.)
He concedes that pulp is difficult to write because it requires a certain innocence. Nazis show up in his series, but when they're the evil-doers du jour, modern audiences can't help but think of the Holocaust, "a sort of demise of innocence for the Western world." That makes it a lot harder to take the proceedings seriously.
'We're all geeks in a way'
"The obvious inclination is to keep things a little more self-referential and cartoony, tongue firmly in cheek," Trautmann says, "and that kind of thing really works against the story, the character, and readers' and viewers' embracing the tale."
Those characters of yesteryear, however, remain important in the history of pop-culture heroes, says comic-book artist Alex Ross, one of the creative spearheads of Dynamite's pulp series.
"Seeing how a character like The Shadow would influence every other flamboyant costumed hero in history was very interesting to me," he says. "A load of the earliest superhero fashions came from the artists swiping from Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon."
Heroic fiction draws from a lot of the same wells. Without John Carter in 1917, Trautmann feels we probably don't get Flash Gordon in 1934, a quintessentially American protagonist whose "unflappable 'can do' attitude and unshakable optimism would resonate in almost any era." Without Flash, there's no Luke Skywalker or Han Solo in Star Wars, and without that, we don't get Avatar.
"Even Star Trek owes a debt to period literature —Captain Kirk as Horatio Hornblower in space," Trautmann says. "Heroic fiction shares those archetypes and themes, so that influence is probably so ingrained now that a modern practitioner might not even be aware of what influenced the sources he or she is drawing inspiration from."
Affection for heroic pulp specifically — as with old-school sci-fi, fantasy and mystery stories — seems to be cyclical, Trautmann says. But the resurgence of these characters is also being helped by an overall nostalgia for the early- to mid-20th century, from Boardwalk Empire to Mad Men.
"It's been a rough decade or two," he says. "Looking back on what seems to be a simpler, less complicated time is certainly appealing."
Curiosity and a drive to seek knowledge are probably the main reasons people like to revisit historic pop culture, Grams says.
"We're all geeks in a way, trying to intake all the information we can on a comic-book character or movie, then digest, then recollect to friends to show how much more we know than they do."
The historian enjoys seeing kids introduced to heroes that were a seminal part of their grandparents' lives. He says it's a good bet they know tons more about The Hunger Games and Twilight than old Shadow magazine tales, and have no idea of the existence of Lone Ranger radio shows of yore.
"In my experience," Ennis says, "these characters tend to be pretty strong to begin with: They go through periods of revival, then slump due to overindulgence, then lie dormant, then undergo the next revival. But they always come back."
And, Grams notes, "the oldies are still the goodies."
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Cosmic Book News loves The Owl #1! Read the review from the link below! http://comics.cosmicbooknews.com/content/advanced-review-owl-1-4 COMIC VINE LOVES GAIL SIMONE’S RED SONJA!05/20/13 @ 4:24 pm EST
Source: Comic Vine | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a CommentROB THOMAS COMMENTARY OF MISS FURY #1!05/20/13 @ 1:22 pm EST
Source: Dynamite Entertainment | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment
Here’s a look at commentary of Miss Fury #1 from Rob Thomas!CONTEST FOR A VAMPIRELLA "TOONED UP" STATUE FROM SIDESHOW COLLECTABLES!05/20/13 @ 10:46 am EST
"Everyone is doing themselves a weak and cowardly disservice if they don’t ask themselves this question… What are YOU angry about?” Start a storyline with the controlling idea front and centre. It's on the nose, yes, but it's effective. And this was the key question for Miss Fury when I approached the book. She's called 'fury' yet she’s a super rich Manhattan socialite who’s incredibly good looking. What’s she got to be angry about? Over the course of the first arc – that’s the core question. And we open in 1943. The world’s at war. America’s at war. Millions dying and suffering. Yet Marla Drake’s life is all roses. She hasn’t found herself yet.
“Anger is an energy,” was something I wrote in the pitch, stealing from John Lydon.
And that telegram in panel 3 is a flashback, by the way. To a key moment in her journey towards her own anger. We’ll find out more as we go.
My first draft of the script I started things further on with some character-setting dialogue, but then I decided this was an issue one, we probably needed some action straight out of the blocks.
More punching. And kicking. This is a superhero book.
We’re establishing here that a) Miss Fury is a fearsome, superhumanly quick fighter (she twists an assailant around in time to get his body to take the bullets meant for her – that’s quick). And b) she’s not a squeaky clean, morally black and white figure. She’s slashing and drawing blood here.
Also: Jack Herbert, our seriously impressive artist, is establishing that he can draw an action sequence really, REALLY well.
She catches a knife in mid-air and returns it at the thrower, getting him right between the eyes!
You know, for kids!
When I saw these pages in B&W I was delighted. I hadn’t worked with Jack before but there’s a real fluidity to the action here, and Miss Fury looks terrific in panel 4. Lots of swagger there. The colours are wonderful too. Ivan Nunes did a killer job on the book. Really talented colourist.
Love the ‘Thunk!’ sound effect there too. Nice job by Simon Bowland, our letterer, throughout.
The idea here was, on a kind of suggestive level, that Miss Fury doesn’t just fall through the skylight into the Nazi’s time machine, but the time machine rather pulls her through. It wants her. None of this is established in text, and to have her saying “It almost feels like it… wants me,” would’ve been plain bad writing. A bit of ambiguity here and there isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I think. Let readers fill in the blanks as long as the narrative us clear. Even if no one gets what the intention was, she still falls into the time machine so the plot is serviced.
The whole idea of Miss Fury’s time travel in the arc is so personal to her. It’s meant to be ambiguous to an extent. Is she really travelling through time or is she still in 1943 and insane?
Jack drew this to be a real highlight of the issue. And it’s completely different from the script and what I imagined. But who cares when it looks this amazing.
The script called for a side-on shot of an art deco bath, which sits in the middle of a huge room in Miss Fury’s Manhattan apartment. The idea being that this room is enormous but she’s kind of so emotionally empty that there’s nothing in it, just a luxury bath. Jack changed the angle, the sense of this huge room with just a small bath in it. But she’s still wearing the gloves in the bath (that’s not for 'cool and sexy' aesthetic reasons, we’ll reveal why later). She’s reading the ’43 newspaper, and the contradiction of the salubrious image and the dialogue “there’s a war on, you know. It’s a terrible business” is still there. I don’t mind an artist changing what I’ve asked for as long as the narrative point is served. It is here.
And it looks fantastic. So shut up Mr. Writer.
Miss Fury’s new origin. Her voice is more than a little tongue-in-cheek here. “The implicit local hallucinogenic…” “he may have just been trying it on.” The humour hopefully lifts this scene beyond being the typical superhero origin. And I liked the fact that she isn’t 100% sure if she has superpowers. It’s, again, a little ambiguous.
Sex Panther! It stings the nostrils.
Is the panther real? She doesn’t know.
Although, she is covered in blood during sex in the final panel, so there’s a hint. She’s a dark one, eh? I wanted to show her as being in control here. She drives the action. Titillating? Yes. But true to her character. These are all little snapshots of Marla Drake. The entire initial arc is something of a jigsaw puzzle for her and, hopefully, by the end of the first storyline, you have something of a three-dimensional woman. And who among us can say that we haven’t had sex with a Masai tribesman while under the influence of a powerful hallucinogen and covered in the blood of a MASSIVE jungle cat that we’ve just killed in hand-to-paw combat? I know I have.
Who’s this bloke then? Badly burnt face? He’s a super-villain, surely.
This is Captain Chandler. Who’ll make a big difference in Marla Drake’s life. A key figure in her journey.
Great faces in the crowd scene behind Captain Chandler. Jack does great faces.
And there’s that telegram again in panel three. If it repeats like this, it’s a key moment.
And suddenly we’re in a scene from Modern Warfare. Tanks, guns, jet fighters, a street scene where Manhattan’s been turned into Chechnya. Romance is very much over and Miss Fury’s suddenly thrust into war. Her war.
And something big overhead is blocking out the sun. That can’t be good.
The script, by the way, asked for her to be carrying a ‘Sienkiewicz rifle’, as in Bill. I used the same phrase in an issue of Daken: Dark Wolverine and it’s become shorthand for an impossibly large and deadly weapon. The language of comics… I’m going to keep using it.
Source: Sideshow Collectables | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment
Contest for Vampirella "Tooned Up" Statue from Sideshow Collectables!TWO DYNAMITE COVERS MADE THE COMIC VINE "BEST COVERS OF THE WEEK"!05/20/13 @ 10:39 am EST
Go to the link below for a chance to win a free Brand-New Vampirella "Tooned Up" Statue from Sideshow Collectables! Enter for a chance to WIN!
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Both the Chris Eliopoulos "Cute" cover for Battlestar Galactica #1 and Jonathan Lau's cover to Mark Waid's Green Hornet #2 made the best Covers of the Week from Comic Vine! Congrats to both Chris and Jonathan!!!ALEX ROSS SHADOW #13 IN TOP COVERS ON BLEEDING COOL!05/20/13 @ 10:34 am EST
Source: Bleeding Cool | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment
CRAIG CERMAK NOMINATED FOR 2013 RUSS MANNING AWARD!05/20/13 @ 10:25 am EST
Alex Ross The Shadow #13 cover made in Top Covers with Cammy’s cover of the week on Bleeding Cool!
Cammy had this to say about Alex’ cover.
“Speaking of contrasts, major props to Ross for this bloody masterpiece. It brings chills seeing the Shadow in the reflection, for it looks as if he’s trapped in a doomed city of some kind. The lady in white doesn’t look all that innocent for no matter who you are, everyone has someone’s blood on their hands (including her). Ross always succeeds with the angelic glow technique, for just from looking at this cover you’re lead to believe that she must be innocent in all.” http://www.bleedingcool.com/2013/05/18/cammys-covers-fatale-to-wonder-woman/
Source: Comic Book Resources | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment
DAMSELS: MERMAIDS FREE COMIC BOOK DAY05/06/13 @ 12:26 pm EST
Craig Cermak has been nominated for a 2013 Russ Manning award for his amazing art work on Dynamite's Voltron: Year One, to be given out at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. Read more about this on the press release below and congrats to Craig!http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=45438
Source: Dynamite | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a CommentGRIMM FREE COMIC BOOK DAY05/06/13 @ 12:25 pm EST
Source: Dynamite | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a CommentCBR EXCLUSIVE: DYNAMITE JOINS DARK HORSE DIGITAL04/24/13 @ 9:29 am EST
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