|OLD-TIME RADIO AND COMICS HEROES BURST BACK ONTO THE SCENE!03/28/12 @ 4:15 pm EST
Source: USA TODAY | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment
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.)
WHY DID [SPOILER] DIE IN ĎAVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRONí? HEREíS THE SCOOP FROM MARVELíS BOSS05/04/15 @ 4:59 pm 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."
Source: MTV News | Categories: Age of Ultron | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment
MAY THE FOURTH BE WITH YOU05/04/15 @ 4:49 pm EST
When you walk into a superhero movie, you tend to feel pretty good about your main superhero walking out alive. But what about a superhero movie starring nine different heroes? Can they all save the day with their lives intact?
The answer is a very sad and very swift no, at least as far as “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Whether he likes it or not, director and writer Joss Whedon has a reputation for killing his darlings as a way to infuse his stories with stakes, and “Age of Ultron” was no different, thanks to the death of one of Earth’s mightiest heroes.
Marvel producer Kevin Feige told MTV’s Josh Horowitz all about why (SPOILER WARNING) Pietro “Quicksilver” Maximoff, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, had to die — smack dab in the middle of making his Marvel movie debut, no less! As heartbreaking as it is, Pietro’s death makes complete sense once you hear Feige’s explanation.
“It adds stakes to the ending of the film,” he said, adding that it also serves as a way “to show repercussions to Ultron’s actions, and also in a way to solidify Scarlet Witch’s character, and Wanda’s arc in the movie and where we’ll see her in the next films.”
Straightforward and simple enough, right? It probably doesn’t hurt that killing Quicksilver in the Marvel Cinematic Universe also eradicates any confusion over the character’s simultaneous appearance in Fox’s “X-Men” franchise.
Feige adds that there were no ifs, ands, or buts about Quicksilver speeding away from “Age of Ultron” with a happy ending, either. He died in every draft of the film, according to Feige, even if Marvel went through some great lengths to preserve the surprise — like releasing drafts of the script with Quicksilver surviving all the way through the ending, to even filming a version of the ending with Pietro still alive.
“We even shot him standing with the team at the end,” he says, “to prevent people from giving it away"
Source: The Independent | Categories: Star Wars | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment
AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRONí FINAL BOX OFFICE HITS $191.3 MILLION, BIGGER THAN ESTIMATES05/04/15 @ 3:48 pm EST
It may seem baffling that a simple date-based pun has turned into a hashtag and then a holiday, but internet users around the world are spreading Star Wars-themed goodwill with the phrase: “May the fourth be with you.”
Twitter itself has done its part, setting up new symbols for Star Wars Day-related hashtags. Write #StarWarsDay or #MayThe4thBeWithYou and your message will be adorned with a miniature Stormtrooper. Use the variant #MayTheFourthBeWithYou, and your additional characters will be rewarded with C-3PO’s face.
More than 43,000 tweets have already been sent out which include the phrase #StarWarsDay.
How are YOU celebrating Star Wars Day? DF News says, "May the FOurth Be With You!"
Source: Variety | Categories: Age of Ultron | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment
WILL SMITH SHARES FIRST LOOK AT MASKED DEADSHOT IN 05/04/15 @ 3:44 pm EST
“Avengers: Age of Ultron” debuted to a gargantuan $191.3 million last weekend, giving the superhero sequel an even bigger opening than initial estimates suggested.
The film already scored the second biggest debut of all time, after Disney pegged its opening bow at $187.7 million, but the revised projections give it a little extra padding. Overseas, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” also revised its weekend numbers northward, putting them at $168.8 million, as opposed to $168 million. Its global total stands at $631.1 million, and the film should top $1 billion worldwide by the time it ends its run.
Going into the weekend, analysts expected the film would top the $207.4 million haul posted in 2012 by the first film in the super-team series, with most estimates calling for an opening of $210 million or higher. However, the feverishly hyped match-up between boxers Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, to say nothing of the Kentucky Derby and NBA playoffs, took a bite out of “Avengers: Age of Ultron’s” Saturday numbers. It appears to have made up the ground with a massive Sunday haul.
The comic book movie cost $250 million to produce and brings back stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo and Jeremy Renner, with Joss Whedon returning as director.
Source: Comic Book Resources | Categories: Suicide Squad | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment
TMNT 2 SET VIDEO: STEPHEN AMELL SAVES MEGAN FOX, MEETS THE TURTLEST05/03/15 @ 10:29 pm EST
While Will Smith was maskless in the "Suicide Squad" group photo released previously on Sunday by writer/director David Ayer, the superstar actor quickly clarified via a post onFacebook later that day that his version of Deadshot will indeed have a strong resemblance to the DC Comics source material. In the photo, Smith sports a white mask with a high-tech eye enhancement; much like the long-running comic book version of Deadshot, originally introduced in 1950 and created by Bob Kane, David Vern Reed and Lew Schwartz.
Source: Comicbook | Categories: TMNT | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment
X-MEN MOVIES TEASES ANNOUNCEMENT05/03/15 @ 10:23 pm EST
Over the past several days, Comicbook has been putting together a collection of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2
set videos. Check this one out!
The video below has Arrow
star Stephen Amell dressed as 'Casey Jones' saving Megan Fox's 'April O'Neil' from a member of Shredder's Foot Clan. She ran into an alleyway and Casey leaps into the scene, knocking the ninja out cold. Then April's buddies, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, come face-to-face with her hockey stick wielding hero.
Source: Comicbook | Categories: X-Men | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment
SPIDER-MAN RANKED AS THE MOST VALUABLE COMIC BOOK MOVIE FRANCHISE05/03/15 @ 10:18 pm EST
X-Men: Days of Future Past director Bryan Singer will make an announcement on Tuesday about the film's Rogue Cut, according to the official Twitter account for the X-Men movies.
The expanded cut of the movie, which features more than 17 minutes of extra material, largely centering on the characters of Rogue (Anna Paquin) and Magneto (Sir Ian McKellen) in a bleak alternate future, was originally announced as a potential digital exclusive but now is expected to be released on DVD and Blu-ray as well.
Typically, Singer makes announcements on his personal Instagram and Twitter pages. It may be that this announcement is considered "big enough" that the official account simply wanted to draw more attention to it.
So far, there's no firm release date for the X-Men: Days of Future Past Rogue Cut, other than this summer. The announcement will likely be the release date, and possibly some more specifics about the differences between this film and the theatrical version that was released on Blu-ray last year.
Source: Comicbook | Categories: Spider-Man | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment
MICHAEL ROOKER TALKS ABOUT STAR-LORD'S FATHER IN GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY SEQUEL05/03/15 @ 10:15 pm EST
In spite of having some trouble in their most recent installment, Sony's Spider-Man franchise remains Hollywood's most valuable superhero property, according to Wall Street analysts.
24/7 Wall Street has broken down publicly available box office information to provide relative newcomers to the superhero film landscape with a Cliff's Notes version of the finances behind Hollywood's biggest cash cow.
Unsurprisingly, when you're looking at all-time box office grosses, the top three entries on the list are all characters who have had more than a dozen's years worth of movies already. Spider-Man takes the #1 spot with $3.96 billion and a franchise that's been going in one form or another since 2002; Batman comes in second, going since 1989 without significant interruption, and X-Men third with a franchise that started in 2000 and is the longest continually-running superhero world without a reboot.
Beyond those top three, though, are a bunch of frachises which are clustered tightly together and, with a new Avengers
movie in theaters now which hasn't been accounted for at all in their math, the order of those rankings are already starting to shift anyway.
Some will also argue that ranking The Avengers
at #5 in order to provide individual rankings for the solo character films that comprise the team of Avengers is questionable math, although it's difficult to argue against it, since the Iron Man
, Captain America
franchises were already underway and, to varying extents, successful before Marvel's The Avengers
was even officially announced.
Source: Comicbook | Categories: Guardians of the Galaxy | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS CAST APPEARS ON COVER OF VANITY FAIR05/03/15 @ 10:09 pm EST
Who is your daddy and what does he do?Guardians of the Galaxy
star Michael Rooker ('Yondu') participated in a Q&A session for Minnesota's KQRS radio station and one member of the audience asked him about the identity of Star-Lord's (Chris Pratt) father.
KQRS Listener: In the comics, we know who Star-Lord's father is (J'son, aka Jason of Spartax) ...
Michael Rooker: That's right.
KQRS Listener: And you reference him in the movie...
Michael Rooker: That's right, I do.
KQRS Listener: But I heard they're going in a different direction?
Michael Rooker: What makes you say that?
KQRS Listener: Just what I've heard online.
Michael Rooker: Well, you've heard wrong.
KQRS Listener: Okay. So...
Michael Rooker: What direction is that?
KQRS Listener: I don't know.
Michael Rooker: I don't know, nobody knows who Star-Lord's daddy is.
KQRS Listener: I do in the comics, if you've read the comics.
Michael Rooker: Well, you may be wrong
KQRS Listener: Okay, that's what my question was - if they had revealed it to you?
Michael Rooker: I know who the daddy is. I can't say. But if you've read the comics - dug those comics out of your closet and read them - you will know who the daddy is.
KQRS Listener: So there going to go with that iteration?
Michael Rooker: I don't know.
Listen to Rooker's comments starting at the 4:30 mark in this video: https://youtu.be/vT59ccohXMw
Source: Comicbook | Categories: Star Wars | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment
MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE IS NOW HIGHEST GROSSING MOVIE FRANCHISE IN THE WORLD05/03/15 @ 10:03 pm EST
The cast of Star Wars: The Force Awakens
will appear on the cover of this week's Vanity Fair
The magazine's June cover, photographed by Annie Leibovitz, features Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Chewbacca, Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega) and a the BB-8 droid.
The Vanity Fair
website will be running exclusive photos and video tomorrow to celebrate May the Fourth. Fans who sign up for an e-mail newsletter will get access to an exclusive Annie Liebovitz portrait of one of the characters.
Source: Comicbook | Categories: Marvel | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment
With the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron
, Disney and Marvel Studios have made a historic accomplishment at the worldwide box office. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is now the highest grossing movie franchise in the world.
With the addition of a $626 million global box office to date for Avengers: Age of Ultron
, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has now grossed an astonishing $7.787 billion at the worldwide box office. Marvel took the top spot from the Harry Potter
franchise, which now falls to second place with a $7.723 billion worldwide box office.
With Disney and Marvel Studios now releasing two to three movies a year under the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise, it’s also unlikely that anyone has a chance of catching them any time soon. Harry Potter, James Bond, Middle-Earth
, and Star Wars
are the other franchises in the top five, and those franchises usually only release one film a year at the most.
Here’s a rundown of the top five franchises (via Wikipedia):
1. Marvel Cinematic Universe - $7.787 billion
2. Harry Potter - $7.723 billion
3. James Bond - $6.160 billion
4. Middle-earth - $5.880 billion
5. Star Wars – $4.382 billion
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2. MAY THE FOURTH BE WITH YOU
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