|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.)
AND MARVEL’S BIG POST-SHIELD ANNOUNCEMENT IS…THE NEW BROADCAST PREMIER OF AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON TRAILER NEXT WEEK10/21/14 @ 11:49 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: Bleeding Cool | Categories: Marvel | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment
VINNIE JONES JOINS ARROW10/21/14 @ 8:18 pm EST
An e-mail was sent out earlier today letting the press know that after the airing of tonight’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D at 9EST/8C there would be an announcement made by Marvel. We at Dynamic Forces wondered if it pertained to the air dates for Agent Carter, perhaps Mark Waid's coming S.H.I.E.L.D. comic, or the like.
It turned out that announcement was, in fact…The New Broadcast Premier Of Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer Next Week after S.H.I.E.L.D.
Ah, well. That’s pretty good.
We at DF (and our friends at Bleeding Cool) were hoping for Carter. In terms of hype, this will be a big one just the same.
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'DARK MATTER' COMING TO SYFY10/21/14 @ 8:06 pm EST
Bleeding Cool reports an interesting bit of news from the Arrow
offices. Everyone’s favorite hardcase Vinnie Jones
has signed on to play Danny Brickwell
or as most folks know him, Brick
. The ex-footballer has played in a lot of different bad guy roles including the Juggernaut
in X-Men: The Last Stand
and Sebastian Moran
Though this version of Brick differs from the comic version where he is known for his invulnerable skin. On Arrow
Brick is a gang leader with a reputation for being invulnerable after being shot dozens of times and still being alive. Jones will be appearing in episodes 10, 11 and 12 of this current season.
Source: ICv2 | Categories: MIsc | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment
MOVIE RIGHTS TO DASH SHAW GN ACQUIRED10/21/14 @ 8:02 pm EST
SyFy Channel has acquired rights to the original series Dark Matter,
an adaptation of the Dark Horse comic series written byStargate
franchise veterans Joseph Mallozzzi and Paul Mullie, TVLine is reporting.
Mallozzi and Mullie were writers and producers on various Stargate
TV series and wrote the comic series, illustrated by Garry Brown (The Massive
), for Dark Horse in 2012. The duo will helm the 13-episode, hour long series for Syfy.
The story follows the crew of a spaceship who awaken from stasis with no memories of who they are or why they are on board. Their search for answers triggers the ship’s security android, which is bent on their destruction.
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NEW 'DISNEY KINGDOMS' SERIES FROM MARVEL10/21/14 @ 7:59 pm EST
20th Century Fox has acquired the film rights to the Dash Shaw graphic novel Doctors
, recently released by Fantagraphics Books, according to The Hollywood Reporter. David Goyer, who directed Blade: Trinity
and wrote Man of Steel
and Dark Knight
, is attached to produce.
The sci-fi story centers around the Charon, a device that allows a doctor’s staff to bring a dead patient back to life for a short time, and the choices that surround its use.
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FANTASY ADVENTURE HAS FULL REYN10/21/14 @ 7:48 pm EST
Marvel will launch a new Disney Kingdoms
series tied to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
next spring, Disney has announced. The new five-part series will be written by Dennis Hopeless, with art by Tigh Walker. It will tell the story of how the gold mine in Big Thunder Mounted became a haunted legend.
This is the second Disney Kingdoms
series; the first was Disney Kingdoms: Seekers of the Weird
, which turned into a very nice graphic novel.
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MANIFEST DESTINY—BEGINS A NEW CHAPTER10/21/14 @ 7:41 pm EST
Fan favorite Kel Symons (THE MERCENARY SEA, I LOVE TROUBLE) teams up with Nathan Stockman (I LOVE TROUBLE) for an all new series in REYN, a sweeping fantasy following two unlikely adventurers on the path to uncovering the mysteries that surround their destinies.
REYN #1 introduces the main character of the same name, Reyn, a freelance swordsman and monster hunter who also might be the last of the legendary “Wardens” of the land of Fate, whose ranks long since faded into myth. Haunted and driven by visions from a “guiding angel,” Reyn sets out on a great quest—though he’s hardly the errant knight-type. Along the way he’ll rescue and partner with the sorceress Seph, a member of a coven known as the Followers of Tek, hunted as heretics for their beliefs, but who may also know what secrets Fate holds...
Symons wanted to do something that was inspired by his love of reading fantasy and science fiction growing up. “Reyn pays tribute to adventures that dazzled my imagination,” explained Symons. “Fantasy tales, particularly Dungeons and Dragons, was a huge part of my formative years. I doubt I was the first kid who wanted to live in epic worlds like Middle Earth, Greyhawk or Hyboria. Tolkien and Howard created remarkably timeless worlds and practically invented the language of modern fantasy. Honestly, it's hard to believe they were created in the 1930s.”
The main character, Reyn, Symons envisioned as a sort of reluctant Joan-of-Arc-type. “His guiding angel is hardly a blessing, because it's just not in his nature to be a do-gooder—he's too unprincipled for that,” said Symons. “I imagined some of Clint Eastwood's Man with No Name from the Dollars trilogy in Reyn. In fact, when I pitched this to Image, I said the vibe for the series should be 'What if Frazetta painted spaghetti westerns?' His traveling companion, the witch Seph, provides a nice emotional counterpoint to Reyn's moral ambiguity. She was born to a cause and brings passion where Reyn lacks an emotional connection to the destiny that's been forced upon him.”
The journey begins with REYN #1 (Diamond Code NOV140564), in stores on 1/21
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JESSICA DREW UNLEASHED! YOUR FIRST LOOK AT SPIDER-WOMAN #1!10/21/14 @ 4:51 pm EST
A hit historical fantasy adventure series from Skybound/Image, MANIFEST DESTINY by Chris Dingess and Matthew Roberts sets sail for all-new adventures in its third story arc. Readers new and old will want to hop on board for the journey as the crew explores the uncharted American plains and encounters all manner of monstrous horrors.
In MANIFEST DESTINY #13, the crew ventures deeper into the heartland, the expedition discovers another arch—which can only signal new trouble—and Sacagawea experiences complications with her pregnancy...
Dingess hinted: "With this arc, we're hoping to provide an answer or two regarding the bigger narrative of Lewis and Clark's journey, while making readers ask a whole new slew of questions."
MANIFEST DESTINY #13 arrives in stores on 1/21 and can be pre-ordered using Diamond Code NOV140663.
Source: Marvel | Categories: Spider-Woman | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment
INFINITY GAUNTLET #1 – SUMMER 201510/21/14 @ 4:43 pm EST
This November, launching directly out of Spider-Verse
comes a brand-new ongoing series starring the original Spider-Woman! Today, Marvel is pleased to present your first look at SPIDER-WOMAN #1
, the new ongoing series from the critically acclaimed creative team of Dennis Hopeless and Greg Land!
Jessica Drew has been many things – agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., agent of S.W.O.R.D., Avenger and so much more. She’s a hero to her very core, but nothing could prepare her for the multidimensional insanity of Spider-Verse! War has come to anyone with spider powers and they’re being picked off one by one. The supremely powerful Morlun and his twisted family will stop at nothing to eliminate every Spider-Man and every Spider-Woman in every universe.
The key to their survival may rest in the hands of Silk, the newest spider on the block, who’s on the run for her life! Who better to keep her safe than Jessica Drew? An experienced soldier, a fierce combatant, and someone who won’t quit – she’ll lead her spider platoon deep behind enemy lines on a dangerous, universe-spanning adventure if she wants to see tomorrow.
“This is the start of something very big for Spider-Woman,” says Senior Editor Nick Lowe. “Yes, it’s a big part of Spider-Verse, but this is going to be a character defining first arc for the SPIDER-WOMAN
The one and only original Spider-Woman is a woman with a mission, and it will take all of her training if she wants to make it out of Spider-Verse alive. Who lives? Who dies? Find out as an all-new dimension hopping adventure explodes out of the pages of Spider-Verse in November’sSPIDER-WOMAN #1
SPIDER-WOMAN #1 (SEP140833)
Written by DENNIS HOPELESS
Art & Cover by GREG LAND
FOC – 10/27/14, On-Sale – 11/19/14
Source: Marvel | Categories: Thanos | Comments (0) | E-mail Article | Add a Comment
SHE IS WORTHY – YOUR FIRST LOOK AT THOR #210/21/14 @ 4:34 pm EST
Now this is interesting. In this latest Marvel teaser for Summer 2015, Thanos and the Guantlet are depicted but so are Star-Lord and what seems to be a group of Nova Corps members. Hmm ... Curious!
Stay tuned to Dynamic Forces for further news on this!
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This November, bring the thunder and summon the lightning as the new Thor tests her mettle against an army of Frost Giants in THOR #2 -
the highly anticipated second issue! Critically acclaimed writer Jason Aaron and rising star artist Russell Dauterman continue the epic tale of the new God of Thunder, and her unworthy predecessor. An army of massive Frost Giants have invaded Midgard, sowing destruction and chaos in their wake. The Odinson lays battered and broken at the hands of Malekith the Accursed, unable to wield his mighty hammer. To save us all, a new Thor will rise. And she may be the world’s only hope. Can she stave off the darkness? Or will she be consumed by it? On the bellow of thunder and the crack of lightning, a new Thor is born. See her in action for the first time this November in the highly anticipated THOR #2
THOR #2 (SEP140857)Written by JASON AARON Art & Cover by RUSSELL DAUTERMAN
Variant Cover by CHRIS SAMNEE (SEP140859) Design Variant by ESAD RIBIC (SEP140858) Rocket Raccoon & Groot Variant by JAMES STOKOE (SEP140860)
FOC – 10/20/14, On-Sale – 11/12/14