Tag Archives: Watchmen

SDCC 2013: First Glimpse at the New Collectibles from Mattie Collector!

It’s Comic Con and you know what that means right? Loads of new collectibles! Mattie Collector (the collector’s branch of Mattel) has already started the ball rolling on their Facebook page  with a big collection of Master of the Universe figures and a few other surprises along the way.

Firstly let us look at the solo figure of the bunch, The Comedian figure from the iconic graphic novel Watchman. This design is based on the comic rather than the movie (which had its own line of figures a few years back). It looks fantastic and I am hoping that we are going to see a lot more of these coming in the next few days.

 sdcc matty collector toys watchman 1

Next up is the life sized collectibles from Ghostbusters and the Adam West Batman series. These include a full size utility belt from Batman, along a trap and Neutrino Wand. Now thanks to The Examiner we know the rod will cost about $130, but no prices on the other items quite yet. That’s a pretty awesome price for something of that quality and who among us would not want to pretend to be a Ghostbuster or the Caped Crusader for the day? Well, here is your chance.

 sdcc matty collector toys batman belt

sdcc matty collector toys ghostbusters

Last but not least is the reissuing of some of the classic Master of the Universe lines of toys (seen below). The End of Wars pack has a ton of weapons and spare parts and also comes with your very own Kowl figurine from She-Ra. We also have some old favorites like Rattler, Roboto, and Trap Jaw all making an appearance mixed in with some more obscure characters like Nepthu. We also get to see some pretty fantastic looking vehicles like The Jet Sled with its pilot Sky High. My favorite out of the bunch has to be the inclusion of the Rock Men, who were some of my favorite toys as a kid. Lord knows why a bunch of transforming rocks held so much appeal to me when I had Transformer toys to play with, but that’s the way it was.

Keep checking with Grizzly Bomb for more collectable news as it arrives, and for more on SDCC 2013 click here!

Comic Rack: Ottley & Howard Talk Invincible, Vertigo Brings Us ‘Time Warp’ & ‘Before Watchmen’ Is Done?

Welcome to Comic Rack! My pick of the top five comic news stories in no particular order…

Before Watchmen Is Done, Most Likely

J. Michael Straczynski is one of those guys in the comics industry who you either love or hate. I mean, he’s not on any kind of Jeph Loeb level or anything, but most people I know either think he’s a genius or a total asshat. I’ve got mixed feelings, as there are parts of his work that I thought were really smart but poorly executed, though through no fault of his own, (His Back In Black Spidey run), or others were weirdly interesting yet flawed, like his infamously unfinished Superman arc, Grounded. So when he goes out to say something, I tend to listen, if only because I know it’ll be interesting to hear. That being said, he’s not said anything this time that I’ve found that surprising, but it’s good to know.

“Insofar as I know, this is it for the Before Watchmen books,” JMS told PREVIEWSworld. “Dan [DiDio] had a very specific vision of the cycle he wanted to investigate, and never once mentioned anything about this turning into some kind of long-term franchise. Not to say that might not happen someday, but I don’t think it’s on his or DC’s radar at this juncture, and if it’s not on theirs it’s sure as heck not on mine.”

I didn’t imagine the Before Watchmen books expanding into some kind of monthly series or any kind of ongoing, and to be honest if they did it’d be pretty terrible. I’ve yet to read any of the Before Watchmen books, not out of any protest or anything, but simply because I have no interest. Watchmen is pretty perfectly told story, and doesn’t need much expansion or background detail added. I’m glad to find out it’s being put to rest.

Find out more here.

Ottley And Howard Talk About Invincible, SUPER DINOSAUR, & More

Invincible was at one time, by far the best superhero book out there. Every week it rocked my socks off and had me anxiously awaiting next months issue. Nowadays, while it’s by no means bad, it doesn’t have me crapping my pants with glee every time I pick it up at my LCS. That’s not to say it isn’t still entertaining or engaging either, it is. I guess at some point you’ve invested enough into a story that you’re just committed to seeing how it folds out, despite lacking its previous passion or intensity. That must be why soap operas still exist. Well, regardless of my ennui about Invincible, Jason Howard and Ryan Ottley are still both very pumped for the book, and for good reason. They’re pretty pumped about getting the years worth of books done, and rounding up to the 100th issue, which has a pretty solid teaser:

Yeah that’s… one hell of a teaser.

It’s pretty interesting to see comics writers and artists talk freely about their projects, especially when one is about A SUPER DINOSAUR. (Truthfully, I just really like writing the words SUPER DINOSAUR!)

Find out more here.

American Vampire‘s Taking a Hiatus, Snyder Assures Us It’s Temporary

One of the worst things a comics fan can hear about their favorite book, is that the author is going on “hiatus” and will return to finish the book “soon”. This is code, usually for “I’m sick of working with my editor/publisher/whatever and I am finding a way to weasel my way out of this contract”. At least that’s usually the case in my cynical opinion. However, sometimes that’s not the case, and in this interview Scott Snyder basically assures fans of his book that this hiatus definitely IS temporary, and that he’s committed to finish the popular series. This is refreshing to hear, because I recently bought the first trade digitally and was looking forward to following the series in trades from now on. While I’ve still yet to read it, perhaps this hiatus will give me time to catch up and get current, and the dastardly prospect of waiting for the trade, or buying the issue monthly can come to pass. On second thought, I’ll probably hold off on reading it longer, just because of this reason. My wallet hates me enough already.

Find out more here.

From Hellblazer‘s Ashes, Constantine Rises Anew!

While it’s not exactly news here at Comic Rack, it’s still reassuring to find out that our favorite con-man magician, John Constantine will still have his own monthly title at DC. Who’s to say if it’ll be a new, weird watered down version though? Well, the guy who’s writing the book, for one, and he’s pretty adamant that Constantine will stay the same character we know and love.

 In March, Venditti and artist Renato Guedes will be launching Constantine, a new solo series for the character that takes place in the “New 52” DC Universe. And according to the writer, fans of Constantine shouldn’t fear that the long-time Vertigo character is going to be drastically different. Younger? Yes. Unmarried? Sure. But otherwise, Venditti says, “I wouldn’t say he’s all that much different from who John Constantine has always been.”

While the sentiment is appreciated, I’m still wary. I can’t say I’m necessarily dreading it, because I’ve more or less liked everything that’s come out of the New 52, but Constantine is a tricky one to handle, and I’m just not sure how he’s going to work when played out against the whole of the New DCU. I haven’t read any of Justice League Dark, but I’ve heard he works pretty well in that, so that’s reassuring, but at the end of the day I still am not entirely convinced. I’ll just have to wait and see how things turn out.

Find out more here.

Vertigo Adds Another Anthology to its Collection

Vertigo has been on a roll lately, especially when it comes to anthologies. There’s the previous Ghosts, which I previously mentioned on this column a few weeks ago, and I’m learning there’s two others, by the names of Strange Adventures and Young Romance. I love a good anthology, the fact that this one is called Time Warp #1, bodes well for me. First off it sounds like it’s Sci-Fi, which is by far my favorite genre, secondly it sounds like it’s time travel related sci-fi, which is my favorite kind of sci-fi, and lastly it’s got that #1 in the title, which implies that it’s not just another one shot. Factor in that it’ll include stories from Damon Lindelof AND Jeff Lemire, and it’s almost like they’re trying to make a comic JUST FOR ME! Well, aside from those two big names, there’s plenty of others that any comics fan will recognize and get giddy for:

 The issue will feature stories by the likes of Damon Lindelof, Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt,  Toby Litt, Mark Buckingham, Dan Abnett, Peter Milligan, Ray Fawkes, Simon Spurrier, Gail Simone, Rafael Albuquerque and Tom Fowler, with covers by Eduardo Risso (in full below) and Jae Lee.

Well that just sounds mighty damn fine.

Find out more here.

That’s all for this week’s edition! We’ll see you next time at the Comic Rack!

CCI 2012: Tarantino Crashes “Before Watchmen” Panel to Announce “Django” Comic

During a panel involving the writers and artists of the “Watchmen” prequel, “Before Watchmen”, Jim Lee hopped on stage and introduced the one and only Quentin Tarantino. Instead of talking more about “Before Watchmen”, Tarantino announced that his upcoming film, Django Unchained, will be adapted to a 5-issue mini-series that will serve as a direct adaptation of the first draft of the screenplay.

Tarantino had this to say about the mini-series:

“I always loved Western comics in particular, but one of the things I’m actually excited about is Django Unchained is an epic…A lot of things don’t make the movie because they’re too effing big. There’s always this aspect that the script is this big, literary piece, and I’m conforming it to make it a movie. In the comic book? It’s the entire script. The comic will literally be the first draft of the script!”

This is some pretty awesome news that reminds me a lot of Southland Tales, a film that was told in six parts, the first three being solely through a graphic novel. I’ve always been interested in reading Tarantino scripts because they end up looking more like novels than they do movies. For instance the Kill Bill screenplay had countless notes and tangents that went so far as to make the script look like a book. The art will surely be a sensory overload and the quick, witty dialogue should translate well into panels and chapters.

But, at the official Django Unchained panel that took place in the famous Hall H, the crowd was wild and ready with tons of questions for the cast of the film and the man himself. A lot was answered but not too much was spoiled as everything from Tarantino calling a fan dressed in the Bride’s yellow jumpsuit sexy to Jamie Foxx relating the story of Django to his own childhood was revealed.

A couple other points I found fascinating included Tarantino’s near obsession with ensuring that all of his female characters are strong and kick-ass. Some of the most powerful female characters have come from Tarantino movies. The Bride, Jackie Brown, Mia Wallace, the girls from Death Proof, and Shoshanna DreyfussEven the woman with the bit part in Reservoir Dogs had the strength to shoot Mr. Orange after she was shot in the chest. Tarantino loves and respects women, and has always given them the opportunity to be as bad as the big boys. He had this to say during the panel:

“I just dig strong chicks,” he says.  “I don’t know how to write them any other way.”  He goes on to say that as the guy who wrote Kill Bill, he’d like to see the black woman kicking ass in Django Unchained, but that’s just not this story.  If this is a fairy tale, then Candie is the evil king, and she’s “the princess in exile and can’t get out.”  When we finally catch up with her character after seeing her in fantasy and memory moments from Django, Broomhilda has just tried to escape and is now being punished.  She needs the love of her life to come “and burn this motherf***er down!”  Washington adds that Tarantino doesn’t write “strength for the strength.  He writes true characters…It’s what makes this character strong?”

The one thing I really love about this film is its against type casting. Leonardo DiCaprio never gets to play the villain and Christoph Waltz never gets to play the good guy. Here, the roles are reversed and we get to see some of our favorite actors do things they might not be entirely comfortable with. After winning an Oscar for Inglourious Basterds, Christoph Waltz returns to Tarantino once again after a surprisingly lackluster post-Basterds career. That’s not to say all the movies he was in are bad, but they’re not that great either. Still, he elevated every one he was in, and I’m excited to see how he’ll work with the rest of the cast now that he’s in familiar territory.

You can read the entire summary of the panel right here.

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Before Watchmen: – LEAKED PHOTOS!

There has been a lot of skepticism about the new Watchmen prequel.Personally, I would love to see the Minutemen in action! The claws have come out on Twitter! Check out all of the pissy and hilarious reactions on Gamma Squad.

Buzzfeed has 21 leaked photos from the DC Headquarters. These display the characters we know and love before the Watchmen was formed. For your entertainment, here is a look at a possible continuity error thanks to Bleeding Cool.  The prequel will contain 36 issues total from 7 different series. I cannot wait to hear even more bitching when the even less respected movie eventually comes out. Although, I already know I will be seeing it… possibly dressed up. Only time can tell.

The Grizzly’s Spotlight: Malin Akerman

Malin Akerman

Malin Akerman, like our last Grizzly Girl – Leslie Bibb, won a modeling contest at the age of  16. This Swedish beauty began acting shortly thereafter, and has become one of the hottest of Hollywood!

Why We Love Her – The Best of Her Resume:
– The Skulls (2000)
– Witchblade (Conundrum – 2001)
– Harold and Kumar go to White Castle (2004)
– Love Monkey (The One That Got Away – 2006)
– The Invasion (2007)
– Watchmen (2009)
– Couples Retreat (2009)
– How I Met Your Mother (The Wedding Bride – 2010)
– Funny or Die Presents… (4 Episodes, 2010)
– Childrens Hospital (22 Episodes, 2010-2011)
– Elektra Luxx (2010)

Other Notable Roles…
– The Utopian Society (2003)
– 27 Dresses (2008)
– The Comeback (13 Episodes – 2005)
– The Proposal (2009)
– The Bang Bang Club (2010)
– The Romantics (2010)
Catch .44 (2011)


Malin Akerman is working on a few movies, currently. She will be portraying Linda Lovelace in the movie about her life titled Inferno. She will also be starring in a movie with Paul Rudd called Wanderlust, which is hitting theaters on February 24 of this year. Later this year, she will be starring alongside Nicholas Cage in Stolen. Also in post-production, she has a role in Rock of Ages, which has no release date, but will most likely come out this year.

Other Projects…

Malin was the singer for a rock band called The Petalstones. The band’s first album called Stung was released in 2005. She dropped out of the band to focus more on her acting after that. Check it out:

And for the Eye Candy…

So that’s it for this week,  
for other Grizzly Girls – Click it Here!

‘Watchmen’ Prequel Comics Announced

Considered by many to be the seminal story of the comics medium, and a work that singlehandedly changed the comics forever, Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons has been a consistently successful story for over a quarter of a century. A complete deconstruction of the Superhero mythos using close facsimiles to classic Charleston Comics characters – Watchmen ushered in the grim and gritty narratives all to prevalent in comics today. Against the wishes of writer Alan Moore, but not by artist Dave Gibbons – Watchmen has spawned numerous merchandising opportunities and a Hollywood film in 2009 by director Zack Snyder. In just twelve issues, Gibbons and Moore constructed an intriguing world and very interesting characters, with back-stories largely untouched. Considering how widely revered the Watchmen comics are, the series has been considered a sacred cow of sorts, and its universe has for quite a while, not been expanded upon in anyway.

On February 1st, DC comics announced that they will be releasing several four to six issue miniseries set in the Watchmen universe, written and drawn by some of comic’s top creators.

USA Today reports:

 Who watches the Watchmen? This summer, it will again be a legion of comic-book fans.

Under its DC Comics banner, DC Entertainment is reviving characters from the beloved and seminal graphic novel Watchmen for seven prequels collectively titled ‘Before Watchmen’.

The comics will feature all of the heroes — and anti-heroes — who writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons created in the 1986-87 Watchmen series, which was later collected as a graphic novel. Those characters will star in miniseries by some of the company’s top writers and artists, including:


•Rorschach by writer Brian Azzarello and artist Lee Bermejo

•Comedian by Azzarello and artist J.G. Jones

•Minutemen by writer/artist Darwyn Cooke

•Silk Spectre by Cooke and artist Amanda Conner

•Nite Owl by writer J. Michael Straczynski and artists Joe and Andy Kubert

•Dr. Manhattan by Straczynski and artist Adam Hughes

•Ozymandias by writer & original editor Len Wein with art by Jae Lee


Issues will be released so that there will be a new one every week, and each will include two pages of a separate, continuing backup story, Curse of the Crimson Corsair, by Wein, with art by Watchmen colorist John Higgins. A single-issue Before Watchmen: Epilogue will also be a part of the prequel series, featuring several of the writers and artists involved.  

According to the Guinness World Records, Watchmen is the best-selling graphic novel of all time, with more than 2 million copies sold. However, Azzarello first read the series when it came out monthly in the ’80s and was a huge fan 10 years before he broke into the industry.

Azzarello says he “dropped the phone” when DC co-publisher Dan DiDio called him last summer and asked if he’d write the fan-favorite character Rorschach, the vigilante clad in a mask with shifting ink blots who investigates the death of his old friend, The Comedian, in the original Watchmen story.

“He’s the face. The guy who covers his face is the face of the franchise,” Azzarello says. For the four-issue Rorschach series, he’s teaming again with Bermejo, the artist from his Joker graphic novel.

“You’re going to get the Rorschach that you know and want. It’s a very visceral story we’re going to be telling,” Azzarello says.

Set in a bleak version of 1980s America where Richard Nixon is still president and powered beings have changed the fabric of society but are now considered outlaws, Watchmen created a legion of fans with its rich storytelling and deconstruction of the superhero genre. The phrase “Who watches the Watchmen,” spray-painted on buildings in the original book, has become iconic.

Many of those readers view Watchmen as a sacred text that shouldn’t be touched. Moore himself publicly stated that he wanted nothing to do with the 2009 movie adaptation by director Zack Snyder, or any sequels or prequels.

Gibbons, who was an adviser on the movie, has given his blessing. “The original series of Watchmen is the complete story that Alan Moore and I wanted to tell. However, I appreciate DC’s reasons for this initiative and the wish of the artists and writers involved to pay tribute to our work. May these new additions have the success they desire,” he says in a statement.

That approval, however, isn’t as important as making sure all the Before Watchmen books work on their own, Azzarello says. What’s key is “that we all get in there and we tell the best possible stories we can and we reconnect these characters. It’s 25 years later. Let’s make them vital again.”

All around the tubes, nearly every forum, such as Bleeding Cool and those annoying hipsters over at comics alliance, are rife with comments of hot frothy hatred over the notion over such a blasphemy. Most comments are about how perfect the original series was and what not, and that no one is as brilliant as Alan Moore blah blah blah, you get the picture. A perfect example of how much people already hate this project is over at Topless Robot, but then again the folks over at Topless Robot epitomize the irrational bitter fan stereotype that never enjoy anything, regardless of how good it might actually be. One talking point is that somehow these prequels could possibly taint the experiences of the original, which is a logical farce. The “Star Wars” prequels are utter garbage, but that doesn’t sully the original trilogy in anyway, but if one were to continue to watch said prequels out of an obsessive need even though they hate them- that could make the experience sour. However, issues like that are less in the content and more in the viewer. It seems as though the negative fan will probably be the greater driving force though, as they will need to validate their judgments on how bad it sucks. Much like how Howard Stern rose to the top from having a great number of listeners who found him appalling and listened to field complaints as opposed to those who wanted to listen to naked lesbians on the radio,

Are these books a bright idea? Perhaps, perhaps not; however, the talent they have compiled for these projects rival some of the best in the business. Brian Azzarello is one of the greatest writers working in comic books today, and author of “100 Bullets”, a series I believe is the greatest of all time. Plus having artists such as Darwyn Cooke, Amanda Conner, Lee Bermejo, Jae Lee and J.G. Jones on these titles means they will also be some of the best looking comics this year. I personally don’t care about Watchmen prequels, since over time I have grown to dislike the original “Watchmen.” It’s slow, it’s rather derivative and isn’t entertaining- I appreciate what the work has done for comics as a whole, but just because it’s influential doesn’t mean I’m obligated to sing its praises. Just because I listen to The Police doesn’t mean I must listen to Bob Marley as well.

The fantastic Michael Avon Oeming tweeted it best:

Oeming hit the nail on the head: comics are not scripture, they’re fictional, the stuff that happens between the pages of these books never actually happened. Things like Canon and Continuity are bullshit, nothing is truly official or unofficial in the land of make believe. Adding to the universe that Moore and Gibbons created does not in any way, change the story or anything about the original Watchmen. Any of these prequel comics can be as official or fan fictional as you, as the reader want them to be – if you don’t like them, forget about them and read the original all over again, and enjoy it for what it is. If you believe that there is absolutely no goddamn chance you could even fathom liking these prequels, then just don’t read them! It’s that simple, don’t piss and moan and then buy all of them anyways just so you can break down and nitpick every single minutia of things you hate about them, just ignore them. Some very talented people with bills and families are getting paid possibly the best money they’ll ever see in their careers to tackle these projects and perhaps, put enough money aside to not worry about expenses for a while to make a completely original property that might even be more significant than Watchmen, Dark Knight Returns, and Hellboy combined, they don’t need you belittling them over trying to make an honest living.

Of course Alan Moore, who hates everything involving other creators involved in his works told the New York Times, “I tend to take this latest development as a kind of eager confirmation that they are still apparently dependent on ideas that I had 25 years ago.” 

Moore, Author of such works as League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which stars characters like Bram Stoker’s Mina Harker, H.G. Wells’ Invisible Man and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Batman: The Killing Joke featuring characters made by Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson, is no stranger to using the ideas of others to craft stories. Alan Moore also received his breaks from his runs on “Marvelman” a character created by Mick Anglo, and “Swamp-Thing” a character co-created by Lenn Wein for DC Comics, who at the time was roommates with Gerry Conway, one of the collaborators whom created Man-Thing, a similar character at Marvel comics who premiered prior to Swamp Thing.

In addition, “Watchmen” wasn’t originally going to star original characters. Moore and Gibbons originally wanted to use characters such as The Question, Blue Beetle and Captain Atom, who were properties recently acquired by DC Comics form the defunct Charleston Comics. DC comics decided they would rather integrate the Charleston universe into their soon to be rebooted comics universe (sound familiar?) leaving Moore and Gibbons to create thinly veiled analogues of their initial idea.  Had Moore and Gibbons been able to use the Charleston Characters like they originally intended- Moore wouldn’t have an argumentative leg to stand on. To be fair, DC could have easily done these miniseries with the Charleston Characters, but due to the success of “Watchmen,” the new analogues are more recognizable to audiences than the Charleston originals.  While it’s certain that these prequels will go against what Moore’s artistic vision of “Watchmen” should be, Moore himself has done the same with a multitude of properties in his career, granted many have been public domain and he can do with them as he pleases. However, in one of his most recent stories League of Extraordinary Gentleman: 1969, Moore has written a scene where a Wizard named Tom who’s “ . . .middle name is a marvel and my last name is a conundrum” in an effort to use the character without violating any copyrights, sexually assaults Mina Harker in a scene. This is certainly not something that JK Rowling would have envisioned even her most heinous of villains to do in her successful series of children to young adult novels. Of course, the other collaborator- the artist, who is always the more important creator (it is a visual medium, and artists typically get a majority of the royalties) Dave Gibbons, has given his consent to DC comics to make these prequels.

Seemingly, all Moore’s opinions of his work gives off the impression that he feels as though he is some sort of creative zenith, that no one could ever craft a story as well as he. Moore lambastes every film adaptation of his work, or in the case of the Watchmen film adaptation, refusing to even see the film or acknowledge it in any way. One of my very first articles I had published at the website of the great Armenian flake, I wrote of how I felt the ending of the Watchmen film was actually better than the source material. Without spoiling anything, the movie ending ties in better with the core themes of distrust and paranoia rather than the random ploy used in the books. Alan Moore will never see this, thus he will never have to concede that others can perhaps, craft a better story with his own ideas than he could. Instead of denying the chance, it would be bolder to see these adaptations as a challenge for both the author and his colleagues to do better. Batman: Year One is one of the greatest batman stories ever told, but one of its sequel series that is based on Miller and Mazzucchelli’s story is Batman: The Long Halloween, is a superior story made by an entirely different creative team, and the original creator makes neither. Ego is one of the greatest hindrances in the realm of fiction.

However, from a moral standpoint- DC comics should have never been in the position to create Watchmen prequels in the first place. Even though Nite-Owl, Dr. Manhattan and the rest or the cast is analogous to Charleston Properties, they are in fact original characters because of this. The legends say Gibbons and Moore had a contract that specified that Watchmen would be a work for hire project, meaning they were compensated up front to create the book, instead of creating the book at their own expense: which would have made Watchmen creator owned. However, DC comics also stipulated that once Watchmen was no longer in print by DC, the copyrights would revert to Gibbons and Moore.

Watchmen has also continually been reprinted in trade paperback since 1987, thus preventing Gibbons and Moore from ever receiving ownership of their work. Thanks to dirty pool, DC has taken the control of Watchmen from Gibbons and Moore, and ensured they will never have it. Watchmen will never cease to be reprinted; it’s for too influential and lucrative for DC to ever want to let it go, so in essence, any support of any Watchmen related material aids in DC Comics’ theft of Watchmen from two very talented individuals. Eric Stephenson, publisher over at Image Comics, wrote an article for ‘It Sparkles’ that I insist you read because it perfectly illustrates what DC did wrong and the plight of the comic book creators.

Whether or not you’re enthused or incensed about Before Watchmen, it really matters not, since DC is going to make them regardless, there’s money to be had and they’ll get every little bit they can from Watchmen until they’re blue in the face and run around with their weenies exposed. However, what does matter is whether you buy them, it won’t stop these projects, but it can stop or continue any other Watchmen related projects in the future. Regardless, at least these books have top talent on them; DC could do much worse:

Hero Express – ‘The Avengers’ Banners, ‘Man of Steel 2’. and ‘TDKR’ Wraps?

Welcome back to the Hero Express, your one-stop sometimes SPOILER filled shop through the news filled world of superhero’s in Film, TV, Video Games and whatever else floats your boat.

This is the Hero Express for November 22nd, 2011:

New Avengers Character Banners – (Yahoo / Moviefone)

The start of the promotional campaign for The Avengers has begun with a set of character banners that gives us a look at the main characters of the movie. We’ve certainly seen a good deal of these characters in all the set photo’s and the trailer that was recently released, but these posters are still pretty cool.

Alan Silvestri Will Score The Avengers(SuperHeroHype)

Having previously scored Captain America: The First Avenger, Silvestri returns to the MCU to handle potentially the biggest Marvel movie EVER. No pressure.

“I think to have been a part of the Marvel process is very helpful,” says Silvestri. “To see how material evolves [and] how the film evolves gives the sense of how Marvel treats their characters, cares for them, and a bit of what that Marvel post-production process feels like.”

The key challenge for Silvestri this time around is to move from one big screen hero to a whole team, representing the entire cast musically.

“This is actually a very unique experience [for me],” he continues. “I’ve worked on films where there have been a number of stars and certainly worked on films where there have been characters of equal weight in terms of their level of importance and profile in the film, but this one is somewhat extreme in that regard because each of these characters has their own world and it’s a very different situation… It’s very challenging to look for a way to give everyone the weight and consideration they need, but at the same time the film is really about the coming together of these characters, which implies that there is this entity called the Avengers which really has to be representative of all of them together.”

Joss Whedon Discusses His Avengers – (CinemaBlend)

Directing large casts and dealing with comic book characters is nothing new to Joss Whedon, and he discusses some details about the main characters in The Avengers.

For Avengers, Whedon and Downey worked together to find the right balance of where and who Stark’s character should be after the previous two films. “He didn’t want to be the tortured lonely man, which I totally get,” said Whedon. “And it was easy to make him as delightful and gregarious as he can be and still go, well, there is a piece missing and it’s the piece that makes him an Avenger.”

Whedon said that Captain America, traditionally considered a hard character to “crack,” was one of his favorites — precisely because he’s such a straightforward character. As Whedon explained:

I am the guy who loves Cyclops on the ‘X-Men’, because he is square. [Captain America] is a little square, and he is aware that he is a little square, and he is aware that the world is a beat ahead of him, or in his case, 70 beats. I think that’s very disarming and very charming. I relate to that guy. I also don’t know who the popular singers are right now, so he is actually really easy for me to write.

In spite of Whedon’s love of writing Captain America as a bit of a square, there were times where actor Chris Evans asked him to tone it down just a little bit. Whedon explained that Evans is “very aware of [Captain America’s] dignity, but at the same time understood why I wanted to find the humor in somebody who was so out of touch.”

Perhaps the character with the most convoluted recent history is Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/The Hulk. Unlike Downey, Evans, Sam Jackson as Nick Fury, and Chris Hemsworth as Thor, he had the challenge of stepping into the role for the first time, despite the character having been played twice in recent years in two unrelated reboots (first by Eric Bana, then by Edward Norton). Rather than referring to the recent films as their “official” version, Whedon and Ruffalo cast their eyes further back for their Hulk touchstone. “Both of us agreed upfront that the template for who we wanted this guy to be in his life was Bill Bixby, the TV [show character] who was busy helping other people,” said Whedon. “That was more interesting to us than the Banner in the first two movies who was always fixated on curing himself.”

Yea, We’ve seen character development in the 6 movies that have preceded Avengers, so I don’t really need Whedon to handle all of that, but I’m still excited.

Why Kenneth Branagh Left Thor 2 – (Splashpage)

I think most fans of Thor were a little upset when we found out Branagh was not going to be directing the sequel. He brought a lot of great elements to one of the hardest Marvel movies and it worked. If Thor hadn’t worked, I don’t think the MCU would have had a chance. So why did Branagh leave?

“[It was] simply timing,” he said. “I loved doing the movie, I’d love to do another movie for Marvel, and it was just timing. The requirement for me was just to get back in the saddle so swiftly that it wasn’t really feasible, but it was a decision [Marvel] understood.”

Being as classy as ever, Branagh went on to praise Patty Jenkins, who will replace him as director, saying: “I, along with a lot of other people, are very excited about the appointment of Patty Jenkins. I think that’s a great choice to direct the movie.”

“I know that Kevin Feige and all the people I worked very closely with, who were absolutely parts of the creation of that movie, are keen to produce a great second picture,” he said. “So it was the right decision for me and for them and I am really looking forward to see how the second one develops.”

Watchmen Scribe Discusses His Black Widow Script – (Splashpage)

David Hayter had penned a Black Widow movie before she was even a gleam in Jon Favreau‘s eye. But like a lot of potentially great movies it was never made, and Hayter explains why:

“Unfortunately, as I was coming up on the final draft, a number of female vigilante movies came out,” he said in an interview posted at Blastr. “We had ‘Tomb Raider’ and ‘Kill Bill,’ which were the ones that worked, but then we had ‘BloodRayne’ and ‘Ultraviolet’ and ‘Aeon Flux.'”

Hollywood felt that there were too many similar movies coming out to want to back the project, according to Hayter, who was understandably upset after all of his hard work and dedication.

“I accepted their logic in terms of the saturation of the marketplace, but it was pretty painful,” he said. “I had not only invested a lot of time in that movie, but I had also named my daughter . . . Natasha.”

Hayter told a few details about his script, which would apparently take place in post-Soviet Russia and involve nukes and sanitariums.

Adi Granov Discusses His Marvel Movies – (BadTaste)

This is a cool interview with Adi Granov, a great artist who was instrumental in concept designs for the Iron Man movies. Here he discusses some other work he’s done for Marvel. At the link, the interview is in Spanish, but if you keep scrolling they posted the English version beneath.

There is a Mark everyone is waiting to see on the big screen, the Hulkbuster. It’s a fan favourite armour…

I know. I see things this way. In the first movie we had the Iron Monger, the idea for him came from the Hulkbuster. 
I did a cover with the Hulkbuster in it. Jon Favreau liked that design and asked me to draw something similar to it for the Iron Monger. So technically the Iron Monger is the Hulkbuster, and that I think is why for a while we won’t see it in a movie. It would only be yet another Iron Man big type of armour.

The geeky community of BadTaste.it didn’t fail to notice the brief cameo of Fing Fang Foom in the Iron Man 2 movie. Considering that it’s your artwork, can you tell us something more about this character and it’s relationship with the Iron Man Franchise?

I mean, Fing Fang Foom is an old Iron Man villain. The director of the movie Jon Favreau and I were doing a comic book together and the villain in that was Fing Fang Foom. And I did the design for Fing Fang Foom. So Jon Asked me to do the design so he could put that in a poster in the movie.
That was the only reason. It was all like some sort of inside… not Joke, but just a thing he did because we where working with it in the comic…

And maybe so you could use the design in a new movie?

I don’t know (laughs) I think Fing Fang Foom is a bit… it’s a character that works in comics, but I don’t think that the mainstream audience that sees movies would understand… they would probably think it is ridiculous.

Ok let’s talk about SPOILERS. I know you can’t say very much about it, but you also know that in the very nexy hours we will see some minutes of the Avengers movie. Can you tell us something about it? Something new?

The problem is that I don’t know what has been shown yet, and I don’t know what marvel already told…

Perfect, we will exploit this weakness

[laughs] Probably not. I just don’t know what… how much… like… for example I did a painting for the avenger movie where you see the Avenger for the first time united as a group, and I meet a friend a couple of weeks ago who had that as a desktop and I was completely surprised, asking him where that came from, because I didn’t know Marvel had released it and I looked up on the Internet and weeks before that they showed some kind of trailer that had the painting in it and I didn’t even think there would be a painting in it. Someone took a screenshot of it and suddenly this painting was everywhere.
 That’s the kind of stuff. I can’t keep track of all the informations that…

But you really can’t. You have to think that now everyone has a cellphone and a camera in it, so the message boards are flooded with behind the scenes images. It’s out of control… so we can already see Capitan America and Thor that fight with some guys in mocap suit. Are they the Skrulls?

[laughs a lot] Well well… I really know what the villains are, but I’m not gonna confirm or say here!

Not a lot of new information, but the interview is a good look at some of the other steps it takes to bring these characters to the big screen.

AKA Jessica Jones Takes Place In The MCU – (Splashpage)

Melissa Rosenberg, who wrote the Twilight movies, speaks on where AKA Jessica Jones fits into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and some of the characters she wants to use.

“I wrote it kind of off season so it fell in between seasons,” she explained to HitFix. “So, we are waiting to see what happens for the upcoming season now and our hope is that it will come to life at that time. It fell between the cracks of the seasons and, hopefully, this will be the one.”

Would “Jessica Jones” take place in the larger Marvel Universe we’ve seen in recent film adaptations? Rosenberg said that it would, but that doesn’t mean she can use any character she feels like.

“It’s very tricky navigation there,” she admitted. “You can’t mention one guy because Fox has the rights to that guy and Universal has the rights to the other one. There are a lot of boundaries on who you can and can’t use.”

“I had Jessica Jones and Luke Cage and Carol Danvers [for the pilot script],” she went on. “Basically, I wanted those three guys — then I would have a series. Everyone else we can be digging into lesser known characters or taking known characters and renaming them.”

James McAvoy Discusses X-Men: First Class Sequel – (GeekTyrant)

While a sequel is still up in the air at this point, McAvoy talks about what he thinks his character, Professor X, should deal with in X-Men: Second Class. I really hope they don’t call it that, and instantly regret writing it.

“[Xavier] can’t just become the guy that we saw in the first three movies,” says McAvoy. “He just had two major things happen to him. He’s lost his best friend, essentially, and he’s just been paralyzed from the waist down. Which is just a huge, huge blow to his considerable ego. So he’s got to deal with that… You’ve got to deal with that, I don’t care if he’s a superhero and has brain powers or not, he’s just had a huge part of his physical life taken away from him, by someone he cares about more than anyone else. So he’s got to deal with that.”

I would absolutely be interested in a First Class sequel, hoping of course it keeps the creativity from the first one, doesn’t go mutant crazy like X-Men: The Last Stand, and Michael Fassbender returns as Magneto.

Fassbender Also Wants More Professor X – (Splashpage)

He spoke out on his thoughts for the sequel, and they mirror McAvoy’s. It seems this is turning more into X-Men: Origins – Professor Xavier then a sequel to First Class. I’m oddly fine with that.

When asked about whether he saw Magneto, nee Erik Lehnsherr, as a true bad guy after the first one’s finale, he said he wasn’t so sure. “I don’t think he’s a bad guy. I think he’s all right, isn’t he?” he said. “Human beings having been doing some bad sh– to him.”

Fassbender has talked about his enthusiasm for a sequel before, but spoke mostly in generalities about what could be next for the mutants. What Fassbender wants to see most has to do with his co-star, James McAvoy‘s character, Charles Xavier.

“I’m very interested to see where we pick up with Charles Xavier, to be honest. In the film we just did, ‘First Class,’ we got to see how Magneto becomes Magneto, how he leaves Erik behind and takes on the persona of Magneto,” Fassbender said. “We’ve yet to see how Charles develops into Professor X. I think that’s going to be interesting to take a look at.”

When MTV News spoke with Fassbender before, the actor mentioned that he and McAvoy had formulated some of their own ideas for a sequel. During the most recent interview, he still expressed interest in getting some of those thoughts in front of the camera.

“I bumped into James literally just before I came over to the States to do all this press, and we’re both pretty keen to sit down with [the director] Matthew [Vaughn],” he said. “Hopefully Matthew’s going to be interested in doing the next one, if that’s the case, and really getting in there at the ground level with the writer and get some of our ideas in there.”

The Dark Knight Rises Wraps Production? – (Splashpage)

According to Joseph Gordon-Levitt, it’s a ‘picture wrap’ on The Dark Knight Rises. Whether that means the whole production has finished or his role has remains to be seen, but he goes on to talk a little about the cast’s feeling about the final chapter of the trilogy.

“Everyone (on set) is really excited about what we’re making ‘cause everyone knows we’re making something good,” he said. “We’re not just doing it for a paycheck, we’re not just punching the clock, everyone really cares about the movie, and that always makes it way more fun to do.”

Cavill Compares His Man of Steel to DC’s New 52 – (Splashpage)

I think we all saw some similarities between DC’s New 52 Superman and the upcoming Man of Steel‘s Superman, but Henry Cavill tells us about it anyway.

“There are a lot of people who have dedicated their life to loving this character,” he said. “Their opinion does matter… I’ve done my research on the source material. I have my opinions on the various bits and bobs, but sometimes there will be a little gem out there about one of the books, and I’ll say to myself, ‘Yeah. That’s a good point.'”

“When [‘The New 52’] came out, everyone went, ‘Arrhhh! Everything’s changed,'” he said. “It’s part of the evolution of the character. There is a modernization to it, and certainly our style is making him easier to associate with because it’s pretty tough to associate with an invulnerable alien.”

No… it isn’t. But obviously DC and Warner Bros are going to relate the movie Supes with the brand new DC Superman, that’s just great marketing.

Amy Adams’ Lois Lane is a ‘Clean Slate’ – (Splashpage)

There’s been a lot of debate regarding the casting of Amy Adams as Lois Lane, and it certainly isn’t a name a lot of people were throwing around for Lois before she was cast. She talks a little about her approach to the character with one of the richest and long standing histories of any female character.

When asked if she were influenced by previous Lois Lanes or if she were treating this as a clean slate, Adams replied, “Yeah, I treat it like a clean slate. I mean, I come from theater where people play the same role over and over again. And so I’ve always approached acting that way.”

“But I have a lot of reverence and respect for the people who’ve come before me,” she went on. “I mean, there’s a long history, you know, of television and film performances of Lois Lane. I definitely have a lot of respect for them and take what I can from them.”

Man of Steel 2 Already looking For Writers – (Splashpage)

Generally, if a sequel script is commissioned before the original hits theaters, this is a good sign. Not always, but sometimes. So does that bode well for Man of Steel?

According to a rumor originally appearing on the awesomely named ThinkMcFlyThink, the latest film to get the early sequel script order is none other than Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot, “Man of Steel.”

The report claims that Warner Bros. already has a shortlist of potential scribes for the sequel with “Harry Potter” writer Steve Kloves at the very top.

The two other writers mentioned in the rumor are Travis Beacham of “Clash of the Titans” and the upcoming Guillermo del Toro film “Pacific Rim” and the legendary Lawrence Kasdan, the man behind “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

Splashpage goes a little further and weighs out some pros and cons of the rumored writers here. I think it’s a little early for a sequel to be talked about, but it might mean that things look so good that someone’s interested. Keep in mind, Green Lantern received a sequel script as well.

And that’s it for this edition of the Hero Express. It was more Hero than Express, but we’ll have another one for you later in the week, so keep us your one-stop shop for all your nerdy news!

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