I have some complicated feelings about Big Hero 6, the forthcoming computer-animated Disney movie based on an obscure Marvel superhero concept. It seems like a weird choice for a Disney movie to begin with; a lot of the Japanese characters are no longer Japanese; and wasn't the whole deal with white comic creators appropriating Japanese culture to make Japanese superheroes sort of weirdly fetishistic to begin with?
But I've set all that aside for a couple of minutes to judge the new Big Hero 6 trailer on its own merits, and here's the good news; it's enormously charming. Surprise surprise, the people who brought you Frozen and the people who brought you The Avengers have a potential smash hit on their hands.
Disney has finally confirmed the voice cast for Big Hero 6, its big feature-length animated release for the year -- and also released a new TV spot for the movie. Big Hero 6 is notable for being the fifth film in 2014 to be based on Marvel superheroes -- though it's an even more fringe concept than Guardians Of The Galaxy.
In the comic, Big Hero 6 is a Japanese superhero team created by Steven T. Seagle and Duncan Rouleau, and first brought to the page in their own mini series by Scott Lobdell and Gus Vasquez. The movie moves the characters out of the Marvel Universe -- and out of Japan, kinda.
Ravage 2099 and Stripperella co-creator Stan Lee has been channeling Andy Rooney in a series of videos on World of Heroes called "Stan's Rants." Like those missives of the late American broadcaster, these clips are mostly benign "cranky old man" bits. His newest one is about how he hates being on hold, for example.
But the video above, which is from last week, is a knife in the guts of less famous comics creators -- which is to say, nearly all of them. In the video, Lee complains about having to sit through long credits at the end of movies, including superhero movies.
"Nobody knows who [these people] are, nobody can read them and nobody cares," he says, astonishingly.
But here's the problem: Those credits are usually where the names of comics creators who wrote and drew the characters the movies are based on actually get seen.
ComicsAlliance concludes its celebration of the 25th anniversary of Tim Burton's Batman with a presentation of the 1989 Warner Bros. press release announcing Prince's involvement with the film, discovered after an exhaustive search of vintage movie memorabilia.
There had certainly been plenty of heavily-merchandised blockbusters before, but the Batman '89 phenomenon affected pop culture in so many ways and crept into every dimension of commercial entertainment. Twenty-five years ago, it was just always there; part of the atmosphere of the era, reflected wherever you turned. From candy-filled Keaton heads in supermarket checkout aisles, to endless souvenir magazines on newsstands, to articles in newspapers and magazines, to the packs of trading cards and stickers on countertops, to Batmobile toys in Happy Meals, the entire world had gone Batty.
Twenty-five years later, we've reached out to some of our favorite creators and entertainers to look back on the summer of Batman.
Superman has arrived in Gotham City -- that, or he's surveying the apocalyptic wasteland that is Metropolis in the wake of his terrible wrath in Man of Steel. Either of those scenarios may be reflected in a new promotional image released in support of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, the new Zack Snyder film based on the DC Comics superheroes created by Bill Finger & Bob Kane and Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster.
As part of the marketing blitz for the movie, the comic version of Batman naturally sold batloads [Editor's note: we apologize for nothing] and is a fixture of many a 30-something's comics collection. In an effort to extort as much as they could from the fanbase, DC Comics made the book available in two formats: a newsstand-friendly comic that set readers back a mere $2.50 and a prestige format version) with a painted cover and spine) that retailed for $4.95. Personally, the cheaper version’s cover has always appealed to me more, but I’ll admit that Batman kicking a clown has a visceral appeal to me than Batman standing on a gargoyle, even if it's nicely rendered. No matter what version you bought though, the interiors were the same, and they were among the best drawings of Jerry Ordway's already distinguished career.
Unfortunately, even with scripter Denny O'Neil's bonafides as one of the people behind the 1980s version of the caped crusader that inspired the film and Ordway's extraordinary ability to render likenesses, the comic is inert and suffers from a complete inability to be compelling on its own. That's something that can't be said about Burton's movie, as scattershot and disorderly as the final product is. Even if you're not a fan of the movie (and I'm not), if it's on a screen, you're going to watch its weirdness unfold — you can't say that about the comic version, no matter how pretty it is.
Actor and part-time Hulk Mark Ruffalo has been kind of all over the place lately, largely to promote his new movie Begin Again and his environmental activism -- but for better or worse, most of his public appearances have turned into advance press for Avengers: Age of Ultron.
People just can't stop asking him about it, and that was as true as ever when Ruffalo make himself available for questions in a Reddit "ask me anything" thread this week. Not only was there a whole lot of Hulk talk, but also plenty about a possible movie She-Hulk, his favorite Pokemon, and much more. Check out some of the highlights.
The Batmania of 1989 affected all of commercial entertainment, but perhaps nowhere was the impact felt more than in comic shops and bookstores. The wild success of Tim Burton's movie drove fans to seek out anything Bat-related, and DC Comics was prepared. The publisher had tasked two of its finest creators with producing a comic book adaptation of the film, and Jerry Ordway and Dennis O'Neill's comic became a sensation in its own right. The book was released in two editions (a 'floppy' for newsstands, and a squarebound edition for the book and comic shop market), and both became instant best-sellers.
For reasons explained below, the project was not altogether successful in creative terms, but Batman '89 is nevertheless one of if not the most proliferated comics of its type, occupying space in the collections of a whole generation of readers and fondly remembered as featuring some of Ordway's most exquisite artwork in an already very distinguished career. As part of ComicsAlliance's exhaustive remembrance of of all things Batman '89, we spoke with Ordway about his fascinating and uniquely challenging experience adapting the silver-screen superhero epic back into uncommonly beautiful book form.
There's a funny thing about superhero movies: Structurally speaking, they're fundamentally different from superhero comics, just by the very nature of how they're presented to the public. Or at least, they used to be. Until fairly recently, the appeal of comics had always been in the continuity, the ongoing sagas that built on each other and were designed to run indefinitely as a long-form narrative. The movies -- even when they were designed to kickstart a run of sequels -- were always meant to be self-contained stories.
That's flipped around the other way over the past ten years or so, with comics often looking to provide low-continuity, self-contained stories to readers picking up paperbacks and hardcovers even as the movies build billion-dollar franchises by creating a shared universe that stretches across multiple forms of media. It's no surprise, then, that if you really want to see where that trend got its start, you can trace it back to Batman '89 and the influence that came to the comics when screenwriter Sam Hamm was tapped to craft a story for Detective Comics #600 and provided the blueprint for the modern Batman event in the process.
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