Archive for the ‘Marvel’ Category

There’s been a lot of news lately about the casting/filming of the Deadpool movie that has recently gone into production. Now that it’s actually happening, it’s funny to look back at just what a rollercoaster ride it was to get this flick greenlit.

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**Brian Baer researched one of the earliest adventures of Marvel’s First Family in expanded media. More than that, he actually made it through a whole episode of it before questioning his own sanity. Enjoy!**

The Fantastic Four radio show is something of a pop culture anomaly. Debuting in 1975, the show lasted for a full thirteen weeks and was quickly forgotten. Now, it seems to be “discovered” every two or three years, namely due to the involvement of a pre-Saturday Night Live Bill Murray. The novelty passes, and then it waits to dug up once more.

The show itself was the brainchild of disc jockey Peter B. Lewis. When first dreamed up in the mid-60s, Lewis originally hoped to create a show about the Silver Surfer or a rotating series of Marvel characters. “I chose to lay the foundation and do the first 13 weeks on the FF and see what to do next,” he told an interviewer. A chance meeting with Stan Lee secured the rights, and Lewis began to put the show together.


“Bill, you are WAY off-script, man.”


The National Lampoon Radio Hour was winding down and many of the voice actors, including Bill Murray, were available to join the cast. Longer radio programs had become harder to sell in the mid-70s so each story was split into five minute segments, played five days a week to serialize one full issue’s story.

On scriptwriting, Lewis said, “I tried to follow the exact quotes from the books, then I added visual descriptions of the scene and the action.” The resulting episodes are accurate to a fault. They seem so focused on following the original Lee/Kirby issues to the letter, that once the pictures are removed, the stories would be utterly incomprehensible without the constant narration by Stan Lee.  

“The fiery Human Torch was on
fire. Am I doing it right?
Excelsior!” 

The Fantastic Four’s adventures into other media have always been either overblown trainwrecks or charmingly inept. Their radio show is the latter. In many ways, it’s reminiscent of the 1994 Roger Corman film – It would’ve never worked out, and that seems terribly obvious to everyone but the series’ creators. 

When they could only secure fraction of the funds needed, Peter Lewis and producer Bob Michaelson invested their life savings. They ended up broke. No national advertisers signed on, and Marvel barely seemed aware of the program. It took decades for them to work themselves out of debt.

“Until the past few months, I haven’t really been able to consider the project anything other than a big black evil-time in my life,” Lewis said in 1999, “I now have a better handle on much of it.”

Despite the occasional interest the Fantastic Four radio series generates, Marvel has still declined to formally reissue it. It can’t be found at the typical bootleg convention tables, and it doesn’t even have its own Wikipedia page. Its latest rediscovery doesn’t seem to be winning its entrance onto the main stage of comic book adaptations, either. Maybe when it pops up again in another two or three years.

One of these days we HAVE to get a good adaptation…right?

 

**The following was written by Brian Baer. While technically not a Comic Book Movie…come on, it totally is. Enjoy this look at a forgotten film from a strange time known as “The Early 90’s.”**

Don’t get me wrong, I know everyone is excited for Benedict “Cheekbones” Cumberbatch to play Marvel’s Doctor Strange on the big screen. Dr. Stephen Strange has already appeared in his own 1978 TV movie, along with an animated film and guest spots on various cartoons, all of which I’m sure will be covered on this site soon. But there’s an important also-ran appearance of the character, something which may as well count.

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Peggy Carter is a character who has had a long and, honestly, mostly forgotten history in comics. She first appeared as a World War 2 ally of Captain America’s, but within modern comics she’s better known as a relative to his frequent love interest, Sharon Carter. For decades, Peggy was a footnote in the history of the patriotic Avenger. That is, until Captain America: The First Avenger hit theatres and reintroduced the character to a brand new audience hungry for a strong female lead.
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It’s been a damn good year for comic book media. Perhaps the biggest advances have been in the realm of television. Once the black sheep of the entertainment industry, TV is now the go-to for intricately plotted, nuanced and serialized drama. Add to that the continuing dominance of comic book movies and it’s no surprise that countless properties continue to be optioned and adapted.
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This television season is nearing its mid point (when did mid-season finales become a thing? Seems recent to me) and as such a lot of shows are going on winter hiatus. Thus, it feels like a good time to check in and see how everything’s progressing.

The Flash
I think this is the probably been the most consistent show in its first season. It quickly and easily established its tone in the pilot as well as the season-long storyline. There haven’t been any major revelations or changes to the status quo as of yet, and that’s fine. Arrow built up a pretty impressive world within its first couple of seasons. The Flash has taken that world and (literally) run with it. The introduction of Barry back in Arrow‘s second season kind of feels like the Nick Fury stinger scene in Iron Man, in retrospect. Now, we get to see how cool this newly expanded universe can be. The show skews a bit on the formulaic side for now, but its episodic nature only enhances the “comic-bookishness” of it for me. It’s amazing how much more natural a “villain of the week” story can feel when said villains are culled from DC’s long history of characters. Speaking of characters, the actors on this show do a hell of a job. Grant Gustin’s Barry is just idealistic enough to be loveable but doesn’t come off as naïve. Jesse L. Martin’s Det. West has become the soul of the show as his mentorly relationship with Barry has progressed. And then there’s Dr. Wells. Speculation has been rampant as to just what is motivating Tom Cavanagh’s character. I guess we’ll see.

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CBM PROFILE: Thor

Posted: October 16, 2014 in Avengers, Hulk, Marvel, Profile, Spider-Man, Thor

Marvel’s God of Thunder doesn’t have a whole lot in common with the original Asgardian hammer-wielder. Sure, the name and basics are the same but many of the specifics have been changed to create something almost entirely different that stands on its own. It’s a testament to the talent of the people involved with his creation (and marketing!) that saying the name “Thor” conjures images of the comic character rather than his mythical basis to just about everyone (experts in Norse culture notwithstanding). And yet, it seems that it’s only been recently that he’s been given a whole lot of attention outside of the page. Sure, he’s had many a guest-appearance but he rarely starred in anything.

Thor’s most enduring look.

Much like the Norse myth, Marvel’s Thor is the son of Odin and hails from Asgard. His brother, Loki is often his antagonist and the two have fought (and made up) multiple times throughout the decades. His adventures have featured a strong supporting cast such as The Warriors Three, Lady Sif, Baldur and Heimdall (many of which are also based upon Norse gods). It didn’t take him long to join the ranks of the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (he debuted in Journey into Mystery in 1962 and was present with the Avengers for their first adventure in 1963), ever since he’s been closely associated with them. He has gone through various re-designs, re-interpretations and even a death or two. But what’s always been at the core of the character is the fact that he’s a hero in the most classical sense. He may not always be polite or humble, but he uses his godly strength to defend humanity from otherworldly threats. Since most people are at least passingly familiar with his role in the Marvel Universe (and since his history is so extensive), I’ll leave it at that. This ain’t Wikipedia.
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Dirty Laundry (2012 short film)

Posted: September 23, 2014 in Marvel, Punisher
Tags: ,

Dirty Laundry is an unofficial continuation of…you know what, just watch it yourself.

There.

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THE UNADAPTED: X-Statix

Posted: September 17, 2014 in Doop, Marvel, Wolverine, X-Men, X-Statix

Within Marvel Comics, mutants have always reflected the society in which they are written. From the racial tensions of the 60’s, and the AIDS epidemic of the 80’s and 90’s, right up to modern gay marriage issues, those with the x-gene have always been there as a stand-in for the current oppressed minority. And while the comics have often addressed the cultural impact of a world with such strange and different individuals in it, that was never really the focus of any story. That is, until The X-Statix burst onto the scene…

…literally.

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This poster is crazy rare and worth a fortune now. I’m not joking.

Most people could be forgiven for failing to understand the concept of an ashcan copy. When it comes to film, it’s exponentially more difficult to comprehend or explain. Essentially, it’s something that’s created (usually a comic book) with the soul purpose of retaining or establishing the rights to a name or character. Ashcans are not intended for release and are typically easily tucked away. This is understandable for printed media where a writer and artist can rush something together in a few days in order to meet a contract stipulation. It’s much harder to justify when making a film. You’ve got a director, writers, producers, a dozen cast members, hundreds of crew members and a hundred or so more extras. All of which are putting their time and effort into something that will never actually get to be seen by paying audiences. Why would anyone want to be involved with a project where their talents would never be showcased? Well, if you’re the rights-holder to this film, you simply don’t tell them.
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