Wednesday, August 31, 2011
The Machine Man mini-series that introduced the Iron Man of 2020 is one of my all time favorite titles from the Bronze Age. I loved the Barry Windsor-Smith highly detailed artwork (including the awesome covers that featured Machine Man being built from the circuits up) and his design for Arno Stark's suit of armor was incredibly cool. I must not be the only one to hold that opinion, because Iron Man 2020 seems to keep popping up in various titles every few years. Now there's another suit of armor that I'd love to see show up in the Iron Man movies, even as an Easter egg in the background!
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
I like the bulky armor that Iron Man wore for his first few adventures. Not only does it look cool, but it is more close to reality as far as what a suit of iron would probably look like. For that reason I was happy to see it in live action when the first Iron Man movie was released. It looks like Tony Stark's armor will get another slight makeover for the upcoming Avengers film. It's nice to see the suit evolving, but I have to admit I am a little disappointed that we never got to see the classic red and gold armor with the widow's peak helmet which he wore for the bulk of the Silver and Bronze Age on the big screen. Oh well, Iron Man 3 will have a new director, so maybe he will be more of an old school comics fan and we still have a chance.
Monday, August 29, 2011
For a character that was created to cash in on the Kung-Fu craze of the 1970's, Iron Fist certainly has had a lot of staying power. It's been interesting to watch his various incarnations through his partnership with Luke Cage and his solo series, especially the way his back story was fleshed out by Matt Fraction in The Immortal Iron Fist. I've read that Iron Fist is among the second-tier Marvel characters being considered for a feature film. His origin is filled with action, redemption and exotic locales so I think it could make for a fun movie. Heck, since Marvel is so into franchise building these days, they should release a Like Cage fill the same year and then follow it up the next summer with a big-scree Power Man and Iron Fist flick!
Friday, August 26, 2011
There's something about the original team of X-Men that just works. I think it's that they each had a simple easily definable power. I did have one question when it came to Iceman, though. I loved the visual of him zipping around on his ice slides but I always wondered what happened when those things began to melt. Did they just start falling apart and come crashing to the ground? I imagine that would cause a lot of collateral damage! Perhaps they changed to the consistency of snow before breaking apart, that would avoid most of the problems, I guess.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
I always found Hellcat to be an interesting character due to her transition from a Katy Keene type comic book model to a full fledged superheroine. I enjoyed her bubbly personality and the way she would play off of rougher characters like Valkyrie and The Hulk in the pages of The Defenders. Because of that, I wasn't a huge fan of attempts to darken the character through her relationship to Daimon Hellstrom, the Son of Satan. That eventually led to her death, but fortunately this is comics and she got better. I really liked the costume redesign that I used for this cover which she was given by the very talented Norm Breyfogle. Unfortunately, she did not use it for long - I wonder if that was because the powers that be thought it was too close to Batgirl?
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
I like the casting choice of Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye in the upcoming Avengers movie (he also made a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo in Thor. He is a great actor and has the ability to portray that rebellious streak that is so important to the character. My one reservation is the fact that they decided to go with his Ultimate costume rather than the one he wears in the mainstream Marvel universe. I realize the classic purple togs and mask might be more difficult to translate into live action, but the ultimate look is just so boring and generic. I would have liked for them to at least try to find some sort of happy medium between the two. Oh well, it's a small complaint and I am sure that it won't be enough to dampen my enjoyment of the film, which is looking epic so far from the filming footage that has been released.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
I remembered Birdman from Hanna-Barbara's World of Super Adventure when I was a kid but had not paid attention to him for years. Decades later, I stumbled onto Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block. I have to admit that some of the episodes had me laughing out loud, especially when Scooby and Shaggy were suspected of drug use, Apache Chief loses his growing ability following being scalded with hit coffee, and of course Fred Flintstone as the Yabba-Dabba-Don. The show has gotten increasingly more bizarre and the more recent stows seem to be geared towards the under the influence college crowd, but that first season was a hoot.
Monday, August 22, 2011
I wasn't sure if I could pull off a Batman/Groo cover and then I remembered the Sergio Aragones mini series from DC, Fanboy. What a fun little gem that was! Not only did you get Aragones art to go along with Mark Evanier's script, there was also artwork by some of the absolute best in the business... Bolland, Kubert, Timm, Nowlan, Heath, Rude, the list goes on. It's tough to think of another mini-series with such an impressive roster. If you haven't read it, it's well worth checking out!
Friday, August 19, 2011
I really got a kick out of the Essential Giant Man volume that Marvel released a few years back. I had read most of the early adventures of Spider-Man, The Hulk, the FF, X-Men and Avengers but these were some classic stories that I had never gotten around to checking out. It was fun seeing Pym go from scientist to Ant-Man to Giant Man and be joined by his sweetheart, Janet Van Dyne. The stories are fast paced and the Kirby artwork of course is great. Marvel has done some work rehabilitating Hank Pym's image in recent years, unfortunately they felt they had to kill of Janet for his character growth. I am hoping that they will both be part of an Avengers movie sequel so if that happens, maybe Marvel will be encouraged to find a way to bring her back and finally let that couple have some happiness.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
When I did my more contemporary Batman/Galactus team up I commented that it was an admittedly odd pairing. If the two met in the 50's, though, I don't think this match up would seem all that out of place. Batman was always crossing paths with outlandish monsters and aliens! As much as I like the more serious Batman that preceded and followed that era, those stories were a lot of fun. I am glad that the animated Batman: The Brave and the Bold series has not shied away from portraying the more whimsical side of the character.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
I think that Batman and Flash Gordon would be an interesting team up to see in the comics because of their mutual roots in the old black and white cliffhanger movie serials. Despite their quite obvious lack of big budgets, I have always found those serials to be quite charming and some of the stunt work and plot twists are pretty effective. What would have been really cool is a serial from those days combining these two action stars in one epic adventure!
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
One of the main things that makes me resist diving back into the X-Universe is how many titles it has spun off into. There are just so many variations on the theme that I feel it dilutes the brand and makes it that much harder to get into. It wasn't always this way though, and there was a time when a separate X-Men related title or mini series was something to get excited about. Excalibur was a fun title for me in that it connected the X-Men to Captain Britain, a character I had liked and hoped to see more of. Add on top of that the gorgeous artwork of Alan Davis and you had a nice package.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Consider this story to be the secret origin of this blog!
Doctor Strange is the latest Marvel Character I hear rumored for the movie treatment. He does have an interesting origin story and there will be a magical void at the theaters now that Harry Potter has finished his film series, so it could be a good move. Still, the outfit and some of the more mystical villains might be hard to translate faithfully so it could go either way. One thing I know is I hope they go the Robert Downey Jr. route and get an age appropriate seasoned actor for the role and resist the urge to cast some young hip flavor of the moment. I've heard talk of Johnny Depp and I know Patrick Dempsey has expressed interest in the part, but neither of those choices say Stephen Strange to me.
Friday, August 12, 2011
I mentioned yesterday that I had a Darth Vader poster in my room growing up. Well, on the other wall was Clint Eastwood as Pale Rider. Clint is one of my favorite actors ever, and he is still knocking it out of the park in front of or behind the camera. I recently watched most of the Dirty Harry flicks again and they just don't make action stars like that anymore. I think I read that Eastwood said that his amazing performance in Gran Torino would be his final role, but I hope he changes his mind. I have always wanted to see Eastwood play Bruce Wayne in a movie version of Batman Beyond!
Thursday, August 11, 2011
I was 8 when the first Star Wars came out so I was blown away - I think the best special effects I had seen up to that point were from a Herbie the Love Bug movie. Darth Vader was incredibly cool to me, I remember having a big Vader poster on the door to my bedroom for years. I was intrigued by the idea of examining his early years in the prequels but a combination of bad writing and casting choices squandered most of that potential unfortunately. I never needed to hear a young Darth Vader saying "Yippee!" or watch a pouty teen Vader try to woo a woman by comparing her to sand.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Daredevil's simple all-red costume designs is one of the most effective in comics. Even so, I still get a kick out of the yellow and red outfit that he wore for his first few adventures. It doesn't seem like it should work, but for some reason I like it.
I have read that Daredevil is another contender for a movie reboot, and it will be interesting to see how that plays out. I think a Daredevil is a character that could perhaps be best suited for an ongoing TV series. It could definitely be done on a reasonable budget and the machinations of the underworld and the legal system with Matt Murdock trying to navigate both could be the springboard for a complex, continuing story line. Maybe if Marvel has luck with their proposed Hulk series we will see something like this in the future.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
I thought I would give Cyclops the retro treatment as well. I understand that the latest event in the X-Men books is some major division between Scott Summers and Wolverine, leading to two dueling X-Teams led by them. Sounds like more of the same as the X-Men seem to have been splitting up and regrouping for years. For a nice take on Cyclops, I would recommend the X-Men: Evolution animated series from a few years back. It features a slightly younger version of the character and gives him a nice arc through the run of the series.
Monday, August 8, 2011
Cyclops has been my favorite member of the X-Men since I was a kid. He looked cool and had a simple but unique power, which also gave him a bit of pathos. I think he is an interesting character and prefer when he is written as the solid leader that he is rather than a straight man for Wolverine or pining over lost loves. I really disliked how he was unceremoniously killed off in X-Men 3: The Last Stand and was hoping to see him given more justice in X-Men: First Class. Alas, that movie was a prequel and not a reboot as I had hoped, so no Cyclops this time around. It did well, maybe he will appear in the inevitable follow up.
Friday, August 5, 2011
Captain Marvel is nowhere to be seen so far in the DC Reboot. I know DC wants to get a Captain Marvel film up and running, so I'll be surprised if he is off the solicitation list for too long. Hopefully when he returns he will be back to the traits that made him so popular in his early years. The tendency to try and make every character darker and more realistic especially hasn't worked on the Marvel Family. Their stories should be about action, fun and imagination and able to be enjoyed by all ages. I mean, one of Captain Marvel's greatest enemies is a caterpillar! That kind of thing is awesome to me and it loses something when a writer tries to make it grim and gritty or attempts to over-explain it.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
This is the first of what will be many retro covers. I had fun with the handful that I did on the last go 'round with B&B so I decided to make some more. I hope you all like them.
Captain America was the best of the superhero films for me this summer. I thought that Chris Evans made a great Steve Rogers, it had a nice love story and the action scenes were right out of a comic book. The easter eggs for other Marvel films were worked in far less clumsily than they have been in past films. I loved seeing The Human Torch android make a cameo at the Stark Expo. It was acted well across the board - Tommy Lee Jones and Stanley Tucci especially seemed to be enjoying their roles. I really look forward to a sequel and, of course, The Avengers!
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
I was pretty surprised when Marvel decided to bring back Bucky Barnes, I thought he was one hero that could be counted on to stay dead. I have to admit, his return was handled very well though and it was interesting to see him step into the shoes of the presumed dead Steve Rogers. Of course, Bucky has just been killed again in Marvel's Fear Itself event, so as to get the original Captain America back in his traditional fighting uniform. There are many untold stories from Bucky's time as The Winter Soldier though, so I guess we could still see tales from that era. And who knows, maybe that will be part of the inevitable Captain America movie sequel?
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
I'll never forget going to see The Empire Strikes Back for the first time. Mostly because my brother Eric stopped me as I was walking out the door to say, "Oh yeah, one thing before you go - Darth Vader is Luke's father!"... Grrrr, I haven't let him forget that! Fortunately that wasn't enough to hurt my enjoyment of the film, one of the best sequels ever made. A big part of what made it great was all the cool new characters. Yoda, Lando, Jabba, and of course Boba Fett were all welcome additions to the cast and expanded the story in fun ways. Boba Fett with his flight pack, hidden face and bounty on the coolest member of the rebellion was the one that intrigued me the most, so I was definitely looking for more of him when the third part of the trilogy was released. Unfortunately, I think Lucas squandered his potential a bit by having him go out like such a punk in the Sarlaac pit. I think the filmmakers must have realized this misstep as they did give Boba and his father Jango pivotal roles in the Prequels, but it took a couple of decades before he got his due!
Monday, August 1, 2011
I always liked the character of Bill Foster from the days when he was a recurring character in Marvel-Two-In-One. His solo title was short lived, but I had always hoped he would be given another shot once he took on the Giant Man moniker. Unfortunately he was killed off unceremoniously in Marvel's Civil War event. It seems every time there is one of these big events a character I like is killed for shock value, a trend that I am not a fan of. I see lots of potential in characters like Foster, The Wasp, Elongated Man and many others who have been treated like cannon fodder. If the companies don't know what to do with these characters, fine... but I wish they would just let them lie in limbo for a while rather than taking them out of the game completely.