13 items from 2017
I don’t keep up with superhero comics anymore — I have to admit that. Astro City was probably the last thing in that vein I read regularly, and even that was only as “regularly” as Astro City itself was…and that’s not very. Eventually, I even soured on that comic.
At some point in your life, you either realize that punching people is not the solution to problems, or you become a full-blown psychopath. For all my flaws, I’m on the first path.
All that is to explain why I never bothered to read the Hawkeye run written by Matt Fraction and mostly drawn by David Aja, despite it being pretty much assumed to be the best superhero comic while it was coming out (2012-15). Even if something is the obvious best sushi in the world, it doesn’t matter if your taste for seafood has gone.
But time marches on, and curiosity keeps building. And there’s always time for one more book, especially one that’s a few years old and no longer the hot new thing. So I finally did get to the hardcover collecting the first half of that Fraction-Aja Hawkeye run — eleven issues of that series, plus a loosely related issue of Young Avengers Presents as a kind of flashback.
(That Young Avengers Presents issue comes off very badly by comparison, even with strong art from long-time expert ink-slinger Alan Davis. It’s very much Yet Another Superhero Story, in the middle of a big stupid story that people didn’t even care that much about at the time, with the bog-standard angst and drama and Whining About the Relationship. It’s everything “good superhero comics” usually are, and a major exemplar of why I stopped reading that crap. In a nutshell, it’s a story about costumes being moved around a chessboard, not about people or real relationships.)
The main Hawkeye story, though, is about people. Mostly Clint Barton, the least of the Avengers, whose origin is a bizarre amalgam of Robin I and Green Arrow and whose “power” is just being good at shooting arrows. And who isn’t actually all that good at the living-normal-life thing, for reasons Fraction wisely doesn’t explore — he just takes Barton as the overgrown boy he is, stumbling through his own life like a bull in a china shop, getting into trouble just because that’s what he does when left to his own devices. The trouble here is mostly about a Brooklyn tenement that he semi-accidentally bought (with stolen money from the Marvel Universe’s biggest gangsters), to drive away a low-rent Russian gang he calls the Tracksuit Draculas. Again, his plans mostly don’t work, or don’t work right, and he needs to be saved repeatedly by the women in his life. Which brings us to….
There’s also a newer, younger, female Hawkeye — always have to have a non-cishet-swm person in the costume these days, and pretend that person will “always” be the “real” holder of the shiny superhero title, as if we haven’t seen a million “always” melt away in a million comics. (I think that’s mostly cynical audience-pandering, but it’s hard to tell in individual cases — and every superhero-universe character gets handled by so many people that they turn into river-stones, rubbed down to an essence that no one person intended.) She’s Kate Bishop, and I have no idea why she’s so good at shooting arrows, or why she went into the superhero game — she seems to have as few powers as Barton, and many more options. (She’s some variety of rich girl, as far as I can tell.)
But this is a superhero universe, so dressing up in tight spandex to jump around rooftops and beat up thugs is just what you do. Apparently no other entertainment media exist in this world, so this is the only thing to do to keep oneself occupied.
These are, as I said, mostly low-level superheroics. Neither Hawkeye saves the world, and the globe-trotting is more spycraft than Galactus-defeating. Aja’s art is perfectly suited for that level, and tells the story brilliantly, well aided by Matt Hollingsworth’s colors. (There’s also a two-issue story by Javier Pulido and a single issue by Francesco Francavilla here — both are good, but flashier than Aja and so they stand out too much for my taste.) Aja reminds me of nothing so much as David Mazzucchelli’s classic superhero period, particularly Daredevil and Batman: Year One. There’s a similar grounded-ness, with thin lines that frame often violent action without rationalizing it — keeping it shocking and unexpected even in the middle of a story designed to showcase violent action. It’s strongly compliments Fraction’s similarly grounded writing: both of them are committed to telling a story about people in a real world, moving through real space, whose actions have consequences and who bleed and feel and curse and laugh and wryly shake their heads.
Aja also delights in complex page layouts — or his ability energizes Fraction to create them, either way it’s a strong collaboration — which make the world part of the story, and not just flat backdrops for more punching. An issue told from the Pov of a dog is particularly impressive, and probably hugely well-known by this point.
You don’t need to read Hawkeye. You never need to read any superhero comic, no matter what they tell you. But, if you do want to read about superheroes., this is miles closer to the real world than most.
Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent. »
- Andrew Wheeler
When we think of the great directors that have lent their talents to the Batman film franchise, odds are that either Tim Burton or Christopher Nolan immediately spring to mind. And although Joel Schumacher is a highly competent filmmaker, Batfans the world over never hesitate to spew venom at the man who brought us Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. Well, more so for the latter. The former actually is adored by a decent amount of people.
Now, we’re not here to criticize Batman & Robin because I could probably do that all day (if you’ve read our 20 year retrospective on the film, you’d know that I nearly damn well did just that). What we’re actually here to do is to ponder what could have been had Schumacher been given license to make the movie he wanted to.
Having read that statement, you might be confused, but let it be known that Schumacher was kind of a hired gun that made a couple movies with a family friendly tone that WB thought Burton’s Batman Returns lacked, lest they not move enough toys. The truth, however, is that he always wanted to adapt Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One to the big screen, something that came very close to happening several years later under the watch of Darren Aronofsky.
Still, that hasn’t stopped some from thinking Schumacher had a script ready to go, which he wasn’t afraid to shoot down in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter:
“I remember a few journalists calling me and saying, ‘There’s a rumor that you felt you never got to make your Batman movie and that you had a secret script. And that you were going to shoot that.’ Well that’s all fantasy.”
What’s even more interesting – and something this writer who has a doctorate in Batmanology isn’t afraid to admit he didn’t know – is that Schumacher wanted to make a movie focused squarely on Arkham Asylum. While it’s unclear if he intended to base it on Grant Morrison’s graphic novel of the same name, this is a bit of trivia that I’ll forever mentally file away.
“I always wanted to do a whole Arkham movie, and did a scene at the end of Batman Forever when Jim is in a straitjacket and Nicole [Kidman] comes to see him. And it was just a nod to back to Arkham asylum which I love, and I thought it would be fun to put the other villains up there.”
Although I’ll be eternally grateful to Nolan for giving us The Dark Knight Trilogy, that doesn’t mean I’ll stop wondering what would’ve happened had Schumacher been afforded the opportunity to clear his name after Batman & Robin. Do you think he would have been redeemable? Sound off in the usual place below! »
- Eric Joseph
Batman & Robin turns 20 years old today! Director Joel Schumacher and some of the cast look back at the most polarizing installment of the 1990s Batman series. Included is a horrifying story about the time battery acid leaked into Arnold Schwarzenegger's mouth. Yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of Tim Burton's Batman Returns, which was Burton's second and final Batman movie. To many, it was also the last good Batman movie until Christopher Nolan's take on the Dark Knight in 2005. 1997 saw the release of Schumacher's Batman & Robin, a movie that fans and critics tore apart, making it out to be the nail in the coffin for the Batman series that Burton had started.
Though there are plenty of reasons why the movie didn't perform to expectations, the first reason would have to be the hunger to keep the franchise going. The Hollywood Reporter reveals that Batman & Robin was going to happen no matter what, »
Directed by James Mangold
Logan arrives on home video in a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD release that also offers Logan Noir, a black-and-white version of this grim ‘n’ gritty film. The bonus features dig deep, with a commentary track by director James Mangold and a 76-minute making-of documentary.
I remember when grim ‘n’ gritty became all the rage in the comic book industry in the 80s. Sure, Batman had led the way in the 70s with some very Gothic-tinged storylines, and Marvel had flirted with it back then too by giving its characters some more grown-up problems, but the 80s was a time of Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Year One, and other tough-as-nails comics.
That trend accelerated through that decade and into the 90s, and Marvel »
- Brad Cook
Hindsight is a funny thing. It allows us to look back on projects we once loved or hated with a fresh perspective and reevaluate. There was a period in time where I would have loathed 10 Thing I Hate About You because I was an idiot teenager who dismissed it as a ‘chick flick’, but now in my thirties I can view it as one of the better teen movies from that time period. Conversely I once praised Resident Evil: Apocalypse as the best video game movie ever made because it had Nemesis in it, but on reflection I now see it’s the worst of the franchise.
So, 20 years on and in hindsight, can we all just admit that Batman & Robin was kind of awesome?
- Luke Owen
Synopis: Taking place during Batman’s early days of crime fighting, this new edition of the classic mystery tells the story of a mysterious killer who murders his prey only on holidays. Working with District Attorney Harvey Dent and Lieutenant James Gordon, Batman races against the calendar as he tries to discover who Holiday is before he claims his next victim each month. A mystery that has the reader continually guessing the identity of the killer, this story also ties into the events that transform Harvey Dent into Batman’s deadly enemy, Two-Face.
Some may stop reading right now but I have not read a lot of Batman comics. I have read nearly all of Sndyer’s run along with everything Rebirth, but some of his most iconic stories I have yet to fully read in their entirety. »
- Dan Clark
While the larger DC film universe trundles along, fighting guys in wing suits and screaming about its various Marthas, the company’s animation branch continues to pump out new films that hearken back to its earlier, less grime-covered days. Earlier this month, we reported that head DC Animated Universe honcho Bruce Timm was writing a new Batman And Harley movie, with beloved Bats actor Kevin Conroy returning to voice Bruce Wayne, and The Big Bang Theory’s Melissa Rauch playing psychologist-turned-lovestruck supervillain Harleen Quinzel.
Now, Comicbook.com reports that Sam Liu will direct the film, the details of which have so-far been withheld. Liu’s an old hand with DC animation, and while his work on last year’s unnecessarily sexualized take on The Killing Joke—also partially written by Timm—might give us pause, his credits also include films like All-Star Superman, Batman: Year One, and an adaptation of »
- William Hughes
Burbank, CA (March 28, 2017) — Return to the realm of Amazonian warriors, Greek gods and mythological creatures – all unleashed on modern civilization – as Warner Bros. Home Entertainment honors the world’s greatest female super hero with the release of Wonder Woman: Commemorative Edition. The feature-length, PG-13 rated animated film, one of the best-reviewed entries in the decade-long history of the DC Universe Original Movies (we liked it when the film was first released in 2009), will be distributed on Digital HD on May 2, 2017 and on Blu-rayTM Combo Pack and DVD on May 16, 2017.
Wonder Woman: Commemorative Edition will be available on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack ($24.98 Srp) and DVD ($19.98 Srp) starting May 16, 2017. The Blu-rayTM Combo Pack includes copies of the film on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and Digital HD.
On the mystical island of Themyscira, a proud and fierce warrior race of Amazons have raised a princess of untold beauty, grace and strength – Diana. »
- ComicMix Staff
Written by Frank Miller, illustrated by David Mazzucchelli and colored by Richmond Lewis, the comic book Batman: Year One follows the early crime-fighting career of The Dark Knight. Christopher Nolan’s film Batman Begins borrowed elements from that comic to tell the origin of Batman, and now Darth Vader will get a similar treatment in comic […]
The post Darth Vader’s Early Years and the Origins of His Red Lightsaber Will Be Explored in New Comic appeared first on /Film. »
- Ethan Anderton
Let’s kick things off with Star Wars: The Last Jedi, as some scenes from the movie were shown to Disney shareholders this week. The news first broke when Los Angeles Times reporter Daniel Miller broke down what he saw, including Luke Skywalker’s first lines of dialogue [you can read those here]. Following on from that, the folks over at Slash Film got a hand on a complete breakdown of what was shown. We won’t post them here for fear of you being spoiled, but if you want to check them out you can do so here. Expect that trailer in April…
- Luke Owen
If you have not been following all the Star Wars comics published by Marvel, then you are losing out. Some of these comics, and there have been a few series now, have sold better than the regular Marvel superhero books. As Revenge of the Sith comes to an end, a new book about Darth Vader will be arriving, and in the series we learn quite a lot of new information about Anakin, including the origin of his legendary red Lightsaber.
The book is being written by Charles Soule (the goto guy for Star Wars comics and Batman: Year One) and drawn by Giuseppe Camuncoli (best known for his Spider-Man work, and my favorite is his work on Daken related books). This will be the second Vader book, and it is being thought of as Darth Vader: Year One. IGN was able to get a phone interview with Soule and ask »
- Drew Carlton
Simon Brew Brendon Connelly Feb 14, 2017
If you stick around for the end credits of The Lego Batman Movie, you might notice the names of two people credited as executive producers on the picture. They are Michael Uslan and Benjamin Melniker. Nothing odd there, apart from the small matter of them having absolutely nothing to do with the film. To the best of our knowledge, they had no conversation with director Chris McKay and his team at any time before, during or after the production. But they did pick up a cheque and a credit for their troubles.
Having people listed as executive producers who are ‘hands off’ is nothing particularly fresh, and we looked at just what an executive producer does in this article here.
But what’s interesting »
One of the most lucrative and successful movie franchises in cinematic history, Batman prefigured the current superhero franchise craze and set the standard after Tim Burton’s 1989 picture established a succession of films which changed the long-held perception of Batman on screen as a camp throwback to his 1960’s colourful incarnation. As The Lego Batman Movie debuts, launching the Caped Crusader into a new animated dimension, it’s interesting to consider the numerous Batman projects that never made it out of development hell, because even though we’ve had the Christopher Nolan trilogy in recent years which sent the character into the stratosphere, it’s not always been plain sailing for the Dark Knight.
“But this film happened?!” a million voices all cried out in terror. Yes indeed, last year’s Dawn of Justice, part of the formative and troubled DC Extended Universe, »
- Tony Black
13 items from 2017
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