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Greg Berlanti’s superhero TV shows are exactly what the genre needs

We talk about TV all the time, but we hardly talk about all the TV. This week, we’re looking at the shows, people, and networks that we know people love?—?that we love?—?but typically fall outside of the critical hivemind. This is TV Airing in Plain Sight.

There are certain things in your life you remember very vividly,” explains producer Andrew Kreisberg. A cocreator and executive producer on Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow, Kreisberg is one of the chief architects and primary lieutenants of the so-called Arrowverse, the four-show CW block of comics-adjacent series presided over by TV veteran Greg Berlanti. “I remember Greg and I were working on Arrow Episode 11 or 12 in that first year, and Greg said, ‘We should do a spinoff.’ … I literally said out loud, ‘You want to do another show? We can’t even do this show!’”

That spinoff became The Flash, now heading into its third season.

It’s an endearingly cheesy origin story worthy of, well, a comic book. But it speaks to a key distinction, in scale as well as tone, between DC Comics’ Arrowverse and its big-screen counterparts.

DC’s movies are massively popular and critically beleaguered, permanently stranded in the shadow of Christopher Nolan and chained to Zack Snyder’s charcoal-gray boom-crash. The television shows are something very different. Comparatively sunny and modestly popular, they’ve quietly gelled into a mini-empire in less than five years.

The parallel universe is a staple of comic book lore, a ward against continuity errors and an easy way out of the confines of precedent. It’s fitting, then, that as comics have taken over popular culture, one of the genre’s two major players has split into two fiefdoms on almost perfectly opposite trajectories. Under Berlanti’s guidance, the DC shows offer an alternative roadmap for would-be franchise builders: less epic, more organic. If DC films are tentpoles, DC TV is a really big tent.

As of the upcoming TV season, Berlanti will have six shows on the air, a number that puts him in a rarefied class of exactly two. His only true contemporary is Shonda Rhimes; even Dick Wolf’s Chicago triptych (with a fourth coming midseason) is a distant third. And yet Berlanti is less of a name brand than Rhimes?—?possibly because his work is less revolutionary in the context of an industry that hadn’t seen a black female lead in primetime since the 1970s, possibly because he’s working with characters and property he’s inherited from other creators, and possibly because he hasn’t yet published his own Year of Yes.

Even if you don’t know Berlanti by name, though, you know his work. Blindspot, his only show off the CW?—?Supergirl began on CBS, but joins its peers on the sibling network this fall?—?was NBC’s lone new hit last fall. Riverdale, his only CW show outside the world of DC, will unveil its Twin Peaks–ian take on the Archie comics in October. (I know, but he’s earned the benefit of the doubt.) What remains is the Arrowverse, that quartet of interconnected series named for the seed from which it grew: Arrow, the 2012 series that follows a billionaire playboy’s trauma-motivated turn to vigilantism. (No, not that one?—?it’s about the comparatively lesser-known DC hero Green Arrow.) Notched in between the complete Phase One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the beginnings of DC’s, Arrow was perfectly positioned to ride the rising tide of comics fever.

As Kreisberg notes, there were no plans to spin Arrow off at all. Instead, its follow-up came about the old-fashioned way: a combination of solid ratings?—?more than 3.5 million viewers per episode averaged across its debut season?—?and enthusiasm from Berlanti and his fellow producers, all lifelong comic book fans and occasionally even authors. “Whenever there’s success in something like this, people want more of it,” Kreisberg says. “The fans want more of it, the studio wants more of it, the network wants more of it.”

Compare that with DC and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which often feel like they’re working backward from a preordained Event: Something will hit theaters on the third weekend in July of 2021; we’ll just figure out what it is later. It’s not in the nature of network TV to get too far ahead of itself?—?pickups and renewals are handed down year by year based on relatively strict criteria. Nielsen numbers may no longer be what they once were, but nobody’s committing to a spinoff if nobody’s watching the flagship. (And as Pretty Little Liars learned the hard way, not even a seven-season juggernaut can protect its offspring from cancellation.) On TV, there are no five-year plans?—?just a series of independent, and independently successful, experiments.

All four Arrowverse shows take place within the same narrative universe, but their creators are careful to maintain their separate identities as self-contained stories with varying appeals. Arrow is a darker show, and the one most directly influenced by Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy; Kreisberg describes The Flash as “funnier, lighter, bluer-sky,” but with an emotional backbone provided by the relationship between hero Barry Allen and his father. Legends of Tomorrow is bigger and more fantastical, featuring a whole team of heroes hop-scotching through time; Supergirl is a female-led coming-of-age story that arrived years before the Wonder Woman movie finally made its way out of development hell and down the pipeline. “Everything we’re doing is in reaction to what we’ve already done, so that we’re not replicating ourselves,” Kreisberg says.

The series build up to one major crossover per year with dozens of smaller ones in between, like supporting characters popping into a non-native habitat for a week or two at a time. In between, though, they’re kept carefully distinct, run by separate creative teams and even cultivating separate audiences. “When we looked at the ratings for the first crossover we did two years ago,” says Marc Guggenheim, another Berlanti deputy who works largely on Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow, “we discovered that the overlap between the Arrow and Flash audiences is not as great as you might imagine. People who watch Arrow watch Arrow, and people who watch Flash watch Flash.” The Arrowverse shows are designed to be enjoyed separately, a welcome reprieve from the endless torrent of setups that turned the latest Captain America into Avengers 3. And they are, creating a unified world with a diverse audience.

It’s often said that the rise of the cinematic universe, particularly the superhero kind, has made movies more like TV. Continuous stories are broken up into increments that assume you’ve seen what comes before and will see what comes after. But the Arrowverse raises the possibility that TV still does TV best. The uniformity that turns into monotony (stylistic, narrative, even musical) on the big screen is basic consistency on the small one, and consistency is one of television’s chief virtues. The Arrowverse is good, old-fashioned, unabashedly earnest network fare, delivering weekly, almost procedural doses of straightforward heroism. The shows have season-long arcs, but it’s no coincidence the Flash’s day job is as a crime scene investigator.

Here, it’s worth drawing a contrast with the small-screen efforts of comics’ other major player. Except for ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel has opted entirely for a prestige-ier approach, with a quartet of noirish Netflix series (Daredevil and Jessica Jones down, Luke Cage and Iron Fist soon to come) and surreal-looking Noah Hawley FX series Legion coming next year. Ironically, the bright-and-cheery vs. doom-and-gloom divide between Marvel and DC’s movies is reversed on their television shows; so are their perks and limitations. At their best, Marvel shows are sobering, adult treatments of figures who sometimes beg for nuance; at their worst, they’re just as much a slog as any three-hour blockbuster. DC shows are youthful, minimally taxing, and built to last.

The morally ambiguous, ultraviolent approach certainly has its merits, shading heroes with a realism that renders them less abstract and more human. But it’s also overextended. The lighter, more idealistic approach feels truer to the escapism that attracts people to comics (as opposed to, say, The Sopranos) in the first place, a fact Berlanti has explicitly referenced in interviews. “Hope and optimism have always been a part of who these characters are,” he told New York Magazine last month. “They’re beacons of hope in scary times, and that’s perhaps why they’re resonating again.” Berlanti is staying faithful to what made these figures icons in the first place?—?and his zippy tone on television (along with Marvel’s on the big screen) proves that audiences will go for breezy, lighthearted superhero fare. In the Arrowverse, the world isn’t ending. That’s what makes it so much fun.

Television is also more like comics, period. “Television shares more DNA with comic books than features [film] does,” Guggenheim explains. “Comic books [have] always existed in this longform, serialized storytelling, much the same way television does,” releasing issues month by month just as television broadcasts episodes week by week. That quantity and regularity allows for experimentation, character development, and room to breathe. Every movie has to be an event. Every episode, or issue, can be its own thing, even while it comfortably resides within a larger whole; The Flash can bring in Kevin Smith to guest direct before going back to business as usual just as comics can with guest artists.

Shared universes, too, aren’t new to television. Even if Law Order predates that particular bit of jargon, it’s a perfect description of the “these are their stories” ecosystem, and the crossover episode is a decades-old institution. “Happy Days, Laverne Shirley, Mork Mindy were all in the same universe,” Guggenheim argues. “Even X-Files and Picket Fences had a quasi-crossover back in the day, and were established to have taken place in the same universe. That’s something that television just does naturally that comic books also happens to do.”

Film obviously has its own virtues in telling superhero stories, chief among them potential profit and the investment in spectacle and star power that potential justifies. But even though superhero television has its own hallowed history, it’s less celebrated, even in the context of the Great IP Boom of the 2010s. Berlanti’s shows may regularly pull in 3 million to 4 million viewers a week, beyond-respectable numbers for genre series on a non-Big Four network, but they’ll never match the cultural prominence of even an embattled property like Suicide Squad. Which is by design! Less money on the line means less wall-to-wall Technicolor marketing?—?and a lower bar for success. The Arrowverse clears it easily, if less publicly. But unsung dependability is where the bulk of successful television resides.

What’s true of the cultural conversation is especially true of the critical one: CW’s earned amazing publicity for oddball Golden Globe winners Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, even as the Arrowverse keeps the lights on in breezily entertaining fashion. Its fans don’t necessarily come to the shows through the comic books; Kreisberg told me many of the test audiences for Arrow’s pilot didn’t even recognize the character. Fans are there for the fun and heartfelt emotion of television, not a beat-for-beat homage to another medium, or an ultragritty reboot. And yet they stick around for the same reasons that comics fans do, forming communities of similar enthusiasm and, relative to the movies, lowered visibility. The Arrowverse exists under the radar, and that allows it to have some fun with superheroes. Remember that?

It’s part of the shows’ genius, and therefore their fate. The serial suits the superhero because it’s lower-stakes, and therefore lower-key. In the process, it’s restored something that’s often lost when beloved figures become flagship cultural properties?—?something that’s the unique byproduct of spending hours and hours with characters in our own private living spaces: intimacy.

From: https://theringer.com/greg-berlanti-superhero-shows-arrow-the-flash-5d019fda06a

DC Comics Geeks, Did You Spot This ‘Batman v Superman’ Easter Egg Hidden In Plain Sight?

Six months after Batman v Superman arrived in theaters, made all the money and sparked fierce debate over the directorial merits of Zack Snyder, there probably aren’t many easter eggs left to discover, but this might just be something new.

The movie opens with a retelling of the murders of Martha and Thomas Wayne outside a theater, a great scene filled with sumptuous slo-mo shots, like the pearls being ripped from Martha’s neck by the Waynes’ armed assailant, which lend extra emotional heft to Bruce’s tragedy.

Not again... (Warner Bros.)
Not again… (Warner Bros.)

The attack occurs as the Wayne family leave a theater advertizing screenings of Excalibur and The Mark of Zorro. At the time the Zorro screening was widely read as a nod to Zorro, created in 1919, being the first American superhero, or to a panel from Frank Miller’s seminal comic The Dark Knight Returns — but it seems Zack Snyder may have been inspired by a panel from the pages of a far more recent (and niche) DC Comic.

Check out the scene again below and see if anything springs to mind…

In DC’s Bombshells #1, an alt-universe story released last year but set in 1940, a gunman aims his weapon at the Waynes, but Batwoman swoops in and saves the day. It’s notable because the theater is screening Zorro, just like the one in Batman v Superman. Of course, the panel in Bombshells may have been a Dark Knight Returns easter egg itself, so it could be that Snyder was making multiple references and homages at once. Crucially though, Martha is wearing her trademark pearls.

For once, this had a happy ending. (DC Comics)
For once, this had a happy ending. (DC Comics)

As great as this scene was, here’s hoping Batman v Superman is the last DC media to revisit the murder of the Waynes for quite some time.

Are there any more secret easter eggs lurking within Batman v Superman?

From: http://moviepilot.com/p/batman-vs-superman-new-dc-comics-easter-egg/4106264

Superman Unconsciously Fights Relativism In One Of His Most-Popular Adventures

Good art directs us to fundamental truths and teaches us lessons about what is noble. Reading a Superman trade paperback on the train the other day made me think about how comic books can elevate our culture.

In their award-winning series, “All-Star Superman,” Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely, and Jamie Grant send Superman on a journey that pays homage to the labors Hercules performs in Greco-Roman mythology. Faced with mortality, Superman must overcome 12 “super challenges” before he attains a final apotheosis.

Such allusions to the classics give this Superman story a depth and timeless quality lacking in contemporary comics that too often trip over themselves to appease nouveau social justice gods. “All-Star Superman” ran from 2005 to 2008—a time far-removed from our own with heroes like the dean of students at the University of Chicago fighting against so-called “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings.” The series won Eisner, Harvey, and Eagle awards for being the best series of its time and was adapted into an animated movie in 2011. IGN.com ranks “All-Star Superman” as the number one Superman story of all time.

At one point in the story, Superman faces two Kryptonian astronauts who arrive on Earth and begin to subjugate humanity. They mock Superman for serving the “barbaric” humans and for refusing to establish Kryptonian dominance. They say his actions betray his homeland. Superman responds, “What right do I have to impose my values on anyone?”

What a ridiculous question. Instead of defending natural rights in the face of a claim of “might makes right,” Superman verbally throws in with the postmodern abandonment of principle (at least in speech). Yet Superman does not live by the implications of his reply to the astronauts. He goes on to thwart their plans for world domination.

What gives? The truth is that his actions speak louder than words. The archetypal Superman’s story is so strong it can even overcome weak, contradictory writing. Perhaps that’s why so many people like it.

Superman Constantly Imposes Values Through Strength

Superman stands for truth, justice, and the American way. Those are “values” Superman has no problem imposing physically on Lex Luthor or any other menace to the common good. His right to impose them comes from the trust that the people of Earth place in him to protect them from threats to their well-being. His character repudiates the excuse so many use to cover their moral cowardice when insisting no one has a right to enforce or uphold objective truths that apply equally to every human.

Insofar as he defends the common good and does not seek to use his power to aggrandize himself, Superman has broad prerogative to fight and defend the lives and happiness of the people of Earth as their rightful champion. As a superbeing, he stands outside humanity itself, just like the eternal truths men of all ages have sought and upheld—until our postmodern era found it useful to pretend that because these can be complicated or unpleasant we should just ignore them entirely. The contradiction between Superman’s words and actions in “All-Star Superman” invites readers to consider the tension between liberal pieties like relativism and the necessity of preserving the safety and happiness of the community.

More concretely, “Let your freak flag fly” only works as a motto until freaks fly planes into buildings or shoot up night clubs. Then we realize some forms of freakery do cross the line into wrong and intolerable, and must begin to define which and why. Superman comics can help people wrestle with those issues while providing an escape from the brutality of many international headlines. After a long day at the office, I can process a nearly invincible alien flying around in tights fighting an evil sun more readily than I can a video of a young boy being saved from rubble in the aftermath of another attack in Syria.

Even if Superman does not seem to understand some of the nuances of political philosophy, he is a basically decent person who defends the honor of his adoptive planet. Readers can safely follow his example (to the extent mere mortals can, of course). Ordered liberty is the ideal of the American regime and the exaggerated stakes of a Superman story reinforce that idea without being preachy.

‘All-Star Superman’ Offers More than Hidden Philosophy

Making a political argument about a few scenes from a longer work might be interesting to some, but I recommend reading “All-Star Superman” for its artistic quality alone. It is a great example of what some of the best in the comic book industry can produce.

For anyone curious about comic books or graphic novels after the recent onslaught of movie and television adaptations, “All-Star Superman” is an accessible entry into the gargantuan Superman universe. One need not know the intricacies of Lois Lane’s attraction to Superman and her disdain for Clark Kent to appreciate the poignancy Morrison and Co. bring to the relationships between them and other characters.

Quitely’s art, particularly in the way he synthesizes Clark Kent’s affected bumbling incompetence with Superman’s duty to protect those around him, is beautiful and intelligent. The subtle way he shows Clark bumping into someone or spilling coffee to avoid a greater harm is like a clever private joke. Careless readers might miss the intent hiding behind Kent’s ostensible clumsiness.

Grant’s color choices are warm and realistic, which lends a sense of familiarity to a story that involves inter-dimensional travel and a scientist in a rainbow lab coat. DC Comics seems to have known what it was doing when it picked these three Scotsmen to tell this particular Superman tale.

The increasing popularity of comic book properties calls for a defense of the comic book as a potent medium for good art. As a blended visual and narrative print medium, comic books and graphic novels present an opportunity for artists to engage audiences in unique ways. Comic books can give more to readers than chase scenes, tights, and onomatopoeia. Done well, the comic book can reveal important truths about the world around us and raise important moral questions, like any good art.

From: http://thefederalist.com/2016/09/25/superman-unconsciously-fights-relativism-one-popular-adventures/

Comic Book Review – Action Comics #963

Tony Black reviews Action Comics #963…

action-comics-963-2action-comics-963-2“WHO IS CLARK KENT?” part 1! Look—down there on the ground! It’s a guy, he’s kinda ordinary…it’s—Clark Kent?! As Metropolis recovers from the devastating attack of Doomsday, the mysterious figure claiming to be Clark Kent takes the spotlight to clear his name and prove once and for all that Clark Kent is not Superman!

SEE ALSO: Check out a preview of Action Comics #963

Following the titanic battle against Doomsday over the previous six issues, Action Comics settles down for the first part of ‘Superman Meet Clark Kent’, a story which has been quite some time coming from Dan Jurgens. During the smackdown which destroyed half of Metropolis, we had the baffling mystery of why not only was Superman flying around saving the day, but we also had a Clark Kent seemingly without any powers in the heart of the melee. This is his story, and it adds some necessary context and revelation to what he’s been up to, even if the central enigma remains of quite how we can have a Clark without powers – at least if you’ve only been reading Rebirth onwards.

The aftermath of the battle is touched on here, channelled through the typical righteousness of Lex Luthor who, free of his own Superman garb, now in his role as owner of the Daily Planet leads the central questions as to who this new Superman—with everyone believing the hero dead—is, and quite why Clark exists separately. Quite appropriately, there’s an earnestness about Clark as he’s questioned by Perry White, aided in his curiosities by Jimmy Olsen, and discovers a few interesting connections to a new potentially villainous group called Geneticon and perhaps a mystery as to why Superman, who doesn’t appear much here, would not want him looking deeper into the case. By the time we reach a conclusion which sets up a conversation long overdue, Jurgens has managed to set us off on a new narrative course.

Even though the action may be scaled back for this issue of Action Comics, the storytelling and characterisation are all there, and it’s great that the mystery of the two Clark’s, essentially, is being confronted head on. It helps that Patrick Zirchler’s artwork is gorgeous, with panels that balance espionage and mystery with heroics as Jurgens’ flashback driven script guides Clark’s journey. Looking forward to seeing where this one goes.

Rating: 8/10

Tony Black

From: http://www.flickeringmyth.com/2016/09/comic-book-review-action-comics-963/

Superman Writer Gene Luen Yang Receives MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant

credit: John D. Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Gene Luen Yang’s comics output has ranged a wide gamut, from intensely personal explorations of Asian-American identity in American Born Chinese to straight-ahead superhero comics like Superman. The skill in his work has garnered him one of the highest accolades that a creator can get, the prestigious MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant.

The 2016 MacArthur Fellows were revealed last night, with luminaries such as poet Claudia Rankine and computer scientist Subhash Khot named along with Yang. According to the organization, MacArthur grants are given to “talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits.” Yang’s also an educator who was appointed National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature in 2015. His high-level work on amazing graphic novels like Boxers Saints puts him in the company of Alison Bechdel, Ben Katchor, and Ta-Nehisi Coates, comics creators who’ve also been named MacArthur Fellows. Yang’s currently writing New Super-Man, an offshoot of the Superman franchise starring Chinese hero Kenan Kong. You can read my Comic-Con 2016 interview with him here.

From: http://io9.gizmodo.com/superman-writer-gene-luen-yang-receives-macarthur-geniu-1786938500

Injustice: Year Five Comic Concludes With Superman Versus …

Injustice: Gods Among Us tore the DC Universe in half. After suffering a great loss, Superman decided to use his power to rule the world. Knowing this was a bad idea, Batman gathered heroes and villains to stop the Kryptonian’s reign. If you played the video game, you know how the story goes. The comic series has showed the events leading up to the game. This week, the final chapter is released.

Brian Buccellato has been writing the last three years of the story’s continuity. We’ve seen some epic clashes and tragic deaths. We talked to him to find out what the story holds, how his feelings about the game have changed, and news about a new series being released before the Injustice 2 game and comic.


GameSpot: How does it feel writing the ending of the current Injustice comic?

Brian Buccellato: In some ways it’s really sad because I feel like I’m losing a friend or I have a child going off to college or something. It’s been with me for a long time and working with Jim Chadwick for the last two plus years, that has been a huge part of my life. Getting to the end is sort of bittersweet.

Obviously you knew where the series had to go. Were there any difficulties getting everything tied up or setting the stage for the video game timeline?

There was some creative difficulties just in some of the logistics. It’s really hard to look back at … I don’t know how many issues, 5 years worth and hundreds of issues of the book and try to tie up every thread. That was challenging. I’m so glad that we got 20 issues to sort of bring the story to a close. We did what I think was a pretty good job of tying everything together, but I’m sure someone is going to find one or two moments that happen a little differently in the book. That was definitely a challenge, but I gave it the old college try.

That’s where the alternate Earth can come into the story?


When you originally played the video game, who was you go-to character?


I liked all the big brutes when I recently played it. Like Grundy and Doomsday because they hit really hard. I hated Aquaman because I always felt that his trident had too long of a reach, so I think that was kind of a cheater character.

Did your desire to play change after writing the comic? Are you looking at the other characters now that you’ve gotten to know them?

Yes, I’ll never play Superman again. He’s a jerk. I do like Harley and Catwoman, and I think they’re worth a look in the video game.

Okay so the tough question, what are some of your favorite moments that you’ve written?

Wow, that is tough. I mean I’m really proud of the whole Alfred story line. I think that that sort of was me firing on all cylinders in terms of finding a story that was compelling and emotional, and exposed the overarching theme of the story. I’m probably most proud of that.

I also really liked the Harley/Shazam running gag. That was really fun to write. Harley is … she’s Harley. She’s really fun to put in weird situations and see what she says and what she comes up with.

I think Wonder Woman kicking Superman’s butt was probably my single favorite moment, when she breaks his arm. I think she gets a bad rap and everyone always assumes that Superman will beat Wonder Woman, so I enjoyed showing that she has more butt-kicking abilities than he does.

Would that be your favorite battle?

Yeah I think hands down it’s my favorite battle. I did like when the Gods came in because it was a lot of action, but my single favorite battle was that.

Gallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4Gallery image 5

Can you tell us anything about Injustice: Ground Zero?

Yeah, I can tell you that it sort of follows the game story so the end of our regular Injustice run takes us right up to the beginning of the game mode story, and so Ground Zero is going to focus on that. It will do it through the POV, which is point of view to the lay person, of a specific character. Basically we’re telling the story through the perspective of Harley. She has a very unique perspective because she’s tied to the heroes and the villains, and all the bad stuff, but through the course of 5 years of Injustice we’ve seen her grow. It’s going to be interesting to see what her perspective on all these events are.

It’s not going to be a blow-by-blow of the video game story because that would kind of be boring to just see exactly how it plays out, so we’ll see it from her point of view … which is not always reliable.

What’s your involvement with this?

I was originally going to write the whole thing, but I got this fellowship at Universal Pictures, so I am doing that for the next year. I developed the story and I wrote a number of the plots and then I had to walk away. Chris Sebela, who I believe is an alumni from the DC workshops is taking over the reins. It’s mostly going to be his baby, but it will sort of follow along the story that Jim Chadwick and I started.

Any last things you want to say about your time with Injustice?

Any last things that I want to say? I just want to say that Dr. Guerrero does not exist in the Injustice universe. He never did and he never will.

Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five Chapter 40 is on sale Tuesday, September 20 at www.readdcentertainment.com.

From: http://www.gamespot.com/articles/injustice-year-five-comic-concludes-with-superman-/1100-6443724/

Time Warner Chief on DC Comics Movies: ‘There’s Room for …

Time Warner chairman-CEO Jeff Bewkes told investors Wednesday that there is “a little room for improvement” in the creative execution of Warner Bros.’ DC Comics movie slate. But he stressed that the two titles released to date have been financially successful and have achieved the larger strategic goal of reinvigorating classic DC characters for a new generation of moviegoers.

Referencing the lukewarm critical response to this year’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad,” Bewkes admitted during his QA at Goldman Sachs’ Communacopia investor conference: “The DC Comics characters … have a little more lightness in them than maybe what you saw in those movies, so we’re thinking about that.”


The Justice League DC Movie

Warner Bros. Reorganizes DC Movie Operations in Wake of ‘Batman v Superman’

Bewkes said the studio has enlisted DC Comics entertainment president Geoff Johns and production guru Jon Berg to take a firm hand in guiding the upcoming DC releases. But he sees no reversal in Warner Bros.’ ambitious plan for releasing a string of DC-branded tentpoles through 2020, with “Wonder Woman” and “Justice League” to come next year.

“The strategy worked,” Bewkes said. “The execution did deliver what we wanted to do. We can do a little better on the creative. … We’re right on course or better” with the plan, he said, citing “Suicide Squad’s” legs at the box office. To date the pic released in August has grabbed about $720 million at the worldwide box office.

“The main thing was to launch DC and reinvigorate it with the fan base,” he said. “The reboot of Batman with Ben Affleck (in the role) was a big success.” He also noted that the fan reaction to actress Gal Gadot’s debut as the Wonder Woman character in “Batman v Superman” has been positive.

Bewkes also addressed the transformations underway at TNT and TBS, which are looking to draw a younger audience with shows that have more traction in social media than the broadcast TV-like strategy pursued in the past. He cited TBS’ new entries “Wrecked” and “Detour” as cable TV’s highest rated comedies with solid critical buzz being “exactly what we were aiming for.”

TNT is on mission to add edge to its dramas, starting with the mob family drama “Animal Kingdom,” which bowed in June and has been renewed for a second season. “You’re going to see more shows like that on TNT over the next year or so,” he said.

HBO’s focus is on growing its broadband-only business and a series of MVPD carriage renegotiations on deck over the next 18 months. Bewkes said an update on subscriber figures for the stand-alone HBO Now service would come at the end of this year.

In general, Bewkes said he was upbeat about the prospects for Time Warner’s biggest channels to continue to grow as the distribution landscape evolves in the coming years. New digital entrants such as Dish Network’s Sling and Hulu’s upcoming channel package will only enhance the value of Time Warner’s biggest brands. Time Warner took a 10% stake Hulu earlier this year, for $583 million, in connection with its agreement to be part of Hulu’s channel offering.

Moreover, the digital services are focused on providing cutting-edge navigational systems and easy-to-use on-demand features. The influx of competition is forcing the traditional distributors to offer more varieties of packages, which will improve the experience and hopefully lead to higher retention rates.

“We have tried to be at the forefront of that — helping existing distributors enhance what they are doing and helping the new distributors, which we think are a great opportunity for everybody,” he said.

From: http://variety.com/2016/biz/news/jeff-bewkes-batman-v-superman-suicide-squad-time-warner-1201866932/

DC Preview: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman in Trinity | Heavy …

Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Trinity, DC Comics

Art by Francis Manapul (DC Comics)

On September 21, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman get together for a new Trinity series from DC Comics. There’s also the start of the first Rebirth crossover in the Batman books, Night of the Monster Men. And we can’t forget that there’s more zany adventures for Harley Quinn this week.

Read on for a look at what’s going on in the DC Universe this week.

Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Trinity, DC Comics

Art by Francis Manapul (DC Comics)

The first issue of writer/artist Francis Nanapul’s Trinity is out this week. The story, “Better Together,” finds Wonder Woman and Batman learning to work with the ‘new’ Superman while going on a journey of discovery through their pasts.

Yanick Paquette, Nightwing, new Nightwing, Nightwing 5, DC Comics

Art by Yanick Paquette (DC Comics)

Night of the Monster Men begins this week, with part one in Batman #7 and part two in Nightwing #5. The story will continue in next week’s Detective Comics. Batman was written by Tom King Steve Orlando, while Orlando wrote Nightwing with Tim Seeley. Roge Antonio is the artist on Nightwing and Riley Rossmo is the artist for Batman.

The series finds the entire Bat-family, including Batman, Nightwing and Batwoman, trying to save Gotham City from bizarre monsters. Nightwing is dispatched to go behing the scenes to find out the origins of the monsters in his own book.

Bill Sienkiewicz, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, new Harley Quinn

Art by Bill Sienkiewicz (DC Comics)

Harley Quinn is only on #4, but it’s time for Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti’s second story under the new Rebirth series. “108 Million Ways to Die!” finds Harley’s Coney Island community trying to rebuild after the bizarre zombie apocalypse that ended in #3. However, this will lead her on an outer-space journey once again. Maybe she’ll meet up with Power Girl again.

Other important books out from DC this week are Aquaman Cyborg Green Arrow and Superman #7. A six-issue Raven miniseries, written by Marv Wolfman, also kicks off this week.

Daniel S. Levine
is entertainment and news contributor to Heavy, and former editor at TheCelebrityCafe.com. Graduate of Hofstra University, plus classic movie and Star Wars geek. Follow him on Twitter at @dsl89 and contact him at daniel.levine@heavy.com.

September 19, 2016 8:50 am

From: http://heavy.com/entertainment/2016/09/dc-comics-preview-new-wednesday-batman-superman-wonder-woman-trinity-harley-quinn-green-arrow-poison-ivy/

Superman Flies Into New Supergirl Trailer

A new trailer for Supergirl gives fans their first look at Tyler Hoechlin in action as Superman.

The character will make his debut in the season two premiere of Supergirl, and will appear in the first two episodes of the season. Little is known about the exact nature of his appearance, except that he will be helping his cousin deal with the arrival of both Mon-El, who arrived in a Kryptonian rocket at the end of season one, and also the villain Metallo, played by Frederick Schmidt.

During the first season, Superman was referenced fairly frequently, but rarely appeared — and when he did, he was always obscured by light, shadow, or distance.

“There really isn’t anything we’ve asked for that was not given to us, you know? The show’s called Supergirl and it’s about Supergirl. It’s not like we’ve been jonesing to have Superman on it,” executive producer Andrew Kreisberg told ComicBook.com last November. “We also didn’t want to…you know, if you’re going to cast Superman, you’ve got cast Superman right! Just like when you think about all the time and effort and energy that’s gone into finding the cinematic Superman over the last thirty years. For us, Superman is more of an idea than it is a personification of the character, so we’re more than happy to have him backlit. We’re perfectly happy to have him swoop in, save Kara in Episode Three, because the real heart of the story is that she then kicks Reactron’s butt. She’s the one that takes him down, and that’s what much more important for us.”

You can check the latest teaser out below.

Almost all of the promotion around Supergirl so far has included Superman to one extent or another — which makes sense, becuase not only is he going to be around for the first two episodes but Superman as a property has rarely been without a live-action TV series for too long in the last fifty years. There were also a number of Supergirl episodes in the show’s first season that referenced Superman comics, including the fan-favorite “For the Girl Who Has Everything,” a fairly direct adaptation of the Alan Moore story “For the Man Who Has Everything.”

Last week, Supergirl announced that The 100‘s Dichen Lachman had been cast as the villain Roulette. Besides Lachman’s Roulette, Supergirl‘s second season will bring in Hoechlin as Superman, Sharon Leal as Miss Martian, Chris Wood as Mon-El, Ian Gomez as Snapper Carr, and Floriana Lima as Maggie Sawyer. Wonder Woman star Lynda Carter will star as the as-yet-unnamed President of the United States.

Supergirl will return to The CW on October 10 and air Monday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT.


From: http://comicbook.com/dc/2016/09/19/superman-flies-into-new-supergirl-trailer/

Eaglemoss launches DC Comics collection in SA


Two years after its initial debut, South African comic book fans are finally getting the DC Comics Graphic Novel Collection from Eaglemoss. This bi-weekly series is distributed through Jacklin Enterprises locally.

The graphic novel collection consists of 60 hardback volumes containing ‘classic’ stories from the DC Comics universe. Some of these include The Long Halloween, Public Enemies, and A Death in the Family.

The first issue will cost R29.90 and include Batman: Hush (Part 1). The second issue will include the second part of Batman: Hush and cost R79.90. Issues three, Superman: Last Son of Krypton, and onwards will stay at the regular price of R129.90 per issue.

The DC Comics Graphic Novel Collection features 60 hardback volumes

Those who subscribe to the series directly through Jacklin Enterprises will receive various gifts spread over multiple deliveries. These consist of a “facsimile edition” of Action Comics #1 (the first appearance of Superman), a metal bookmark, two tin plate covers, and a pair of Batman and Superman bookends.

What is noticeably missing from the SA edition is the option for a premium subscription, which was originally offered to German subscribers. For an additional €1.50 per issue, customers would recent three 400-page hardbacks which chronicled the entire Green Lantern: Blackest Night storyline.

Additionally, in the UK, Eaglemoss released Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis, and DC Universe Legacies as special edition releases for £19.99 each.

The series should soon be available from all CNA stores in SA.

Graham van der Made: Staff Reporter

From: http://memeburn.com/2016/09/eaglemoss-dc-comics-south-africa/


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