On-screen Superhero Categories Coming Soon

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By Erik Sofge

All of the top superheroes have had their shot at big-screen success. DC Comics’ Batman has six blockbusters under his utility belt. Superman has five. Spider-Man survived three. And Marvel Comics’ X-Men have collectively appeared in five. The most recent, X-Men First Class, is part of this summer’s unprecedented invasion of super-powered films, which also includes Thor, Green Lantern and Captain America: The First Avenger.

So which comic book champions of justice are left for Hollywood to exploit? The answer: Plenty. And they’re already being developed in these four categories:

Big-screen Superhero Category No. 1: The Reboot
Just as comic book characters are routinely killed off and brought back to life, Tinsel Town’s current strategy follows suit. Since the target demographic for big-budget action films skews young, there’s always a fresh audience to discover a newer version of the same timeless characters. Consequently, studios simply resurrect the comic-book-based characters they’ve already developed until they become stale. Then, they reinvent them.

This strategy of revitalizing superhero franchises began in 2005 with the release of Batman Begins and was solidified with its follow-up, The Dark Knight (and Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning performance as the Joker). The massive success of these films proved, for better or worse, the cash value of the reboot. Both were dark, driven, disturbing and unlike any superhero movie before them. Yet, they were familiar and drew huge numbers to the box office.

Click

The Dark Knight Rises, the third in the Batman series directed by Christopher Nolan, comes out next summer — and it promises to raise the bar once again.

Spider-Man and Superman are also scheduled to get reimagined. The Amazing Spider-Man, which rewinds Peter Parker back to high school, is scheduled for release next summer, just five years after the Spider-Man 3 debacle. And Man of Steel is due out in late 2012, six years after the scuttled reboot, Superman Returns.

Big-screen Superhero
Category No.
2: Super
Friends

Rather than reimagining a single character, two upcoming films will respectively cram as many crime-fighters as possible into a single blockbuster.

Marvel Studios started laying the groundwork for such a mega-franchise early, sticking a Samuel Jackson cameo into a post-credit sequence in 2000’s Iron Man. Jackson played Nick Fury, the director of a fictional government agency called S.H.I.E.L.D., who then served a major role in Iron Man 2, a film that included an epilogue connecting it to Thor, the company’s next superhero movie. With each movie, Fury comes closer to assembling a team of supers, called The Avengers.

Planned for a 2012 release, The Avengers will feature The Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor — all of whom have been the subject of at least one feature film. It will show up as the pinnacle of one of the most complex, long-term marketing strategies the industry has ever seen.

Warner Bros., owner of DC Comics, is hatching a similar scheme with Justice League. Though still in development, it collects the biggest names in DC Comics’ stable — Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman — as well as lesser-known characters, from B-listers like Green Lantern to obscure characters only a dedicated fan would recognize.

Though the project is barely up and running, it could be the Warner Bros. equivalent of the X-Men movies, with sequels and potential spinoffs that would keep the franchise kicking for years.

Big-screen Superhero Category No. 3: The One
No matter how these new projects and would-be franchises perform, there’s still one major release that could redefine the genre once again: The Dark Knight Rises, the third installment in the Batman series directed by Nolan.

What happens in this saga’s third and, according to Nolan, final film could raise the bar once again for the genre. Marvel’s movies have been confections, tumbled together into a years-long pig-out that culminates with the Avengers’ smorgasbord of fan service and corporate synergy. Nolan’s Batman movies have been strange and near-gourmet.

If the final course is as unrelenting as fans are hoping (Spoiler Alert: Based on the confirmed villains, there’s a
strong chance Batman will have his back broken) a new kind of superhero movie
could emerge. And only Nolan knows what that could be.

Small-screen
Superhero Category: The
Other Guys

Just because the biggest announcements in the world of superheroes are team-oriented in nature and basically recycling old names and faces, that doesn’t mean there won’t be any new blood on the horizon. However, it won’t be on the big screen, but rather the small one.

Take Ant-Man, for instance. Based on the Marvel Comics character, Ant-Man is a scientist who can shrink way past ant territory and into the difficult-to-illustrate atomic scale. Although the character has been through The Avengers’ revolving door in the comic books, he won’t be part of the team in the upcoming movie. Instead, Ant-Man, a character with zero cultural cache or name recognition, will get his own star turn in 2014 on television.

Unlike the big-screen projects, “Ant-Man” is relatively free of expectations or established storyline baggage. So it can be as bizarre and surprising as pop mythology should be, and maybe even inspire new obscure adaptations or original characters.

Photo Credit: http://captainamerica.marvel.com/

Copyright (c) 2011 Studio One Networks. All rights reserved.


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From: http://www.consumerelectronicsnet.com/article/On-screen-Superhero-Categories-Coming-Soon-1613213

COMICS: Four Pages From Superman #1 And The Flash #1 Revealed!

Bleeding Cool has uncovered two pages a piece from The Flash #1 and Superman #1, both of which are a part of the relaunch that will begin in early September (except for Justice League #1, which will be available in later August). While we have yet to see the colored versions, check them out below…

Superman #1

The Flash #1

As with the rest of the DC relaunch, expect to see Superman #1 and The Flash #1 in stores this September!

From: http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/BatFreak/news/?a=43274

Superman Returns and Other Comic Book Film Adaptations That Sucked

237694967_54309367e1_m.jpgFlickr Just when Harry Potter thought he was going to reign, when nothing could outdo his finest spells and ghastly encounters, Captain America crashed into his moment of grandeur, sending his epic, final film spiraling downward in a battle at the box office.

That’s right: the puny, outdated action hero who miraculously turns into a Calvin Klein underwear model took the top spot at the box office this past weekend, much to the dismay of wizard-loving aficionados everywhere.

Comic book adaptations are what the industry refers to as a ‘pre-sold franchise.’ It’s like purchasing something with a built-in market. If you’re a fan of the comics, chances are you’re going to go and see the movie — even if it sucks. But not everything that’s immortalized in cartoon form should be put into live action. Just ask Roger Rabbit. And with Christopher Nolan’s upcoming final Batman film, let’s reflect on films adapted from comics that simply sucked.


4574782481_320288db23.jpgFlickr ?Batman and Robin (1997)
One thing about George Clooney is that he never ages, which makes him a superhero in his own right (at least to the female population). However, in 1997’s Batman and Robin, the filmmakers tried too hard to capitalize on the winged superhero’s popularity, instead throwing more money into building the cast than building the actual plot. With such names as Uma Thurman and Arnold Schwarzenegger attached, no one expected an Academy Award winner- but a little bit of effort couldn’t have hurt either.

It wasn’t until Christopher Nolan took over the Batman legacy that something could actually be said of the living version of this famed comic book antihero. Christian Bale’s intellectual connection with Bruce Wayne is living proof that practice does, in fact, make perfect. It also kind of makes up for the fact that many of us were forced to suffer through two hours of Arnold’s bad accent paired with the chick from Clueless suddenly finding her inner superhero.

5945282893_f23a6c7c83.jpgFlickr ?Hulk (2003)
Looking back at the 2003 flop, Eric Bana was never a good choice to play the Hulk. But in this adaption of the anger-induced, ghastly green comic book monster, he was given the opportunity. And he failed miserably. No one was expecting him to fill the shoes of Bill Bixby or Lou Ferrigno, but he didn’t even come close.

What’s even more puzzling about the Hulk saga is that, only five years after the first failure, another Hulk film, 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, tried its hardest to come back with a vengeance. Though a significantly better film, it still didn’t fall in line with the success of the original comic book series and, of course, the iconic television series that followed. It’s a shame- everyone’s favorite green guy certainly deserves a fighting chance. We think Bruce Banner would agree.

watchmen.jpg?Watchmen (2009)
Some will argue that ‘graphic novels’ aren’t necessarily comic books, but we beg to differ. Graphic novels are just a tad more sophisticated, but have the same general premise. And, just like everyone else in 2009, we had a lot of faith in director Zack Snyder. After the brilliance of 300, the man could do no wrong in our eyes — until we had the misfortune of renting Watchmen.

It was like watching a train slowly derail, attempt to pull it together, and derail again in the process. The film itself was spectacular in terms of graphics, but that was about all it had to offer. With its cold setting and lack of emotion, it was difficult to draw a hit from a steaming pile of rubbish. The graphic novel was brilliant, but the film had little to offer. The tagline asked who was watching the Watchmen. I’d rather know who was watching Snyder– especially since he went on to make an equally devastating film out of Sucker Punch several years later.

realsm.jpgFlickr ?Superman Returns (2006)
Growing up, Christopher Reeves was Superman. Period. He may now be gone, but in our minds and the minds of millions, he IS Superman. That’s why the 2006 Superman reboot, adequately named Superman Returns, wasn’t widely accepted. The film wasn’t in any way horrible, but it wasn’t the best Superman film either.

The biggest problem with this caped superhero is that he’s actually kind of boring. Aside from his infatuation with the ever beautiful Lois Lane, there really isn’t a whole lot to offer. His disguise is a pair of glasses and a geeky persona paired with his undying need to save the world. Smallville should be enough to satisfy any desire one may have for a random re-imagination.

Follow Cultist on Facebook and Twitter @CultistMiami.

From: http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/cultist/2011/07/comic_books_film.php

Judge Rules for Marvel in Comics Dispute

Marvel Entertainment LLC, not the heirs to legendary comic-book artist Jack Kirby, own the rights to more than a dozen of the company’s iconic characters, including Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and Iron Man, a federal judge ruled on Thursday.

Two years ago, Mr. Kirby’s four children served legal notices to Marvel, indicating they planned to take back the copyrights assigned to Marvel by Mr. Kirby to a number of characters created by him and Stan Lee between 1958 and 1963, including superhero teams the X-Men and the Avengers.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon ruled for the entertainment company, …

From: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904888304576474461044446844.html

We Can Be Heroes: Talking ‘Supergods’ with Grant Morrison


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“If this book has made any point clear, I hope it’s that things don’t have to be real to be true. Or vice versa.”
– Grant Morrison

Ask any 12-year-old and he or she will tell you. Becoming a superhero isn’t easy. Superman had to give up his home planet. Batman had to watch his mother and father die. Peter Parker’s spider bite alone would’ve been a deal breaker for a lot of arachnophobes. Clearly, the price of admission to the Super Friends is a lot higher than the cost of a spandex jumpsuit. 

On the other hand, what if all you had to do was read a book?

Grant Morrison’s new book, Supergods, is unlike anything you will read this year.

At first glance, it looks like a cultural history of superhero comic books written by a bestselling comics writer, but peer a little deeper and you will find much more—a personal memoir, a demonstration of superhero tropes in the real world, and an essay on the meaning of life and the inner workings of the universe.

cover art

  Grant Morrison

(Spiegel Grau; US: )

More importantly, for readers who immerse themselves in Morrison’s thought processes, Supergods boasts the ability to inspire a level of mental acuity and insight that feels, at times, like a superpower.

For those who don’t know, Morrison is one of the most influential comic book writers in history. He, along with Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, led the so-called British Invasion of American comic books in the ‘80s. Together, they revolutionized mainstream comics and defined the role of the modern day comic book writer. Since that time, Morrison has created highly innovative original series like The Invisibles and Flex Mentallo, but he has also specialized in more established, brand-name superheroes including Superman, Batman, and the X-Men. His series, All Star Superman, is regarded by many as the definitive Superman story, and this fall he will take over the Man of Steel’s monthly adventures in Action Comics.

When I spoke with him, it was late in the afternoon and Morrison said he was “pretty buzzed” on 12 cups of coffee. That kind of caffeinated superpower might help explain how the highly prolific Morrison found the time to squeeze out a 400-plus page book like Supergods while putting Batman through his paces at the same time. The real answer, though, is that Morrison didn’t see writing the book as much of a stretch from his day job. “I approached it as creatively as I would one of the comics, relating to it the things that make a very beautiful, symmetrical story, so it was pretty much a piece of cake”.

Morrison’s creative stamp even enlivens the first part of Supergods where he analyzes the earliest adventures of the biggest icons of the ‘30s and ‘40s, including Superman, Batman, Captain Marvel, Captain America, and Wonder Woman. Morrison told me he wanted to “reconnect with the modernity of [the old comics] as they might have appeared when they first came out”. Although most readers associate Morrison with the future rather than the past, he credits these old stories with making the Supergods experience particularly rewarding. “The stuff I discovered in old comics that I had kind of written off, not realizing how interesting they were, really made it for me”.

Morrison’s enthusiasm is contagious. In the first chapter, he spends four pages scrutinizing the cover to Action Comics no. 1, invoking everything from Edvard Munch’s The Scream to a Haitian voodoo spirit. It’s a tour de force of close analysis, all without the benefit of X-ray vision.

His discoveries are also quite funny.  In looking at early Batman stories, he notes, “Batman habitually found himself dealing with crimes involving chemicals… lethal Laughing Gas, mind-control lipstick, Fear Dust, toxic aerosols and ‘artificial phobia’ pills… heroically inhaling countless bizarre chemical concoctions cooked up by mad black market alchemists”.  Morrison’s conclusion isn’t likely to pop out of Adam West’s Bat-Computer anytime soon, but it’s no less entertaining: “Batman was hip to serious mind-bending drugs… and that savoir faire added another layer to his outlaw sexiness and alluring aura of decadence and wealth”.

Honestly, if Fredric Wertham, the man who led the comic book witch hunts of the ‘50s, had been able to see half of what Morrison does with these old comics, the American government might’ve banned the books altogether.

However, Supergods does far more than analyze some old stories. As Morrison told me, “I knew that a straight up history of superhero comics would appeal to a certain audience, but I wanted to introduce the whole range of superhero comics to a more mainstream audience, so my feeling was that the best way to do that was to introduce the personal story of someone who’s currently still at the forefront of creating superhero comics”.

That “personal story” is Morrison’s own, and its inclusion creates a seismic shift in the tone of the book. Such shifts are familiar to longtime Morrison readers of series like Animal Man, Doom Patrol, and Batman. Morrison often begins his longer narratives in a somewhat conventional manner before introducing elements that fundamentally change the entire story and suggest to his readers what the series is “really” all about.

In the case of Supergods, that means looking at how the principles of a superhero story might apply to the real world. As Morrison told me, “What I tried to do is tell the story of superhero comics almost as the story of a child’s development”. In some passages, Morrison treats his own life as if it were merely another plot thread in a comic book story. “I felt my own life had grown stale and repetitive. My own personality seemed crudely fashioned, and often ill-fitting. I was thoroughly sick of chronic vague depression, and chose to treat myself as another poorly conceived and barely developed character in need of a revamp”.

This personal “revamp” transforms the somewhat insecure young Scottish comic book writer into the counterculture spokesperson with shaved head and designer clothes, the hipster theorist who talks about chaos magic and quantum physics and often seems like the comic book world’s equivalent of Bono.

From: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/feature/145152-we-can-be-heroes-talking-supergods-with-grant-morrison/

Comic Book Heroes: A conversation between Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison


Neil-Gaiman-Grant-Morrison

Image Credit: Kimberly Butler; Allan Amato

Sometime in the late 1980s, the British invaded and changed comic books forever. Superman may stand for the American way — at least most of the time — but it took Scotsman Grant Morrison to write one of the best modern interpretations of the Man of Steel with All-Star Superman. Morrison’s latest work, Supergods, is an analysis of what superheroes, caped crusaders, and masked men can tell us about ourselves and our culture. It’s a fascinating discussion, and one that continued when he got together with fellow comic book icon and Sandman maestro Neil Gaiman to discuss their medium, their lives, and each other’s work in a wide-ranging conversation that EW was lucky enough to listen in on.

NEIL GAIMAN: First off, congratulations! You’ve got a book out.

GRANT MORRISON: Oh, thank you. It’s great after 30 years of actually taking it seriously to finally write it down.

NG: I’m in this wonderfully blank position on this one, because I haven’t actually seen the book. So instead of doing that thing where I say, “I really liked that thing and can you expand upon it?”, we’re now in the position, as we would be over dinner, when I say, “So you’ve got a book out! What’s it about?”

GM: It’s about us. It’s about all the things we went through as kids, with comic books and superheroes. Why have they taken over the world and why are they so ubiquitous on the buses and on the tube trains and such? I devised a theory. That thing that was started in 1938 has been growing and growing and colonizing more minds and is starting to come into our real lives. I kind of think that superhero movies tend to represent this Utopian ideal of humanity because we’ve run out of them. There is no space program here anymore. I’m sure in China people feel slightly different about this, but certainly here in the West, it’s almost a time of disaster and apocalypse. It’s kind of obvious that a superhero would arise in a time of disaster and apocalypse and stand with hands on hips to remind us that we’re all okay.

NG. I find myself peculiarly reminded of these strange stories that it seems everybody who’s written comics extensively has. Was it you that told me of the mysterious Superman pauper?

GM: He was a real person, but he played it all in the character of Superman.

NG. Alan Moore talked about running into John Constantine one time, and…

GM: What happened to you?

NG: I had a few of them. The one that always haunted me — you’d think that it’d have been Morpheus — but it’s always been Death.

GM: She fancies you, Neil, let’s face it.

NG: One of [the stories] was the point where I realized how absolutely sane, in the sense of “lives in the real world,” Dave McKean is.

GM: Oh, God, yes. Thank God.

NG: You wouldn’t think to look at Dave’s imagery. He was going to the San Diego Comic-Con and he got there late. He was coming over from the UK and his plane came in incredibly late. I asked what happened and a guy had died on the plane, and they had to land and get him taken away to a hospital. It was this whole big thing, a guy in the middle of a transatlantic flight just died. “But I could tell I was coming to Comic-Con,” Dave said, “because there was one of your fans on the plane.” I said, “Oh?” And he said, “Yeah, she was dressed as Death.” And I thought, you know, if it were me, I would have wondered, just for a moment, “What are we saying here?” Dave, of course, has that gloriously rational mind that never does that, whereas you and I are both slightly mad.

GM: Yeah, slightly. Only slightly.

NG: But I like to think that some of the great discoveries have been made by the slightly mad.

GM: Oh, definitely. And I think that slightly mad is just an interesting perspective, isn’t it? That the non-slightly mad don’t quite have, so I think it’s well worth having.

NG: If it wasn’t for being slightly mad, neither of us would do what we do, or be willing to take seriously the ideas that we take seriously and then watch as they wander out into the world.

GM: And then other people start to take them seriously, and then suddenly you’re living in it.

NG: Of course, you can’t really say this because you start to sound incredibly big-headed, but you wonder how much of the stuff that exists in terms of the cultural media landscape exists because you made it up, years ago.

GM: We both know there’s a lot of that. We’ve been working long enough that obviously people have been influenced and inspired, which is fantastic, because we, in turn, were inspired by others like us. It’s hard to avoid sometimes. You don’t want to be big-headed about it, but it’s undeniable.

NG: You can point to giant, obvious ones. The one that I saw most recently, which was neither of us but we can talk about him because he’s not on the phone call, is Alan [Moore]. The Egyptian demonstrators wearing V for Vendetta masks.

GM: Wasn’t that amazing? And that’s become the default face for anarchists. They all wear that now. Everyone wears that on anti-corporate demos, and on all kinds of marches and protests. I’m amazed that that thing has become the real version of what Alan set out to create.

NG: Although it’s kind of a candy version. But what I love about it particularly in Egypt was that it wasn’t a candy version. It actually did what it was meant to do. I think there’s a difference between wearing it on a corporate march just so that you can’t be spotted, and the idea that they brought down a government. They brought down a bad government! And they brought it down wearing Guy Fawkes masks.

GM: And hopefully playing torch songs on an old piano, as well.

NG: Singing “Old Gangsters Never Die.”

GM: The Superman guy that we met in San Diego was a real person, but it was very much in the mold of what I would describe as a shamanic encounter.

NG: I remember you telling me it was really late at night.

GM: It was half-past-one in the morning and I was sitting up with Dan Raspler, who was the JLA editor at the time, and we were talking about Superman, that whole idea of trying to revamp Superman in the year 2000 and deal with all the problems that had been created in the 1990s.  Remember when all the imaginary stories became true stories and suddenly there was nowhere else to go? We were talking about how Superman couldn’t solve these problems and we went down into that little park that’s across from the convention hall, and as we look up there was a guy walking across the tracks with his friend, but this guy’s Superman. And he’s not just any costumed convention-goer, but he’s perfect. He was like Billy Zane-meets-Christopher Reeve and he really suited the costume. So I ran over him and said, “This is quite amazing, this is the perfect time for this to happen. Could you come over and speak with us?” He came right over and he started talking in the persona of Superman. So if I said to him, “How do you feel about Lois?” he’d say “Well, Lois doesn’t quite get that I’m an alien as well as a human.” He was so in the character, but what really got me was the way he was sitting. It was this absolutely relaxed pose with one knee up and the arm bent over, and that’s what broke Superman for me. Suddenly I realized that Superman wouldn’t be a poser, he wouldn’t be a Muscle Beach steroid guy; he’d actually be completely relaxed because nothing could hurt him. He could be so open and friendly to everyone because no one can punch him or hurt him. He can’t get a cold, or be damaged by anything you’re carrying or wearing. For me that was the power of that, whether you want to frame it as magical or not, it actually informed the stories I wanted to write. I felt I understood him in a way I hadn’t until that moment.

NG: I remember responding incredibly well as a kid to Julius Schwartz’s The Private Life of Clark Kent stories. Just the idea that he would go off and try to solve things as Clark Kent. The stuff that we probably mocked when we were just starting out in comics, because it was close enough to us that we mocked it. Things like Green Lantern/Green Arrow, which I now look back and think, “This is actually every bit as good as I thought when I was 14.” But when I was 24…

GM: When you’re 24 you see it in a historical context which has changed and a lot of it seems very shrill and strident, but then you look back on it and you think, well, that’s perfect. The time needed that, after Vietnam and with the President about to betray everyone.

NG: Whenever I see you now, you are this glorious bird of paradise, but I remember, just as for you I will always be a nervous, hungry young journalist, I remember you as a kid in a black raincoat, incredibly shy. The thing that would get you animated was the point where you’d start talking about a story, and you would come to life.

GM: I was really shy around new people, but I was in a band at the time. And when I did comics, it was also a performance. It’s like playing live. You don’t get much time to edit; we don’t really do second drafts in our business. I love that aspect of comics, where you could have a Sandman out and people would be talking about it immediately, and we could be responding to things that were happening all around us and it could be published three months later, or two months later, depending on how late we were. It’s not like writing a book, which is over a span of years like building a cathedral. The comic is so instant. That’s why it covers the seismic shifts of culture very, very accurately.

NG: The truth is, when I was doing Sandman — it may have changed by the end, when I knew it was being collected in hardbacks and stuff — but definitely for the first years of Sandman, I thought I was doing something disposable. And that was part of the joy of it. It’s here this month and it’ll get you excited, but in a month’s time it will be in the bargain bins, and in two months’ time, you’ll have to hunt for it.

GM: Or it will only be in your memories. Like so many of the books I had as a kid and don’t have any more, where I have these images of little teddy bears dressed on gigantic night-black seas in my head, and I’ll never find these books again.

NG: I can read the comics I read as a 12-year-old now through those same 12-year-old eyes, but if I missed any issues and I try to read them now as a 50-year-old, I can’t do that.

GM: When I was writing the book, the things that were the most joy for me was reading those things again and finding new things in them. I started with Action Comics and just went through.

NG: What do you think it’s going to be like for people 50 years from now looking back at the Grant Morrison opus? You’ve got all of these themes, obviously your favorite things, but what else do you think they would find when they go looking?

GM: I don’t know. I never thought of it as lasting. I always considered it, as you said, as ephemeral. The only thing I wrote for the ages was All-Star Superman. Honestly, I believe that in a couple generations I’ll be utterly forgotten except for a footnote in a Batman story, so I don’t know. I can’t even imagine.

NG: I can’t see you being footnoted.

GM: Well, that’s lovely of you to say. But I feel like I’m here, I’ve got a chance to shine, to wave at the public and say, “Hi,” and connect to the people you like and who like you.

NG: Alright, let me throw this back at you. Things that I have loved over the years that you have done. I love the way that you both initially embraced, and then rapidly moved beyond, or moved in a completely different direction from, the ‘80s grim-and-gritty thing. There was a little while where we were trying to take this stuff seriously, and then, we went off in very, very strange and interesting directions. What I love about what you began doing then was initially your narratives were always meta-narratives, and they were always smarter than they needed to be. You’d put in gags, lines, thoughts, going all the way back to Danny the Street. Danny La Rue as a transvestite street, that’s glorious. But you were willing to, for lack of a better word, assert your reality. You didn’t want to mimic anybody else’s.

GM: The big break for me was I got tired of looking at stuff like The Dark Knight and Watchmen, which are wonderful and beautiful works, but for me the idea of taking our problems into the superhero world is ultimately a dead-end. When I was 25 or 26 it occurred to me that trying to make superheroes seem real was insane. They were not real in that way, but what really hit me was, “Well, in what way are they real?” They’re absolutely real in the form of paper, and so I wanted to go beyond that spurious realism of here’s what would happen if Batman got a run in his tights, or, “How does he go to the bathroom?” “Where does he keep his change?” Which I think are very dumb questions. In the book, one of the things I say is that people always believe kids don’t understand the difference between fact and fiction. But they do! A child can watch The Little Mermaid and they know the singing crabs on TV are very different from the real crabs on the beach. You give an adult a piece of fiction, and the adult cannot handle it. The adult begins to ask, “How can Batman afford to run a business and be Batman at night?” “How do the lasers come out of Superman’s eyes?” “Why does he wear those clothes?” And all you want to say is, “Because it’s not real!” It’s made up, and only in the made-up world can these things happen. I find that, in the last 10 years particularly, there’s this idea of grounding Superman, which just seems insane to me. And that’s what you always get from studio executives, is, “How do we ground this?”

NG: The other thing I love that you hear all the time from movie executives is, “What are the rules of this world?” Nobody gives you rules for any world. You figure it out as you go along and weird s— happens.

GM: And obviously rules eventually arise, but it comes from the narrative. And it doesn’t have to be this world’s rules. Adults need to get a grasp of this. These things aren’t real and we can make anything happen. And that’s exactly what’s so wonderful about it.

Read more of Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison’s conversation in the current issue of Entertainment Weekly.

From: http://shelf-life.ew.com/2011/07/26/naile-gaiman-grant-morrison-talk/

Copyrights and the Superman Reboot

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The new Superman will wear jeans, his powers will be changed. At the same time much of the DC Comics universe will also change. Superman will be from Krypton, but won’t exactly be the Superman we know. Why is DC Comics rebooting all of its universe and Superman in particular? I say it’s copyrights-related. I’m not sure if this has been covered or addressed appropriately elsewhere as I’ve been out of the loop for the last few months – yeah I know, the publisher of a comic book site who’s clueless – happens.

These changes don’t appear to be the kind of changes that would happen normally if there wasn’t a big external cause for them Superman has changed a lot over the years, but the core of the character has never been messed with. So what’s going on? The changes to Superman will cost DC Comics a lot of money and is a great gamble. But perhaps the gamble is worth it if it means DC Comics continues to publish a Superman that is different from the one originally created by Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, the character’s creators.

The estates of the Shuster and Siegel have been awarded copyrights over much of Superman’s original depictions including Superman’s origins from the planet Krypton, his parents Jor-El and Lora, Superman as the infant Kal-El, the launching of the infant Superman into space by his parents as Krypton explodes and his landing on Earth in a fiery crash, his costume, his alter-ego as reporter Clark Kent, reporter Lois Lane, their jobs at the Daily Planet newspaper working for a gruff editor, and the love triangle among Clark/Superman and Lois.

The copyrights ruling covers only the United States. DC Comics continues to hold the full copyrights of Superman in other jurisdictions such as Canada and Europe. The trade-mark to Superman continues to be owned by DC Comics which means no one else but DC Comics and its licensors, can sell a product called Superman, legally. This is a complicated mess, but I believe it ultimately explains all the changes we are seeing to Superman and DC Comics.

Although DC Comics claims that it is merely modernizing Superman for a new generation, the 2013 deadline looming upon the publisher, where the Shuster and Siegel estates will fully own all of the early Superman depictions are, in my learned opinion, the real reason Superman is going through such changes. By planting the changes two years in advance, the publisher and Warner Brothers are hoping this new Superman will stick.

On the other hand, the Siegel and Shuster estates will not be able to do much with the Superman crumbs they own or about to own. Their Superman will not be able to fly, will not have a sidekick called Jimmy Olsen and will not have an arch villain named Lex Luthor.

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The new Superman rebooted by DC Comics seems to be an attempt to lessen the amounts owed in licensing fees to Shuster and Siegel by virtually creating a brand new character called Superman that has minimal ties to the one created by Shuster and Siegel.

I will reiterate the original point I made about this mess nearly two years ago, which earned me the scorn of many in the comic book industry on both sides of the debate, such as Tom Spurgeon and Heidi McDonald. Silly copyrights laws whereby large copyrights owners such as Time Warner and Disney are able to lobby Washington to continually extend the length of copyrights well beyond the 50 years after the creator’s death that is accepted in much of the world has to stop. Copyrights were created to allow the original creator a few years where he could benefit exclusively from his labour and creations. In the original American copyrights laws, they lasted no more than seven years. Then they were extended to 14, and then more and now close to a hundred years. The original intent of copyrights was to allow the rights of an intellectual property to revert back to society as a whole. That means, anyone could write and draw stories about Superman not just DC Comics. This right has been denied by large copyrights owners and has forced politicians to add protections for original creators, such as Shuster and Siegel in response to the ridiculous extension of copyrights to nearly a century.

Meanwhile, the public and culture as a whole does not benefit from the reversion of Superman to the public domain where it can be used as fodder to influence the next generation of creations from budding creators, the same way Shuster and Siegel borrowed heavily from public domain material – the Bible to create a character that is in reality a modern day Moses copy.

From: http://www.comicbookbin.com/The_DC_Comics_Superman_Reboot_is_Copyrights_Related001.html

Comics live on

Superman is back on the market – in a revamped comic series and as a bachelor.

He has truly become “The Man of Tomorrow.”

In hopes of reaching a younger audience, DC Comics is relaunching all of its DC Universe comics for “The New 52” line – which includes Batman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman. Each will start over at No. 1 with fresh storylines, beginning in September.

“Some of the old school people are a little skeptical,” said Mike McCormick, owner of Comic Empire of Tulsa for 28 years. “DC is taking a bit of a chance. If you stop it and start it over again, will it lose momentum? No one knows for sure, it is a gamble. But it’s exciting.”

There will be two Superman-centric titles:

Action Comics No. 1, written by Grant Morrison and illustrated by Rags Morales, will be set five years in the past. Wearing jeans, a T-shirt and a cape, the younger, brooding Superman is still finding his way as an alien from the planet Krypton.

And there will be George Perez’s Superman, which takes place in the present. It features Superman’s new costume, a villain who’s more powerful than Superman, Clark Kent as a bachelor, and Lois Lane dating a co-worker – who is not Clark Kent – at the Daily Planet.

Jim Lee, one of DC’s co-publishers, told USA Today that after Lois Lane and Clark Kent married, it stole some of the allure.

“There was something special and unique about the love triangle that existed between Clark Kent, Superman and Lois Lane,” Lee told the newspaper. “By restoring that essential part of his mythology, we would get a lot more interest in the character and take Superman and Clark Kent in bold new directions that felt more contemporary and modern.”

Another way DC is trying to combat the demographics is by also releasing digital books the same day the print version hits stores. But McCormick thinks it might be an uphill battle.

“Kids these days don’t read comics, to them, it’s something their grandpas and dads read,” McCormick said. “If there’s not an explosion on a video screen within the first two seconds, kids aren’t interested. Most of the youth today tries to avoid reading.

“If they can get kids interested again, it could be one of the most significant points in the modern comic world.”

Joey Baker, a clerk at Wizard’s Asylum comic shop, was introduced to comics in the ’90s.

“It was something my dad and I could do together,” Baker said. “I really got into it around the ‘Death of Superman.’ ”

It is that kind of moment, McCormick said, he is hoping the new Man of Steel perpetrates. When “The Death of Superman” became a storyline in 1992, “it possibly was the slowest news day in history,” he said. “The media just kind of spun it out of control. But it caused a buzz like this is doing right now.”

Relaunching storylines isn’t anything new for DC, but doing it with 52 at once is a huge undertaking and a risk, McCormick said.

“You can’t hit 52 home runs, and DC knows that,” McCormick said. “But I’m excited; it is a radical change. Nothing like it has ever been done before.”

Earlier this month, comics blog “The Beat” published some frequently asked questions that was sent out by DC to nervous comic shop owners.

“In the early days (Batman) was a vigilante who brandished a gun,” the FAQ said. “Then he morphed into a whimsical character and then in the 1960s he became more of the gritty, grim avenger of the night. We can all agree that we are glad Batman evolved. … Our goal is to create a watershed moment for DC Entertainment.”


What’s up with Superman?

This new Superman is very much an alien, one struggling to adjust to his adopted home. In the series, he must come to terms with both the loss of his home world, as well as the loss of both of his adopted parents. He is more Kal-El from the planet Krypton than Clark Kent from Kansas. He’s a loner trying to find his place in the world.

The series’ first storyline will explore the origins of Superman’s costume, as it evolves from a look that includes jeans and work boots to a new look: a suit of battle armor that pays tribute to his Kryptonian past.

His great powers have limits. When the series begins, Superman can leap tall buildings, but his ability to fly is in its infancy.

And in the SUPERMAN ongoing comic book series, by writer George Perez and artist Jesus Merino, will be set in present day continuity and will unleash a series of new challenges for Superman and his alter ego Clark Kent.

Clark Kent is single and living on his own. He has never been married.

Lois Lane is dating a colleague at the DAILY PLANET (and his name isn’t Clark Kent) and she has a new position with the paper.

Source: DC Comics


Marvel getting in on relaunches, too

Marvel Comics isn’t getting left out of the relaunch news, though changes aren’t as major as the re-starts done by DC.

The Disney-owned publisher recently rebooted its Thor and Captain America franchises to coincide with movie releases this summer. Marvel also relaunched all of its Avengers titles last year.

Marvel will take things a step further this fall when it ends the current run of another mainstay, “The Uncanny X-Men.” Events in the current “X-Men: Schism” mini-series will lead to the X-Men splitting into two teams. One squad will be featured in a new series, “Wolverines and the X-Men,” which starts in October. The other will be featured in the rebooted “Uncanny X-Men” title, which starts over at No. 1 in November.

While Marvel’s revamped titles have seen some changes, they haven’t reached the level DC announced with its reboots.

– James Royal, World Staff Writer


Brandi Ball 918-581-8369

brandi.ball@tulsaworld.com

From: http://www.tulsaworld.com/site/articlepath.aspx?articleid=20110724_44_D3_CUTLIN891415

SDCC ’11: More Preview Arts From Various Superman Titles Revealed!

Again thanks to Bleeding Cool, check out the preview arts below:

If you were at today’s Superman panel at San Diego Comic-Con, you were treated to a first look into some of the art for the Superman group books in DC Comics-The New 52. But fret not if you weren’t able to attend. We here on The Source have got you covered. Below, take a look at the art from Action Comics, Supergirl, Superboy, and Superman that debuted today.


Expect all the new DC Universe titles to be available in stores starting this September.

By: TwitterButtons.com
By TwitterButtons.com

Comic Book Legends Revealed #324

Comic Book Legends Revealed #324

Welcome to the three hundredth and twenty-fourth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, learn the surprising history behind Superman and his famous changes within phone booths! Plus, discover the interesting secrets behind Death of the Endless guest-starring in the Incredible Hulk. And did Stan Lee really create a Jungle Girl comic book just because an artist he wanted to hire drew women really well?

Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and twenty-three.

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: Clark Kent has very rarely changed into Superman in a phone booth, including not once on the 1950s Superman TV series!

STATUS: True

I have written in the past about just how influential the 1950s TV series, The Adventures of Superman, was on what we think of as the iconic take on the character of Superman (specifically, it is where “Truth, Justice and the American Way” became ingrained into the collective psyche). However, in a fascinating article I read recently by Steve Younis, of the Superman Homepage, the Superman TV series actually was NOT where our idea of Clark Kent changing into a phone booth comes from.

In fact, as Younis notes, in the 104 episodes of the TV series, Clark never changed into Superman in a phone booth in ANY of them!

And it wasn’t the comics or the comic strip, although Superman did, on occasion, use phone booths, but to an minuscule degree as compared to when he would change in the Daily Planet storeroom. Here’s a Superman comic strip from 1942 when he notes why it is a BAD place to change clothes…

He also occasionally used it on the radio series, but not frequently at all. In the history of Superman, it was almost always storage rooms where Clark changed, by a very large margin over other places (alleys, roofs and stairwells were all also popular).

Amazingly enough, what it really seems to down to is TWO different Fleischer Superman cartoons. One from 1941 and one from 1942.

Here, from 1941, the second Superman cartoon, “The Mechanical Monsters,” is Clark Kent changing into Superman in a phone booth…

He does it again in a March 1942 cartoon.

And that’s pretty much it.

From those two usages in the cartoons, an iconic idea of Clark Kent changing into Superman in a phone booth was developed, and it is clearly IS iconic, as it pops up constantly, particularly in parodies of the character (from Mad magazine to Underdog or even at DC itself, including in Bob Hope’s comic book). Heck, in the first Superman feature film, they even use a joke based on Clark looking for a phone booth but finding only the new phone booths that don’t have doors (a joke Gerry Conway used in Superman vs. Spider-Man).

The only reason the joke works, of course, is that it just an accepted fact that Clark Kent changes into Superman in phone booths. Since then, of course, Clark HAS changed into Superman in phone booths on a few occasions in film and TV, but they are all clearly meant as references back to the “iconic” way Clark did so – a way that he rarely actually did!

I find that utterly fascinating, that such a small usage of an idea can become so powerfully ingrained in our minds.

Thanks so much to Steve Younis for this interesting topic.

EDITED TO ADD: Commenter GreyDog noted that the phone booth changed is used on the cover of a 1974 issue of Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen. What is particularly interesting about that issue is what happens inside:

It’s even considered iconic BY OTHER COMIC BOOK CHARACTERS! Beyond the fact that that makes no sense, story-wise (if people knew where Clark Kent changed into Superman, why don’t they see Clark Kent duck into the phone booth?), it is amazing to see a comic book reference to the fame of the phone booth usage when he WASN’T using the phone booth to switch in the comics!!

COMIC LEGEND: Peter David was given permission to use Death in Incredible Hulk #418, with one interesting qualification.

STATUS: True

As a tie-in to our Comic Book Easter Egg month, let us talk about Incredible Hulk #418, where Rick Jones and Marlo Chandler get married.

First off, here’s a fun cameo throughout the issue, as artist Gary Frank drew writer Peter David as the minister of the wedding….

However, one of the most memorable moments (especially from the pile of people who have written in to me to suggest it this month) is this cameo of Death, from Sandman (Marlo had previously been essentially killed, but was later returned to life)…

As part of Easter Egg month, Peter David was nice enough to write in to give some interesting background about this famous easter egg. He first asked Neil Gaiman for permission to use Death, and Gaiman agreed.

Next, David went to Paul Levitz to clear it with him. Levitz signed off on it as well, but he had just one “condition” – no ankh. If you notice, the ankh is tucked under Death’s shirt.

Isn’t that a nice example of two comic book companies working together for a cool moment?

Thanks to Peter David for the information!

COMIC LEGEND: Stan Lee was so impressed with Werner Roth’s sample “good girl” artwork that he not only hired Roth, but created a comic book just for Roth to draw!

STATUS: False (but only because of chronology issues)

From Werner Roth’s Wikipedia page…

Roth’s work began appearing in Marvel Comics, then known as Atlas Comics, in 1953. Stan Lee, the editor at Atlas, was impressed with Roth’s portfolio, particularly his drawings of women. According to Lee, “when you have a good artist like Werner Roth, you want to use him. So I took his samples to show [then-publisher] Martin Goodman. I suggested we should use Werner, even create a comic for him. Which we did, and that was how Lorna, the Jungle Girl was born.”

The quote is from Nicky Wright’s The Classic Era of American Comics.

Werner Roth was, indeed, a wonderful artist for drawing women. That is why when Atlas ran out of work for him in the late 1950s (he and many others), he found regular work drawing romance comics for DC until the mid-60s, when Stan Lee lured him back to Marvel to take over X-Men after Jack Kirby left (initially using the pseudonym Jay Gavin).

And it is true (well, I believe it, at least) that Stan Lee DID create a new book, Lorna the Jungle Queen, for Roth to draw in 1953 (particularly since it was about 10 years after most other jungle girl comics had fallen by the wayside).

However, Roth had been working for Atlas for THREE YEARS before Lorna came around. His debut came in 1950 with an issue of Venus…

And he had an extended run on Apache Kid…

So no, Lee did not hire Roth and then create a comic for him right on the spot.

Check out this post on Pat Curley’s Silver Age Comics site to see some of Roth’s Lorna artwork. It is definitely top notch stuff.

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comics Database for this week’s covers! And thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!

Follow Comics Should Be Good on Twitter and on Facebook (also, feel free to share Comic Book Legends Revealed on our Facebook page!). If we hit 3,000 likes on Facebook you’ll get a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends the week after we hit 3,000 likes! So go like us on Facebook to get that extra Comic Book Legends Revealed! Not only will you get updates when new blog posts show up on both Twitter and Facebook, but you’ll get original content from me, as well!

Also, be sure to check out my website, Legends Revealed, where I look into legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can find here, at legendsrevealed.com.

Here’s my book of Comic Book Legends (130 legends – half of them are re-worked classic legends I’ve featured on the blog and half of them are legends never published on the blog!).

The cover is by artist Mickey Duzyj. He did a great job on it…(click to enlarge)…

If you’d like to order it, you can use the following code if you’d like to send me a bit of a referral fee…

Was Superman a Spy?: And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed

See you all next week!

49 Comments

The Livewire

July 22, 2011 at 9:14 am

I loved that Incredible Hulk Wedding issue.

And of course the gift from Death was priceless.

*sigh* I miss Rick and Marlo.

Jeff R.

July 22, 2011 at 9:28 am

My suspicion is that Mad Magazine had a lot to do with the Phonebooth change becoming as iconic as it did…I bet he did it more there (with any one of a hundred different possible gags) at least an order of magnitude more often than in ‘official’ versions…

Craig

July 22, 2011 at 9:44 am

Is that Venus issue’s title the first comics allusion to Euripides’ famous quotation?

Glitchy

July 22, 2011 at 9:49 am

Back when that issue of Hulk came out, I recognized Death instantly, however It took me embarrassingly long to get the whole “Brush with Death” pun. [hangs head in shame]

JohnByrneSaysOnTwitter

July 22, 2011 at 10:08 am

Took me a long time too Glitchy. I knew it had to mean something but it took multiple readings to figure it out.

ChrisDonaghy

July 22, 2011 at 10:21 am

I wonder if this is a case of the parody setting the tone – -Jay Ward was certainly aware of the Fleischers — and he had Underdog demolish every phone booth in the city when he changed.

mdk

July 22, 2011 at 10:22 am

Seems like it’s cool to denigrate the comics of the 90?s now, but there was some really good stuff that came out in that decade, it wasn’t all Rob Liefeld, scrtchy lines and pockets all over everyone’s uniform. Of the good work that was released in the 90?s, Peter David was the writer for a lot of it. So anyway, kudos to PAD.

Brian Cronin

July 22, 2011 at 10:31 am

Yeah, Chris and Jeff, I think you’re spot on – the parodies of the Fleischer cartoons definitely helped. I added that into the piece. Thanks!

Tonebone

July 22, 2011 at 10:32 am

Captain America is wearing his costume AND a tux! Classy!

And why is the Thing wearing a helmet?

Daniel O’Dreams

July 22, 2011 at 10:34 am

Always loved the, “better take off before that Thanos creep shows up…” line.
” He keeps following me around like a little puppy and it weirds me out.”

Dan Trudeau

July 22, 2011 at 10:34 am

My guess about the phone booth is it was such an appealing image for the marketing related to Superman and that’s how it got into the collective psyche. Just a guess.

Rick Jones’ bachelor party and wedding are highlights of my comic book reading experience. I was a guest at a con with Peter David once and we discussed them in the hospitality room. The fun thing about those issues is the work he had to do securing permission from the editors of the various books in terms of using their characters. As can be seen, the Fantastic Four and Avengers editors were game.

The highlight of the bachelor party issue was when the adult films are being shown. Someone asks Captain America why he’s looking down and he says, “It’s nothing. Just something in my eye.” Great stuff.

Brian Cronin

July 22, 2011 at 10:45 am

And why is the Thing wearing a helmet?

You’re better off not knowing.

Mat001

July 22, 2011 at 10:48 am

And why is the Thing wearing a helmet?

In an earlier issue of the Fantastic Four, the original team wound up fighting the New Fantastic Four, from 1989. That was the team of Spider-Man, the Hulk, Wolverine and Ghost Rider. During the fight, Logan loses control and slices Ben in the face, scratching him pretty good. Ben wound up wearing a bucket on his head to hide his disfigurement, before putting on a special helmet. Shortly after, Logan would lose his Adamantium and by 1995, Ben would stop wearing the mask. The scars went away after “Onslaught” and “Heroes Reborn”.

Michael P

July 22, 2011 at 10:50 am

Like Brian said…

Kamino Neko

July 22, 2011 at 10:54 am

Tonebone – at that point in the comics, Ben had been injured by Wolverine and wore the helmet to hide the scars.

Bryan L

July 22, 2011 at 11:21 am

Point of order: Ben wasn’t really trying to hide the scars. He’s not exactly a pin-up model. Wolvie’s claws stripped away some of his rocky hide, exposing vulnerable flesh. The helmet protected him, to an extent. Even then, he mentioned that blows to the face from the Hulk or whomever hurt him.

I’m a little scared that I know that.

The Mutt

July 22, 2011 at 11:21 am

I don’t think I’ve ever heard an episode of the Superman radio show, but stuck in my brain is a soundbite of an announcer-voiced guy saying, “Into a nearby phone booth…” Anybody know where that might be from?

The Dude

July 22, 2011 at 11:26 am

@Dan Trudeau: that’s definitely the funniest part of the bachelor party. I also like the image of one of the guys of the Pantheon on top of Silver Surfer’s board with a punch bowl on his head singing “Surfin’ USA”.

Never thought I’d write a sentence like that in my life. I love comics

buttler

July 22, 2011 at 11:36 am

I think you may be right, Mutt. That particular phrasing is iconic enough that it made it into what’s probably my favorite Jonathan Lethem story ever, which goes like this (in full):

Gregor Samsa ducked into a nearby phone booth. “This looks,” he said, “like a job for a gigantic insect.”

syon

July 22, 2011 at 11:54 am

Great stuff, Brian. The Superman phone booth myth is fascinating. Has any other character been so closely associated with something that he did so rarely?

S

July 22, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Wow, that Apache Kid cover is amazing!

CM Funk

July 22, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Another ham-handed Peter David “joke” that’s just sooooo funny.

Teebore

July 22, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Peter David gets a lot of crap for his proclivity towards puns, but I’ll be damned if that “brush with death” doesn’t crack me up…

I guess I’m just a sucker for puns, too…

Bob

July 22, 2011 at 12:17 pm

@syon: Well, a lot of people and/or characters are associated with lines that they never actually said. “Play it again, Sam.” … “Beam me up, Scotty.” … “Just the facts, ma’am.” … “Elementary, my dear Watson.”

@Mutt: I have been listening to a lot of Adventures of Superman radio series episodes, but I don’t recall him changing clothes in a phone booth in any of them. You can download a few years worth from http://www.archive.org

BTW, DC made fun of the phone booth trope themselves in http://crossover.bureau42.com/zsupesfunt.html
Great cover, but the story was silly even by the standards of the time.

buttler

July 22, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Great stuff, Brian. The Superman phone booth myth is fascinating. Has any other character been so closely associated with something that he did so rarely?

Sure. Just look at Hank Pym.

Brian Cronin

July 22, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Yeah, Bob, which is part of why I think that the parody idea presented earlier is most likely the “correct” answer as to why the phone booth became so established. People parodied the Fleischer cartoons so much that it was just a given that they made the events of the cartoon become an indelible image when we think of Superman.

Bob

July 22, 2011 at 12:32 pm

My problem with Peter David’s jokes is that they depend on a “nudge-nudge, wink-wink” to the reader. They’re gags that the reader would get, but are meaningless to the characters in the story. That, to me, makes them fall flat. I enjoy characters with a sense of humor within the story, but I’m rarely amused by gags that break the fourth wall.

GreyDog

July 22, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Brian, check out the cover for Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen, v. 1, #162:

http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Superman%27s_Pal,_Jimmy_Olsen_Vol_1_162

They were using Superman and phone booths in 1974.

Brian Cronin

July 22, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Right, GreyDog, but that’s the point – that cover works because “obviously, Superman changes in phone booths,” which he didn’t actually do in the comics (with any regularity, that is). So why, by 1974, was it ingrained in our minds that that is where Superman changes? For instance, he changes in a phone booth in the ill-fated mid-60s musical version of Superman, so obviously it was considered an “iconic” thing by that point. And it is interesting to see all of that iconic value derive from really just two high profile examples of Superman changing in a phone booth.

buttler

July 22, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Just in the interest of adorability, I present exhibit Z: A portrait of the buttler as a young Superman.

http://theidiolect.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/243093_10150206217304889_842674888_6703795_524459_o.jpg

That would be around 1978, I’d say.

Brian Cronin

July 22, 2011 at 12:55 pm

That is, indeed, adorable.

danjack

July 22, 2011 at 12:58 pm

i really like PAD’s gags. Just my opinion tho’.

syon

July 22, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Bob:”@syon: Well, a lot of people and/or characters are associated with lines that they never actually said. “Play it again, Sam.” … “Beam me up, Scotty.” … “Just the facts, ma’am.” … “Elementary, my dear Watson.”’

Except those (barring Sherlock Holmes) are instances of characters being identified with things that they did not do, a slightly different situation. The Sherlock Holmes “elementary” quote is a case of adaptive osmosis, as the quote was used extensively in the Rathbone films, just not in the ACD canon.

buttler:”Sure. Just look at Hank Pym.”

Yeah, that seems like a good example. The original story pretty clearly indicated that that was the first and only time that Hank struck Jan, yet people seem to think that it was an ongoing occurrence.

Mary Warner

July 22, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Peter David had so much hair then.

I had absolutely no idea what that brush meant until it was explained in the comments. I just assumed it had something to do with Death in Sandman.

Okay, there’s Two-Gun Kid, Rawhide Kid, Outlaw Kid, Ringo Kid, Kid Colt, and now it seems there was also an Apache Kid? I get the impression Marvel’s West was populated almost entirely by kids.

Joe S. Walker

July 22, 2011 at 2:16 pm

I think comics would be better off today if there had been editors who simply refused to let people indulge themselves in this manner.

MarkAndrew

July 22, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Lorna the Jungle Queen was a surprisingly damngood title, from start to finish.

Mike Loughlin

July 22, 2011 at 3:00 pm

I didn’t get “brush w/ death” at first, either. luckily, they explained it in the letters page soon after.

I love that Quicksilver played the piano at the wedding. He had just learned how in a memorable scene from a then-recent issue of X-Factor. I’m not a huge continuity proponent, but I do enjoy little moments like that.

Brian Cronin

July 22, 2011 at 3:01 pm

Good example of nepotistic continuity there.

T.

July 22, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Gary Frank should have stylized Peter David some more. He made him look a little too photorealistic, which kind of makes him extra creepy looking compared to everyone else.

Also, I usually think David gets too much flack for his puns, but that one is indeed very forced.

ParanoidObsessive

July 22, 2011 at 3:43 pm

I get the impression Marvel’s West was populated almost entirely by kids.

In Marvel’s defense, it seems like there were quite a few “Kids” running around in the real Old West (Billy the Kid, the Sundance Kid, plus, there really WAS a real-life Apache Kid), and it’s sort of become standard to invent new outlaw nicknames by just tossing “Kid” onto a place-name (like The ‘Frisco Kid).

Ganky

July 22, 2011 at 4:15 pm

The well-known but seldom used Superman phrase “Up, up, and away!” did come from the radio show (to let listeners know he was about to go flying), which is why he used to say it in Superfriends. I wonder if he ever changed in a phone booth on that show?

Lots of the mythos came from the radio show (possibly his first team-up with Batman?), so the phone booth might have been used there too, since it’s a much easier thing to say than show. If you have to show someone acting out changing clothes in a phone booth, he looks ridiculous, but it’s an easy throwaway line for a radio script, allowing the writers to get to the action quickly. But there were a LOTof episodes for the radio and it reached a HUGE audience, so I haven’t heard that many of them.

jay

July 22, 2011 at 4:34 pm

The phone booth switcharoo was used in the recent “trinity” episode of Batman Brave and The Bold when he Batman and Wonder Woman are called back into action 50 years in the future. Seemed odd that with phone booths headed for extinction today that Clark would be bale to find one in the year 2061.

Mark G.

July 22, 2011 at 4:52 pm

“Supey”???!?!?!?

PB210

July 22, 2011 at 5:05 pm

The Spider and the Shadow had special compartments in their limousines or cabs to put their cloaks into, and would change in their limousines. Can anyone else recall similar scenes, of the hero changing in his cab or limousine? Interesting that “changing in a limousine” does not receive that many homages. (Craig Shaw Gardner noted in his novelization of the 1989 Michael Keaton film that he had practiced changing in his limousine just in case.)

Death also appeared in Excalibur#25 or #26, as I recall, resembling the Gaiman version. Did Claremont receive approval.

Follow-up on last week’s legend; the scene from X-Men#137 mirrors a scene from Fantastic Four#13, replacing Wolverine with the Red Ghost. (The Red Ghost also appeared in Quasar#6, by the way.)

PB210

July 22, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Two things, one unrelated to the curren thread:

In a 1950? Daffy Duck cartoon, he does change into “Superduck” in the janitor’s closet. Perhaps the phone booth had yet to ingrain itself by then.

An Easter Egg. In an issue of DoctorSpektor, #22 (it reintroduces the Owl), they show someone reading The Daily Sentinel, from the Green Hornet.

PB210

July 22, 2011 at 5:21 pm

To bring something else up again; can anyone find examples of homages, etc. to the protagonist changing in a limousine or a cab? Even just plain examples, I would find interesting.

John Trumbull

July 22, 2011 at 5:26 pm

There was an episode of the Monkees back in the 60s where Superman changed in the phone booth right after the Monkees finished using it.

Bill Reed

July 22, 2011 at 6:30 pm

That Hulk bit confused the hell out of me as a kid, as I didn’t know what Sandman was.

And it’s only now reading Glitchy’s comment that I twig the brush gag. Peter David, pun master.

sean

July 22, 2011 at 7:15 pm

I didn’t get the pun either, probably because it’s *not* a brush with Death, it’s a brush from Death.

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From: http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2011/07/22/comic-book-legends-revealed-324/

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