Category: DC

#Inktober! Day 28 / #MisterMiracle / Day 29 / #BigBarda 2017-10-31 03:40:12:

#Inktober! Day 28 / #MisterMiracle / Day 29 / #BigBarda
#JackKirby #NewGods #Inktober2017 #Kirby100 #FourthWorld #DCComics


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The reviews have all been written on Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, so it’s almost pointless to go over the film itself. That said, however, the film is a phenomenon. It is a landmark in the making of film. I don’t mean any of that in a good way.

The reason it is such a moment in film history is because Batman Vs Superman is a colossal statement on what happens when a studio doesn’t have a cohesive plan and hands total creative control to someone who doesn’t understand the subject matter or possibly know what he is doing. Also, a word to the wise: spoilers ahead. View full article »

The Death of Superman Lives!

Director Jon Schnepp is interviewed at the World Premiere of The Death of Superman Lives

Director Jon Schnepp is interviewed at the World Premiere of The Death of Superman Lives

According to director Jon Schnepp, the debacle surrounding Superman Lives could only have happened to a well-known direct or on a high-profile project. He also noted that this story was also the story of how modern fans are too quick to attack before seeing the final product.

To illustrate that last point, early in the film there is a moment where someone tells a story about Brian Singer, director of Superman Returns starring Brandon Routh. The story goes that Singer had a folder with pictures of Nicolas Cage in a Superman outfit. Whenever the executives at Warner Brothers started applying pressure to Singer, he would pull out one of those photos, show it to them and say “You see this? You see this? You guys nearly MADE this!” After that, they would leave him alone, chastened into silence. And yet… that picture doesn’t come close to telling the whole story.

The real story of Superman Lives starts with Kevin Smith who jumped on the opportunity to write the script. It’s probably better to let him describe the experience:

Jon Schnepp and Tim Burton after their interview about the film Superman Lives

Jon Schnepp and Tim Burton after their interview about the film Superman Lives

When asked about a director for the film, he immediately suggested Tim Burton. Even though Batman represented darkness and Superman represented light, Burton’s work on Batman ignited the franchise before Joel Shumacher came along and killed it. Unfortunately, Burton didn’t like Smith’s screenplay and that left Smith to move on to other projects.

Burton was reluctant to work on the film, mostly due to executive producer Jon Peters. During their time together on Batman, Peters would switch between coddling Burton or outright bullying him. Yet, Burton was drawn to an idea of stretching himself. He was fascinated with tackling a project involving Superman. The character required color choices that just didn’t appear in most Tim Burton films; bright, hopeful, positive.

Tim Burton’s stories have always revolved around people who are unusual and feel the pressure to hide that nature. Superman, in his vision, was almost reversed. Clark Kent was actually a bigger freak than Superman himself. Clark Kent fumbled, tried to look good but failed, was not confident and constantly aware of his rejection by society, but Superman was the opposite, completely owning his alien nature.

The Death of Superman Lives shows video of Nicolas Cage talking to Tim Burton as Cage tries on his Superman and Clark Kent outfits. The rapport between them is obvious and free-flowing. They were trying for a radical redefinition of Clark Kent. Someone so oddball and out-of-place that no one realized he was Superman because no one wanted to look at him. As Cage tries discusses his character, he begins to fidget and wander around as he imagines Clark Kent wandering around Metropolis. Burton enthusiastically voices his agreement throughout the video.

Rejuvenation suit prototype for the film Superman Lives

Rejuvenation suit prototype for the film Superman Lives

The differences weren’t just in character. In Burton’s vision, Superman was to meet Doomsday, a character created in the comics almost explicitly to kill him. Fans erupted with rage when they saw the glittering and transparent armor that Superman was to wear in the film, but they had no idea that this was a rejuvenation suit, not his actual costume. In fact, there were going to be several costumes, starting with the traditional outfit, moving to the rejuvenation suit and then, radically, a powered armor. This was provided by K, a machine sent with Kal-El as a child to be his guardian. As the adult Kal-El recovers in his rejuvenation suit, K envelops him as a protective armor and acts as a replacement for his natural powers. Following his recovery, Superman reappears in a black and silver suit that he ends the film with.

It was a radical story arc, but almost immediately there was trouble, with one concept artist calling the experience a descent into Hell. Jon Peters, who boasts throughout the documentary of his past as a streetfighter, would enter the offices of the concept artists and get one of them in a headlock. While he did this his children would come in and approve or reject artwork that the artists were working on. Peters also seemed uninterested in the dramatic aspects of the story preferring to have as much action as possible. At one point he demanded that the film feature a spaceship shaped like a gigantic skull, filled with aliens from different species that Superman would have to fight. Some of the artists interviewed for the documentary expressed confusion at exactly what the story was they were providing art for. It just kept changing.

The death blow came from Warner Bros. Previously, it was assumed that Burton had a blank check from the company. After all, he had delivered on Batman. Still, everyone knew he was making odd choices and Warner had just suffered a string of serious flops. Finally, someone ran the numbers on what the film would cost and that was it. Cuts had to be made and the script had to be rewritten. Burton was forced to fire long-time collaborators and the story started shifting. Finally, the project was shelved entirely as an embarrassing mistake.

Concept art for Superman's final suit for the film Superman Lives

Concept art for Superman’s final suit for the film Superman Lives

The pictures of the pre-production efforts just added insult to injury. When Jon Schnepp decided to make his documentary of the experience, some of the people who worked on the film outright refused to talk to him. Of the most prominent was Nicolas Cage himself. A lifelong comics fan, he even named his son Kalel after Superman himself. Following the firestorm from the fans, he is speculated to have just shut down, preferring to forget the experience rather than open himself to more criticism.

Other reactions range from disappointment to longing. Peters himself stated in the documentary that the film would have either been laughed out of the theaters or hailed as a landmark. For Burton, the film represented a stylistic departure he hasn’t tried before or since. Towards the end of the film, he mentions still holding on to the idea of making his vision of Superman come to life.

The legacy of the film seems to last beyond the human element. Man of Steel, for example, carried a noticeably more intense theme than previous renditions. The use of Keelix, a robotic assistant to Jor-El is, if nothing else, a spiritual echo of K, the robotic companion from Superman Lives. Even the traditional Superman outfit was altered to fit the film’s heavier feel. Maybe Burton and his team were just ahead of their time. Maybe they embarked on a fool’s journey. Truthfully, we’ll never know.

The Death of Superman Lives is a fascinating look into the process of a complete project meltdown despite the best of intentions. Director Jon Schnepp is right. This could not have happened to a lesser director or a project with a lower budget. This is a look into the dynamics of big budget filmmaking and it should be seen. If you’re at San Diego Comicon 2015, you’ll get a chance to see it yourself. You should.

Justice League movie is on its way

Zack Snyder will direct a Justice League movie right after Batman Vs. Superman

Zack Snyder will direct a Justice League movie right after Batman Vs. Superman

DC Comics is not messing around. Hot on the heels of Man of Steel and the Batman franchise, DC and its parent company Warner Bros. is going to come out with Batman vs. Superman, followed up by Justice League. View full article »

Alan Moore is legit

Alan Moore has always been the mad genius of comics. Being counter-cultural is pretty much in every fiber of his being and his belief in the occult only adds to that. With his out-of-the-box perspectives on the world, he doesn’t always come across well in interviews. I’ve always pictured him as being extraordinarily serious and his squabbles with his peers hasn’t helped either.

It turns out Alan Moore has a sense of humor after all.

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Inside the mind of Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is, of course, the brilliant writer behind The Sandman, Coraline, American Gods and many other works. Recently it came to light that Gaiman is returning to The Sandman, the comic that made his name and a title that he has not written for in 25 years. I once heard that Gaiman was writing and performing poetry to his mother before he could read and that he finished every book at the local library before he finished high school. Tall tales to make a talented man look like a prodigy? Maybe, but there’s no doubt he’s a talented man. CNN had a chance to sit down with him to discuss his return to The Sandman. Here are some interesting snippets of the conversation.

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Alan Moore and Grant Morrison and drama in comics

Few people believe me, but I actually attended college. And, while there, I would engage in lots of comic book discussions with fellow comic book geeks. When you’re in the dorms and it’s 2 in the morning and everyone is relaxed, tired and ready for the weekend, well, discussions get going. It’s fun.

One of the discussions we had was on comics. Not the particular characters, but the people behind them. The artists, the editors, the publishers, and so forth. I loved comics, but I have to say that the people in comics occasionally annoyed me. My argument was that the world of comics was a smaller scale version of Hollywood, but with more intense drama. My theory was that this was largely because most comic creators don’t actually have to deal with the scrutiny. I guess I was right.

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