COMICS THAT SHOULD BE MADE INTO MOVIES: DEADMAN

Deadman is another comic with a cool story that I think would make a good movie if done right. Excuse the resemblance to Daredevil. Here’s the Comicvine origin.

The Deadman, born Boston Brand, was a well known trapeze artist who was killed by newly joined member of the League of Assassins, The Hook. (It wasn’t personal, the mission was only for initiation purposes.) For the many kindnesses that Brand had performed during his life, Deadman was saved and given his powers by Hindu goddess of balance, Rama Kushna, so that he should find his killer and settle the score.

He began to hunt for his assassin, knowing only that the man had a hook for a hand. When Deadman learned that a villain called the Hook was a member of the League Of Assassins, he was certain it was the same man who killed him. Along the way of his journey, Brand continued to interact in peoples lives, doing good deeds in his own way. One of the people was another aerialist known as the Eagle. They would first meet in St. Louis where the Eagle tried to kill him during a performance while in the air. Boston Brand as Deadman would see justice done as the Deadman when the Eagle was hired to replace him.

Deadman eventually tracked down the Hook, only to watch him die at the hands of the Sensei, leader of League of Assassins. Then with his brother Cleveland and new friend Batman, Deadman then prevented the League of Assassins taking control of the fabled Himalayan land of Nanda Parbat. Deadman was subsequently called upon to do the duties expected of spirits, such as him, greeting those entering the Land of the Just Dead. In this role Deadman guided the Phantom Stranger, the Spectre, Etrigan the Demon, and Swamp Thing in order to rescue the spirit of Abby Arcane after she was murdered by her uncle.

Deadman has teamed up with other spectral heroes, joining the Phantom Stranger and Swamp Thing to combat the threat of a “primordial shadow” that imperiled Heaven and Earth. When Asmodel usurped the power of the spirit of wrath, Deadman formed part of a strike force of sentinels of magic with Doctor Occult, Felix Faust, the Phantom Stranger, Ragman, Raven, and Sentinel assembled by Zatanna to oppose the fallen angel. Deadman continues to work with people on Earth, hoping one day to achieve a peaceful reward.

Powers and Abilities

As a spectre, Deadman has many supernatural abilities, most notably, the ability to possess other living creatures. The possession is strong enough to allow Deadman total control of the host body, although some particularly strong-willed persons have been shown to be able to resist the possession and exorcise Deadman from their bodies.

He possesses the ability to fly and cross the boundaries between the land of the living and that of the dead with ease, and as such, he maintains an intimate knowledge of the supernatural world.

Deadman is also invisible to most people, with the exception being those with similar supernatural abilities to his own. This, along with his intangibility, are out of Deadman’s control.

As a human, Boston Brand was an elite gymnast and trapeze performer, capable of phenomenal feats of agility and strength.-Source

“THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS” IN ANIMATED FORM

By Scott Tre

Batman will perhaps never escape the shadow of Frank Miller. His take on the character has left such an indelible mark that almost every iteration since has been a variation of what he established. Ironically, as influential as both Batman: Year One and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns have been, the latter has never received a proper adaptation in either live-action or animated form. Alas, The DC Animated Universe provides a wonderful platform to explore non-canonical takes on beloved characters. This fall, the highly popular series will welcome Frank Miller’s dystopian (and some would say definitive) take on the caped crusader into the fold. The Hollywood Reporter has recently published photographic evidence of this endeavor.

Yesterday, The Hollywood Reporter published 10 newly released images from Bruce Timm’s production of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. The 10 stills show a 55 year old Bruce Wayne/Batman, as well as a thirteen year old female robin. So epic is this undertaking, its makers have split it into two volumes. The first, entitled Batman: The Dark Knight Returns part 1, will be released in the fall. Part 2 will be released early next year. Peter Weller will be voicing the caped crusader, which is fitting seeing as how both Robocop and Frank Miller’s dystopian version of Batman were essentially riffs on Dirty Harry.

The two part epic will be the 15th film in the DCAU line, which has been rechristened DC Comics Premiere Movies. It’s being directed by Jay Oliva, who’s also storyboarding Zack Snyder’s upcoming Man of Steel. The pedigree here is undeniably strong. These ten stills give me faith that Bruce Timm and company will do the single greatest graphic novel of all time justice. I feel that they maintain reasonable fidelity with the artwork of Frank Miller and Klaus Janson. If all goes as it should, Batman: The Dark Knight returns should be the single best DC animated film ever. Below I have embedded the animation stills sans the photos of the voice actors.

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http://www.scottsmindfield.com/

MOVIE REVIEW: GREEN LANTERN

By Scott Tre

Unbeknown to the inhabitants of earth, an intergalactic police force known as the Green Lantern Corps serve as the peacekeepers of the galaxy. They congregate on the planet of Oa, where their headquarters is located. Each Lantern is armed with a mystical green ring that channels the will of it’s user to turn thought into reality. While doing battle with a fear mongering threat known as Parallax, Green Lantern Abin Sur flees his post after being mortally wounded. He crash lands on earth, where Cocky test pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) attempts to rescue him from his downed spacecraft. The ring chooses Jordan as Abin Sur’s successor.

Hal is eventually summoned to Oa, where Lanterns Tomar-Re (Geoffry Rush), Kilowog (Michael Clarke Duncan), and Sinestro (Mark Strong) attempt to train him. They do so while contending with the growing threat of Parallax, who plans to attack them on their very home world. Back on earth, scientist Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) has fallen under the influence of the malevolent force. He becomes a puppet of Parallax, and a mortal foe to newly christened Lantern Hal Jordan. Can Jordan overcome his personality flaws and rise to the challenge?

Green Lantern is an adaptation of the popular and long running DC Comics title. It is based largely on the Geoff Johns iteration of the character. Director Martin Campbell, a journeyman filmmaker who revitalized the James Bond franchise with his remake of Casino Royale, has been charged with bringing the character to life. He and his team of screenwriters have envisioned a grand sci-fi adventure that spans two worlds and contains villains both earthly and extraterrestrial. Unfortunately, they fail to invest the film with any sense of reality.

Any big screen version of Green Lantern was destined to be a special effects heavy affair. It also goes without saying that practical effects would decidedly not be the tool of choice. Martin Campbell pushes computer animation to its absolute breaking point and beyond. The landscapes of Oa are vivid and colorful. The architectural surfaces have a plastic sheen that lends them a fairy tale quality. The lanterns create a variety of tools and objects with their rings, all of which are a translucent emerald green. None of it looks particularly real, but it does achieve the desired effect.

The action sequences are hit and miss. Like many other elements of the film, they feel a bit detached from the whole. Fairly mundane set pieces are interrupted by genuine moments of fun and inspiration. Unfortunately, these moments are rarely sustained long enough to result in truly satisfying or awe inspiring. Perhaps the most effective of them all is a training sequence on Oa where Sinestro very simply explains what it takes to be a Lantern. It’s a competent meld of action and dialogue and is immediately reminiscent of sequential panels in a comic.

The overall tone of the film severely hinders the suspension of disbelief. The characters of Green Lantern seem to regard everything with flippancy and humor. The gravity of the situation never seems to register. The best example of this is Hal Jordan himself, who regards everything around him through an impenetrable filter of glibness. That feeling permeates the entire film, robbing it of the ability to truly draw the viewer in. Green Lantern should be an immersive experience, but instead keeps the audience at bay with an ironic distance that ultimately proves self defeating.

Green Lantern has all hallmarks of a fun and memorable superhero film. Instead of skillfully enticing the audience to buy into its outlandish premise, it takes their participation for granted. Suspension of disbelief is not a given. It has to be earned via effective storytelling and characterization. Martin Campbell and company have painstakingly conceived every element of this film except for the ones that matter most. Truly great superhero films require a level of commitment that the makers of Green Lantern weren’t prepared to make.

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STATE OF THE ART: PHIL NOTO















Phil Noto is an American comic book artist. He has worked with writer Gerry Drugan on the comic book series ‘The Infinite Horizon’, which was published by Image Comics from 2007. He has furthermore done art on titles like ‘Grendel’, ‘Birds of Prey’, ‘Harley Quinn’ and ‘Jonah Hex’. He did the 2006 ‘G.I. Joe: Scarlett: Declassified’ isse for Devil’s Due Publishing and the ‘Beautiful Killer’ series for Black Bull Comics. In 2009 he illustrated the ‘Superman/Supergirl: Maelstrom’ miniseries.

http://www.notoart.com/

STATE OF THE ART: ADAM HUGHES
















Adam Hughes is most commonly known for his stylized renderings of women; super heroines, damsels in distress, figures in fantasy. About the time Adam began making waves in art circles and his artwork really began to be noticed, the term “Good Girl Art” had been coined, and it best describes exactly what Adam does. He is considered by many to be one of a new generation of Good Girl artists inspired by Petty, Vargas and Elvgren. When describing his own work, Adam has used the term “naturalistic” as opposed to the term “realsitic” ; which describes what he does perfectly.

Adam began working in comics at the age of 19, in 1985. In 1988 Adam lent his talents to a comic book called MAZE AGENCY; a book which many consider to be his first real artistic “run” on a title. He did over a year on the book; of both interior and cover artwork. In 1989 Adam began working on his first “mainstream” comic book title: DC Comic’s JUSTICE LEAGUE. He worked on the book for almost 2 years, doing covers and interiors until 1990, then switching to supplying artwork for just the covers. Eight years later, Adam began what many see as his most acclaimed cover work. Adam’s recognizably strong and elegantly drawn women have graced the covers of four years worth of DC Comics WONDER WOMAN title.
Prior to Wonder Woman, Adam had a short run on the Dark Horse series GHOST, which many feel a noteworthy point in his career. It was here that we see Adam relying heavily on art nouveau influences in his attempt to create a “Film Noir” genre in comics. This was also about the time that Adam first worked on GEN-13: Ordinary Heroes for Wildstorm; which gave him an opportunity to write and draw his own run on a book. Adam has since worked on a variety of projects, for major publishers and in dependants, including Top Cow’s TOMB RAIDER, Mike Oeming’s HAMMER OF THE GODS, Black Bull Entertainment’s GATECRASHER, Mark Wheatley’s FRANKENSTEIN MOBSTER, to name but a few.

Today Adam is best known as a cover artist. He pencils, inks and colors his own covers, using both traditional and digital mediums. His artwork can be seen on an amazing assortment of comic book covers (see the checklist put together by Larry Dempsey) as well as many places outside the comic book industry. Adam’s most recent break from comic book work is still pertinent to the industry; the creation of a teaser poster for the much anticipated WONDER WOMAN MOVIE. Adam had worked previously with WW Movie director Joss Weydon on a Buffy the Vampire Slayer poster for the episode ONCE MORE, WITH FEELING.

Currently, Adam is the monthly cover artist to DC Comics title CATWOMAN. He tours, appearing at close to a dozen conventions a year.

http://www.justsayah.com/

DVD REVIEW: ALL-STAR SUPERMAN

By Malice Intended of Planet Ill

All-Star Superman is an adaptation of the DC Comics title by writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely. It attempts to condense a 12 issue story-arc into a single feature length film. It also attempts to fill out the ever expanding cannon of the DCAU with yet another unique take on an iconic character. It yields respectable results on both fronts, though die hard fans of the comic may have a hard time excepting it on its own merits.

The artwork of Frank Quitely provides the foundation for the character designs and overall visual aesthetic. The animation team does a good job of maintaining a reasonable visual fidelity with the source material. Frank Quitely’s art managed to convey a gentler side of superman without forsaking his awesome power. That duality is evident here as well. As has become the standard for DCAU features, the animation is efficient and streamlined without being flashy or overdone. It moves with ease without flourishes that call attention to the frame rate.

The action is sparing and subdued this time around. Previous DCAU features have included brutal and tightly choreographed fight scenes. All-Star Superman has broader scale action with a less intimate and gritty feel. Superman is the most powerful superhero imaginable, so the threats he faces have to be significantly more substantial than a mere fist fight. He also doesn’t have the luxury of inflicting unnecessary wonton damage to an opponent. Instead of allowing this to impede the action, the animators find ways to include sufficient amounts of destruction while adhering to the “rules” of the character.

The script retains the basic overall concept of the original 12 issue story arc, but the short running time doesn’t allow for the nuances of serialized storytelling. Many events from the comic have been excised. This abridged version of Grant Morrison’s intricate narrative will be seen as an unforgivable sin by many. Still, the central idea of All-Star Superman is compelling enough its own to support an entire film. How would the most powerful man on earth (and possibly the universe) spend his last days? What would his bucket list be? The film ponders this question but doesn’t allow things to get too heavy or philosophical.

James Denton’s measured vocal delivery reveals a more delicate and thoughtful side to the Man of Steel. Superman is perhaps more relatable here than he has ever been. Anthony LaPaglia dials down the more melodramatic elements of Lex Luthor. Here, the character seems irredeemably smug and self-assured even in the most mundane of situations. Christina Hendricks version of Louis Lane is feels more alert than many other iterations of the character.

All-Star Superman is not in the same class with some of the more stellar offerings from the DC Animated Universe, but it’s not a misfire by any stretch of the imagination. It offers humor, serviceable action, and a refreshingly human take on the last son of Krypton. It’s also a welcome change of pace from the unrelenting intensity of Batman: Under The Red Hood and Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. With each new addition, the DCAU continues to show itself to be the most varied “animated Universe” ever. 3.5 out of 5.

STATE OF THE ART: ED BENES













Ed Benes has been working in the comic book industry for well over a decade, getting his start on Samuree for Continuity Comics in 1993. Since then, he has worked on a wide variety of titles including Gen13, Thundercats, X-Men, Iron Man, Glory, and Codename: Knockout. Over the last few years, Ed has really made a name for himself with his eye-catching and attention-grabbing runs on titles such as Supergirl, Birds of Prey, and Superman. Ed just recently completed a landmark run on DC’s flagship title, Justice League of America! With what Ed refers to as the most important work of his career, Ed has established himself as one of the industry’s best talents. Ed is currently working on the much anticipated relaunch of BIRDS OF PREY, while also devoting his time training all of the rising talent in the Ed Benes Studio!

http://edbenes.deviantart.com/