Sep 30, 2010

Hey, That's My Cape! - Casting Call: Lois Lane

Noel Neill, Teri Hatcher, Margot Kidder, Kate Bosworth and Erica Durance. These actresses share at least one thing in common – they’ve all played Lois Lane. She’s a successful reporter in her own right but is best known as Superman’s better half and casting her is a pain in the ass.

Christopher Nolan is still searching for a director for the next Superman film but five names have emerged just recently as finalists: Tony Scott, Matt Reeves, Jonathan Liebesman, Duncan Jones and Zack Snyder. The latest from the rumor mill on the other hand adds one more name to that list – Darren Aronofsky.

An out-of-left-field choice if ever there was one. If you’ve seen any of Aronofsky’s work you know he’s not the blockbuster type. So where does this all come from? “Sources say” Nolan has been speaking to the director, this according to the L.A. Times. But here’s where it gets more convoluted. The next rumor has Natalie Portman up for the role of Lois Lane.

Read more about it and my thoughts on potential actresses to play Lois in the next film in my latest Hey, That's My Cape! at Newsarama.

Mark Millar And Tony Scott's Nemesis Movie To Get $150M Budget, WILL Have White Suit!

Most writers hope they’ll see at least one of their creations brought to life on the big screen one day, but comic writer Mark Millar has already been lucky enough to see two — and he has at least two more on the way.

Besides his secret project with Leinil Francis Yu, Millar is set to bring his and artist Steve McNiven’s antihero story Nemesis to life with director Tony Scott. And with the success of films like Wanted and Kick-Ass, it doesn’t appear Hollywood will stop throwing money at him anytime soon.

Read my interview with Millar about his latest comic-to-movie adaptation at MTV Splash Page.

Sep 29, 2010

For Cast & Crew of DC Animated, Superman/Batman Is Home

Flight, x-ray vision, super intelligence; who wouldn’t want to be a superhero? We grow up emulating our favorites but what is it like when you already are one?

“I try really hard to be a good person,” said voice actor Kevin Conroy at New York City’s Paley Center last week. The statement came in response to a young boy who wanted to know how Conroy is most like Batman, his most famous role, in real life.

The question, as well as several others, followed a preview screening of the latest DC Animated Universe PG-13 film, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. The feature plus a Green Arrow short, in stores this week, stars Conroy, Tim Daly, Summer Glau, Andre Braugher and Ed Asner. It also marks almost twenty years of Conroy in the shoes of the World’s Greatest Detective. Casting/dialogue director Andrea Romano, who joined Conroy at the screening, has been there with him from the start – the casting call for Batman: The Animated Series.

Head over to Newsarama to read the rest of my coverage of the Paley event with Conroy and Romano.

Sep 27, 2010

Natalie Portman wants to get Professional

Before there was Hit-Girl, there was Mathilda. Seeing adolescents toting guns and generally beating the crap out of people has become commonplace but back in 1992, watching tiny Mathilda brandishing a hand gun in Luc Besson's Léon: The Professional was a tad more controversial. Turns out child actress-turned-Academy Award nominated adult, Natalie Portman is more than willing to reprise her famous role, but not for just anyone.

MTV News recently spoke with Portman during a press junket for her upcoming film Black Swan and broached the subject of a sequel to the cult classic. They asked her about the rumored screenplay and while she seemed to admit it's existence, that's as far as she'll go.
"No, I have never read it because Luc won't direct it himself, and so I'm only interested...I told him, I told him if he would do it himself then I would be there in two seconds but he won't so..."
Besson is one of my favorite directors and while a lot of people over the year's have told me they think he should make a sequel to The Fifth Element (my favorite film of all-time), I'd never agree that was a good idea. However, in my opinion, a Léon sequel would be magical. I'm with Portman though, no Besson, no-go. What do you think? Could you see Portman as Mathilda today?

Sep 24, 2010

The 25 Best and Most Adorable MRVLCATS

Whoever said Twitter was a big time sucker... well, they're right, but that doesn't mean nothing good comes out of it on occasion. For your amusement, I present #MRVLCATS. What the hell is #MRVLCATS and why is it missing a few vowels? That's the internet for ya.

Find out the actual answer and check out 24 other (this one's Dazzler by Katie Cook!) inventive, amusing, fantastical and don't forget ADORABLE illustrations in my latest list on Topless Robot.

Sep 23, 2010

Hey, That's My Cape! – DC's Changes Good For Fans?

Waiting for the big DC news to drop yesterday was a bit nerve wracking. I’ve gotten to know quite a few DC staffers in the past few years and I knew whatever the announcement was could potentially be bad for any number of them. Although the news said DC’s multi-media and digital content productions would be located on the West Coast while print publishing would remain on the East in New York City, it didn't seem to be quite the sigh of relief employees were looking for.

Then the other shoe dropped. Or should I say, the other imprint dropped. After shutting down the Zuda webcomics site a few months ago, a joint statement was issued yesterday by DC Entertainment’s Dan DiDio and Jim Lee on The Source blog saying not only is Zuda to be disbanded entirely but that WildStorm, founded by Lee in 1992, was also shutting down. Titles that may or may not continue from these two imprints would have a DC branding on them moving forward.

So everyone is talking about what DC Comics' new plans mean financially and for their employees but what does it mean for the fans? That's what I dissect in this week's Hey, That's My Cape! at Newsarama.

Sep 22, 2010

Mark Millar Addresses Kristen Stewart 'Wanted 2' Rumors, Won't Be Upset If Sequel Never Happens

Nothing’s ever a sure thing in Hollywood — even the most bankable actors, actresses and directors can have flops. When their film hits theaters, there's always a chance of failure, but when you make it a comic book movie, the risk seems even higher.

So far, Mark Millar has an impressive batting average with film adaptations of his comics Wanted and Kick-Ass grossing close to $440 million dollars worldwide, not including DVD sales.

Granted, Wanted did have one very valuable asset on it’s side: Angelina Jolie. But seeing as how she’s confirmed that she won't return for the sequel, will it even happen?

That's exactly what I asked Millar. Find out what he said plus his surprising words about the Kristin Stewart casting rumor in my latest article at MTV Splash Page.

Nekron is back...

...to scare the crap out of you. The Blackest Night may be over but just when you thought it was safe to go out at night. Or early evening. Or the middle of the afternoon. Nekron, Death himself, would like to pay you a visit. Would that be ok? Come on. He's a nice guy. Just misunderstood. Maybe it's the whole reanimating the dead thing.

Where did I find this beautiful creature you ask? He was created by a good friend of mine, Rob Roberts. He does amazing sculpture work (and more) and as you can see, Mr. Nekron here is no different.

Here's a shot of the entire piece. Nekron sitting on top of his Black Power Battery is a thing of true horror....or beauty depending on who you ask. What's that inside the battery though?

BLACK LANTERNS! More specifically, Black Lanterns Hawkman, Firestorm and Maxwell Lord on one side and Aquaman, J'onn and Earth-2 Superman on the other.

Here he is from another angle and light. I still can't get over the amount of detail and texture on this guy. Once Rob showed me the finished product I knew I had to let you all see it. So, what do you think?

Sep 17, 2010

Build-A-Jedi

What squishes softly and carries a big lightsaber? A Build-A-Bear Jedi of course!

In case you were holding off buying yourself one of those adorable little bears you always walk by in the mall (*cough*) now's the time because they're totally geeky and acceptable for adult purchase. Just like all the other toys I own.

The crew at Yakface.com filled me in:
Upon visiting my local mall yesterday, I noticed that the Build-A-Bear Workshop is advertising a new series of Star Wars themed Build-A-Bears. There are 3 new outfits to choose from: Han Solo, C-3PO and Princess Leia along with a blue "Star Wars Bear" that has a special graphic on the bottom of the foot. These new products will be available starting September 24 and if you visit the store that weekend, you'll receive a FREE Star Wars poster with any Star Wars purchase (while supplies last).
Build-A-Bear needs to give whomever came up with this idea a BIG raise.

The official Star Wars website shows us more as does Build-A-Bear online, although they don't seem to be selling Han, C3PO or Princess Leia as of right now. They do have Anakin Skywalker, Storm and Clone Troopers, Darth Vader, a Jedi Knight and a puppy wearing Star Wars pajamas. You can purchase the bears for an average of $35 or just the outfits for $15. I can't believe they aren't selling an Ewok or Wookie though. Maybe they'll expand later on. Either way, ADORABLE!

On a similar note, it was pointed out to me that Build-A-Bear also has a Batman outfit you can buy. Why I never knew of this before and why it is not in my possession is entirely unacceptable.

Sep 16, 2010

We're all getting Goosebumps!

Viewer beware. You're in for a scare. R.L. Stine's Goosebumps is coming to the big screen.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disturbia screenwriter Carl Ellsworth has been tapped to write a script adapting the successful book series from Scholastic. THR says Goosebumps has, "sold more than 300 million copies worldwide, second only to the 'Harry Potter' series in total sales. Columbia picked up film rights to the series in May 2008 and is looking at a family-driven potential franchise." Whether the film(s) would be a direct adaptation of a particular book or a new idea altogether we don't know. Oddly enough there's no word about Stine's involvement either.

This isn't the first time the classic children's horror books have been put to screen. It was a television series that aired in the United States and Canada from 1995-1998. It brought back a wave of childhood memories when I looked up the opening credits on YouTube. And after a brief look back it seems some genre stars got their early acting practice with Goosebumps. A young Hayden Christensen was in the two-part Night of the Living Dummy III and Laura Vandervoort from Smallville was in three episodes. Adam West even had a prominent role in a couple.

This excites me. Not just because I was (am) a fan of the book series and the tv series but because I think R.L. Stine's work could make for a new generation of classic family friendly movies. Something like Monster Squad that scared the crap out of you as a kid but you look back with fond memories of now. My personal favorites I'd hope to see them adapt are The Haunted Mask, the above Say Cheese and Die and of course Night of the Living Dummy. I can't even look at the cover of that one without getting actual goosebumps to this day.

Which Goosebumps books would you like to see adapted? Or would you rather they go with new stories?

Sep 15, 2010

Hey, That's My Cape! – Archaia's Syndrome Needs No Cure

When I hear “Black Label” the first thing that comes to mind is whiskey. I suppose that says something about my extracurricular activities but it also says something about Archaia’s new line of graphic novels. And when they say graphic, they do mean graphic. Archaia’s Black Label is intended for a more mature crowd, just like the alcohol that shares it’s name.

I recently sat down with a copy of Syndrome, one of the first graphic novels to be featured under the Black Label line. It hit comic shops last week and if you saw the cover you probably did a double take. A creepy baby doll with a gooey brain partially exposed is not something I’d particularly be drawn to but it was really too odd to pass by. Not to mention peak inside. And my, that’s a lot of blood.

Find out what Syndrome is all about and read my review in this week's Hey, That's My Cape! at Newsarama.

Sep 14, 2010

Does Nikita aim true?

Hollywood loves a good remake. In this case, a remake three times over. The CW premiered the latest sexy spy offering, Nikita, last week. Does it meet with The Nerdy Bird's "girls who kick ass and look good doing it" seal of approval? The short answer would be, yes. The long answer is as follows.

Back in January it was announced this remake/reboot would be happening and while I don't like them as a general rule, I have a soft spot in my heart for "Nikita" the character so I was willing to give it a shot. Director Luc Besson first brought us the story of the addict/murderer turned assassin in the 1990 French film Nikita. It was then Americanized in a film starring Bridget Fonda called Point of No Return and finally made into a television series, La Femme Nikita, starring Peta Wilson.

All three follow the same basic premise; a young woman is charged with a crime, abducted by a covert agency and molded into an assassin against her will. In the new series, Nikita has already gone through these experiences and broken free from her captors. Three years later she's back to take revenge upon the organization that killed the man she loved simply because she loved him and free others like her still in the system.

Fans of the old TV series will find some comforts in the new show. Characters like Michael, now played by Shane West, Birkhoff, played by X2: X-Men United's Aaron Stanford and "The Cleaner" have remained intact. The agency this time around is referred to as "Division," the resident charm teacher is Amanda, played by Melinda Clarke while Xander Berkeley plays the head of Division, with the far less cool name of Percy. (I miss you Operations!)

Now as I mentioned, Nikita is not Division's toy at the start of the new series. That distinction goes to a slew of teenage recruits, one of whom is captured in the middle of a pharmacy robbery gone wrong. Her name is Alex and while she did take part in the robbery, she did not murder the man killed during it. Alex is being played by Lyndsy Fonseca whose previous credits include Desperate Housewives and Kick-Ass. Despite a throat cutting threat, so far Fonseca has failed to prove she has the same fire as previous "Nikita's."

Considering this show is called Nikita I supposed I should get around to talking about her, right? Nikita is played by the legs-as-far-as-the-eye-can-see Maggie Q. You probably know her best from Mission Impossible III or Live Free or Die Hard but she's been an action star for quite some time. If it wasn't for the fact that she was hand picked by Jackie Chan back in the day to be the next big Asian action hero I wouldn't believe she could pull off this role. After all, she's so slender I think even *I* could break her like a twig. Q still has some convincing to do in that respect but that's just her own genetics working against her.

Nikita is the only operative to have escaped Division and therefore they want her back. The first episode deals with her purposefully reemerging and letting them know she's coming for them. We see a few glimpses of her past with the agency but it seems that's all Nikita's got as well. She may be a super assassin but she's having some memory problems. Though not enough to keep her from kicking major ass.

Besides the twist of Nikita not being the new recruit this time around there are a few more twists and turns in the premiere that I won't spoil but that make things far more interesting. One thing that was lacking for me was the classic first mission scene where the main operative gets placed in a no-win situation and forced to fight their way out. I understand how it couldn't have worked in the first episode and that it might indeed show up in the future but it was something I certainly missed. I'll be watching a few more episodes of Nikita but I'm wondering if it will fly with the CW crowd or continue to hold interest for older viewers if it's catered solely to teens (there really are a lot of young, pretty cast members). I reserve the right to revert back to my high school years in order to keep watching. :)

Sep 13, 2010

Disney Princesses get a superhero makeover.

Sometimes the best stuff comes out of being up late (I should know, I'm a night owl). Take for example the 2 a.m. doodlings of deviantart member kreugan wherein ball-gown-wearing Disney princesses are transformed into chic superheroines.

Pretty sweet, right? Sleeping Beauty (aka Aurora) could totally be a member of the Legion and Tiana looks like she could give Poison Ivy a run for her money. Mulan was already a fighter of course but she's got a cool Katana thing going on now. I'd loved to have seen this kicked up a notch. Then again, so would have the artist apparently.

"I initially said I would continue to add the rest of the princesses, but that probably won't be happening. I'm sorry if I haven't gotten to your favorite princess yet! The truth is it was a random 2am whim and isn't my usual thing," said kreugan on the images web page, "While I am incredibly grateful for all of the kind words and that people get a kick out of this, it is a bit strange to get so much attention for something so random! Sort of wish I'd put more time into it now, haha."

Kreugan has some other genre work on deviant art including Harry Potter, Supernatural and an illustrated set of Marvel Masterpieces III. "I had a blast doing these, but I do have one HUUUGE regret - I really wish I had done more with them. Time ended up being a bigger issue than expected, so unfortunately they are all very simple and quick." I think the lesson learned from all the publicity is simple: people like what you're doing kreugan, do more!

Sep 10, 2010

Interview: MYTHOI Author James Ninness

Lots of people who read comic books one day hope to write or illustrate them but the number that actually will is small. One thing is for sure, you can’t just sit around waiting for it to happen. James Ninness, author of MYTHOI Book I: Birth from Semantink Publishing, took matters into his own hands and today gets to see the fruits of those labors.

“The idea was spawned as a lovechild of frustration and gin. Frustration over what kind of original, thought-provoking comic book I would write before finally deciding to do them all at once. And gin because, well, gin is awesome,” Ninness said of his first trade paperback, now on sale (Read my recent review). “In college I started getting into comics...I know, I was a late bloomer...and decided that this was a form of storytelling I needed to be a part of. The problem was that I couldn’t settle on just one idea.”

Ninness says the frustration caused him to give up all of his ideas for a while until a friend (and alcohol) helped him realize he could throw all of them into one story. “Within a month I had the first MYTHOI outline complete,” he said. “I actually wrote the first and last issues before I wrote anything else. This isn’t something that goes on forever. It has a beginning and an end.” MYTHOI is set for a 60-issue run.

The Birth series was not part of the original plan he explained. “In my initial incarnation, pieces of the Birth series were littered about the series proper as flashbacks to give the reader a better understanding of the characters themselves just a bit at a time, generating some mystery as to their motivations and revealing their individual motives periodically.”

For someone who put so much thought into his first series you’d think Ninness was a lifelong comic reader but like he said, his interest didn’t emerge until college. “Most of my life I thought they were a bit immature, though admittedly I never really gave them a chance,” he said, “That was until Gaiman’s Sandman - damn, that guy can write. After Sandman, Ennis’s Preacher and Moore’s Watchmen, I was sold. Comics were going to be a part of my life forever.”

Instead of comics, Ninness got his inspiration and love of myth from film as a young boy. “The first movie I can remember watching with my dad is called Krull, directed by Peter Yates. I think everyone should be forced to watch it - it’s so outlandishly brilliant. He also made me watch everything Harryhausen, from Clash of the Titans to The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.”

“In college I got into some of the source material for a lot of today’s mythology: Apuleius’s Golden Ass, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Homer’s Troy and the Odyssey, Beowulf, and Bullfinch’s collection to name a few. I fell in love with the allegories these creators used to make their points,” he said. “Religion. Myth. Science fiction. These are all ways of explaining something more complex to a world that may or may not be ready to understand subject material. Ultimately I became obsessed with not only the myths but the cultures in which these myths thrived, the underlying beliefs that fueled them – the mythos.” This is exactly where MYTHOI Birth steps in.

With such multifaceted ideas in his head, Ninness needed to find an artist up for the task of illustrating what would be an undoubtedly epic story. Through mutual friends he found Jed Soriano, an art student from San Diego. “I saw some concept sketches Jed was doing for a student-film and pitched MYTHOI to him on the spot,” said Ninness, “Within a few minutes we were coming up with character descriptions and sketches. We hit the ground running.”

For a special story added to the TPB, Ninness and his Editor Benjamin Glibert knew they needed something a little different. “For Heathcliff and Catherine I wanted to do something more in the vein of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. It felt write for the setting of the story and the design lends itself well the comic book form,” he said. He describes the artist, Yanglyn Ou, as “a goddess” saying, “Her line work is amazing on that story and I can’t get enough of her. She really took what I wrote and gave it the perfect mix of classic and creepy. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t at least mention our cover artist for the trade, Kevin Warwick – he really knocked it outta the park!"

Instead of aiming to sell his story to one of the bigger publishing houses, Ninness joined with newcomers Semantink Publishing for his fledgling comic work. “I’ve heard horror stories from some writer-friends of mine wherein they sell a book, but the publisher, upon picking up said tale, warps, twists and bends it to make it more marketable or better suited for mass-appeal. Not Semantink.”

Even though the book has just gone on sale, he believes he’s made the right choice. “The hardest part with Semantink was proving that MYTHOI is an original piece worthy of their ‘quality over quantity’ mantra. Once I had Benjamin convinced that MYTHOI was something special we signed a contract and he’s let me write the stories. He gives his two cents but ultimately I have complete creative control over the direction of the story itself,” he said, “While I do see this as a blessing, it also means that if the story bombs it’s 100% my fault – I don’t get to blame anyone for negative reviews/reception.”

He stands behind his work but like any author Ninness can’t be certain of it’s success with the masses. “My hope is that MYTHOI finds readers with a desire for adventure outside categorical limitations. MYTHOI is fantasy, but it’s more than that. It’s not a book about vampires, werewolves and gods – but they’re all there. There is more between the pages than dragons fighting time-traveling-cyborg assassins and Japanese ghosts battling Ancient Greek titans – but we’ve got that as well,” he said, “I wrote this book because it’s the kind of thing I’d like to read. So I guess if there are more people out there with a somewhat twisted sense of humor that dig mythology, action and movies like Krull, this is for them.”



Authors note: James Ninness has generously chosen to donate his income from MYTHOI through the end of 2011 to a charity very close to my heart, the Muscular Dystrophy Association. He gets paid on the back-end a certain percentage of digital issue and TPB sales. You can read more about it on his blog but I have to say a big THANK YOU to him right now. He encourages people to donate even if they aren’t comic fans and won’t be picking up his book so all-in-all he’s being pretty damn generous. Thank you James, I wish you success for both of us. :)

Sep 8, 2010

Hey, That's My Cape! - Teen Titans Summer Break

It’s that time of year again. Kids across the country are heading back to school. Shopping for new binders, backpacks and sneakers is hopefully done by now. The really young students might be excited but teenagers know better. Their freedom is gone, it’s back to waking up at the crack of dawn and countless hours of homework. It’s not fair but at least it means they can quit their crappy summer jobs. Unless they’re a Teen Titan, they work year round.

The Teen Titans don’t really attend school, but they don’t have real jobs either. They spend their days saving lives and not getting paid for it just like every other superhero. Then what would the Teen Titans be doing to earn some extra cash over the summer? I have a few ideas. Check them out in this week's Hey, That's My Cape! at Newsarama.

Sep 5, 2010

Twentieth Telethon

Here it is folks. Twenty years of my life has come and gone since the first year I appeared on the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon. Back then, twenty years seemed like a really long time but it's gone by in a flash. I thought for sure by now we'd not only have flying cars, but a cure for Muscular Dystrophy. Turns out we don't have either but one is far more important to have and I think you know which.

The MDA Telethon kicked off in Las Vegas today and will continue through the night and into Labor Day. "Love Networks" throughout the country will be working hard as well as they go on air whenever Jerry and his crew take a break. Countless volunteers will sit by phones for hours waiting for your call and generous donation. I'll be spending my time in New York City like I do every year, hoping we at least raise one more dollar.

I'm extra excited this year because I'll be co-hosting an even larger part of the show on Monday after 3:00pm. We are all so very thankful for our lifetime supporters who give their time and money each and every year but it's very important to get the youth involved as well. Along those lines I'll be hosting a special "Rock Against Dystrophy" portion of the show to showcase several young individuals and their work to help MDA.

Not only that but I'll be talking about the new ways to donate to MDA. For the texting crowd, it's perfect, all you have to do is text "MDA" TO 20222 and a donation of $10 will be placed on your next phone bill. No call or credit card is required.

It's a gorgeous weekend, which is always a bad sign for us because it means most people are outside enjoying their holiday but remember MDA's new slogan for this year's Telethon: Make a Muscle, Make a Difference. Before you turn that doorknob to walk outside, think about the person who doesn't have the strength to make that simple move you make every day and make a donation.

Sep 2, 2010

Mark Millar Drops 'CLiNT' Comics Magazine On Doorsteps

Brits woke up to something kick-ass on their doorstep today: the first issue of Mark Millar's brand new comics magazine, CLiNT.

From Titan Publishing, Millar, and British talents Jonathan Ross and Frankie Boyle, CLiNT promises to bring fans something they’ve been missing — a comic book disguised as a magazine. CLiNT features four serialized comic strips (including a preview of Kick-Ass 2), as well as interviews and features on video games, movies and television.

Head on over to MTV Splash Page to read Part 2 of my interview with the man himself, Mark Millar.

Sep 1, 2010

Hey, That's My Cape! - Too Many BATMEN Could Spoil The Cowl

What is Batman? Is he a person or an idea? Man or myth? Depending on the person you’re asking, real world or fictional, you’ll get a varying degree of answers but one thing has always been true. Batman is one person. Until he wasn’t. Oh god, this is going to make my brain hurt, isn’t it?

Surprise of the year! (insert sarcasm) Bruce Wayne will be returning not only from the dead or the time stream or his acid trip but to his old job as Batman. Yes, comic fans already knew this was inevitable so what’s the big deal? The NY Post reported earlier this week that Bruce’s protégé Dick Grayson would not be taking off his clothes. I mean, removing his costume. I mean, stepping down as Batman.

Check out my highly debated opinion in this week's Hey, That's My Cape! at Newsarama. They've even included a nifty poll on who you think Batman should be so go read and vote!