Posts Tagged ‘Watchmen

14
Jan
13

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 281: The 2012 Year in Review

showcase logo small

It’s finally here, friends… the Showcase crew goes through everything interesting in the world of comics and pop culture for the past 12 months! This mammoth podcast touches on Marvel Now!, the New 52, The Walking Dead, hit movies, not-so-hit movies, LEGO, Aquaman, Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, the Avengers, the X-Men, Hello Kitty and virtually everything else. And as always, the crew closes it out with their picks of the year. Go to the bathroom first, because this episode is a giant. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 281: The 2012 Year in Review

22
Apr
12

100 Comic Book Movies

With a little time to kill this afternoon, I decided to make one of those “Movie List Challenges” over on Facebook. Being the sort of nerd I am, I whipped up a list of 100 movies based on comic books, graphic novels, and newspaper comic strips. Some of these are kind of indirect — the comic strip was made into a broadway musical, the musical was made into a movie. Some of them will be movies you’ve seen but maybe didn’t know were comic books first. Some of them will be foreign and some of them, especially the movie serials of the 40s and 50s, will be characters you’ve heard of in movies you didn’t know existed. And although I tried to stay with theatrical films, it’s possible a made-for-TV movie or two snuck in while I wasn’t looking. But let’s see how many of ’em you’ve seen. For the sake of fairness, I’ve put an asterisk next to each movie that I’ve personally viewed…

1. The Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941) *
2. Batman (1943)
3. Congo Bill (1948)
4. Batman and Robin (1949)
5. Superman and the Mole Men (1951)
6. Blackhawk: Fearless Champion of Freedom (1952)
7. Lil’ Abner (1959)
8. Batman: The Movie (1966)*
9. A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969)*
10. Tales From the Crypt (1972)
11. The Vault of Horror (1973)
12. Superman (1978)*
13. Flash Gordon (1980)*
14. I Go Pogo (aka Pogo For President, 1980)*
15. Popeye (1980)*
16. Superman II (1980)*
17. Annie (1982)*
18. Swamp Thing (1982)
19. Superman III (1983)*
20. Supergirl (1984)*
21. Howard the Duck (1986)*
22. Superman IV: The Quest For Peace (1987)*
23. Akira (1988)*
24. Batman (1989)*
25. The Punisher (1989)*
26. Return of Swamp Thing (1989)
27. Dick Tracy (1990)*
28. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)*
29. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991)*
30. Batman Returns (1992)*
31. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)*
32. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Turtles in Time (1993)
33. The Crow (1994)*
34. The Mask (1994)*
35. Batman Forever (1995)*
36. Judge Dredd (1995)*
37. Tales From the Crypt: Demon Knight (1995)*
38. Barb Wire (1996)*
39. Tales From the Crypt: Bordello of Blood (1996)*
40. Batman and Robin (1997)*
41. Men in Black (1997)*
42. Spawn (1997)*
43. Steel (1997)
44. Blade (1998)*
45. X-Men (2000)*
46. Ghost World (2001)*
47. Blade II (2002)*
48. Road to Perdition (2002)*
49. Spider-Man (2002)*
50. American Splendor (2003)*
51. Daredevil (2003)*
52. Hulk (2003)*
53. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)*
54. X2: X-Men United (2003)*
55. Blade: Trinity (2004)*
56. Catwoman (2004)*
57. Garfield (2004)*
58. Hellboy (2004)*
59. The Punisher (2004)*
60. Spider-Man 2 (2004)*
61. Batman Begins (2005)*
62. Constantine (2005)*
63. Elektra (2005)*
64. Fantastic Four (2005)*
65. A History of Violence (2005)*
66. Man-Thing (2005)*
67. Sin City (2005)*
68. Son of the Mask (2005)*
69. V For Vendetta (2005)*
70. 300 (2006)*
71. Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties (2006)
72. Over the Hedge (2006)*
73. Superman Returns (2006)*
74. X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)*
75. Ghost Rider (2007)*
76. Persepolis (2007)*
77. Spider-Man 3 (2007)*
78. TMNT (2007)*
79. The Dark Knight (2008)*
80. Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)*
81. Iron Man (2008)*
82. Punisher: War Zone (2008)*
83. Surrogates (2009)*
84. Watchmen (2009)*
85. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)*
86. Iron Man 2 (2010)*
87. Jonah Hex (2010)*
88. Kick-Ass (2010)*
89. The Losers (2010)*
90. RED (2010)*
91. Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World (2010)*
92. The Adventures of Tintin (2011)*
93. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)*
94. Cowboys and Aliens (2011)*
95. Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2011)*
96. Green Lantern (2011)*
97. The Smurfs (2011)
98. Thor (2011)*
99. X-Men: First Class (2011)*
100. The Avengers (2012)

14
Mar
12

Everything But Imaginary #439: Water Cooler Comics

With comic prices on the rise and trade paperbacks becoming more ubiquitous, it’s time to start making decisions about what books to get new and which ones are acceptable to wait for. So the question this week: will Before Watchmen be a “water cooler” comic?

Everything But Imaginary #439: Water Cooler Comics

05
Feb
12

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 256: The Changing Landscape of Comics

DC kicked off February with a big announcement: Before Watchmen, followed by some very interesting January sales numbers. This week, Blake and Erin discuss this news, some upcoming Marvel events like Spider-Men and Avengers Vs. X-Men, and Blake reveals his long-standing desire to be… a cosplayer! In the picks, Erin loves Morning Glories Vol. 2, and Blake doubles up with Avengers Academy #25 and Invincible #88. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

Episode 256: The Changing Landscape of Comics

01
Feb
12

Before Watchmen?

DC Comics is officially returning to the universe of the legendary Watchmen series, and as you can imagine, the reactions are mixed. I’ve chimed in with my thoughts over in my Everything But Imaginary column at CXPulp…

Everything But Imaginary #434: They’d NEVER Do THAT…

11
Apr
11

What I’m Watching/Reading: Limitless

Generally speaking, if I get really excited for a movie that was based on a book, I want to read the book first. I realize this puts me at odds with many people, but I’m the sort who always prefers to err on the side of the original author. In this case, the author is Alan Glynn, who wrote the 2002 novel The Dark Fields, upon which Leslie Dixon based her screenplay for Limitless. The Dark Fields was then re-published under the Limitless name, but having both read the book and watched the film, I can tell you, they’re two very different creatures. The good news is that I liked them both.

I didn’t know there was a novel when I went to see the movie, but I liked the movie enough to seek out the book. Even though I saw the movie first, I’ll talk about the book first.

The Dark Fields/Limitless is the story of Eddie Spinola, a copywriter who stumbles into a new drug that opens up the full potential of his mind. With near-perfect recall and much higher cognitive functions than ever before, he begins to chart a new course for his life, including an invasion of the world of high finance and running afoul of a Russian loan shark. But when the drug creates a dependency, he finds himself in danger not only for his fortune, but his life.

This is a terribly dark book, one with an incredible premise and a nice block of characters. Reading along as Eddie’s mental faculties are raised and lowered and raised again makes the experience of reading the novel somewhat like what I imagine it’d be like to read Flowers For Algernon on a roller-coaster. Glynn masterfully paints the picture of a man who is completely losing control of his life. We can feel it as one thing or another slips away from him, things that even his mythical doses of MDT-48 can’t save him from, and by the end of the book there’s really only one place it can go.

Which makes a very interesting contrast to the movie. Because although the set-up is identical, the ending is completely different.

Limitless (the film) is the story of Eddie Morra, a struggling novelist who stumbles into a new drug that opens up the full potential of his mind. With near-perfect recall and much higher cognitive functions than ever before, he begins to chart a new course for his life, including an invasion of the world of high finance and running afoul of a Russian loan shark. But when the drug creates a dependency, he finds himself in danger not only for his fortune, but his life.

Familiar, no? But screenwriter Leslie Dixon throws in some differences in the first half of the film — a girlfriend who doesn’t exist in the novel being the main one. (She also abandons some other characters, such as the daughter of Eddie’s boss who exists in a bizarre subplot that, in the book, really goes nowhere.) After that first half, though, she takes Eddie Morra’s life in a totally different direction than Eddie Spinola. This Eddie still finds himself losing control over his actions, but he also manages to hold on to a few grains of hope that Eddie Spinola loses somewhere along the line.

Frankly, if you look at Limitless the movie as an adaptation of The Dark Fields, it doesn’t really work. It drifts not only from the plot, but also from the spirit of the story in a totally irreconcilable way, where the screenwriter drew not on anything the original author gave her, but created things from whole cloth to tell a different story.

To my amazement, though, I liked them both.

Usually, I get very upset when an adaptation strays this far from the source material. In this case, though, while The Dark Fields made a very strong novel, I don’t think the climax would have been thrilling or exciting enough to make for a satisfying motion picture. Dixon created from whole cloth, to be certain, but she created something that made for a much more entertaining cinematic experience than I think the original story would have been.

This is almost a revelation to me, friends. Both the book and the film have the same basic concept, the same idea, the same elevator pitch… but the execution in the two different media almost had to be different, because I don’t think either would have worked in the other media. I’m going to have to actually step back and look at other books and movies that I didn’t think made the transition well, maybe give them another chance. Because while I still think the original author’s intentions should be paramount… well… if he’s okay with the change, I should be too.

EDIT: Of course, as soon as I finish writing this, I think of two other films with different endings that I think worked. First was The Mist. Yes, I know Stephen King purists (my girlfriend included) may be pissed at me for saying this, but I thought the ending of the film was a brilliant twist that really cut you to the core… and from what I understand, King himself agrees with me. The other is Watchmen. Curiously enough, many people criticized that film for being too faithful to the source material, to the point of dragging, but the one big change in the story, the one that comes to the end, is actually the rare case where I think the movie ending makes more sense than the original graphic novel. (It has to do with assigning blame, which is all I can say without delving into spoiler territory.) Of course, this is a case where the original writer, Alan Moore, famously did not approve of the changes, so this may be inapplicable to this discussion.

17
Nov
10

Classic EBI #69: Free Comics-You Know You Want’ Em

In this week’s Everything But Imaginary:  Yet another brilliant comic book, Thor: The Mighty Avenger, is getting canceled before its time. How do you stop books like this from suffering the same fate?

Everything But Imaginary #375: The Hammer Falls Again

In the classics, though, it’s time to rewind to June 30, 2004… a time before Free Comic Book Day was standardized as being the first Saturday in May. The week before FCBD #3, this is what I wrote to try to help fans do it the right way…

Classic Everything But Imaginary #69: Free Comics-You Know You Want ‘Em

Last December I was at one of the local big box bookstores in the New Orleans area. As I always do in these stores, I went to check out the graphic novel section, lamented the seventeen racks of Manga compared to one rack of American comics, and proceeded to flip around for something interesting.

Something interesting, as it turned out, came to me. Two women arrived at the graphic novel section, women older than myself — I’d place them in their late 50s, but it was hard to be sure because they were the sort that thought wearing enough makeup to qualify as Tammy Faye Baker’s stunt double made them look younger. I was surprised. The last time I’d seen anyone in this section that wasn’t part of my own demographic or a teenage girl looking at the Manga, it was when my buddies Chase and Mike dragged me halfway across that bookstore to ogle a cute female about our own age who was wearing a Green Lantern ring from DC Direct, making the three of us look like stalkers in the process.

I admit it, I’m more than just a people-watcher, I’m a people listener, and I wanted to know why these women were there. Hearing tidbits of their conversation, I discerned that one their grandsons had read a comic book he liked and they wanted to get him some more to encourage him to read more — a worthy cause if ever there was one. But as they flipped through a dozen Spider-Man and three dozen X-Men graphic novels, all with differing titles and number schemes, they were hopelessly lost.

So, overgrown Boy Scout that I am, I stepped in. I told them that I read comics frequently and offered to help them out. I explained that X-Treme X-Men and New X-Men featured different teams. I explained that the Ultimate books were geared for new readers. I explained that the Essential line reprinted classic stories. And when one of them was stunned that comic books cost $20 now, I explained that they still publish the magazines, but you can’t find them in many places outside of comic book shops anymore. The two ladies left with an Ultimate Spider-Man, an Ultimate X-Men, an Amazing Spider-Man and… most importantly… the directions to BSI Comics, just a few miles down the road, where I had been earlier that day.

These are the sort of people Free Comic Book Day is meant to help.

For the third year in a row, comic book shops across America this Saturday will offer free comic books to anyone who walks in the door. For we regular readers, this is great. If there’s anything better than a comic book, it’s a free comic book, and we should all take full advantage of it.

But let’s face it, guys. Free Comic Book Day isn’t for us. It’s for the kid who just saw Spider-Man 2 and is begging his dad for the action figures and breakfast cereals. It’s for the guy who loved comic books growing up but stopped reading them when he got to high school — about the same time that Jason Todd died. Its for the girl who loves fantasy but has already exhausted every L. Frank Baum, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien book in her school library.

Those of us who are out there every week, going into the comic shops, arguing about whether Captain America can beat Batman in a fight and berating the manager to order the new Family Guy T-shirts from Previews… we’re the lifeblood of the industry. We’re the people who keep Marvel and DC Comics in business, and FCBD is a nice little thank-you for us.

But without new blood, the comic book industry will eventually die out. Oh, the art form will never go away entirely. There have been comics in one form or another since Oog first painted that image of Unga getting trampled by a mastodon on the walls of his cave. (That cave, incidentally, was recently slabbed and sold on eBay for $15,745.) But the comic book as we know it could theoretically die out, and I don’t want that. I don’t want a world where there’s no Spider-Man or Captain America, where Blankets is just what you wrap yourself in to be warm at night, or where Maus is something you set traps to get rid of.

I don’t want a world without a Superman.

So here’s what you need to do my friends. This is the most important EBI assignment you’re ever going to get, so listen up. Tell people about FCBD. Post it on other internet message boards. Tell your friends and family. Give them the www.freecomicbookday.com website and tell them to find the participating store nearest to them. Write a letter to the editor for the local newspaper. Do anything and everything you can to get people into the stores.

Then, once they’re there — be nice to them. Be friendly. Make them feel welcome. Someone wants to know who that girl in Robin’s costume is? Tell him. Someone remembers a comic they saw in college called Sandman and wants to know if they ever made any more? Show them the graphic novels. Someone is looking for comics for her 7-year-old and she picks up an issue of Barry Ween? Politely suggest that Powerpuff Girls or Uncle Scrooge may be a more appropriate choice.

Help them find comic books they will like. Don’t just start pointing to Watchmen and tell them it’s just, like, the greatest thing ev-er and they’ve just got to read it or they’ll, like, be so lame. Ask them what their tastes are and try to find books that will appeal to them. If they like science-fiction, show them Y: The Last Man. If they like fantasy, give them Fables. If they dig horror, point them towards 30 Days of Night. If they’re a fan of Star Wars or Buffy the Vampire Slayer or any television or movie property that has become a comic book, show them that comic book!

And it wouldn’t hurt to bring along a notepad to give people the addresses they need for the web. Let ‘em know comixtreme www.cxpulp.com” is a good site for comic news and commentary.

That’s what the readers can do. The store owners can do some things as well. Mostly, all they have to do is be polite and helpful. It’s great for me to know that BSI Comics in Metairie, where I shop, is always friendly to new customers. I’ve been to comic stores where the windows are plastered over with 10-year-old posters, the merchandise is stacked in such a manner that it simply has to be a fire hazard, and if you don’t show up there every week the owner acts like you don’t even exist. Clean up your stores, guys. It’s your business that we’re trying to save.

Don’t gouge your customers, either. Comixtreme member Mr. 9.6 told us about a local store in his area that is only giving away the free comics with a $50 purchase. That’s ludicrous. That’s preposterous. That’s just downright crappy. (It’s worse than “crappy,” actually, but if I wrote the word I wanted to the website’s filter would just block it out.) The whole point of FCBD is to get new people into reading comics — you think you’re going to do that by making them pay fifty big ones to get one 32-page comic that they were told they could get for free? Store owners like that are the people that are killing the comic book industry.

You know how you beat comic shop owners like that? Don’t go to their store. I mean ever. No, I take that back — go one more time, on FCBD, and bring with you the location of the next closest store. Tell any customer you can that the other store is giving away the same product with no purchase necessary, inform the manager exactly why you’re not patronizing their store anymore, and walk out. And then come and post the names and locations of their shops right here in this column, because people like that should be ashamed of themselves and exposed to everyone who actually loves comic books and wants to see them grow.

How is Free Comic Book Day working so far? Honestly, I don’t know. I know the shop I go to has been nice and crowded the last two years, but I don’t know how many of those people turned into repeat customers.

But you know what? All it takes is a few. And then we get those people to get a few more people. And then those people. And so on, and so on, and so on. Comic books are an artform like no other, and right now, Free Comic Book Day is the best way we have to make people aware of that. So roll up your sleeves, friends, and let’s get to work.

FAVORITE OF THE WEEK: June 23, 2004

And while you’re pointing out great comic books, don’t forget this week’s “Everything But Imaginary” Favorite of the Week. I hated to see John Romita Jr. leave Amazing Spider-Man, but just a week later he and Glen Brunswick served up a very good horror comic with The Gray Area #1. A cop with dirty hands is killed trying to avenge his family’s murder and winds up somewhere else, some in-between place. For an issue that was all set-up, it was very strong and very creepy. I can’t wait to see where this miniseries goes.

Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People’s Heroes, the suspense novel The Beginner and the Christmas-themed eBook A Long November. He’s also the co-host, with whoever the hell is available that week, of the 2 in 1 Showcase Podcast and the weekly audio fiction podcast Blake M. Petit’s Evercast. E-mail him at BlakeMPetit@gmail.com and visit him on the web at Evertime Realms. Read past columns at the Everything But Imaginary Archive Page.




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