INDIE COMICS NEWS: IMAGE GIVES INVINCIBLE ANNOUNCEMENT; “WALKING DEAD” TV PILOT TO FILM, MORE TMNT NEWS & STAN LEE TEAMS UP WITH ARCHIE COMICS!
* BD Horror News reports that a TV pilot based on the Robert Kirkman written Image zombie survival epic, THE WALKING DEAD, is set to begin filming for AMC on May 15th in Atlanta, Georgia (www.bloody-disgusting.com/news/19047). The pilot will be directed by Frank Darabont. The character of ex-cop Rick Grimes from the start of the series is mentioned as the possible male lead role. No other casting information is known at this time, but rumors could begin quickly. Robert Kirkman himself discussed the show’s birth in Sept. 2009 here – www.comicbookresources.com/. If this show becomes a reality, it will join other live action TV shows based on comics such as FOX’s new “HUMAN TARGET” and, naturally, THE CW’s “SMALLVILLE”, now on it’s 9th season.
* Archie Comics, having seen incredible boosts in sales recently with a marriage promotional story in ARCHIE, have announced another large move. According to their blog, creatively titled “Archie News”, Archie has decided to team up with Stan Lee’s own POW! Entertainment company to produce a new line of Archie superhero comics, a title that will debut in print as well as digital media called “Super Seven”. DC has ownership over older superhero characters originally published by Archie comics decades ago, and this will be a new foray into the genre of superhero comics. Besides the Archie line of comics and spin offs, including SABRINA, THE TEENAGE WITCH, Archie has published a SONIC THE HEDGEHOG comic book for almost twenty years, as well as a line of TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES comics in the 90’s. Stan Lee himself mentions being “excited” about the deal and the blog features the art for one member of the SUPER SEVEN, Laser Lord – archie-blogs.archiecomics.com/archie_news/. Today, Comic Book Resources interviewed Archie CEO John Goldwater, who discusses the new move as well as features artwork on another member of the SUPER SEVEN, Strong-Arm. While Stan Lee is the CEO of POW! Entertainment and will be co-creating the characters, writer Tom DeFalco (AMAZING SPIDER-GIRL, among many others) will be writing the monthly issues, with artwork by Patrick Spaziante, who does artwork for some of their SONIC comics. Goldwater mentions wanting to tap “cross media appeal” and part of that is entering (or re-entering) the competitive world of superhero comics, since they still drive the market (www.comicbookresources.com/). While there may be many detractors who do not feel this move will be a success, it is worth noting that with decent promotion (and a $2.50 cover price), ARCHIE #600 sold within the Top 40, which is incredible in today’s day and age, when most ARCHIE issues average about 7,000 to 4,000 copies sold at the bottom of the Top 250. While Stan Lee is still receiving a salary from Marvel Comics (and seems to have a cameo in nearly every film involving characters he created or co-created), he has been involved in his own projects since the end of the 90’s. From 1998 to 2001, Lee ran STAN LEE MEDIA that offered flash-based “webisode” comics such as THE 7TH PORTAL and THE DRIFTER, with Lee himself providing voice work. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2001 over shady stock dealings from Stan Lee’s business partner, lawyer Peter Paul (who fled to Brazil before returning to face charges for various fraud). Stan Lee launched POW! Entertainment in 2005 and under this company produced the TV show “WHO WANTS TO BE A SUPERHERO” as well as a TV movie, “LIGHT-SPEED” and two animated DVD’s. This was after working with DC for a line of comics called “JUST IMAGINE STAN LEE CREATING” various DC heroes as well as working on Spike TV’s animated series, “STRIPPERELLA” which starred Pam Anderson, and ran for one season (2003-2004). Considering Image Comics isn’t as competitive with Marvel and DC among the Top 100 sellers list as they used to be even in 2000, this could be the start of ARCHIE muscling into the scene on a more regular basis. If SUPER SEVEN retains the $2.50 price tag of other ARCHIE titles, it would also offer a cheaper alternative to many other superhero comics (which can be up to $3.99 a pop at times).
This is on top of the announcement that POW! Entertainment is working with Viz Media to create a manga series, Karakuri D?ji Urutimo (or “Mechanical Boy Ultimo”), created by Hiroyuki Takei and Stan Lee – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karakurid%C5%8Dji_Ultimo
* To add more Robert Kirkman news, Image has started releasing promotional images for the next arc of INVINCIBLE that starts in issue #71, titled “The Viltrumite War” – www.comicbookresources.com/. This is a story arc that the series has been hinting at for a great deal of the last six to seven years. Originally solicited to start in March, with INVINCIBLE #70 running almost a month behind (perhaps due to artist Ryan Ottley drawing five issues of HAUNT since October), it is doubtful this arc will begin before April. Still, it is a big to do for Kirkman, and his second most well known creative series. INVINCIBLE #70 is set to ship next week, with a one-shot, INVINCIBLE RETURNS, shipping before INVINCIBLE #71. Kirkman explains that this arc will once again put Invincible in space and away from his main cast “for some time”.
* In a follow up to October’s purchase of the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLE license from Peter Laird of Mirage Comics (as well as from the floundering 4Kids) by Nickelodeon (www.aerochug.com/x-19829-Brooklyn-Comic-Books-Examiner~y2009m10d23-Comic-News-for-102309-Nickelodeon-buys-TMNT-Lobo–GL-casting-rumors–Marvel-Movie-News), the main Ninja Turtle website (www.ninjaturtles.com) hasn’t updated since 11/12/09. The staff of Mirage have moved to another website, the Mirage Group (www.miragelicensing.com/) to offer updates on selling their stock of comics as well as new issues of TALES OF THE TMNT, which will continue until May. It also offers links to the blogs of various creators involved, including that of Peter Laird. While his blog usually seems to be full of him scanning unearthed 80’s artwork and his comments about various life and media, a more interesting read has been the blog of writer/artist Jim Lawson – boxburning.blogspot.com/. While he didn’t co-create the Turtles, he has been involved with drawing and writing Turtle material for Mirage and even for the Archie Comics series for over twenty years, and the purchase last year gave him a sense of, no pun intended, “shell-shock” as he now “had to go out and get a real job”. His last work for the Turtles, TALES OF THE TMNT #70, will be on sale in may, and while he (and other Mirage staff) received a “financial settlement” from the Nick deal (which may have come from Mirage CEO Laird’s $50 million pay day), Lawson will have to explore other projects. He has another graphic novel, Paleo, as well as is doing paid commissions and considering becoming an illustrator for children’s books. Meanwhile, Hong Kong based IMAGI Studios, which made the 2007 “TMNT” film, is shutting down after finishing up on a “GATCHAMEN” feature. They also did last year’s box office dud, “ASTRO BOY” – news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100209/ap_en_mo/as_film_hong_kong_imagi_studios
Aquaman returns in DC’s 2010 event!
DC NEWS: NOLAN WORKING ON “BATMAN 3” & SUPERMAN REBOOT; MORE “GREEN LANTERN” CASTING; RELEASE DATE OF “THE LOSERS” PUSHED BACK, & BRIGHTEST DAY ANNOUNCEMENTS!
* To the surprise of absolutely no one on the face of the earth, Warner Brothers is starting to work on a third film in the Chris Nolan directed, Christian Bale starring BATMAN film line. Deadline Hollywood (www.deadline.com/hollywood/flashforward-showrunner-exits-for-features/#more-24745) reports that writer David Goyer, who write on “BATMAN BEGINS” and “THE DARK KNIGHT”, is beginning work on the next Batman film with Chris Nolan’s brother, Jonah Nolan (nepotism in Hollywood is as rare as it is in government). Goyer reportedly left working on the ABC TV series “Flash Forward” to work on this next Batman film. No more details about the sequel are known, which is best considering the absurd rumor mill that surrounded SPIDER-MAN 4’s doomed pre-production last year. Also according to Deadline Hollywood, the WB are tapping Chris Nolan to “mentor” the development of another Superman film, which some insiders see as a thankless reward for his success reviving Batman’s film franchise – www.deadline.com/hollywood/its-a-bird-its-a-plane-its-chris-nolan-hell-mentor-superman-3-0-while-preparing-3rd-batman/. Nolan’s exact capacity is unknown but he likely will help construct pitches or offer opinions on how to move forward on the franchise, now with DC restructured into DC ENTERTAINMENT headed by Diane Nelson, and with the 2013 deadline to be in production before losing the entire license to the Siegel family. Bryan Singer’s “SUPERMAN RETURNS” from 2006 cost $270 million and made $391 million worldwide, a weak return of investment since WB doesn’t see 100% of ticket sales. Mark Millar, writer/creator of WANTED and KICK-A**, which both have become films, was one of the strongest voices wanting a return of Superman to the big screen, but IGN recently spoke with him and it seems his next superhero movie project is a new franchise he has independently financed, so he will likely not be involved in any official Superman film relaunch at all (movies.ign.com/articles/106/1067832p1.html).
* Heat Vision reports that Tim Robbins has joined the cast of the “GREEN LANTERN” film, playing the disapproving father of villain Hector Hammond (played by Peter Sarsgaard). Directed by Martin Campbell, it also stars Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively. Aiming for a June 17, 2011 release, it is filming now – www.heatvisionblog.com/2010/02/tim-robbins-green-lantern-senator-hammond.html#more
* DC’s blog, “The Source” has made some official announcements regarding some of their comics coming out under the “BRIGHTEST DAY” umbrella of comics this spring. One of which was a return of AQUAMAN, who has been without a title of his own for several years; nothing about the title’s creative team was announced, beyond a cover from David Finch and a statement from writer Geoff Johns, who has expressed interest in writing the character before – dcu.blog.dccomics.com/2010/02/11/your-first-look-at-brightest-day-what-does-it-mean/. The Source also announced a shake-up to the top selling GREEN LANTERN line of comics, including character Guy Gardener possibly getting his own title – dcu.blog.dccomics.com/2010/02/12/more-brightest-day-news-a-new-green-lantern-corps-creative-team/. With Marvel launching their own “light and bright” superhero comics this spring (“The Heroic Age”), it looks like both companies will continue to compete among similar trends for 2010 as much as they have in 2009.
* “THE LOSERS”, based on the DC/Vertigo comic, has seen it’s official release date moved from April 9th to June 4th. This is being done because Warner Brothers is moving up their release of the “CLASH OF THE TITANS” remake up a week, to April 2nd, to air it in 3D. “THE LOSERS” was originally scheduled to come out April 9th, a week later. www.superherohype.com/news.php
Capt. America; about to get a film and irking Fox News already?
MARVEL NEWS: RED SKULL CONFIRMED FOR “CAPTAIN AMERICA” FILM; “THOR” FILMING TRIVIA; WORD ON “DEADPOOL” & “ANT-MAN” FILMS, MARVEL VS. FOX NEWS, AND MORE PROMOTIONS FOR “THE HEROIC AGE” OF 2010 COMICS!
* Super Hero Hype (www.superherohype.com/news/captainamericanews.php) has posted a snippet from an interview with Joe Johnston on the eve of “THE WOLFMAN” opening to discuss next year’s “CAPTAIN AMERICA”. Johnston confirms that Red Skull, the arch nemesis of Capt. America in the comic books, will be the villain of the 2011 feature. He also stated how the majority of the movie will take place in World War II because Johnston wants to take the opportunity to tell Steve Rogers’ origin fully. Considering many of his films are period pieces, even “THE WOLFMAN”, Johnston is playing to his strengths. Meanwhile, an interview with the L.A. TIMES with Johnston reveals more about the premise of the film, which does contain some modest SPOILERS. In it, Johnston describes Cap’s costume as “a flag” and that when it becomes fact that Capt. America will be the U.S.’s only super-soldier, he is made into a U.S.O. performer, because the brass does not want to risk losing him; however, Rogers ultimately goes AWOL and Johnston notes that he likely will have at least one or two costume changes in the picture – latimesblogs.latimes.com/herocomplex/2010/02/captain-america-will-be-a-uso-performer-in-the-movie-director-says.html. It is worth noting that the notion of a main character stumbling upon a bit of WWII propaganda in the form of a weapon and the official military brass not wishing to risk losing it to the Nazi’s, forcing said hero to go rogue to save the day, is not so dissimilar from Johnston’s last famous comic book film, “THE ROCKETEER” from 1991; this is brought up and the director does agree his prior work is “an influence”. Johnston also confirms that they are “testing” for the role of Steve Rogers up to six actors, who range in age from 23 to 32. He notes that many soldiers in WWII were 18 or 19, but they wanted someone slightly older.
* In a Captain America related story, Fox News got wind of CAPTAIN AMERICA #602, which depicted a scene featuring the Tea Party protesters and featured a sign phrase centered around “tea-bag” ing someone. This is a family Examiner site but let us say that it does have some vulgar meanings that one either knows or can look up elsewhere. To those not in the know, protesters have taken to protesting various Congressmen and government program announcements under the “TEA” party, in connection to the original “Tea Party” protest of the Revolutionary Era as well as also meaning, “TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY” (much like A.I.M. stands for ADVANCED IDEA MECHANICS). Fox News confronted Joe Quesada and writer Ed Brubaker about it, convinced that Brubaker has a political agenda according to his Twitter feed and various interviews. Quesada and Brubaker denied the charges of political bias and seemed to claim that the offensive sign in question on the panel was not something they deliberately planned, but was inserted there by “a letterer” who plucked it from a news photo of a real Tea Party Protest sign (www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/02/09/tea-party-reference-captain-america-removed/). Publishing comics with a political agenda that is taken from the times is neither illegal or uncommon, especially for Marvel. The Golden Age of comics reeked of 1940’s propaganda for the Allies against the Axis (including many patriotic heroes like Captain America), while Stan Lee’s day in the Silver Age saw Communists as short hand for wickedness in the 1950’s to 1960’s (and beyond). The idea of Marvel Comics, published in New York would lean a bit blue politically being a shocker is akin to being surprised that “24”, which airs on FOX, has a conservative leaning. Still, neither Quesada or Brubaker want to fan the flames of hysteria over this, not wanting to lose “red state” sales, and so Quesada announces future prints of the issue will alter the “offensive” sign. The Beat, on their new website, has reported the story with replies being mostly pro-Marvel, anti-Fox (www.comicsbeat.com/2010/02/10/tea-party-protests-unitended-captain-america-portrayal/#more-439). Despite the historic Nov. 2008 elections, it seems even comic book fans remain divided. Left only hinted at was the actual content of the issue, which depicted the Tea Party movement as possible pawns for white supremacist villains created during the 1980’s (during the Reagan administration) who even have their own Neo Nazi impostor of Steve Rogers called the Grand Director, with Falcon and James Barnes trying to stop this. This Examiner read the issue and was not offended.
* KFDA’s News Channel 10 has confirmed that part of next year’s “THOR” film will be shot in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Gov. Bill Richardson confirmed the move as well as the studio hiring up to 200 local extras for the filming – www.newschannel10.com/Global/story.asp. The May 2011 feature has begun filming in L.A.
* Apparently, talk of Marvel Studios actually making a film based on “ANT-MAN” is more than just talk. Super Hero Hype confirmed a Twitter feed from Stan Lee himself (in-between making deals with ARCHIE) that Marvel has put the project into pre-production and that Lee met with director Edgar Wright (“SHAUN OF THE DEAD”) to discuss helming the film. No date has been set, but one would assume it would come out before “AVENGERS” in 2012, since Ant-Man/Hank Pym is one of them – www.superherohype.com/news/avengersnews.php. The real story is that Marvel seems to genuinely believe an “ANT-MAN” movie will be blockbuster gold.
* Variety reports that the Marc Webb directed SPIDER-MAN reboot film from Sony will be released in 3D (seen as the newest gimmick to box office gold since “AVATAR” scored over a billion) on July 3rd, 2012. Sony chairman Jeff Blake announced that movie goers will be excited to see Webb’s version of the hero in a summer 3D event. Expect 3D to make use of things such as swings, web-projectiles, and villain fire. Aside for Marc Webb as director, a script written by James Vanderbilt and Avi Arad and Laura Zisken producing, no one has been officially attached to the project yet. A Summer 2012 release would possibly pit it against “THE AVENGERS” – www.variety.com/article/VR1118014990.html.
* MTV reports that “ZOMBIELAND” writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick are deep in collaborations with actor Ryan Reynolds on the script for a Fox “DEADPOOL” film, and that the collaboration on it may be as thick as the collaboration between Chris Nolan and Christian Bale on BATMAN. The two writers discuss being “in the early stages” of the script and that the both “adore” the comics as well as the character, and credit Reynolds with being “the keeper of the flame” in terms of Deadpool. “If we ever do something that is off the Deadpool path, or if it doesn’t feel like Deadpool, he catches it,” says Reese. If this is true, then Reynolds likely had little say with the character in “X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE”. Considering that Reynolds is also starring as Hal Jordan in Warner Brothers’ “GREEN LANTERN”, a rival of FOX and Marvel, it will be interesting what the promotion is like once “DEADPOOL” starts filming. There has been no date by Fox as to when this will be released, but any filming would likely wait until Reynolds is finished with “GREEN LANTERN” – splashpage.mtv.com/2010/02/08/deadpool-writers-on-working-with-ryan-reynolds-if-it-doesnt-feel-like-deadpool-he-catches-it/#more-28940. It also remains to be seen that, considering Marvel has gone from putting Deadpool in three books a month to up to about 6-8, if the character’s good will and popularity will still be high when the film is actually produced. The Punisher was once a vibrantly popular anti-hero until Marvel over-used him in books for a decade; now his appeal is almost fringe in comparison to, say, 1993.
* There was a movie about Marvel’s cyborg hero DEATHLOK in the works? It was easy to forget that it was in some stage of pre-production, but Coming Soon.net spoke with writer David Self about the development of the picture, and he stated bluntly that despite a profile on Internet Movie Data Base about it, he hasn’t spoken to the producers about it “recently” and nothing seems to be moving with it. Deathlok was another anti-hero of the late 1980’s into the 1990’s who was once popular enough to warrant an ongoing series and no end of guest appearances in other comics, whose popularity fizzled after a half decade. The character has been a rarity ever since, and that seems to include the big screen – www.superherohype.com/news.php. No news if other “flash in the pan” Marvel heroes of the 90’s like SLEEPWALKER, DARKHAWK, or FOOLKILLER will get their own films. 3-D MAN seems ideal for filming in 3D.
* For actual Marvel Comics news, Marvel has been releasing six teaser images about their second Avengers title starting in May. This one is called “Secret Avengers” and is being written by CAPTAIN AMERICA super star writer Ed Brubaker, with art by Mike Deodato, of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and NEW AVENGERS fame. Unlike the teaser images for the Brian Bendis/John Romita Jr. AVENGERS, these heroes are shrouded in mystery, as a secret. Click here – www.comicbookresources.com/ – to speculate, although this Examiner has guessed the roster may consist of Steve Rogers, Scarlet Witch, War Machine, Moon Knight, Wonder Man, and possibly Spider-Man, Black Panther, or even Beast. Long shot guesses (provided by others) include Taskmaster, Cloak, Nova, and/or Anti-Venom (Eddie Brock’s latest alias in the comics, since Mac Gargan is currently Venom). Comic Book Resources also reports that AGENTS OF ATLAS, after being canceled last year and being seen in back-up strips and assorted mini-series, will be relaunched later in 2010 under the simple title, “ATLAS”, with the new 3-D Man being added to the cast; writer Jeff Parker lays out the map for it here – www.comicbookresources.com/. Former AVENGERS writer Kurt Busiek returns to Marvel to write “AGE OF HEROES”, an anthology featuring various heroes around the Marvel Universe from the perspective of the New York media – www.comicbookresources.com/. Finally, writer Johnathan Hickman discusses his next stories coming up in FANTASTIC FOUR, which include bringing back “some golden oldies” as well as trying to add more to the Four’s universe – www.comicbookresources.com/.
*Without further ado, this week’s sprite comic, by this Examiner:
(Ant-Man Sprite edited from Capcom by Prime OP. Spider-Man sprite from Capcom)
For more info: Super Hero Hype – www.superherohype.com
Comic Book Resources – www.comicbookresources.com
The Beat – www.comicsbeat.com
Last Week’s Comics News – www.aerochug.com/x-19829-Brooklyn-Comic-Books-Examiner~y2010m2d6-Comic-News-for-2510-SIEGE-1-rules-Jan-Sales-WATCHMEN-Sequel-Comic–More-Marvel-Movie-News
Spider-Man sprite from Fighters Generation – www.fightersgeneration.com
Ant-Man sprite from Scrollboss/Prime OP – scrollboss.illmosis.net/mainmenu.php