BEST ART EVER (THIS WEEK): 08.01.14
Compiled by Andy Khouri
We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, as well as the special qualities of comic book storytelling, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great pinups, fan art and other illustrations on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt and seemingly infinite art blogs that we’ve created Best Art Ever (This Week), a weekly depository for just some of the pieces of especially compelling artwork that we come across in our regular travels across the Web. Some of it’s new, some of it’s old, some of it’s created by working professionals, some of it’s created by future stars, some of it’s created by talented fans, awnd some of it’s endearingly silly. All of it is awesome.
Above: Rocket Raccoon by Karl Tagle.
WARNER BROS. CELEBRATES 75 YEARS OF BATMAN WITH EXHIBIT AND VIP STUDIO TOUR
Considered one of the foremost motion picture and television production facilities in the world, the Warner Bros. Studios lot in Burbank, CA invites visitors to celebrate the 75th anniversary of DC Comics’ Batman with a special exhibit in their VIP Tour. For a limited time, tour-goers are given an opportunity to view dozens of original costumes, props, gadgets and vehicles from all seven live-action Warner Bros. Batman films, and ComicsAlliance checked it out.
The ticket-only event kicks off in a screening room with a brief video commemorating the iconic film, television, and animation works of Warner Bros. Entertainment. The VIP Tour specifically features the WB Studios’ facilities: The home of 35 sound stages, giant prop houses, technical shops and a two-story museum. Each tour group (10-12 persons) is led by a knowledgeable guide via tram throughout the WB lot, with walk-on experiences where visitors learn about how each facility is used.
A dedicated 15-20 minute block of the tour involves a close-up look at the newly-tranformed WB Studio Museum, which houses the Batman Exhibit. The entire first floor of the museum is dedicated to all things Dark Knight, with an impressive array of staged costumes, gadgets and memorabilia from the many Batman films.
COMICS ALLIANCE REVIEWS ‘GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: A STAR (LORD) IS BORN
Director James Gunn’s Guardians Of The Galaxy is a big gamble for Marvel Studios. It’s an unknown quantity even to most comic fans. It’s a space opera at a time when non-Lucasfilm space operas don’t perform well. It’s a movie with a talking raccoon at a time when even Disney princess movies don’t have talking animals.
Of course, all of Marvel’s movies have been gambles. Iron Man wasn’t a household name, despite how we think of the character now. Thor was a sci fi fantasy movie — what could be worse? Captain America seemed an impossible sell for overseas markets. Bringing those franchises together for Avengers? Insanity. Marvel Studios’ safest bet was probably Hulk — a household name and a proven quantity — and that’s been the studio’s weakest performer. So it looks like the big gambles are where Marvel excels. If Guardians Of The Galaxy is the studio’s biggest gamble to date, it makes a weird kind of sense that it’s also one of the studio’s most delightful successes.
Guardians Of The Galaxy is a crowd-pleaser through-and-through; it’s funny, consistently rambunctious, and even surprisingly touching at times. And the secret of its success can be placed in large part on one set of broad shoulders.
Actor Chrs Pratt was this movie’s insurance against a bad gamble. Pratt makes this movie, and in perfect reciprocal synergy, this movie now makes Pratt. There were a lot of actors reportedly up for the leading role of Star-Lord, the Earth-born space adventurer created by Steve Englehart and Steve Gan in 1976. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Joel Egerton, Jim Sturgess, and Lee Pace were among the names linked to the part, and in any of their hands the character and the movie might have been unrecognizable. Chris Pratt’s comic energy and radiating positivity is what the movie needed — and Pratt’s reward for a job well done is that he’s now going to be a huge star (and the internet’s boyfriend).
COMICS, EVERYBODY! THE HISTORY OF STAR-LORD EXPLAINED
By Chris Haley
With the still-can’t-believe-they-actually-made-this-one Guardians of the Galaxy opening this weekend, it’s time again to break down the convoluted history of comics in the recurring feature we call Comics, Everybody! Courtesy of cartoonist Chris Haley of Let’s Be Friends Again and colorist Jordan Gibson, the subject of this edition has an uncommonly strong claim to the title of unlikely hero. Or at least, unlikely movie star. That’s right, we’re talking about Star-Lord, the Marvel Comics space hero created by Steve Englehart and Steve Gan.
Whether you’re new to Guardians and Star-Lord and curious to learn more about his ridiculous history or you’re a hardcore Marvel nerd looking to Um-Actually this feature into oblivion, you’ll be sure to enjoy this special tribute to the galaxy’s newly famous nobody.
‘SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR’ RED BAND TRAILER PROMISES GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS, INEVITABLY
Remember 2005? Back when we didn’t have a lot of good comic book movies to celebrate? Back before the first 300 movie, when the whole idea of that posturing “no homo” otherness-phobic carnival of green screened pomposity seemed like it might have cultural value? Back before Frank Miller’s swastika-festooned The Spirit left a bad taste in everyone’s mouths? Back when people were still insisting The Dark Knight Strikes Again was actually good satire, before Holy Terror confirmed that, no, Frank Miller is actually frighteningly sincere? Back when we clung to deniability?
Good news, everyone! It’s 2005 again, and we get another chance to pretend Mickey Rourke poking his head through a loaf of bread is a thing that works. Here’s another Sin City: A Dame To Kill For trailer, and it’s everything you’d expect it to be; stylish and insubstantial, with the promise of ample degradation. It’s also ‘Red Band,’ which means you have to be a mature person to watch it, ironically.
WONDER WOMAN LOOKS LIKE WONDER WOMAN: FIRST IMAGE FROM ‘BATMAN V. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE’
Our sister site ScreenCrush is in Hall H right now for the Warner Bros. presentation of Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. What’s arguably the most anticipated element of the Zack Snyder film has nothing to do with either of titles characters. Nope, it’s Wonder Woman, whose visage was finally revealed and captured for your enjoyment in the most sophisticated cell phone camera technology available. Feast your eyes on Gal Gadot as DC Comics’ Amazon princess.
JUST SAY THE WORD: DWAYNE ‘THE ROCK’ JOHNSON ALL BUT CONFIRMS ‘SHAZAM’ MOVIE ROLE
By Chris Sims
Dwayne Johnson, better known to wrestling fans from his time in WWE as The Rock, has long been rumored to be up for a starring role in a DC Comics superhero movie, and now it looks like it’s actually going to happen. In an interview with Total Film, Johnson confirmed that he has been in talks with DC Entertainment for years and that an agreement is in place and an announcement is coming soon.
As for just what that announcement will be, well, based on what Johnson says in the interview, there’s a pretty good chance he might be playing Shazam in an upcoming film.
THE DARK MAN OF STEEL RETURNS: HENRY CAVILL’S SUPERMAN IS BACK AND WETTER THAN EVER
By Andy Khouri
Superman has arrived in Gotham City — that, or he’s surveying the apocalyptic wasteland that is Metropolis in the wake of his terrible wrath in Man of Steel. Either of those scenarios may be reflected in a new promotional image released in support of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, the new Zack Snyder film based on the DC Comics superheroes created by Bill Finger & Bob Kane and Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster.
Seriously, though, it seems likely the idea behind this image is to indeed convey the crossover element of this film in graphic style — Superman is in Gotham, and that is dramatically important. It’s more thought than most filmmakers put into their marketing and posters (including Marvel), but, unfortunately, the Superman image is just slightly more colorful than the wholly black and white Batman shot released last month, and is distinctly reminiscent of a series of posters for The Dark Knight Rises which depicted that unrelated film’s principals showered in rain and debris. The net affect of this tradition is, as you can see on Twitter and everywhere promo images are overanalyzed, a pervasive sense of gloom and dread associated with these characters, who are very arguably America’s best comic book superheroes.
MARK RUFFALO’S REDDIT A.M.A. WAS A BEAUTIFUL JOURNEY INTO SHE-HULK CASTING AND POKEMON FAVORITISM
Actor and part-time Hulk Mark Ruffalo has been kind of all over the place lately, largely to promote his new movie Begin Again and his environmental activism — but for better or worse, most of his public appearances have turned into advance press for Avengers: Age of Ultron.
People just can’t stop asking him about it, and that was as true as ever when Ruffalo make himself available for questions in a Reddit “ask me anything” thread this week. Not only was there a whole lot of Hulk talk, but also plenty about a possible movie She-Hulk, his favorite Pokemon, and much more. Check out some of the highlights.
On how long he’d like to keep playing Bruce Banner/The Hulk:
“As long as they’ll have me. I did the math, and in 3 more movies I’ll be in my 50′s, and I don’t know if anyone wants to see a gray-haired Hulk. Maybe that’s not true…”
On who he’d want to play She-Hulk in a movie:
“I think Zoe Saldana would be a great She Hulk. It’d be nice to see someone like her join the Avengers. Or someone quiet and demure like Emma Stone would be nice. But it would be up to the powers that be.”
PLOT IS OVERRATED: ‘TRANSFORMERS VS. G.I. JOE’ CARTOONIST TOM SCIOLI REVIEWS ‘TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION’
By Tom Scioli
I love my job. I make Transformers vs. G.I.Joe comics on a monthly basis (with the help of my co-writer John Barber). As part of due diligence, it’s my duty to see Transformers: Age of Extinction. My ticket is a business expense. I’m making my comic not just for fans of Transformers and G.I.Joe, but for the rest of planet Earth, too. As a Transformers author I need to know how the larger world percieves Transformers so that I can play up to certain expectations and run counter to preconceived notions. In that capacity, I documented my observations about the film
Indeed, product placement is actually referred to in-story as product placement. Bay is a deft filmmaker, but the type of film he makes is a different game with big stakes and many masters. He’s able to negotiate that minefield. Wayne’s World was the first time product placement was handled this self-parodying way, but the comedy was much broader. Bay almost gets away with it here by going all-in. The transformium (more on that later) morphs into a set of Beats by Dr. Dre speakers. Nothing exceeds like excess, I suppose. If you’re going to have product placement, why not have it in every frame? Transformium gets rid of all limitations on Transformer shape. Unless they’re able to duplicate its philosopher’s stone qualities in real life, toy sales will suffer. Fittingly, Hasbro practically invented product placement with its ’80s cartoons based on toy products. My Little Pony makes an appearance in Age Of Extinction, teasing the eventual crossover. I shouldn’t be surprised by all the ad content. Its increasingly oppressive presence brings a narrative tension of its own.
The evil robots in this movie are cool as hell and probably exist in real life already, especially the mini-drones. I’ve been seeing some weird bugs this summer. There’s an ATM card wielding drone in this movie that is utterly terrifying.