MARVEL STUDIOS AT SAN DIEGO: LATEST ON ‘ANT-MAN’ AND ‘AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON’
Marvel Studios held its annual crowdpleaser panel in the vastness of Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday afternoon. The casts of Ant-Man and Avengers: Age Of Ultron were both on hand — but there wasn’t much in the way of announcements, beyond confirming a lot of things we already knew. No new movies announced. No casting news that hadn’t already leaked long ago. But with those disappointments suitably girded against, here’s what we learned…
MARVEL UNVEILS CONCEPT ART POSTERS FOR ‘AGE OF ULTRON’ AND ‘ANT-MAN’
With Marvel’s big Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday sure to be another roof-raising scrum of announcements and celebrity appearances, the studio is hoping to stir up anticipation with the release of concept art posters for next year’s big releases.
The first poster, for Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man, starring Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas, features concept art by Andy Park, and debuted on Entertainment Weekly. The posters for Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron are by Ryan Meinerding and Andy Park, and will eventually slot together to form one giant image. Presumably posters featuring Quicksilver, Thor, Hawkeye, Hulk, and maybe Nick Fury, will follow over the course of the weekend.
ORIGINAL NOVA RICHARD RIDER WAS CUT FROM ‘GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY’
Undoubtedly the Marvel Comics stories that brought the Guardians of the Galaxy back to the forefront of fans’ minds — and shaped the versions of the characters that appear in the movie that opens next week — were Annihilation and Annihilation: Conquest.
Those series were also a bit of a revival for another character, Nova. And in a recent interview with ScreenCrush, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige said some early drafts of the Guardians of the Galaxy script included the Richard Rider version of Nova.
GEOFF JOHNS SAYS DC ENTERTAINMENT’S TV AND MOVIE UNIVERSES ARE SEPARATE
If you were hoping to see Arrow‘s Stephen Amell make an appearance as the emerald archer in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice or in the upcoming Justice League movie, DC Comics Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns has some bad news for you.
“We will not be integrating the film and television universes,” he said at the Television Critics Association press tour for The Flash. Seems pretty cut and dried.
JUST SAY THE WORD: DWAYNE ‘THE ROCK’ JOHNSON ALL BUT CONFIRMS ‘SHAZAM’ MOVIE ROLE [VIDEO]
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.
THIS IS WHAT ULTRON WILL LOOK LIKE IN THE ‘AVENGERS’ MOVIE SEQUEL
This week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly goes behind the scenes on the set of the Avengers movie sequel Age of Ultron, directed by Joss Whedon — and the cover offers a first glimpse of the movie version of the tin-plated villain who’ll be giving the Avengers so much trouble. Or, technically, versions.
STAN LEE’S LEAST FAVORITE PART OF A MOVIE IS THE ONLY PLACE JACK KIRBY’S NAME CAN ACTUALLY BE SEEN
Ravage 2099 and Stripperella co-creator Stan Lee has been channeling Andy Rooney in a series of videos on World of Heroes called “Stan’s Rants.” Like those missives of the late American broadcaster, these clips are mostly benign “cranky old man” bits. His newest one is about how he hates being on hold, for example.
But the video above, which is from last week, is a knife in the guts of less famous comics creators — which is to say, nearly all of them. In the video, Lee complains about having to sit through long credits at the end of movies, including superhero movies.
“Nobody knows who [these people] are, nobody can read them and nobody cares,” he says, astonishingly.
But here’s the problem: Those credits are usually where the names of comics creators who wrote and drew the characters the movies are based on actually get seen.
WINGED FREAK TERRORIZES: COMICS CREATORS AND ENTERTAINMENT PROS REMEMBER THE SUMMER OF BATMAN ’89
There had certainly been plenty of heavily-merchandised blockbusters before, but the Batman ’89 phenomenon affected pop culture in so many ways and crept into every dimension of commercial entertainment. Twenty-five years ago, it was just always there; part of the atmosphere of the era, reflected wherever you turned. From candy-filled Keaton heads in supermarket checkout aisles, to endless souvenir magazines on newsstands, to articles in newspapers and magazines, to the packs of trading cards and stickers on countertops, to Batmobile toys in Happy Meals, the entire world had gone Batty.
Even elements as bizarre as Prince’s original soundtrack album were inescapable. I distinctly remember hearing the “THIS TOWN NEEDS AN ENEMA” sample blasting out of stores in the mall; Batdancers and purple smoke were on every display on every TV in K-Mart; and the Scandalous Sex Suite single was shelved behind the counter at my local record store so no Bat-crazed teenagers could purchase it without adult approval. Hell, no less a musical icon than David Byrne took to covering ‘The Future’ on his first solo tour.
No one element defined the summer of 1989 like the Batman t-shirts. There had been Batman t-shirts around for years — pale yellow-and-black symbols on heather grey fabric — but the movie’s black-on-black costume design was a windfall for merchandisers. Cool people dressed in black, and now that black Batman t-shirts were available, everybody had to have one. It didn’t matter who you were, what you looked like, what social group you belonged to – everybody was sporting the visage of the Bat.
Twenty-five years later, we’ve reached out to some of our favorite creators and entertainers to look back on the summer of Batman.
WAIT’LL THEY GET A LOAD OF ME: JERRY ORDWAY ON THE MAKING OF HIS BATMAN ’89 COMIC BOOK ADAPTATION [INTERVIEW]
The Batmania of 1989 affected all of commercial entertainment, but perhaps nowhere was the impact felt more than in comic shops and bookstores. The wild success of Tim Burton’s movie drove fans to seek out anything Bat-related, and DC Comics was prepared. The publisher had tasked two of its finest creators with producing a comic book adaptation of the film, and Jerry Ordway and Dennis O’Neill’s comic became a sensation in its own right. The book was released in two editions (a ‘floppy’ for newsstands, and a squarebound edition for the book and comic shop market), and both became instant best-sellers.
While the project was perhaps not altogether successful in creative terms, the Batman ’89 comic adaptation is nevertheless one of if not the most proliferated comics of its type, occupying space in the collections of a whole generation of readers all over the world and fondly remembered as featuring some of Ordway’s most exquisite artwork in an already very distinguished career. As part of ComicsAlliance’s exhaustive remembrance of of all things Batman ’89, we spoke with Ordway about his fascinating and uniquely challenging experience adapting the silver-screen superhero epic back into uncommonly beautiful book form.
I LIKE BATS: PRODUCER MICHAEL USLAN REMEMBERS BATMAN ’89 AND THE ALTERNATE FILMS THAT COULD HAVE BEEN [INTERVIEW]
Michael Uslan’s name may not be known to most comic book fans, but he is probably one of the most important figures in the cinematic history of superheroes. He obtained the film rights to Batman in the late 1970s, spent ten years fighting to bring a project to fruition, and since the completion of Batman ’89 twenty-five years ago has been credited as producer or executive producer on every major cinematic Bat-project since (including Batman: The Animated Series, Mask Of The Phantasm, the Christopher Nolan trilogy of Dark Knight blockbusters, and the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice film). He’s a life-long comic fan, a pop-cultural historian, a conversationalist, and an author (his memoir, The Boy Who Loved Batman, is an essential read for anyone interested in comics and comic-influenced media).
As the man largely responsible for Batman ’89 existing at all, there’s no person better suited to tell not just the story of the film’s production, but the long and winding path the project had taken over the preceding decade on its way to success. But besides the unusual story behind Uslan’s relationship with the Dark Knight on film, the producer told us about his broader goals for Batman and comic books in general, which went far beyond simply making a successful motion picture.