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.
THE AVANT-GARDE OF THE NEW AESTHETIC: BATMAN ’89, DESTROYER AND THE CHANGED FACE OF GOTHAM CITY
By Chris Sims
I’m not a big fan of Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman movie, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this week, but there’s definitely one thing that I think it did right. Burton’s Gotham City, redesigned for the screen by Anton Furst, is absolutely beautiful. The Academy Award-winning production art direction is stylish, terrifying, visually engaging and arresting on a level that the rest of the movie has a hard time living up to, creating a world that looks like Batman could exist there.
It’s also one of the movie’s lasting influences on the world of the comics. Ever since Furst and Burton unveiled their version as a backdrop for the Joker blasting Prince from a boombox while trashing an art museum and Batman blowing up a chemical plant with his remote-control car, Gotham has adhered to their vision of the city, transforming from the bustling stand-in for New York that it was before and becoming its own unmistakable entity. And in true comic book fashion, the comics accomplished this by blowing everything up and starting over.
THINK ABOUT THE FUTURA: THE GRAPHIC DESIGN AND VISUAL EPHEMERA OF BATMAN ’89
By Dylan Todd
There are a lot of reasons for Tim Burton’s Batman movie to have failed. Comic book movies were in a slump, with Howard the Duck and Superman IV: the Quest For Peace both (deservedly) bombing in previous years. The movie is a darker take on a character who is most widely known as being a campy do-gooder who fights brightly-colored visions where each blow landed was accompanied by an overlaid onomatopoeia. The director’s two film credits to date were a film starring Pee-Wee Herman and a goofy haunted house movie. The lead actor was a guy more known for roles like Gung Ho, Mr. Mom or the aforementioned goofy haunted house movie than serious, dramatic stuff like Clean & Sober. Your other lead actor is basically the only thing that you can sell, and even he’s a wild card lately, having gone from The Witches of Eastwick to Broadcast News to the mega-depressing Ironweed in the same year. Also, the movie had just started filming in October of 1988 and the studio, who at this point is understandably nervous, wants to start rolling out marketing around Christmastime.
So, how do you sell this movie? The answer is, in this case: “Simply.”
Launched in late 1988 by the B.D. Fox agency -– who had also handled the campaigns for E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, the one true Robocop movie, and mankind’s crowning cinematic achievement, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure – with a poster designed by the film’s production designer Anton Furst, the Batman campaign is a classic example of doing more with less. It’s sexy, sleek, mysterious and new. It’s regarded as one of the best movie campaigns ever, and for good reason. On the occasion of the film’s 25th anniversary, let’s talk about why the campaign was so good.
RUMOR HAS IT DARKSEID IS THE VILLAIN OF THE UPCOMING ‘JUSTICE LEAGUE’ MOVIE
By Matt D. Wilson
If a rumor from The Wrap reporter Jeff Snider is to be believed, Marvel Studios and DC Entertainment could soon have competing, craggy-faced, evil space gods appearing in their films very soon.
Thanos has already made one appearance in a Marvel film, and his voice actor for Guardians of the Galaxy, Josh Brolin has been announced. Now, Snider reports that none other than Jack Kirby’s galactic despotic Darkseid, the seeker of Anti-Life and the villain that simply “is,” will be the big bad of the planned Justice League film, which is said to be coming out in May 2017.