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Archive for May 2014 – Page 2

Trailer: CIA And Drug War Drama Kill The Messenger With Jeremy Renner

Gary Webb was a journalist. He got in deep. His reward? Well, the good work he did. A Pulitzer Prize. And now, being played by Jeremy Renner in a movie.

I mean, it’s been downhill all the way, but that’s not such a steep slope.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Kill the Messenger was directed by L.I.E‘s Michael Cuesta. I’m certainly intrigued.

 

Trailer: CIA And Drug War Drama Kill The Messenger With Jeremy Renner

Fantastic Four Skinned

So we ran a story and a follow-up about plans at Marvel to put the Fantastic Four comics in hiatus for the duration of the Fox movie production, publicity and release.

It was instantly dismissed by all and sundry, until the more staid and conservative CBR – whose News Editor also moonlights writing PR features for Marvel with Tom Brevoort  -  backed up key elements of the story.

And it’s still dismissed by most. Marvel’s Senior VP Brevoort posted ”My denying rumors isn’t likely to keep anybody who’s prone to paranoia from panicking. But really, does this even seem remotely plausible to people? Does it make any sense? Folks have a very strange idea as to the way a business is run.”

But Tom knows exactly what’s going on and why, and his words were chosen with care. Because this is not a rational business choice, it is an emotional one.

Isaac Perlmutter, CEO of Marvel Comics and the largest single shareholder of Disney, used to be the guy in charge of Toy Biz. When Marvel bought that company, he successfully negotiated himself onto the Marvel board. And then when the publisher went bankrupt, was the man who successfully negotiated Marvel Comics out of that situation, becoming Marvel’s largest shareholder  and CEO in the process. He is the man most responsible for Marvel Studios making films themselves. And it was he who decided to sell Marvel to Disney, and made over a billion in the process, to add to his existing billion – he is the richest man in comics by a long way.

Known for his penny pinching at every level, and rather personal politics when making decisions, the story we first reported about the Fantastic Four titles being cancelled to snub Fox Studios smacked of his decision making. And that’s what we eventually learned. Despite some people’s beliefs about Disney, we have been told by Marvel and close-to-Marvel sources that this an Ike decision. It’s simply down to Fox putting out the Fantastic Four movie, and him being fed up when he sees the Fantastic Four comic being promoted or even published, even in the Marvel offices and what he sees as giving free publicity to the film.

One might speculate that attempted renegotations with Fox, as had happened with Sony and Spider-Man, didn’t go anywhere and this is a result of that. But that would be just speculation.

Already the creation of new IP, new characters in Fantastic Four and X-Men comics has been discouraged by Ike as all characters associated with each book are instantly accessible for free by Fox, no matter when they were created. I’m told by another close-to-Marvel source that a recent spate of new X-characters from Brian Bendis was snuck through under the Marvel Now relaunch promotion. But this new move to dump the Fantastic Four books is a new one, as publicity around the production of the Fox movie begins to rise.

And while Ike wouldn’t be so insane to cancel the high selling X-Men comics, he has seen their promotional use reduced. And the lesser selling Fantastic Four is much less of a problem to cancel. It’s not being cancelled for low sales, many Marvel books sell worse (although more people have no read Bleeding Cool’s initial report than, well, read the Fantastic Four). But the comic has been totemic to the publisher, as it was the Stan Lee and Jack Kirby comic that kicked off the modern Marvel Universe. However it can be cancelled without having too much of a financial impact.

One might be tempted to see the death of The Watcher in Original Sin as part of that, but I think that’s too minor a detail and probably was decided long before this all became as much of an issue. Also, The Watcher probably doesn’t come into it, as Fox aren’t putting out a movie called The Watcher.

But because its so simple and that literal of a decision, books like Silver Surfer should be fine. Because it’s not called The Fantastic Four. And Death Of Wolverine can get acres of publicity simply because Fox don’t have a film called Wolverine out right now.

Which makes me think… couldn’t the Fantastic Four continue in another fashion? The Fantastic Avengers? Maybe they should try it. Maybe they are.

Know that Marvel is in no way going to admit to the decision making process that has led to putting Fantastic Four comics on hiatus for the duration of the movie production and publicity process. Faced with this reality, there will be other story-related reasons given. It’s the way of things. Maybe they’ll try to do what they did to Thor, bring the books back after the movie has been and gone in a massive wave of publicity and sales. And Fantastic Four characters will continue to appear in other books. That’s the plan.

Or at least it was.

Remember, comics is a Schroedinger’s Black Cat of an industry, once observed, things change. As CBR reported,

 Plans can change, something that’s potentially more likely now that the situation has been made public.

You never know. It’s just possible we might have all saved The Fantastic Four. Let’s see what happens… next.

Fantastic Four Skinned

Relive Your Introduction To Cinematic Quicksilver With This Days Of Future Past Clip

You can now show your non-geek friends and family members what all of the fuss was about. Here’s a clip from X-Men: Days of Future Past showing off Quicksilver’s wicked fast ways.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Was Quicksilver my favourite thing about the film? No. But he was fun. Give him his own movie!

Relive Your Introduction To Cinematic Quicksilver With This Days Of Future Past Clip

BOOM! Studios Launches BOOM! tube On Road Toward World Domination

By Julz Hendricks

Just when I think I can’t love BOOM! Studios enough, they throw something magnificent at me. BOOM!tube will feature weekly news, announcements, creator interviews and more from BOOM! Studios as well as its imprints like Archaia, KaBOOM! And BOOM! Box.

This unique YouTube channel, hosted by Stephanie Hocutt, will not be short on guest co-hosts giving their thoughts on upcoming titles. With social media at an all time high, this is a perfect time to expand their product and fire on all cylinders. The channel has been launched, and is in need of subscribers. Tell your husbands, tell your wives! You can subscribe to BOOM!tube here.

“This is what we mean when we say, ‘Come innovate with us.’ We’re always looking for new ways to engage with our fans and since YouTube is one of the largest social networks on the planet, this was the obvious next step,” says BOOM! Studios Vice President of Publishing & Marketing Filip Sablik.

Here’s their welcome video for the new channel:

Next step for BOOM! World Domination!

Julz Hendricks is a co-host of podcasts Panel 2 Panel, now featured on Bleeding Cool, and Chickcast,  She is a huge advocate of kids’ comics but is also the first in line for comics like Saga and Hawkeye.  You can find her on Twitter as @JulzHendricks.

BOOM! Studios Launches BOOM! tube On Road Toward World Domination

Annapurna Pictures May Be In On A Starship Troopers Reboot

Right now, Alan Taylor and company are hard at work on Terminator, a new seqboot instalment of James Cameron‘s formerly exciting series of killer robot time travel pictures. All being well, this new chapter will be able to make us care again.

Could Annapurna also be about to apply their magic touch (ie. Oracle millions and passion to produce) to getting a new Starship Troopers off the ground?

Collider seem to think so, and their case is simple and crisp, if circumstantial and possibly just plain wrong.

It started when Annapurna’s Megan Ellison tweeted, simply:

That being one of the slogans of the fascists’ marketing campaign in Starship Troopers.

The Collider writer replied with an image from Troopers, and then Ellison replied ‘Yes.’

So, if I were to place a bet, I’d say there’s something to this. What exactly? I guess we’ll have to wait and see but at least I can honestly say that I do want to know more.

Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz were put to work writing a new Troopers film in 2011. What relationship that work might have to do with this new motion remains to be seen.

It’s hard to not respect or admire a lot about Robert Heinlein‘s original novel but, honestly, I love Paul Verhoeven‘s subversive, sly film a lot more. Because of it’s politics? Yes, but not only. Still, I would be disappointed if any new version shifts its sentiments towards the right end of the political spectrum. I’m not going to pretend that isn’t the case.

Annapurna Pictures May Be In On A Starship Troopers Reboot

“A Bronze Age Comic That I’d Never Read…” – Mark Waid Talks Doctor Spektor

Doctor Spekter: Master of the Occult is the fourth of Dynamite’s new comic series based on the classic Gold Key characters. Series writer Mark Waid talks to Dejah Of Mars scribe Mark Rahner about taking on the lesser known character and how Spektor compares to the classic occult detectives from literature, comics and film.

MARK RAHNER: I’m a lifelong comic nerd, but Doctor Spektor was never on my radar. What made you want to resurrect him?

MARK WAID: Kind of exactly that. That he wasn’t on anyone’s radar. Do you know how hard it was for Nicky to find a Bronze Age comic that I’d NEVER read? That made it attractive as assignments go, though–there was no revival of the past forty years to be compared to!

MR: You’ve updated the character. For one thing, there was no reality TV when he debuted with Gold Key in 1972. What else have you done to him in his 2014 incarnation?

MW: Seriously, I think the spirit (no pun intended) of the original is preserved–the core concept that we’re following the adventures of a man who not only lives in a world where vampires and werewolves and ghosts are real but who has the vast physical resources and research to combat them. What we have done is update the look and give more nuance to his motives.

MR: Are there hardcore fans of the original run who’ve trolled you? “Why’d you change him, you hack?” Or is he obscure enough that you can get away with anything you want?

MW: It’s like a blank check so far. How liberating to work with a great character whose adventures had great art and whose comics covers were so memorable…and yet has no hardcore fans. It’s like finding a hidden diamond.

MR: I’m a sucker for occult investigators – Kolchak, The X-Files, Dr. Thirteen, Harry D’Amour … How is Spektor different?

MW: He is insanely, crazily, stupefyingly rich, for one. Like, Scrooge McDuck rich. Rich enough to be able to hire teams of scientists to figure out what the modern-day chemical equivalent of “eye of newt” is if he needs it for a spell.

MR: In the first issue, you link Spektor with other Gold Key characters. What can you say about that without giving too much away?

MW: That this was in my original pitch, unchanged: what could stun a man who takes the undead and magic and the paranormal for granted? Answer: costumed superheroes come to life.

MR: To paraphrase a crack from one of the supporting characters, what kind of journey are you sending Doctor Spektor on?

MW: I’ll let you in on a secret: his journey’s not as shocking as his assistant, Abby’s.

MR: What would he do in a confrontation with John Edward?

MW: Exact rightful vengeance for all of the unspeakably horrible things he’s put suffering people through in order to turn a profit on their grief.

For more on Doctor Spektor: Master Of The Occult #1, click here

“A Bronze Age Comic That I’d Never Read…” – Mark Waid Talks Doctor Spektor

Major Spoilers Question Of The Day: The Help Of Robot Friends Edition

I’m proud to say that, thanks to a mutual love of the many names of David Ryder during the episode ‘Space Mutiny’, my kid has become an aficionado of Mystery Science Theatre 3000.  This is a point of pride with me, even after the point where she wondered how they made such realistic robots back […]

Adam McKay Is The New Director Of Ant-Man – UPDATED: Not Any More

BREAKING: McKay has ALSO pulled out.

According to The Hollywood Reporter‘s sources, McKay nixed negotiations with Marvel just this morning. That’s why ‘sleeping on it’ is a phrase, not ‘go out and drink beers on it.’

It seems like Marvel will go back to Rawson Marshall Thurber and Ruben Fleischer, even though just yesterday it seemed an awful lot like they were just pawns in a game, being used to attract McKay to the honey trap.

 

Original story follows.

There’s been a lot said about Edgar Wright‘s decision to leave Ant-Man and quite what creative differences had sprung up between the director and Marvel Studios.

None of it, however, comes directly from anybody inside the situation, and plenty of contradictory ideas have come to the fore. I’m sure we’ll get to the truth sooner or later, or at least a pretty clear-focused version of it, but for now there still seem to be factions, some pro-Feige, some not, telling their own distinct variants.

In the meantime, life goes on and the film is taking on a new lease with a new director. As first reported by Ain’t It Cool, but now known by pretty much the whole community, Marvel are making a deal with Anchorman‘s Adam McKay to take the reins.

Well, he’s certainly not a bad director. And he’ll probably encourage all of those pop culture ad libs Marvel (supposedly?) think this movie needs.

When all the pieces fall and we find out quite what led to this new situation, from Wright to McKay, a few simple facts will remain unchallenged. One of those, I’m afraid, is that the film business is a business, run by managers, and whether or not the eight years of love Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish put into Ant-Man should count for something, they sadly don’t.

Now… next question. The bigger question. What is Edgar Wright going to do next? And how about Joe Cornish?

Adam McKay Is The New Director Of Ant-Man – UPDATED: Not Any More

Ms. Marvel #4 Review

Last issue, Kamala Khan took control of her powers to save her friend from what looked like a life-threatening situation at her local convenience mart.  During a struggle, a gun went off, and now Ms. Marvel gets to find out what a gunshot wound is like…  Your Major Spoilers review of Ms. Marvel #4 awaits! […]

Women In Comics Month Finale – Talking With Neo Edmund About Dropping The Cliches

By Michele Brittany, a West Coast Bleeding Cool Correspondent

I have a confession to make: the portrayal of women is not usually at the forefront of my mind when I’m reading comics, graphic novels or watching other popular forms of culture. However, as I prepared for a presentation on Ed Brubaker’s Velvet for last month’s Comics Arts Conference series at Wondercon, I began to take a closer look at women in the media I was consuming.

With the celebration of Women in Comics this month by Previews, my interest was further piqued when I wanted to prepare my own top ten list of up and coming women in the industry. There were established women – Amanda Connor, Ann Nocenti, Gail Simone – but I failed miserably to gather ten women that I had personally read or experienced their art in the comics and graphic novels I had read. Then a topic over the weekend came up on a scholarly discussion board that gave me further pause: violence against women in comic narratives.

I learned that although women make up anywhere from 40 – 47% of the readership of comics and graphic novels, female authorship (I’m including the entire creative team, i.e. writers, artists, letterers, colorists, inkers, etc.) makes up just over 12% (I reference Tim Hanley’s Bleeding Cool Gendercrunching article dated March 28, 2014) of the total creators at DC Comics. Marvel had similar, though lower figures. Seeing these statistics enlightened me on why I came up short on my list, but it also revealed an overarching question: how does an industry acknowledge and challenge acceptable past tropes to create a balanced gender narrative?

Asking that question led me back to panel organizer Neo Edmund. His recent panel Beyond Clichés: Creating Awesome Female Characters for Comics, Film, and Video Games at last month’s Wondercon resulted in approximately 200 con attendees packed into a small room (and many more were turned away) for an hour’s discussion about women in media. I’ve been fortunate to attend a similar panel at some of the various cons in which it has been offered, and I reached out to Edmund to talk more about the problematic portrayal of women in comics.

Michele Brittany: Neo thank you so much for your time. I came across your panel at the Long Beach Comic Expo and Horror Con and I thought listening to a panel discuss their challenges enlightening. Can you tell the readers a bit about yourself, your background and how you are involved in the comics industry?

Neo Edmund: I’ve been working in entertainment for about 10 years. I started as a film and television Development Executive and over time built a career as a writer. I’ve since written for film, animation, comics, and even put out a novel. For the last two years I’ve been writing kids and educational comics with a publisher called Silver Dragon Books. We’ve done titles with many major brands such as Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, JumpStart, History Channel, just to name a few.

MB: Can you tell me what led you to organize Beyond Clichés: Creating Awesome Female Characters for Comics, Film, and Video Games?

NE: Several years ago I was developing an action/adventure animated series with Jim Henson Studios. They loved the project and worked hard to push it forward, but we met unexpected resistance when we went out to the major animation studios. The trouble we encountered is that the project had a female character as the lead action hero. Though everybody loved the concept, the studio execs didn’t believe that girls would be interested in watching an action show with a girl in the lead, and they insisted that boys would never, ever watch such a show. Of course we cited the popularity of Power Puff Girls, Kim Possible and Sailor Moon, but at the end of the day we couldn’t overcome the resistance and the project never moved forward. In the aftermath, I decided this issue needed to be brought to light, which inspired me to start hosting panels at comic conventions.

MB: When and where did you hold your first the first panel?

NE: Five years ago at the very first Long Beach Comic Con. They put us in a room large enough to seat several hundred people, which would have been great had more than 10 people showed up! Despite the low turnout we pushed forward and had a great talk. I’ve since hosted the panel every year at LBCC and several other cons, and it almost always fills the room. The fantastic turnout we had at WonderCon this year has opened the door to do the panel at other cons!

MB: I think the panel of experts discussing their challenges with portraying women in their respective mediums revealed that each encounter pretty much the same issues.  What do you think are a few of the bigger hurdles with trying to portray (create) female characters that break traditional/expected stereotypes?

NE: In my opinion the stereotypes ARE the biggest hurdle. There was a time when a female character on a show, movie, or comic, had to be the personification of everything that males found cool and interesting. I coined the term the ‘overcompensated female character syndrome’: she has an IQ of 180, knows seven forms of martial arts, went to MIT where she built a rocket ship at age 14, can play the guitar like Eddie Van Halen, knows all about race car engines, and somehow finds time to maintain the body of a buxom bikini model.

The other part of the problem is that female characters often have to be apologetic for their emotions, and at some point have to screw up and be saved by the male lead. For example, in Lethal Weapon 3, Rene Russo played a female cop that was seemingly the equal of Mel Gibson’s character, but during the final shoot out she does something totally out of character, forcing the heroic male to save her. He even calls her stupid for her actions (in the most loving way possible) and she ends up saying sorry and agrees to stop being a cop so they can be together. The real nail in the coffin is that these sort of stereotypical female characters usually end up falling flat and become impossible for an audience to connect with.

MB: I saw statistics that indicated that female authorship of comics is at best 12% and I would think that is also a part of the problem with an industry relying on stereotypes. What stumbling blocks are there for women, as creators, in the industry?

NE: As odd as it may sound, I think 12% is actually a huge improvement (though far from where we should be). If you went back in time just one decade, the number would have been more like 1% (at best). In the world pre-2000, you could probably count the names of every major female comic creator and editor on your fingers. The fact that we’re ‘up’ to 12% means things are changing, and most of that change has been in the last few years.

I don’t think it’s fair to put all the blame on sexism (though there is no doubt that this is a major issue in comics). The reality is that until recent days comics were a thing consumed almost entirely by teenage boys and young adult men. When I was a teenager, it was a rare event to even see a girl in a comic shop or at a comic convention. This naturally resulted in an industry that was made up almost entirely of men, because the readers became the creators.

A friend recently told me she wish she had discovered comics 10 or 15 years ago. I then told her that such a great realization comes with great responsibility: she must now make sure that young girls won’t say the same thing 10 or 15 years from now. Exposing young girls to comics now will surely result in far more female creators in the future.

MB: What are your thoughts of improving those statistics?

NE: I say when they won’t let you do something, then find a way to go do it yourself. We are in an era where independent comics are not only possible, but can also be a huge success. Just look at all the indie comics that have been nominated for Eisner Awards this year alone. We all have the power to make our own comics and publish them. A successful independent creator can gain a lot of attention and this can lead to opportunities to work with the bigger companies. If women want to make comics then they should be making comics and not waiting around for permission from anybody. This may not be the quick and easy answer to resolve the issue with the major publishers, but the more that female creators can get noticed, the more willing the publishers and audiences will be to accept them.

I believe in the next 5-10 years the number of female creators working for the major comic publishers will be in the range of 25%, 40%, or even 50%. The reason has to do with the explosion of popularity in comic conventions, cosplay, and the massive success of comic based films. It’s safe to say that the number of women attending comic conventions is now equal to the number of men, and the readership of comics is fast approaching 50-50. The more women become interested in comics, the more women will become interested in creating comics, and the harder women will fight for the opportunity to work in this growing industry.

MB: I was reading a discussion board topic about violence against women in our narratives. It shouldn’t be a surprise, but the use of rape as a background/plot device for a woman and the resulting action of the hero and/or heroine becomes one of revenge. It seems there has to be a new way to give complexity to both genders. How do we change the narrative and more importantly, how do we as consumers voice that we want new narratives?

NE: I think creators who use rape as an inciting plot device are just being lazy. They’re looking for one tragic event that will drive the story forward and few will ever question the motives of the hero who has been raped. As a consumer, our power is in our spending choices. If consumers refuse to buy those comics, they will likely go away. The problem is that publishers might not recognize the offensive themes as the reason for the failure of a title. The good news is that the internet has given us an even greater power, and that is the power to make our voices heard. If you don’t like something write blogs, post on your social media pages, create memes, and tag the publishers in your tweets. They are paying attention and eventually they will wise up, or be pushed out of business.

MB: What are a few examples of female characters that get it right and should be followed or emulated?

NE: (This is a pretty broad subject, so I’ll limit my answer to characters within the comics and action genres). The unfortunate reality is that there aren’t nearly enough. Two of the very best were Ripley in Aliens and Sarah Connor in Terminator 2. James Cameron created two characters that were as tough as nails, but at the same time he allowed them to have moments that showed genuine emotions, and never made them apologize for it. This being said, nobody is better at building great female characters than Joss Whedon. His work on Buffy the Vampire Slayer showed the world that females can be strong, can kick butt, and still retain their femininity, and he never made them say sorry. Joss Whedon was once asked why he keeps writing strong female characters, and he simply responded by saying “because you’re still asking me that question.” I believe that without Joss’ work on Buffy and Angel, characters like Trinity in The Matrix and Katniss Everdeen would have never made it to the big screen, nor would there be talk of a standalone film featuring Black Widow from the Avengers.

MB: When you hold your panel, what are three facets of creating female characters that you want attendees of your panel to take away with them?

NE: First and foremost, put all the stereotypes of gender aside and focus on building characters that are as true and as real as possible. Second, don’t fall into the trap of overcompensating a female character’s abilities, because having an implausible set of skills is not what makes a human being strong. Avoid clichés such as the girl who knows all about muscle cars because her dad or her boyfriend taught her. It’s 2014 and if a girl wants to know about cars she can choose to take auto shop and build her own car in her own garage. Finally, and most importantly, tell your story in a way where the female characters never, ever, ever have to say sorry for being strong females.

MB: Where can the readers catch your next Beyond Clichés panel? And who have you invited as your panel experts?

NE: I’m hoping I’ll get to do this at San Diego Comic Con, but the verdict is still out. I will be hosting the panel at Long Beach Comic Con in September and likely a few other cons along the way. If anybody wants to see this panel at San Diego or any other comic con, please tell the programming directors of the cons, or just send them a Tweet. As for panelist, I try to change that up every time to keep the discussion fresh. My ultimate fanboy fantasy would be to get Joss Whedon to participate. One can dream, right!

MB: Is there anything you would like to add before we close?

NE: Thanks so much for giving me this opportunity to get the word out about this very important subject. I hope some day an article of this nature will be unnecessary, but until we get there… ONWARD AND UPWARD!!!

Neo Edmund will have a booth at the Long Beach Comic Expo this weekend at the Long Beach Convention Center.

All photographs were taken by Michele Brittany at Edmund’s Beyond Clichés panel at Wondercon this past April.

Michele Brittany is an independent popular culture scholar and semi-professional photographer currently editing an upcoming anthology on the influence of James Bond on popular culture. She regularly posts reviews and analysis on the spy/espionage genre on her blog, Spyfi & Superspies.

Women In Comics Month Finale – Talking With Neo Edmund About Dropping The Cliches