Thursday, June 17, 2010

Can YOU Find the A-Team?

I posted my thoughts on the new A-Team movie, and the phenomenon surrounding the franchise, here.

Enter: Whiplash!

Mattel unveiled their latest Masters of the Universe Classics figure a few days ago: Whiplash. While for many He-Man fans, Whiplash may be a rather minor minion in Skeletor's army, I remember the character fondly, not so much for who he is, but for how I first met him. My family was vacationing in Florida, and we found and bought Whiplash after the highlight of our trip, a day at Disney World. For the long flight back to Connecticut, I stood Whiplash on my folded down tray, swinging his spring action tail and waiting for the moment I could pit him against He-Man when we finally got home. In the midst of potential boredom, that single action figure helped my imagination soar, even as we did quite literally over the east coast. For that, I'll always be grateful to Whiplash. He earned his name that day, because I don't mind snapping backward at the memory.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Anyone Can Be Chosen

If ever a single sentence has evoked so much fanboy ire, it's, "Anyone can be chosen," the tag line on the Green Lantern movie promotional materials in the latest issue of Global License magazine. (Check it out here at /Film.) Of course, true fans understand that not just anyone can be chosen to wear the Green Lantern ring, but if the comment threads I've read are any indication, just about anyone can have an opinion about it. More cool-headed fans have tried to assure our peers, this is just a trade magazine, and that tag line may not be the final slogan used in public to promote Green Lantern, but the seed of doubt has already been planted.

Unlike my fellow fanboys in cyberspace, if this is the new mantra of the Green Lantern, I totally understand. Simply put, comic book fans alone cannot sustain comic book movies. Yes, we are legion, but we aren't as numerous as we think we are -- and if we were, too many of us feel entitled to bootlegging movies over seeing them in the theater anyway, decreasing the revenue studios need to see to keep a franchise alive. What big budget films like Green Lantern need are general audiences -- literally, anyone. As impossible as it is for us commoners to think in numbers like that, those are the millions of dollars Hollywood needs to spin a profit from a venture like Green Lantern. So, we can't have an exclusive attitude like the Guardians of Oa. We have to let everyone in . . . or there's no green. Ah, see what I did there?

Now, does this mean Ryan Reynolds' Green Lantern is a Joe Blow that just comes upon the most powerful weapon in the universe? I hope not, as much as I understand that niche feature films need general audiences, I think they also need to retain the spirit that made the property timeless in the first place. For all of the special effects we should expect from Green Lantern, I hope Warner Brothers remembers Hal's most effective weapon: his fearless will. Without it, he couldn't even muster up a boxing glove. Maintain the character's integrity, and folks will be lining up to watch a regular guy like Hal Jordan kick the crap out of a cosmic terrorist like Sinestro whether they've heard of Green Lantern or not. As for us fanboys . . .?

We can say we were there first. We've been here all along.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Phoenix Comic Con Coverage: How to Draw with Todd and Greg

Spawn artists Todd McFarlane and Greg Capullo presented a how to draw comics workshop at the Phoenix Comic Con on Saturday, May 29. The tutorial was a basic demonstration of superhero illustration, with an emphasis on the face and hands.

"If you can draw faces and hands," McFarlane explained, "you can get a job in comics." He further described successful character drawing in comics as acting on Broadway because dramatic body movement is essential in both media.

McFarlane was very complimentary of his partner Capullo, saying, "The artists [comic book fans] like know how to position their camera, and Greg is the best artist I know. He can put the camera anywhere in the room."

Capullo encouraged young artists to keep drawing and accept honest criticism. "An editor gave me the best advice, a guy named Larry Hama," he recalled. "'You're in the Big Apple now,' he said to me. It took me two years to take his advice."

While describing the importance of movement, McFarlane mentioned that he was recently directing a video game commercial. He didn't reveal any details, other than that the actors were carrying swords and shields.

The artists also took a humorous interlude to discuss how to play Pictionary. McFarlane explained that his wife always draws animals the same way (see image above), and essentially asked, how hard is it to add a trunk to make your drawing an elephant?

"Whenever we get picked for a team, people are always like, well, great, now we're going to lose!" McFarlane joked. "Guys, we have the same 20 seconds as you! If you can't tell, we are usually very slow, very anal, very detailed about our drawings."

Perhaps that explains the fate of Image United #3.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The Real "Black Spider-man"

The Internet is abuzz with Donald Glover's Twitter campaign to become the first black Spider-man. Peter Parker is a kid that lives with his aunt in Queens, New York. Why isn't he black?

Seriously, Stan Lee has said in more than one interview that the charm of Jack Kirby's costume design is how any kid can wish to be Spider-man, as the hero is covered head to toe. Just like President of the United States, perhaps now their wish will come true.

Phoenix Comic Con Coverage: Stan Lee Reveals, "I'm My Biggest Fan!"

Stan Lee had a busy weekend.

Stan Lee's Rock'n Comic Con is Pasadena, California launched last weekend, but that didn't stop Stan "the Man" from visiting the Phoenix Comicon, as well, where he answered questions for a ballroom of thousands of fans. Among the usual questions about how his characters were created, Lee answered inquiries about breaking into the industry, Disney's purchase of Marvel, and which of the numerous comics he's written is his favorite.

"I honestly don't know how to break into comics as a writer nowadays," he confessed. While artists can show editors their portfolio at conventions, he explained, writers just have pages of text. "If you want to write for comics today, get something else published first," Lee recommended, commenting on novelists and screenwriters becoming comic book writers, too. Regarding Disney's acquisition of Marvel, Lee said, "No company is better at marketing than Disney . . . and no company tells better stories than Marvel . . . It's a perfect marriage."

When a fan thanked Stan for helping him overcome his autism, Lee replied humbly, "I never took it that far. I created a blind superhero, and a superhero with a heart problem . . . but I'm going to take this back to the guys at the office and see what we can do!"

Finally, when asked of his favorite personal work, he said, "Fans ask me this all the time, and sometimes I say, the issue of Daredevil where he has to protect a blind cop, I'm really proud of that one . . . Then I think, oh, the coming of Galactus in the Fantastic Four was a really good one . . . and the truth is, I'm my own biggest fan! I like everything I've done!"