Archive for the ‘Comics’ Category

I love superheroes as far back as I could remember.

Before I could read, I watched a lot of  superheroes cartoon/movies/tv show. That was how I was introduced to them. Lord knows how many times I used to rent this Hulk cartoon on VHS when I was a kid…

I’d watch any version of superheroes. That crap live action Spider-Man show from the ’70’s? I’d a seen it all. That bad Captain America movie?

I’d rented it a dozen times…knowing that it wasn’t that good.

Hell I even own a bootleg copy of the Fantastic Four movie in the early ’90s…

And when I FINALLY started reading comics, oh boy, did it get worse.

But, why? Why do I love this genre so much?

There is the big question right? We’ve been fans for so long, you take for granted that loving superheroes is part of the DNA of our fan culture.

For me, the answer isn’t so easy. It’s not just one reason, it DOZENS of reasons. First you get drawn to the costumes and powers. A power fantasy of looking cool, and having abilities we all wish we had. Then the battles! Screw guns and regular fisticuffs,  nothing gets more epic then seeing Superman fight someone like the Hulk and witness something awe inspiring.

Then, it’s knowing that the superheroes in these stories are doing this to save US. They don’t have the luxury of having a simple day, they have to fight to ensure that everyone else can  survive to have to those days. It’s that superheroes have this incredible self sacrifice that is inspiring, and it makes you want everyone else in the world to have that same ideal.

That’s why I keep reading and watching superhero tales.

I’m inspired to watch heroism at it’s finest, and to see some kick ass throw downs.

That’s part of the reason why I loved last years Captain America: The First Avenger so much. It’s about a man who, even before he got the powers, was a great man who wanted to do what’s right. Plus, he looked cool throwing that shield.

So, you can imagine that watching a film like The Avengers is only going to make me giddy.

The Avengers isn’t just one of the best superhero films ever made, it’s also the first film that truly nails the the blending of comic book storytelling with filmmaking.

The movies opening is a great example of that. The way that writer/director Joss Whedon wrote, shot and his editorial decisions dictated a  tone and pace that is very much a comic book style of story telling. With out spoiling anything, the way the opening scenes uses a narration that overlaps with simple images feels like reading a comics page. It evokes the pacing of seeing a single panel and reading a word box narration.

The action feels the same way.  Let me tell ya, this film will ruin every other Alien Invasion scene in movies for me from this point on (looking at you BATTLESHIP). Its not just enough to see the destruction, I now really want to see some heroes fly in and and fight back. Which brings me to the fights. Oh man, the fights. The one on one battles between the heroes, the sequence on the Hellicarrier and of course the epic finale 20-30 minutes are just breathtaking. Impacts, hits, punches, laser blasts, everything  is seen clear and crisp. Whedon knows exactly when to speed up the action,  and when to slow down. It’s these moments where it felt most like looking a splash page in a comic, or looking a dynamic fight sequence in a 3 page battle. It wasn’t just great action filmmaking, it’s true superhero comic action on screen.

As a Joss Whedon fan going back as far as 1997 , watching this film felt like Whedon’s graduated. He brought it his all, and for the first time, regular audiences can finally “get” Joss’s sensibilities. I guess it needed to be in a context that they where comfortable with, and after watching the Marvel Studio films for the last five years, audiences where ready.  They just needed to enjoy the story that Whedon fashioned. As Whedon fans, we knew he was not only going to bring in the action, but also the story, characters, humor and the drama. Glad the rest of the world can finally see what we always knew.

It’s been forever seen I’ve seen a true crowd-pleaser,  and every time I’ve seen it ( 3 times as of this writing) the audience is there with the film. It’s the kind of filmmaking that audiences love going to the movies as a big group for. The big laughs and the huge applause from the audience is the kind of magic that makes going to a movie theater fun.  It’s the feeling that audiences got when they first saw Stars Wars and Raiders of the Lost Arc for the first time. (Note: Before you go crazy, I’m not saying The Avengers is THAT great, but the elated joy and entertainment the audience got after leaving the theater was just as close.)

But it isn’t just the spectacle that the audiences are eating up in this film, it’s the characters too.  The film is full of great character interaction, great work from the cast from the previous films, and (of course) Whedon’s script getting every single character right. Of course Cap’s ideals and Tony’s ego will clash, but it’s going to be fun to see them learn how to get along. Thor feels responsible for Loki’s action,  yet no matter how crazy his brother gets, he loves him and wants him back home. Black Widow being insanely scared of the Hulk. Tony and Banner being friends because  of their amazing scientific minds.  Agent Caulson’s admiration of Captain America. Hawkeye’s relationship with Black Widow, and the history they share. It’s just a ton of fun seeing this group together. The fact that we take our time seeing this group interact, means when this moment happens in the film….

…it’s earned, and it never fails to give me goosebumps every time I see it in the film.

Going back to that “comic book” feeling, the moment that made me truly realize I’m watching an “AVENGERS” movie is the moment when Captain America faces off with Loki. Seeing Cap talk Loki down and fighting him made my brain go “Oh wow….it’s really happening. This movie really exist!” Why? Because this is the first cross over moment in the film. When the main bad guy from one movie is facing down the main good guy from another.  It would be like if Hans Gruber from DIE HARD is facing Rambo. It only got better when Iron Man flew in!

Ah, and Loki. After the Thor movie, I declared that Loki was the best Marvel studios villain by far. It wasn’t just Tom Hiddleston’s wonderful nuanced performance, but it was the fact that Loki had a strong motivation. His reasons for turning on his family and his fellow gods just made all the sense you when you find out about his backstory. I love were we find him in AVENGERS. I love how much more twisted he got. I love that he actually has a pretty solid plan and for the most part , it’s working…but as Agent Coulson said, Loki’s one weakness is that he has no conviction. Having Loki being too arrogant is a great way to give another layer to the bad guy.

I also loved how Nick Fury was used. Sam Jackson must of had a blast making this, because he wasn’t just used to be a badass (which he was) but he was the one character that had faith for this group. I loved that Fury had to fight for the idea of this group.

Can I also say thank you to Joss for giving me back the real Black Widow? The sexy assistant/ass kicker in Iron Man 2 was ok, but I would like to thank Whedon for giving me back a Natasha that speaks Russian, has a black past, and giving Scarlett Johansson more to do. Whedon gave us a much more rounded character this time, and I thank you.

Is there something I’m missing?…..

Ah…of course….HULK smash.

Ruffalo had a lot to prove here. The poor guy had to come into this film pleasing a group of people still hurt that Ed Norton isn’t coming back (Eric Bana who?). Thankfully, Ruffalo was spot on. I loved his nervous gestures, his sarcastic tone and his “keep to himself” nature. Whedon gave him a lot to do, and when we find out how dark Banners past gets, it’s surprisingly tough.  Also, this movie Hulk is flat out the BEST LOOKING Hulk from any of the movies. Never feeling like he’s made of rubber or plastic like the previous movie Hulks, he’s got a great design, and when he starts fighting (oh the nerdgasam I got when Hulk started fighting Thor…) it’s so damn entertaining.  I also think it’s pretty safe to say that the Hulk STOLE THE SHOW for a lot of people, and for good reason.

Are their issues I have the film? Small ones, to be sure, hell, some are nitpicks. I wished Hawkeye wasn’t in the “state” that he was in for most of the movie since he’s the one member of the cast that I felt we haven’t got a true sense of his character (though in defense of that, he do get little bits here and there that I like.) The plot is too simple and generic, and there are plenty of moments of “well, isn’t THAT convenient”  in the movie. But, WHO CARES! Say the plots to Raiders of the Lost Arc, Star Wars, Die Hard, Jaws, E.T. and many others and they all have their fair amount of issues…but why do we love those movies? The characters, the humor, the earnest drama, and fun.

For me, this was the comic book superhero film I’ve dreamed of seeing since I was a kid. Look back at the videos I posted in the beginning of this review.  See how far we’ve come?

That’s why I kept watching those bad Marvel movies as a kid. It was “enough” till the day they finally got it right.

After watching The Avengers, I wish I can tell the kid 7 year old version of me…dude….they FINALLY did it. And man, your going to LOVE it.

He then will be heartbroken to find out he has to wait 21 years to see it, but….still, I thik it’s well worth the wait.

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If your a comic book fan, most likely your also a film fan. And if your like me, you grew up in a time when Superman and Batman had big budgeted films, yet you knew there was so much more to the comic book world then those two. So you dreamed and dreamed how they would make films out of your other favorite characters. We all had a version of a Spider-Man film, an X-Men film or even a Darkhawk film (ok…so I’m alone in that one, I know I am.) It took years, but eventually  they made those movies, and what a time it’s been for us comic book fans! Some of the adaptations were great and are as close as to what I dreamed of for that character, sometimes they made some twist to the characters and the mythology but work amazingly and sometimes they were GIANT fails. So in a way, Captain America was the last great one for me, and like many fans, I had dreamed up a Captain America film.

I wanted it to be to be in World War II. I wanted to see Cap lead armies. I wanted him to fight crazy, ridiculous , not realistic technology.

I think this image from this 1996 comic by John Bryne explains it all for me…

I wanted to see THAT , but as a movie.

So…you have to imagine my excitement when I was watching the Norway sequence of the film.

Outside of the Church, something huge roles up….A. BIG. ASS. TANK.

I squealed  like a little girl in my seat.

And that almost sums up my feeling about the whole film.

It was the Captain America film that I’ve dreamed of since I was 12. A blast of pure enjoyment. A film with a ton of heart. A film that refreshingly has no cynical bone in the it’s body.

It’s no surprise that the director of this was Joe Johnston. His film The Rocketeer (click here about my previous blog post about that film) had the same energy and tone, but I could tell that  he was able to let loose even more on this film. The film was full of style that fits the era, and I could sense the fun Johnston had with this film. German expressionist films for the Red Skull flashback, the recreation of 1930’s serial films for the Captain America “movies” with in the movie, and musicals for the USO scenes. God, do I love the USO montage. It not only is fun and entertaining, but it also helps build the mythology of Captain America, having him be a great national hero before he even truly fights. The action was also fun to watch, and for the first time I truly do get to see the power Captain America does have, as we see how fast, how strong and how agile he is the fight scenes. It truly is spectacular to see Cap in action.

But what would the director be without a strong cast and good characters? He thankfully had  a strong script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (with some uncredited help from my beloved Joss Whedon) and a fantastic cast.

Chris Evans blew me away here.   The cocky funny guy that Evans is  typically typecast as does not show up. The most important part of the whole film, and my favorite moments in the film, is the first act. Chris is so good in the pre-Cap sequences as Steve Rogers. The film works because how much I love Steve Rogers. Not Captain America mind you, Steve Rogers. The film nailed Steve Rogers as he was note perfect. His good heart, his courage, and his reasons to fight. When Erskine asked him “Do you want to kill Nazis?”, Rogers answer couldn’t have been more perfect.

Ah, and Erskine. Stanley Tucci is so wonderful in this part. His scene with Rogers before the procedure could have been a terribly clunky,filled with exposition. It wasn’t. Tucci played it perfectly, and really selling his relationship with Rogers and his reasoning as to why he picked him, and it makes his eventual faith even more painful when it happens.

Haylee Atwell’s Peggy Carter is…wow. She plays the “Marion” in the film, and she’s  instantly iconic. How could you not fall in love with her? She brings all the appropriate spunk and charisma need for this part, and most important believability.   Her scenes with Pre-Cap Steve were great and you can sense she started to care for him before he got tall and superheroic looking.  Her last scene at the end with Steve over the radio was appropriately heartbreaking and she sells it.

Tommy Lee Jones Col. Phillips is exactly what he needed to be….Tommy Lee Jones as a tough colonel, and he’s great. He’s tough but has a wicked dry sense of humor…the kind of role that Tommy Lee does in his sleep, and it’s perfect for this film. His interrogation scene with Toby Jones Dr.Armin Zola is one of the best uses of Tommy Lee Jones in the film.

The way they used Zola is also fun and unexpected. Zola was portrayed as a brilliant man who was starting to realize he was into deep in something he might not wanted to be in, and Toby Jones brought all the fun and subtle quirks that makes him something a bit more then the main villains toady.

Red Skull may not the most original bad guy, but when your villain is a super Nazi that believes that the Nazis aren’t doing enough then how much character motivation do you need? And for a film that’s as old fashioned as this, you need an old fashion bad guy and Hugo Weaving plays classic bad guy to the “T”. He’s just over the top for this film, and Hugo eats up the scenery with just the right vigor. And my god, the way how the Red Skull LOOKS just like a Jack Kirby drawing is amazing!

There are  times that when I watch a Marvel movie it FEELS like I was watching a MARVEL movie. In Spider-Man 2 when they recreated the SPIDER-MAN NO MORE page. In X-Men when Hugh Jackman first said “Bub.” In Iron Man, seeing him shoot repulsor beams out of his hands. Those are the moments that made me go,”Hey, I AM watching a Marvel movie!” For me it’s seeing the Red Skull perfectly translated from comic to movie that gave me that moment.

Lets not forget the Howling Commandos… though the film DID forget to call them that, hell, the film forgot to even name drop the characters, so there is THAT flaw in the film. That being said, there is a good amount of characterization economy as each actor in the Commandos (Neal McDonough as MOTHERFUCKIN DUM DUM Dugan to Kennith Choi.) does a great job giving each character personality and selling their relationships. My other nitpick is that I would watch a full MOVIE of Captain America and the Howling Commandos, but that’s because I love the montage of them kicking ass so damn much.

One character who IS named is James “Bucky” Barnes.  This is where things get interesting for me. When I used to daydream a Captain America film, I knew I didn’t want to have Bucky in the full costume. I wanted Bucky to be more like Cap’s best friend, not sidekick. No mask, and the name Bucky would be a nickname, not a code name. I didn’t want any Robin comparisons. Well…look what the filmmakers did! Sebastian Stan brings his fair amount charm in the part, and his chemistry with Evans is great. They truly sell that they’ve been friends for years. Also, great seeding of his possible future as the Winter Soldier.

I don’t want leave out Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark. I first saw him in The Devils Double, which he was INCREDIBLE in, and I loved his Howard Stark! It’s fun to see how much Tony Stark must have gotten from his father, and Cooper has fun in the role.

The score by Alan Silvestri  might be one of the best he’s done in years. Evoking all the right emotions, it’s one of the best scores in any of the Marvel Movies thus far, and captures the spirit in all the right ways. Oh, and the Alan Menken’s USO song? Fucking brillant.

I’m going to go into the most spoiler part of the film which is the ending montage.

One of the important things I wanted to see in the film is to see the importance of Captain America to this alternate history. To see the effect of loosing Cap. To sell that there is a bit of tragedy to Captain America’s story.  That montage really nailed it. The way how the Commandos had a toast to their fallen comrade. Howard trying desperately to look for Rogers in the Arctic. Peggy looking at the picture of Steve before he was Cap. That shot of the kid with a homemade Captain America shield. It’s the perfect ending to this film. (Though I do wish the Nick Fury scene was held off AFTER the animated credits)

Simply put, I love this film. I have a huge affection for films that nostalgically look back at this era. I eat this stuff up, and I’m giddy that we got one that I think is so good.

I’m glad the film is doing well in the box office, because it seems like the film is working on the people that want a film about a TRUE hero.

The character in the comics is one of the last real heroes heroes, and he finally has a film that shows us why that can still be a great thing.

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So, a warning: this will be a long-winded review, more so than most of my reviews. This film worked on me in so many levels that I’m sure by the end of this, you will think that this review will the equivalent  of a Twilight blogger talking about the importance of Taylor Lautners bare chest.  But man,  I have a lot to say.

I think the best way I could put my thoughts together is to break my feelings of the flick down in chunks, explaining the different reasons why this movie worked on me. So like the amount of Ramona’s evil exes, I got seven topics on how I love this movie.

1. It’s a brilliant adaptation: If you’ve read my last two blogs about adaptations,(see here: http://tiny.cc/i9bm5, and here: http://tiny.cc/xopgi) finding the right balance between being true to the source material and finding your own voice is very tricky. I think this film should be a textbook example of how to this right. Future comic adaptations should take note on what this film did.

When the film does the scenes straight from the comic, I smiled at how well they did it (Wallace’s drunk scene with Scott was so perfect I couldn’t stop squealing.) but when the film does deviate, (Roxy’s fight with Scott is completely different from the books) they still find ways to incorporate OTHER scenes, lines, or moments from the series. Even when they don’t go that far, the new ideas they come up with still fit. The change in the Lucas Lee fight(having them fight while Lucas is shooting a movie scene) was a great cinematic change and still fits the tone of the whole series. I mean, they even made the use of comic book sound efx text in a smart and non distracting manner.

2. It’s got a great cast: The casting was so spot on here, and each one giving one memorable performance after another.

First off, Micheal Cera IS Scott Pilgrim. It was the concern for many fans for a while, (even me) but Cera nails it. The first scene in the film proved it for me. The tone of his performance, the attitude, is so spot on Scott Pilgrim. Micheal is playing the role kinda differently then what you would think a “Micheal Cera” role is. He only really slips in to his usual  schtick when the scene calls for it, but I think it fits the film and it doesn’t bother me.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s challenge is to make sure Ramona doesn’t come off as a bitch. If we don’t like Ramona, then the film fails. Winstead rises to the challenge. Her performance convincingly conveys a quiet hurt. Not to spoil the ending(and I’m not) but the look on her eyes at the end of the film says so much.

Newcomer Ellen Wong is going to break the hearts of young boys (and some men). I’ll be honest, Knives Chau was not really a favorite character from the books for me.  She was always in danger of being annoying, but Ellen brings so much charm and heart to the role. Kinda like how J.K. Simmons’s performance as J. Jonah Jameson got me to love the character in the Spider-Man films, Wong made Knives into a character that I loved.

Alison Pill and Mark Webber does great things with their role as Kim Pine and Stephen Stills (with Pill really nailing the sarastic tone of Kim), but  I want to focus on Johnny Simmons for a second. Johnny plays Young Neil, a character from the books I had little reaction to. He was decent character, but not one of much note for me. Simmons took that character and does wonders with him. There’s a scene were Simmons is standing on the side of the stage as the band plays, and he quietly sings a long with the song. That fucking killed me.

I could go on. Kieran Culkin stealing every scene he’s in as Wallace Wells, Chris Evans KILLING as Lucas Lee, Brandon Routh showcasing killer timing as Todd Ingram, Satya Bhabha setting the tone of the Evil Exes perfectly as Matthew Patel, and Jason Schwartzman rules as Gideon Graves. God, I haven’t even mentioned Aubrey Plaza, Mae Whitman and… I need to go on to the next topic, I could do a whole blog on the cast alone.

3. It’s a good romantic comedy: There’s realistic emotions going on here. When you go out with someone new, you want to believe that their ex is a terrible person, or else why would they dump the person your with right? Whenever you get out of a long and emotional break up, you still want companionship. You want the next relationship to be easy and simple, and that’s what you try to find.

Both the comic and the film found a fun and unique way to exam these feelings and themes. A lot of people have been through the emotions that these characters have been. Yeah, there are plenty of laughs that go with these, but they never forget to take the feelings from a real and relatable place, unlike a movie  say… ANY other romantic comedy in the last 10 years.

4. It’s a rockin musical: One of the hard things to convey in the comics is the music, which the film has a great advantage over it. The music is great with authentic songs from the likes of Metric, Broken Social Scene, Chris Murphy, and Beck(!!). The music sounds like legitimate rock music, the songs “Threshold” and “Black Sheep” being my two favorites.

I also love the detail in the sound design for the songs. Sex-Bob-Ombs music sounds like it was recorded in a garage while The Clash at Demonhead has that slick studio sound. I also love how the music performances were visually interpreted. You can and hear and SEE how the band plays with the great use of the animation lines. That visual look was especially helpful in one of the coolest battle of the bands sequences in films…maybe because of the fact that the bands are actually BATTLING!

5. It’s a bad ass martial arts movie: For a while,  I’ve been obsess with watching asian action films. Hong Kong, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese….I’ve seen tons. In the last 15 years I can name a few films in Hollywood that reach the level of well shot fight scenes that these asian films have. Scott Pilgrim can now be added on that list.

It must be said how good the film is that it’s taken me this long to write about the action. The rest of the movie can be total garbage but I could still say the action scenes are great. I’ve sat through worse films for an amazing action scene. The fact that I love the rest of the movie only makes the fight scenes even better.

They are brilliantly shot. Edgar Wright knew that he had to have  plenty of long, wide takes to see the fight choreography. He knew how to cut in, when to slow down and when to ramp it up. I haven’t seen this much inventiveness in martial arts battles since Stephen Chow. (Director of Kung Fu Hustle and Shaolin Soccer)

6. It’s the film Edgar Wright has been building his whole career for: Well, ok probably not, but I can tell this is the film that Edgar Wright went buck wild!

The film lets Edgar do all the things he loves; his clever editing choices, off-kilter humor, breaks in reality, visual references to other films etc.  He gets to play with all his favorite tools and he gets to use it in a film that perfectly utilizes in one cohesive film.

The inner fanboy in me would like to think that movie exist in the same universe as SPACED, the show Edgar co-created with Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes. The film feels like a big screen extension of the show.

See what I mean.

7. It’s like the movie was made for me: It just felt like this movie contains so many things that I personally love.

It’s full of the kind of humor I love, the visual film-making style I eat up, the kind of music I listen to, and the kind of well-rounded, full of personality that I love to watch. God, I mean,  Scott’s drink of choice is Coke Zero, my favorite soda now a days.

It’s almost as if Edgar Wright, co-screenwriter Micheal Becall and the comics creator Bryan Lee O’Malley went into my head and decided to create a story for me.

Hell, I tried to MAKE this film in 2007.

My student film, Rival Siblings, was full of goofy comedy, martial arts action, people  unrealistically fighting over personal problems instead of talking about them. I was trying to make an Edgar Wright martial arts film basically, and I knew it. In a way, I guess I kinda wanted to see this film so badly, I decided to make one for myself while I waited for it.

Thankfully Edgar Wright DID make his film, and as you can tell, I’m so happy that he did.

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It’s no secret how much I’m looking forward to Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

(image to the right is me with Scott Pilgrim creator Bryan Lee O’Malley)

The films coming out this week and I’ve been ready for it, even getting ready for disappointment.


Let me explain. Every time I watch a movie based on a book or comic that I’ve read, I get a little bit disappointed. The disappointment comes from a stupid place. It always come from the fact that the film didn’t include stuff that I liked from the source material.  Dumb right? No matter what, even if the film is great, I still wish they kept that ONE thing that made the source material so great to me.

Now, I’m aware why things don’t make it to the finale film. Not enough screen time, the scene is not needed for the for a feature film, too hard to do for a movie…etc.

With Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World specifically, I’ve been trying to get my mind-set for the changes the film will have.  You see, theres fun to be had in enjoying the film version too.  That’s the exciting thing about adaptations. It’s gives you new things to enjoy in the story you already love, and you get to see the fun of other creative ways the story can change (unlike a certain Airbending movie that came out this year that was afraid to adapt and change).

One of my favorite books of all time is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but just because the film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory changes plenty of things from the book to the film, doesn’t mean I don’t love the film version just the same. It’s different, yes, but it’s still the same story and tone the book has but it’s creative in making its own thing.

Films like Fight Club and even the recent Kick-Ass movies showcase changes that worked better then the original source material. The ending to the Fight Club film is completely different from the book, BUT even Fight Clubs author Chuck Palahniuk admits that the film has a better end then his book. I personally think the characterization of Red Mist in the Kick-Ass film is far stronger and better developed in the film then it was in the book.

To the fans that want the film to be exactly the same as the source material, I beg them, please look with better eyes. What I want in an adaptation is this; get the characters right, get the tone right, and the get the spirit right. Make a good movie using what made the source material worked in the first place.

So yeah, I know I’ll be a tiny bit bummed that certain things from the books won’t make it to the film (Lisa Miller, the obvious downplay of Scott and Kim’s past,  Knives dad slicing a bus in half…) but at best, all I’m asking is simple. A good movie.

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Let me first point out that I’m not 100% with the reboot.

I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE the first two Spider-Man films dearly(Spider-Man 2 especially, as I think it’s one of the greatest superhero films ever made) so I’m kinda annoyed we have to start all over again after only 3 films.

YES, Spider-Man 3 was bad, but I was pulling for Sam Raimi to prove that he had one more Spidey film that would be good. Even Raimi admited he failed on Spidey 3 and he wanted to rectify that.

BUT FINE, the reboot is happening, time to move on.

Bringing it  back to High School is fine, but my fears is that bringing it back to high school also means making it more like “Twilight”.

How about the cast?

There are a few people on the casting list for Spider-Man but there is ONE actor on it that I like….

Johnny Simmons doesn’t have a ton on his credits but the reason I like him is his performance in “Jennifer’s Body”. He played the funny geeky guy in that, and to me, THATS Spider-Man to a “T”. He has a natural comedic side to him, something that Maguire (mind you, I still liked him in the films) doesn’t really have.

What about Mary Jane?

I can agree that the Mary Jane in the films is not the Mary Jane in the comics.

Mary Jane in the comics is a feisty, energetic, sexy fun girl.

But what young actress can they pick to play feisty, energetic, sexy and fun?

Oh…Emma Stone….yep, she fits those descriptions. And her voice is perfect to say “Face it tiger, you just hit the jack pot”.

I don’t know if she’s on the list for possible Mary Jane’ s but she better be.Beyond the fact that Emma is a strong charismatic actress, let’s have a crazy idea and have an ACTUAL red head play a red head!

So yeah, this is just me being a fanboy, and yeah, now that I said it and put it online these two probably WON’T have a shot playing them but it is fun to dream.

UPDATED: 1/13/2011

So, I’ve noticed that there are plenty of people who’ve came by this page, probably looking for more info on the new Spider-Man flick. Most likely typing “Emma Stone” and “Spider-Man” and found this page.

Well first, I’d like to say…Hello 🙂

I wrote this post back in May in 2010.  By tomorrow it would have been 8 months to the date since I posted this.

Whats funny to me is that when I wrote my original post (which was just me fancasting) I wrote “now that I said it and put it online these two probably WON’T have a shot playing them but it is fun to dream.”

Imagine my surprise that they DID cast Emma Stone…then imagine my surprised that she was cast as Gwen.

Yeah…wa sn’t expecting that. Turns out Emma is a natural blonde! So she will be one of the few Marvel Movie female cast members who did n’t have to change her natural hair color.


Elizabeth Banks as Betty Brant

The first version of Gwen Stacy for the Spidey movies.

Paltrow as Pepper Potts

Scarlett as Black Widow

Dunst as Mary Jane

Famke Janssen as Jean Grey

And of course…

Well…while I still maintain that she would make a great M.J., she does look good as blonde. Hell, she even kinda looks like a John Romita Sr. drawing of Gwen…

Looking forward to seeing more.



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Variety is reporting on it today…http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118017689.html?categoryid=13&cs=1&ref=bd_film

For as long as the Avengers movie was announced, I racked my brain on who would be a good choice.

Jon Favreau made sense to me since he started this big wave of Marvel movies thanks to Iron Man, but he stated he has no interest in making The Avengers movie(he will be a producer on it).

Maybe Zack Snyder? His visuals are amazing and the action is guaranteed to be well shot and be epic. Granted his character work is fine(at best), it’s not his forte and for the Avengers film you need someone who can make this ensemble work and be fun to watch.

Maybe J.J. Abrams? He’s work on Star Trek was great, and ensemble in that film was stupendous. He was able to balance both the action and the character while still making it look big and epic.

BUT both Snyder and Abrams are busy as fuck guys with no room to make an epic movie like The Avengers.

SO, enter  Joss Whedon.

Dude’s an accomplished writer/director. His writing is what he’s known for, but his directing is energetic, well paced and nicely stylized.

For at least FOUR different shows he’s handled large ensembles and give each character personality, humor and enjoyable traits to make them distinct.

He knows his comics, after writing 25 issues of Astonishing X-Men (plus his run on The Runaways comic). His X-Men run was critically acclamed and a huge hit.

And most importantly…he’s HUNGRY.

Not in the sense that he’s poor assholes, no, he’s hungry to prove himself.

He has a huge following, but it’s a cult following and it’s not enough for someone who needs make more projects.

Right now, Hollywood thinks Whedon only works for a niche audience, much like Kevin Smith.

Whedon has been trying to get into the big leagues, to be someone in the industry that can make a blockbuster hit off a project.

He’s had a few movie projects get away from him or be stuck in development. (Goners, an original script at Universal, and the Wonder Woman film that didn’t work out)

His recent show, Dollhouse, also got cancelled, making him a very available man.

He’s been kicked around by some bad luck in the last few years, and he needs to make a movie to make a big stamp.

This movie is his answer.

Personally (as if you couldn’t tell) I think he’s perfect for the job.

I love his work dearly and I have been waiting for someone to give him a big budget superhero film, I just didn’t think it would be this big budgeted superhero film.

This will be the biggest project he has ever worked on, but I think he’s ready.

Good luck Joss, because it’s your job to make sure the Avengers assemble!

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So, this will be a weird one, more of an injoke , but I figured I’d share this.

In the last page of the first issue of the Marvel comic SIEGE (and I can already hear the readers that don’t care leave) it ends with Captain America standing up from a chair while watching TV, ready for action.

Well in a recent podcast with ABOUTHEROES… ( click here to listen http://aboutheroes.com/2010/02/west-coast-about-heroes-episod-5.php) We joked around if Captian was looking a little …less flattering …

I couldn’t help myself, after we talked about this stupid image I had to draw it.

Thats it peoples, take care.

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I just did some sketches recently (I.E. today.)

I’ve been contributing to a comic book fansite, ABOUT HEROES,  (website : http://aboutheroes.com/

I’ve been doing their PODCAST and I wrote two articles for them and I’ve been having a lot of fun.

My buddy Josh Peterson(who helps run it)wanted to know if I can draw the podcast group.

In the website, when we do a new podcast, a picture is shown and our heads are photoshopped in on some nifty superhero bodies.


So, taking the photoshop picture as a starting point, I started doing some quick sketches of us so I can get an idea on how to draw us…

Justin Machine

Me as Machine Man

Chris Moon

Chris H. as Moon Knight

War Josh

Josh P. as War Machine.

These are not the final drawings, but it’s my first try to see what it would look like.  I still have to draw  Chris K. as Hank Pym.

Next up, is a little teaser…


A really, really,really rough first sketch on a new idea that I came up with this week. (Working title: SPOOKY)

And yep, thats a Werewolf, a ghost and a vampire. I wanted the vampire to have those really goofy big fangs.

It doesn’t really capture the more gothic feel I have in my mind, but I really wanted to get something on paper before I just let it slip away in the back of my mind.

It does capture the fact that I want this to be an All-Ages type story.

I will definitely do another take on this as more ideas come to me.

NOTE: Despite the fact that SPOOKY has a ghost, a vampire and a werewolf, it has nothing to do with the weird BBC Drama, BEING HUMAN.

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Wait, isn’t this my blog?

It is, but I just read this quick list from Kevin Smith on the subject his favorite comic book movies and it pretty much matched my list.

Click on the link below…


And I’ll go one further and add my commentary on  his choices and show why I agree (or disagree) with him….

BATMAN (89) –Despite its problems, it still was a bench mark movie for comic books as it started to showcase how to take the material seriously.
THE DARK KNIGHT-It’s awesome….uhh….thats why…and it’s better than Batma(89).
ROCKETEER – I have a soft spot for this film. It’s good ol’ fashioned fun.
TMNT (90) –Way better(and darker) then it had any right to be.
IRON MAN –The first time I saw a Marvel film and really thought, “Holy shit! I’m watching a MARVEL movie!”
INCREDIBLE HULK(08) – This movie was the Hulk movie I’ve dreamed about when I was a kid.
SUPERMAN –Set the standard on how to make a classy superhero film with heart.
SUPERMAN II –First attempt to do a bad ass, big super hero battle on the big screen.
GHOST WORLD –My favorite indy comic movie. Damn fucking funny.
DAREDEVIL –I liked it, it’s not perfect, but I liked it. Hated Garners Elecktra, but I dug Afflecks Murdock. I know, I’m weird.
XMEN –The third wave comic book movie standard (Superman was the first, Batman second..)
XMEN 2 –It’s the Wrath of Khan of superhero flicks!
XMEN 3-Sorry Kevin Smith, I hate this one. ALOT, and the use of Iceman was one of them.

BLADE –Bloody, bloody good times.
BATMAN BEGINS –Finally getting the character of Batman/Bruce Wayne right!
BATMAN RETURNS –Catwoman still rules in this….
WATCHMEN –FUCK my friends who hated this, for the last time…I.LOVED. IT.
300 –AMAZING action and bad assery.
THE CROW –Took the gritty and gothic look that Batman(89) created…and perfected it. Amazing performance from the late Brandon Lee.
SIN CITY –The first time they truly took the material from the comic and try to make it the COMIC.
SPIDERMAN 2 –Everything about this movie still works for me. Great villain, story, and action. Improves on the flaws from the first one and made an incredibly successful sequel.
V FOR VENDETTA- A little more on the nose with the message for my taste, but I still really enjoy this.

Whew, that was fun. Things I would add on my list?

AMERICAN SPLENDOR-A great combination of narrative and documentary that truly captures Harvey Pekars comics.

BLADE 2-Loved the Reapers!

HELLBOY2: THE GOLDEN ARMY- A lot of people didn’t get into it, but I dug it. Cooler monsters, better fight scenes, and a pretty fun story.

MYSTERY MEN- Amazing cast! Funny as hell! Crazy weird action! Underated movie if you ask me.


(Art by Greg Horn, from Wizard magazine.)

Any ones that Kevin Smith missed? Any ones that I missed? What do you guys think?

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Be easy on me, I haven’t drawn in a while.


So this is a little piece of fan art I did based on the  movie “The Brothers Bloom”.


Straight up, one of my absolute favorite films that came out this year.

Any questions about the drawing, ask away and I would be happy to answer.

See ya, and check out the film it’s available on DVD to rent right now.

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