A few weeks ago Raju Mudhar of the Toronto Star rang me up to ask me if it was all over for the comic book movie. Now, I’ve had reporters calling me up with this question ever since my Comics2Film website caught fire in 1998. Trend-spotting in Hollywood is an ongoing game and as soon a trend starts its upward trajectory, somebody starts predicting the inevitable demise.
I have to say, this is the first time in a decade plus of writing Comics2Film where I’ve switched my answer from “nah” to “mmmmmaybe.”
Raju, who is covering the Toronto International Film Festival and it’s superhero entries Super and Griff the Invisible, was pointing to the weak box office generated by Kick-Ass and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World as the latest evidence.
While I wouldn’t call Kick-Ass a failure of any kind, I’d definitely score Scott Pilgrim in the “bitter disappointment” column. And I mean that only in terms of the lack of reception for what is one of the liveliest, most enjoyable films of the year so far.
But as I told Raju, you can expand the window all the way back to the end of 2008 and what we have is now a fairly long string of comic book movie duds. That’s the time frame when Punisher: War Zone became the third failed attempt by Marvel to launch their film-friendly vigilante. Hot on the heels of that was Frank Miller’s under-appreciated The Spirit, which was too weird for the average moviegoer and too Frank Miller for fans of Will Eisner’s classic comic.
Then came 2009, and with it: Watchmen. Zack Snyder’s equally gallant and foolish attempt to bring the ground-breaking graphic novel to the big screen fell far short of the massive hype and anticipation that preceded it. 2009′s other comic book movies? Astro Boy, Whiteout, Dragonball Evolution and Surrogates.
It’s a pretty sad year for the comic book movie when the sole winner is the lackluster X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
This year? Throw Jonah Hex and The Losers on the compost heap along with the aforementioned indie darlings. Marvel wins again with Iron Man 2, a box-office titan, however unworthy of the original.
So is it the end for comic book movies? Mmmmmaybe, but nah. It’s a slump.
The mysterious shunning of Scott Pilgrim aside, Hollywood might do better to look beyond superhero fare to other comics that are out there. It could be that we’re having our fill of heroic action adventure but I think it’s more about quality than any trends.
If Green Lantern and Thor are great movies, then people will embrace them.
Check out the Toronto Star article for commentary from myself along with Cameron Stewart and Mark Askwith.Read More
Diamond Comics Distributors has announced the launch of a new website and comic shop locator aimed at directing kids and parents to kid-friendly comic shops (the ones that carry Scratch9!!!) across the United States and Canada.
The new site at kidscomics.com features a variety of news, info, and fun activities on comics and graphic novels geared directly to kids ages 4 to 11 — and older fans who are kids at heart!
Kidscomics.com builds upon Diamond’s successful comicshoplocator.com website and phone service, which since 1996 has directed over three million-plus customers searching for comics and other merchandise to direct market comic book shops.
The new kid-friendly site will be a web portal to get the most up-to-date news and information on kid’s comics (can I say it again? Like Scratch9) and graphic novels, with current plans calling for the comic shop locator, a new release schedule highlighting the latest kid-friendly comic books, a backlist of kid-friendly graphic novels, sneak peeks at upcoming titles, character and creator interviews, and more.
The shop locator for kidscomics.com will initially launch with over 800 qualified kid-friendly retailers taken from current shops who participate in Diamond’s comicshoplocator.com service. Each retailer must show a minimum ordering support for kid-friendly comic books and graphic novels.Read More
Hmmmm…this is interesting news. But what does it have to do with me? Stay tuned…
SAN DIEGO, CA – September 28, 2009 – Ape Entertainment today announced the launch of its new imprint, “KiZoic”, which will feature content aimed primarily at younger readers.
KiZoic titles will be released as either stand-alone 48-page one-shots or as mini-series in the standard 32-page comic book format and will be available to Direct Market and comic book specialty shops. All mini-series will be collected into digest (6 x 9) trade paperbacks and made available to both the Direct Market and the mass market, via Diamond Book Distributors, to Borders, Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com and other outlets.
The first official title to be released under the new imprint will be Mecha-Nation, a 3-issue mini-series from Spectacular Spider-Man producers Greg Weisman (Gargoyles) and Vic Cook (Hellboy: Blood and Iron), and Greg Guler (Phineas and Ferb) with interior artwork by talented newcomer Antonio Campo and covers by Greg Guler and Sean “Cheeks” Galloway.
The New Kid. The Geek. The Rocker. The Cheerleader. The Goth. An unlikely group of friends under normal circumstances, right? But in Mecha-Nation, Glass Lake High School’s newest transfer student, Kevin Cho, discovers that he has a lot more in common with these individuals than just econ class! These kids are more than just homo-sapiens, they’re Mecha-Sapiens! Empowered with the ability to transform into robotic warriors, they are the first of a brand new Mecha-Nation!
“We are very excited to launch our new young reader imprint with a title like Mecha-Nation, and with such talented creators as Vic, Greg and Greg. The KiZoic imprint was designed to be a home for new fresh content with well-written stories that feature amazing art all designed to spark the imagination of young readers everywhere.” said Co-Publisher Brent E. Erwin.
I ran into my pal Billy Tucci at a number of conventions this summer. He was showing of pages of his new ‘Sgt. Rock‘ book.
I have to say they look Amazing (with a capital ‘A’) and unlike anything I’ve ever seen Billy do before. Billy’s got a deep, abiding respect for our military men and ‘Sgt. Rock: The Lost Batallion‘ looks to weave historical events with the storyline of DC Comic’s greatest soldier.
It’s in the catalog now, so ask your retailer for it.Read More
Getting caught up on summer reading here.
My pal and “Young Ancient One” collaborator Andy Kuhn doodled up a cool crime thriller called “10″, published by the unsinkable Boom Studios this past summer.
Written by Keith Giffen and co-created by Shannon Eric Denton, “10″ tells the story of a hapless dude who is handed a gun with 10 bullets and a list of 10 names…and the task of killing those 10 contestants before they kill you.
It’s that kind of slam-bam immediacy that hits the reader like an eye-watering nose-shot from page one. Our hero isn’t given time to parse the situation and think about the right thing to do (or, perhaps he would have had he not been on holiday when the game started).
Nope. It’s knock-knock then bang-bang as contestants come calling.
Our guy’s never held a gun before but suddenly it’s kill or be killed. Giffen propels the story along with nail-biting urgency and gallows humor. Andy keeps it from looking like every dreary Miller or Bendis knock-off that’s come out in the past 15 years (I mean, just look at the kick ass graphic design of that cover!).
Blend all that in with the horror of finding out that the contestants are not random. Rather, one is an ex-love that our hero must kill (before she does him in). What’s a guy to do?
“10″ is a great read. My primary complaint is that it’s over much too soon and leaves most all your questions unanswered. Still, it’s great fodder for expansion on film or in an HBO series.
Go find “10″…before it finds you…Read More
I’ll be sitting down and making a general nusance of myself at Comics & More in Madison Heights, MI from noon to 2pm (or longer). If you’re in the neighborhood, stop in and say “hey”.
Free Comic Book Day is May 6, 2006. No matter where you are, find a nearby comic store and pick up a huge assortment of free comics!Read More