Archive | Conventions

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SDCC: BATMAN V. SUPERMAN Batsuit Revealed

Posted on 24 July 2014 by William Gatevackes

batman-vs-superman-dawn-of-justice-logoThis year’s San Diego Comic Con just happens to fall right after 75th Anniversary of Batman’s first appearance and, just like DC Entertainment did for Superman’s birthday last year, they are taking various and sundry costumes the character  has wore in film and TV on tour to the major comic book conventions. What better time to reveal the new costume Batman will be wearing in Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice than at San Diego Comic Con as part of the exhibit.

People at preview night got this view of the costume:

batfleckcowl

But just previewing the cowl and cape isn’t all that exciting. So, today, congoers were able to see this:

batflack costume

Let me describe it to you, just in case DC Entertainment decides only those able to get into SDCC are allowed to see it and makes us take it down. Essentially, what we have here is the costume from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight returns with some of that decorative piping that Jim Lee adds to all of his designs tacked on. The color palate is grey and black and this could quite possibly be the most faithful Batman suit yet.

I hope they bring this to New York Comic Con so I can get a closer look at it in person.

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SDCC: Two More Pieces Of AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Promo Art Are Released

Posted on 24 July 2014 by William Gatevackes

MarvelStudiosLogoJust like they did several years ago, it looks like Marvel is using a set of mosaic posters to promote its upcoming Avengers film. Today, Captain America and Black Widow join Iron Man and Scarlet Witch in the fight against Ultron to promote Avengers: Age of Ultron.

avengers-age-of-ultron-poster-captain-america avengers-age-of-ultron-black-widow-posterAs you can see in the Black Widow image, Thor’s Hammer is to her right and the Hulk’s arm is is to her left, so they will be getting posters. And we can safely assume that Quicksilver and Hawkeye will be getting a portrait as well. But since they are releasing two of these posters a day, and we have three days of SDCC left, Can we expect two more posters as well? Maybe with Ultron and our first look at the Vision? We shall see.

Mark Seifert over at Bleeding Cool has stitched the posters together so we can see what we have so far.This is what it looks like (Click to make bigger).

avengers-age-of-ultron-giant-poster

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J Michael Straczynski on DC Superhero Films – “Marvel Is Kicking DC’s Clock”

Posted on 15 October 2013 by Rich Drees

StraczynskiNYCC2013

Photo by Maggie Walther, FBOL

Having written comics for both of the Big Two publishers – Marvel and DC – in addition to his “day job” as a television and film writer/producer, J. Michael Straczynski may be in a rather unique position to comment on the state of movies featuring the superheroes of those publishers. And comment he did this past weekend during a panel at the New York Comic Con. In his typical no-holds-barred approach, Straczynski mixed a metaphor and stated, “I think Marvel is really kicking DC’s clock.”

While the sentiment echoes what many have been saying about the state of movie franchises between the two companies, Straczynski, as creator of the Babylon 5 television series produced by Warner Brothers, has been in a position to tell that studio, which is a corporate sibling to DC Entertainment and the producer of movies based on those properties, has been in the unique position to tell the studio about what he sees them doing wrong.

I’ve talked to the people at Warner Brothers and said “What is wrong with you people?” They think that they have a very narrow bench – Superman, Batman and then nobody else. We’re trying to get them to understand that we have a really good bench of characters if you treat them properly.

When asked as to what DC heroes he would like to see brought to the screen, Straczynski first jokingly suggesting the weird short-lived 1960s series Brother Power the Geek before giving three examples.

I would love to see the Flash. Ever see The Man With The X-Ray Eyes? There’s a scientist in pursuit of knowledge and information and receives this power and uses it to try and see deeper and deeper what’s going on on the physical scale and the metaphysical scale, trying to burrow through to the core of the universe to understand things better. Make it obsessive like that I think you could make a really good film about the Flash.

There’s a fan made trailer for Wonder Woman online. Have you all seen that? (Embedded below.) Is that not well done? And that’s what the Wonder Woman film should be. If you treated the Wonder Woman film the way we treated the Thor movie with some seriousness and also focus on her family you’d get a really good film out of that.

Oddly enough, the Haunted Tank could be a really good movie. Set it in Iraq or somewhere the Middle East, update it and it writes itself.

(A 2008 miniseries recast Haunted Tank in the middle of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Straczynski is credited with the screen story for Marvel Studio’s Thor film.)

One fan pointed out that it seemed as if parts of this past summer’s Superman film Man Of Steel was taken from Straczynski’s recent graphic novel Superman: Earth One. Straczynski commented on the film –

I thought that it had one fight more than it should have had. And it was a good movie that could have been a great movie had they put more time in on the characters. IN the end, I don’t care how good your effects are or the battles or the CGI, if we don’t care about the characters you got nothing and nowhere to go.

It has been suggested that the biggest problem that Warner Brothers is facing is that it doesn’t have some sort of person taking creative lead on their superhero films, in the way that Marvel Studios honcho Kevin Feige has spearheaded the interconnected world-building of their films. Would that job be a good fit for someone like Straczynski? Perhaps, though I think that he is more interested right now in concentrating on the work coming out of his JMS Studios production shingle and his Joe’s Comics imprint to want to add that onto his plate. Though if Warners were to assemble a group of DC’s writers for occasional consultation much like Marvel Studios has done with Marvel Comics writers, I would suggest that he be one of the first ones called.

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The Dark Age Of Celebrity Autographing And Photo Ops 2, Now Starring Sigourney Weaver

Posted on 18 September 2013 by William Gatevackes

weaver_hp_bannerLast Friday, I did an article Sylvester Stallone coming to New York Comic Con and the exorbitant prices being charged to get his autograph or your picture taken with him. Well, since then there have been some developments that we thought would be worth a follow up article.

Most notably is the fact that Celebrity Authentics, the company that is bringing Stallone to convention, will also be bringing Sigourney Weaver as well. How much does her autorgraph/photo-op cost? Well, for her signature, you’ll have to pay $185 and to get your picture taken with her, you’ll have to pay $200. This is a bargain compared to Stallone’s prices, but quit a bit more than you’d pay for anyone else in Autograph Alley, whose signatures will range from free to $75.(And quite a mark-up over the autograph she gave FBOL head-honcho Rich Drees a couple years ago in Philly. She signed a copy of Ghostbusters for him for free).

1320-Harrison-Ford-Autographed-Han-Solo-Star-Wars-Action-Photo-MED-4314The real villain here is Celebrity Authentics. Celebrity Authentics is boutique autograph farm that seems to specialize in getting autographs from people you normally wouldn’t see on the autograph circuit (your Harrison Fords, your Christian Bales, your Daniel Craigs). And the reason why they get such A-list stars is that they seemingly charge more for the after product. Would you like a Star Wars poster signed by Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie, C3po, R2D2 and Darth Vader? That will set you back almost $3,000. What about one of Han alone? That would have cost you $600 all by itself, if the had any available. The site says that particular autograph it is completely sold out.

Now, as I said in the previous article, if people are willing to pay that price, so be it. Let the market decide if the price Celebrity Authentics is charging is too much. Of course, that was before Celebrity Authentics made their defense of their prices.

See, when I posted the first article on my Facebook wall a friend of mine, who is a big Stallone fan, wrote to Celebrity Authentics to voice his disdain about the price they were charging for Sly’s autograph. He shared the response he got on my wall. This is it:

We fully understand your perspective, the same way many are now purchasing flights from around the globe including Australia, UK, Germany, Canada and across the USA to meet Mr. Stallone and believe that $395 is a great price to meet him and get his autograph. To you the opportunity is not worth it, while to others it is the chance of a lifetime. Mr. Stallone’s signature on boxing gloves and other items sell for in excess of $1,000. For example, a knife he signed recently sold on eBay for over $4,000 alone. In addition, keep in mind stars of this caliber have appearance fees in excess of $250,000 and in his case, Mr. Stallone will be flying in from filming in Bulgaria early for the sole purpose of attending the NYCC. As with most things in life, it is all relative to each of our own interests, monetary situation, etc. We will be announcing other guests for the event soon and hopefully one or more of them may be of interest to you. Take care.

That statement is corporate chicanery at its finest. From the rote “His autographs sell for much more on eBay” defense that is used by just about every celebrity to justify their autograph fees to the subtle guilt trip the spokesperson lies down on my friend (“PEOPLE ARE COMING FROM EUROPE, PAL! EUROPE! AND YOU CALL YOURSELF A FAN!”), the whole paragraph is unctuous. But what bothers me most is the fact that the spokesperson is claiming that people are paying for a once in a lifetime opportunity. Well, yes, if standing in line for an hour and then saying two words to your idol as they sign your stuff is a once in a lifetime opportunity, then, yes, they are right. Listen, if they were charging this much for a meet and greet, a chance to be in the same room as your idol and, you know, actually have a conversation with them, I think the price would be spot on. But for a brief signing or photo-op where you are rushed through, I think your money would be better spent elsewhere.

Speaking of which, here are some alternate ideas for you in case you can’t justify spending that much for Sly or Sigourney’s autograph (or you couldn’t save up enough dough in time for the show):

  • The 3rd Annual NYCC Charity Art Auction: Starting at 8pm on Saturday, October 12, original artwork from many of the artists attending the show will be auctioned off, with the proceeds going to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. You could get a beautiful piece of unique art for a fraction of the price you’d pay to get a picture with Sly, and you’d be helping out a great cause.
  • The Hero Initiative: This is a not-for-profit charity dedicated to providing a financial safety net to comic creators in need. Typically, they deal with creators who have accrued great medical bills or have fallen behind on their rent or mortgage. Supporting the Hero Initiative is a great way to support the men and women who helped create comics .
  • The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund:  This is an organization that protects free speech in comics. They typically pay legal fees for comic stores, creators or fans who find themselves in trouble with government agencies over the content of the comic books they sell, create or own. Typically, their booths at cons have items signed by creators such a Frank Miller (Sin City) and Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead).
  • And many, many more charities on the show floor: You’ll find a number of items on the convention floor that donate their proceeds to charity, be it T-shirts that raise money to fight cancer, comic books made to raise awareness of child abuse, or art programs that teach kids through the comics themselves. You don’t have to look very hard to find another charity you can give your money to. And I think that would be a better experience than giving all your money to Celebrity Authentics.

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Will AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 4 Include More Heroes?

Posted on 24 July 2013 by William Gatevackes

alg_spider-man_garfieldMarvel’s success with bring its own characters to the screen through spin-offs and interconnected stories has inspired the rights owners of Marvel characters other than Marvel Studios to mine their rights for all their worth. We have seen Fox create two eras of X-Men to work with, a spin-off Wolverine franchise and will so add X-Force to its mutant film roster, and now it looks like Sony will be doing the same with its Spider-Man franchise.

As part of the San Diego Comic-Con promotional barrage for Amazing Spider-Man 2, director Marc Webb spoke with CraveOnline. The conversation turned to Amazing Spider-Man 4 (yes, the second one has yet to come out and they are already talking about a third sequel). What Webb said was quite interesting:

There you go. In that case, you can do no wrong. We always expect a trilogy from movies now. It’s a little arbitrary but what are you gonna do, and yet, you announce that 2 is coming out, and then the release date for 3 and then a little later you said, “Oh yeah, and we’re doing 4.” 

Well, I think this was conceived of as a trilogy so there was a defined architecture to the story we were telling and we had sort of a rough outline of what was going to happen. I think [for] the fourth movie, what we’ve discovered is there are so many ancillary characters, that have enormous, cinematic potential that there may be other ways to exploit those characters, in a way that is exciting and fun and worthwhile. It might not just be a Spider-Man movie.
Interesting. Yeah, because that’s the thing. We haven’t really introduced any other heroes in the Spider-Man universe, ever. 

Right.
You know, there was kind of the heroic Green Goblin but that was a footnote, and you do seem very interested in the whole world of Spider-Man and not just his immediacy of influence.

Yeah, exactly. I think there’s… You know, what was fun about the comics is that there’s an entire sort of encyclopedia of characters and stories and histories and nuances and idiosyncrasies and off-shoots. I think that that is something that seems to be really successful and has a lot of potential so it’s sort of, as yet, undefined, but intentionally so.

So, it looks like Webb will be along for the ride for ASM 4 (it was touch and go if he’d even be back for this film) and the film will be introducing more heroes into the mix.

While the Spider-Man comic mythos is not as jam-packed with superhero characters as the X-Men universe is, there have been a number of heroes that got their start in a Spider-Man comic.  There have been villains that became heroes such as Sandman and Venom (a number of various incarnations of Venom as a matter of fact), anti-heroes such as Cardiac, Solo, and Silver Sable. And allies such as the Black Cat and Madame Web.

Judging by Webb’s words, it looks like whatever hero is introduced into the franchise will be done with the eye on a spin-off film.

Unfortunately, three of Spider-Man’s biggest allies from the comic books–Morbius, Cloak & Dagger, and the Punisher, will not be in that movie. While all three debut in a Spider-Man comic book, the rights to all three are owned by Marvel.

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SCCC: A Opinion On The Comic Book News From The Con.

Posted on 24 July 2013 by William Gatevackes

san-diego-comic-conPeople have said that there has been a tidal shift in thought regarding at San Diego Comic Con in the film studios minds. Once, it was thought that a panel at SDCC promoting your genre flick would be worth millions in advertising dollars, that word of mouth from the panel would spread throughout the geek community and ticket sales would flourish. But after a few high profile films were rolled out at SDCC (namely, Cowboys & Aliens and Sucker Punch) to less than stellar box office, wags started saying Hollywood was scaling back its SDCC presence.

But even still, one would expect that the studios with comic book films would still deliver what they always had: big news, exclusive scoops and surprise guests. And this year, I found the comic book news was sort of lacking.

Let me explain what I mean.

DC/Warner Brothers:

DC won the comic book movie scoop war in the early rounds before their panel even started with the rumor that they were about to announce Batman/Superman for 2015, The Flash for 2016, and Justice League in 2017. This was diminished slightly when Warners only confirmed Batman/Superman. But even if those other films were announced, I’d still be a bit disappointed for a number of reasons.

First of all, as Rich mentioned, a Batman/Superman film was in the works in 2002 before Warners decided to reboot the franchises separately. A Flash film has been in the works for just as long if not longer. And a Justice League film got to the casting and set building stage before being scrapped. This isn’t Warners using Man of Steel‘s success to blaze new paths and break boundaries. This is Warners using that film’s success to clear out its superhero film backlog.

WonderWomanOn a somewhat related note, this bears comparison to how DC Entertainment handles its comic book operations. DC Entertainment business plan appears to be more about the now and less about the future. It seems like they plan one shocking event, including killing off popular characters, at the rate of one a fiscal quarter to bump up sales. They change writers on their books like most people change their underwear, not allowing anyone to build traction on a title or work free from corporate interference.  As long as the books are selling well right now, why worry about not finding writers or alienating fans in the future!

This seems like more and the same, only slightly less egregious. Superman is very hot at the box office right now. Batman is coming out of a franchise that made Warners billions. Putting them in the same movie together should be like printing money. But if you are building a shared universe, leading to a Justice League team-up, wouldn’t this spot be better used bringing another hero to the screen? If not that, having more films along the line that just the Flash’s? Like making a Wonder Woman film?

Speaking of that, I believe that now is the time for a Wonder Woman film. Twilight and The Hunger Games have proven that female-focused genre films can find an audience. And Wonder Woman has themes that mirror the ones in those films.

I know this might just seem like I am mad at Warners for not taking my advice, and don’t get me wrong, I am excited to see how Nolan and Goyer will be reinventing Batman again, I just think there is a lot of potential lost in the path Warners is taking.

Marvel Studios:

AvengersAgeOfUltronLogoIn August of 2011, Disney announced two Marvel films for the year of 2014. At SDCC in 2012, we found out that they were going to be Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy.

In June of this year, we found out Disney has reserved May 2016 and May 2017 for Marvel films, with July 2016 being added later that month. At this year’s SDCC, we found out nothing about any of those dates.

Granted, there was a shorter turnaround time (one month compared to one year between announcement and the con) and a longer one between the con and the films release date (three years instead of two), but with some websites saying that Doctor Strange is all but cast, and Black Panther not far behind, you’d expect at least one of the films for those dates would be announced.

1005201_10151733620499570_124151884_nWhat we got was a subtitle for Avengers 2 (Now known as Avengers: Age of Ultron), a brief clip from Thor: The Dark World (with Thor supposedly losing an hand), a panel with the cast of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and a panel with the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy (with the scoop that Djimon Hounsou has joined the cast and that Thanos would make an appearance).

Certainly a fair amount of scoops there, but it seems like bigger scoops happened outside the panel. Joss Whedon spoke with Marvel.com’s blog, where he eased fans minds by saying Avengers: Age of Ultron would not be adapting the recently completed, somewhat poorly received comic book series of the same name. He then disappointed the same fans by revealing that Hank Pym, who created Ultron in the comics, would not be creating him in the film. Boo. This is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, shifts from Marvel continuity that the films have taken, and not one I think is for the better. Creating Ultron is a big touchstone in Hank Pym’s background. He doesn’t really have many other character defining touchstones than that. Taking that away from him weakens the character if he ever appears on film.

Then, in an interview with Huffington Post, Captain America: The Winter Soldier‘s co-director Joe Russo revealed that the film would play directly into Avengers: Age of Ultron. My guess  would be that either the cybernetics team that make the Winter Solder ‘s implants creates Ultron to replace the Winter Soldier, or Cap breaks with S.H.I.E.L.D and/or the government and they create Ultron to replace him.

Sony/Amazing Spider-Man 2:

2013-07-19-sdcc_spiderman_01-533x355I have to say that Andrew Garfield seems to be the actor who has the most fun playing a superhero in comic film history. At the very least, he is the one who has the most fun at SDCC. For the first film, he appeared from the crowd at SDCC ’11 in a store bought Spidey costume and read a statement on how much playing Spider-man meant to him. This year, he spent a good part of the Spider-Man panel in a better Spider-Man suit, answering questions in character. His enthusiasm for the role goes a long way for me.

The panel had a bit of fun introducing Jamie Foxx to the dias (he interrupted a taped statement from Emma Stone) but other than that, it was simply a “promote the film” panel. You can call the fact that Paul Giamatti’s Rhino would have a small part in the film a scoop, but that was common sense. There was talk of the Sinister Six making an appearance down the line, but nothing concrete.

Fox/The Wolverine/X-Men: Days of Future Past:

A first look at the Sentinels from X-ME:DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, as seen ast SDCC '13

A first look at the Sentinels from X-ME:DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, as seen ast SDCC ’13

If you are looking for surprises, look no further than here. The Wolverine panel ended with a surprise X-Men: Days of Future Past panel.

The Wolverine panel was essentially just a promotion for the film, which opens this week. But Hugh Jackman shows once again that he is one of the classiest actors in showbiz. He was effusive in his praise to the fans for accepting him and called up Len Wein to shake his hand and thank him for creating the character. Like Garfield, Jackman seems to sincerely enjoy playing the character and it shows.

X-Men: Days of Future Past had a presence at SDCC already, with Sentinel designs being on full display. The surprise panel, complete with a clip, offered little scoops, only rumor confirmation. It will be Wolverine going back in time, not Kitty Pryde. Quicksilver will appear in the 1970s part of the film. And whatever happens in the past will bring Xavier and Magneto back together in the future.

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SDCC: Marvel’s Kevin Feige Confirms Thanos in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, More Hints On Phase Two

Posted on 22 July 2013 by William Gatevackes

GuardiansOfTheGalaxy
For those of you who were a tad upset when Ultron, and not Thanos, was mentioned as the villain of Avengers 2, Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige has heard your concerns:

I think someone on the Guardians Of The Galaxy panel let loose that Thanos is a part of the movie, which he is. Thanos plays a part in Guardians as a mastermind. He very much exists at nearly another plane than any of the other characters. And we have big plans for him, over the course of a long, long time… We saw him smirking at us at the end of the first Avengers and the next time we’ll see him is in Guardians.

That’s a quote from Feige from a quick interview with IGN during the San Diego Comic Con, putting a lot of the fans’ fears to rest that we won’t have to wait all that long to see the purple-hued villain.

Of course, this makes sense. If you are setting up Thanos as the big bad guy for Avengers 3, which could very well be the last installment of that franchise, you are not going to put him on the shelf for five years. It also makes sense that if you establish a bad guy who lives in outer space, and you have a film set in outer space then the bad guy should be in that film.

Furthermore, I get the impression that Thanos will be popping up in other films in Phase II and Phase III, which makes me wonder where he’d fit in in the rumored Doctor Strange and Black Panther films. I have the feeling that, depending on grosses, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 might be in the mix for Phase III now.

Feige goes on to speak about Loki and his role in the Marvel universe and if there is any chance of him being reformed. His deft avoidance of the question leads me to believe that the character will be making a further appearance in the future Phases as well.

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SDCC: Warner’s GODZILLA Panel

Posted on 22 July 2013 by Rich Drees

Godzilla2014

Although part of a bigger presentation from Warner Brothers, the portion of the panel devoted the studios upcoming Godzilla film at San Diego Comic Con has shown up online for fan consumption. Moderated by The Nerdist’s Chris Hardwick, it features director Gareth Edwards and stars Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron-Taylor Johnson and Bryan Cranston talking about the film, which they had just finished filming a few days prior. As usual, there’s no footage from the project included – A shame as it reportedly hinted that there will be more giant monsters than just the big G in the film – but the interplay between the cast and their director is entertaining in itself. (Perhaps the best story is Edwards’ about going through Canadian Customs.)

And as a bonus, below is the teaser poster that Sony released for the film. (Click on it for a bigger version.)

GodzillaTeaserPoster

Godzilla stomps onto screens on May 16, 2013.

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SDCC: Watch The WOLVERINE/ DAYS OF FUTURE PAST Panel

Posted on 22 July 2013 by Rich Drees

Wolverine

Another full San Diego Comic Con panel, minus any film footage that was screened by the studio, has shown up on YouTube, once again from user Emergency Awesome. This time, it is the panel that covered both this weekend’s upcoming The Wolverine and next summer’s X-Men: Days Of Future Past, so it is a double shot for fans of the X-Men film franchise.

In the nearly hour clip we’ll see Wolverine director James Mangold talk about the film alongside star Hugh Jackman. Then, a good majority of the main cast joins Bryan Singer on stage to discuss Days Of Future Past.

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SDCC: VERONICA MARS Behind-The-Scenes Reel And Trailer

Posted on 21 July 2013 by Rich Drees

VeronicaMarsmovie

The moment that Veronica Mars fans have been waiting for ever since their dreams for a feature film continuation of the television series became a reality thanks to a record-breaking crowdfunding campaign. The first reveal of new footage of the plucky sleuth in six years was unveiled at San Diego Comic Con this weekend. And unlike many of the video presentations made at the show, Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas has made the footage online. It starts off with a thank you to fans for their continued support and moves into some behind-the-scenes joking around amongst the cast and ends with the first teaser trailer which reveals a few cast members and things about returning characters that haven’t been mentioned before.

Veronica Mars is on track for a 2014 release.

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