Friday, June 13, 2014

Star Wars Episode VII: Thinking Out Loud

This is a script for Star Wars Episode VII. 

It is not THE script for Star Wars Episode VII, but a summation of what I think the movie might be, based on my years of speculation since first watching Return of the Jedi and my love for the source material.  It's my best guess.

We'll see in December of 2015 how wrong I am.

Star Wars Ep VII: A Rising Shadow

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Kal-L(?) of Earth 2

I really like this sketch of what the new Earth 2's Superman is going to look like.  This is exactly what a 21st Century update of Clark's iconic costume should have been.  Gone are the problematic-for-management trunks.  Gone is the original, open-for-potential-copyright-issues logo.  Yet the costume as a whole looks exactly like what Superman should be wearing, and it's done in a manner that's been similarly effective for many of the numerous updates Batman has had to his attire over the decades.

This is a Superman I can see as the face of the DC Universe, leader of the Justice League and an inspiration for others to take up the mantle (said even despite my misgivings about Superman as a storytelling device and my sympathy for Luthor's point of view).  This is the Superman that DC should be hard selling to new readers and showing off in the new movie.

It's a look that's powerful and imposing while managing to be distinctive in it's simplicity.  I like how the logo flows into the cape, which drapes over his shoulders.  I like the streamlined, lightweight aspect to it, conveying a Superman unencumbered by anything unnecessary.  I like how it pulls this off yet manages to consist of simple, blocky shapes that a child could replicate in the margins of his textbooks. 

Strong.  Bold.  Classic.  Simple.

If a revamp had to happen then this is what the "real" Superman should look like.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Anticipation, Half Measures, and the New 52

Having read the first issue of Johns' and Lee's restructuring of the Justice League, which serves as introduction to the rest of the restructured DC Universe, I'm... Well, I'm not sure I'd have gone about it the same way they did, not entirely. I hope that at the end of the proverbial day this is a huge success for DC and in six months time they have a half dozen or more titles selling over 100k each month. Somehow, I don't think that's going to be the case.

Clearly, DC recognized that their flagging sales trends could not continue. Warner Brothers may only need DC Entertainment as an IP generator, but DC (DCE?) and its management clearly felt their needed to do something to justify their continued existence as a small publishing arm of a much bigger corporation. They need (and by extension all of the comics industry needs) a huge influx of new readers. All of comics needs a big shot in the arm.

So let's go then. Let's see DCE attack the marketplace with something bold, and fresh, and super fucking attention worthy.

Two weeks after stores received the finale of the most recent Justice League of America series, we get the spankin' new Justice League #1. And the first issue turns out to be the first part of a five or six part story arc wherein vaguely “All-Star” feeling versions of Batman and Green Lantern tangle with the cops and a parademon and a cliffhanger promising a Batman vs. Superman showdown next month.

 I was going to issue a parenthetical spoiler warning for the above paragraph but then realized that it was unnecessary. The issue read, beat-for-beat, like so many other comics I have sitting in long boxes in my closet that by the end I was just disappointed by it all.

I'm going to assume that the rest of the arc will detail All-Star Batman and company's bickering slowly metamorphosizing into grudging respect as they realize that they must work together to defeat an invasion from Apocalypse. Meanwhile, Vic Stone's transformation into Cyborg will place him in the rookie hero role, acting as the voice of the reader and proxy gateway into this crazy new world of super heroic adventure.

Every beat of the issue, from Batman's in media res introduction to the “Next: Superman v. Batman” caption box felt more like a remix than a reboot. One issue in and the New 52 reads as a stale remix of the familiar.

And I'm left wondering how they could have started this brave new era differently, to make it really different.

DC wants this to be big; the biggest thing ever. I want it to be the biggest thing ever, as a life long comics reader and aspiring comics writer. All of comics fandom should be wanting this to be the biggest thing ever. The New 52 should be hitting the market with all the combined impact of Showcase #4, Amazing Fantasy #15, Fantastic Four #1, Crisis on Infinite Earths, and the launch of Image Comics rolled into a single four-color explosion. This should be the biggest entertainment news of the year.

But how?

DC should have gone away for a while. Rather than the New 52 press release we got, they should have instead announced that they were wrapping up the DCU; announced that they were giving their creative teams another 4-6 months to wrap up their books with satisfying narrative codas. That's it. Announce that they're ending DC Comics. Bombshell. Give that a week to cycle through the internet and really cause a stir before following it up with a press release that the new DC Entertainment is launching after a six month hiatus.

There was a good five or six year period between the Golden and Silver Ages of comics. Ultimately, there's too much money involved for the pantheon of DC's characters to disappear for that long. But a gap longer than two weeks (less if you consider Flashpoint #5 was released the same day as Justice League #1) was needed in order for this soft relaunch to have the impact in deserves. Most all other media goes on hiatus of some sort. TV shows have three month breaks between seasons. Book publishers schedule out their releases far enough apart. Movie studios give their franchises a rest now and then. The market needs room to breathe and readership needed a dose of anticipation. Absence makes the heart something something.

I understand that this is serial publishing and there's a fear that if you take a break your audience might not be there when you return. But this is different than a book shipping late. This is a planned relaunch of the entire line. It's already a deliberate gamble. Half measures aren't enough.

DC wouldn't have needed to shut down completely. They could fill this hypothetical six month gap with a handful of war, western, horror or other genre comics while still stepping back from publishing super heroes for a time. The interim gap could have been used to build anticipation and excitement with coordinated releases, teases, and advertising. With the backing and commitment of a parent company that made over a half a billion dollars off the most recent Batman movie, I'd have gone as far as a television ad campaign selling the new DC Entertainment. The general public need to be reminded that comics still exist, let alone matter.

Go away for six months and then come back swinging as hard as you can and knock it out of the park.

DC Entertainment, and comics writ large, needs a huge influx of new readers. These new readers need to be both young and old and they need to have easy access to comics. New readers, intrigued by the ad campaign, should be able find DC comics everywhere they turn when the relaunch hits. This means comics in every possible venue: the local comic shop, the Kwik-E-Mart, the supermarket, bookstores, and everywhere on the internet. This would mean a real sea-change in how comics are distributed, but it's necessary.

For the LCS, and the buyers who don't need that acronym defined, not much would be different than it is now. They are the hard core. But DC already has those thirty to forty thousand Wednesday customers. They're not going anywhere (not that this means the industry should turn their backs on them either. As long as they're not insulted or ignored, they're not going anywhere). Habitual readers will remain so, and the new DC Entertainment can continue to market high quality editions of the monthly issues printed on glossy paper. The LCS is a boutique shop, not a major marketplace, and should be recognized and treated as such. Give the LCS specials and extras and whatever else; don't forget that it's a premium market and treat it as such. 

Additionally, DC Entertainment's return should be including an aggressive return to corner stores and supermarkets. Every kid in the country should be able to tug on their parent's sleeve and beg for the latest issue of Batman or Justice League. Make these newsstand editions as inexpensive as possible. Print them on newsprint. Fill them with ads. Do whatever it takes to give them the most palatable price point possible; a buck a shot for a parent to give their kid something to read in the car on the way home. Limit these editions to four or five core titles, tops, and make it easy for stores to commit to stocking them. Make these the “gateway drug” comics has been missing since they threw all-in with Diamond and the direct market. If Archie can do it, so can DCE.

Then there's digital and the internet. Today when I go to the iTunes store and search for “Batman” I'm offered the feature films, cartoons, audiobooks, podcasts, some ancillary nonsense, and the DC Comics iPhone and iPad apps. But there's no direct link which I can click on to buy digital editions of Batman comics or graphic novels. Yes, I'm aware of the app but that's a bottleneck DC (and again, comics writ large) shouldn't be putting in place. I should be able to go to iTunes, like millions of users do every day, search “Batman” and be able to click, buy, download, and read a CBR or PDF of any of DC's back catalog of Batman graphic novels instantly using any reader I choose. And the very first search result should be for the monthly Batman book with a “subscribe now” button. Make the digital editions cheap, easy to get, and hook people in with subscriptions, just like people are already accustomed to with podcasts. How many tens of thousands of extra readers are likely to subscribe to “Batman” in iTunes for $0.99 per month (or save and subscribe for only $9.99 per year!) that would never consider walking into an LCS?

Sell monthly comics in the LCS; comics printed on high quality paper with alternate covers and packed with extras, letter columns, and back matter. Sell them for $2.99 or $3.99 or whatever the direct market can bear.

Sell monthly comics in Safeway and Wegmans and the Kwik-E-Mart; a small selection of comics with “regular edition” covers on cheap paper with an impulse buy level price point.

Sell monthly comics online through iTunes, Amazon, an app, direct download from, from everywhere. Sell them cheaply at ninety-nine cents apiece for single issues and more for trades or OGNs.

Most of all, sell comics.

So, in this ever more long-winded hypothetical, DC Comics has gone on hiatus. They've fueled their hard core base's anticipation with hints and teases, and built up a mainstream ad campaign to match. They've positioned themselves for a giant coordinated premiere with books being available in every possible marketplace. Remember, no half measures.

This brings us to the actual delivery. “The New DC: There's No Stopping Us Now!”

DC Entertainment's big premiere should fulfill the promise and make us all believe the hype. Premiere Day should have hit with a one-two-three-four punch of Justice League, Batman, Action Comics starring Superman, and Wonder Woman, and each one should have been a stunning 96 pages at a bargain two or three dollar price. Hit us with impossible to ignore comics; four books that set up the senses-shattering new status quo for the entire universe. Do it by telling four complete stories right out of the gate using the four most marketable properties you have, told by the biggest and brightest talent you have.

Hook new readers with excellent writing, even better art, and fun, complete original stories that lure them in and leave them wanting to sign up for more.

Instead, DC is back and they're stumbling out of the gate with a convoluted, staggered approach. JL#1 has a “five years ago” setting. Action is apparently starting out set further back than that, and most of the other books are taking place in the narrative present day. Day one, and casual readers are being tasked to deal with a simultaneous, multiple time-lines barrier to entry and the daunting commitment of a six month wait before the completion of a single story.

I'm left wanting, thinking of an alternative wherein DC could have offered four complete stories to hook new readers and then capped each one with a “Read The Continuing Adventures Monthly” caption at the end. So far, it all feels like more of the same, with an approach that still encourages waiting for the trade collections.

This new beginning should hook us, reel us in and never fucking let go. New stories and a brave new direction featuring iconic characters. No looking back, the future's over there!

Instead, at the beginning of this issue I'm reminded of Batman chasing a monster from Apocalypse in the first issue of Cosmic Odyssey. I'm reminded of Batman & Green Lantern bickering in the pages of All-Star. I'm reminded of rookie hero Cyborg being instrumental to the Super-Friends defeating Darkseid in his introduction and expect rookie hero Cyborg to be instrumental to the Justice League defeating Darkseid in this introductory arc. At the end of the issue I'm reminded of all of the times Batman and Superman have clashed in forever. 

 And, at the end of the proverbial day, I suspect that comics on the whole are going to come out the other side of DC's shake-up with a lot of sound and furor amounting to nothing much more than cosmetic uniform changes and a temporary sales bump accompanying the renumbered first issues and same-old sales tactics.

I wanted innovation. I wanted risk taking. I wanted to buy and read the distillation of everything that makes comics, and DC Comics in this case, incredible. I wanted to experience the rush of DC's icons being folded and tempered, being honed to a new cutting edge. I wanted to read something new. I wanted streamlined, purposeful, daring, original comics. I wanted (still want) the best stories told with the best characters. Most of all, I want everyone to be reading these comics.

It's the first day of DC's New 52. There's room for growth and change and course correction, but so far all I see are missed opportunities and half measures.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

By the Hoary @#%$ Hosts!

For a comic that came out in 2006 (and one that I've had the trade of since last summe) this shouldn't be news to anyone. I'm going to say it again anyway. Dr. Strange: The Oath is a hell of a lot of fun.

Rereading it this morning, I was completely taken in by just how much fun this comic is.

If you haven't already, do yourself a favor. Find this book and enjoy the hell out of it. Otherwise, maybe we can't be friends anymore. Nothing personal. Just... you know.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Well, She's Not a Skrull

You can read all about it, and at length, elsewhere. Including here, here, here, here and here. Not to mention, my original complaint. Or "to mention", since I just did.

I also seem to recall the summer of 2006, when Marvel's current Editor-in-Chief promised the public that Spider-Man revealing his secret identity would be a permanent change.

Yeah. Right.

Buying comics is no longer the minor investment it used to be. Forgetting trades, Absolute Editions and the like, let's just look at single issues. The latest issue of Amazing is four bucks. Sorry, "Still Only $3.99!"* While the regular price is 3 bucks, another jump is on the horizon. I'm an adult with a job and $50-$60 a month is a pretty big sized bite. Kids aren't buying comics anymore? Do you know any kids that want to burn their entire allowance on a single comic book, let enough titles to keep up with a shared universe? I don't.

And now I'm an old man complaining about how movies used to cost a nickle and nothing's as good as it used to be.

Veering back towards the topic, how many of the Marvel comics that I've bought no longer "happened"? The first and best** appearance of Venom? Harry Osborn's death in "Spectacular"? Forget about all that... wait, rephrase. Don't consider the ramifactions of all that just now. Think about all the recent Marvel comics effected. Civil War, New Avengers, the bulk of JMS' run on Amazing, that awesome issue of She-HUlk?

The hand-in-hand excuses of "Well, they all still happened, just not in that way." and "You can still go back and read the ones you own. Those books haven't changed." are just weak sauce.

It's impossible to re-read the issues where Aunt May discovers Peter's secret identity and not be constantly thinking about what a huge waste of time it all is. Because it never happened. And these are stories only five or six years old.

How about May and Jarvis makin' the smokey eyes at each other in New Avengers? I suppose I can just x-acto those pages out of the trade paperback edition Marvel's still selling.

Sweeping continuity changes, specifically ones that invalidate books I've spent money on (especially within the last year), are insulting. It tells me, as a reader, that I shouldn't emotionally invest anything in the stories I'm reading. If I shouldn't care about a story, why should I buy it?

In fact, DC's ongoing series of continuity reboots are the reason why the only DC comics I've bought in the last year are Jeff Smith's Shazam! mini and a near complete run of "The Trial of The Flash" out of dollar bins.

Equally depressing is the truth that this editorially mandated continuity patch will be as permanent as Spider-Man's public unmasking. So when Loki reveals the truth to Peter and MJ somewhere around Amazing 575 (600? Will it last that long?), is anyone going to be surprised? Or maybe just bitter that they invested their money and their emotions on "imaginary" stories with an imaginary status quo and now the rug is being pulled out from under the reader yet again?

Sigh. "This has all happened before and will all happen again."

I'm not going to get into some of the other questions that could be asked. What would Uncle Ben think of Peter and MJ's actions? Or Aunt may (because she is going to find out)? Why should I care for a man who would throw away his marriage in a deal with the devil? And what the hell cheap-ass Faustian bargain is it where the devil doesn't throw in a double cross and have Aunt May get hit by a car on her way out of the hospital?

I'm so very tired. And rambling.

I also still think that making Mary-Jane a Skrull would've been a great (and temporary) solution to the manufactured problem. Plus, it would've dovetailed nicely into the coming Skrull-pocalypse (Skrull-vasion?).

*I get the thinking behind this cover blurb. The execution and timing are what I have a problem with. Why point out that the book is a dollar more than usual with phrasing like "still only"?

**Venom in the Parker's apartment, waiting for MJ to come home. Downright creepy. And yet to be topped. Oh, and now maybe never happened at all.


One last point that I find amusing, from a press conference in '06.

QUESTION: Seeing as how the continuity of the X-Men titles doesn't seem to flow properly, would you ever consider just making X-Men a weekly book with multiple different creative teams working on it?

ANSWER: QUESADA: That would be kind of like when Superman had four titles and the creative teams worked together on them ... but it's a real drag on the creative teams and on the editorial staff to do something like that.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Birthday Santa!

Just a quick reminder that there's only 370 shopping days until next Christmas! So get out there and splurge, you crazy consumers, you!

Me, I'm going to drink my way through the winter solstice in the hopes that the Earth's axis will, once again, tilt back toward the sun. Grumble, grumble. Stupid Casket of Ancient Winters.

For everyone else, make sure you stuff plenty of old fruit and straw in your shoes so pappa Odin will leave you something good this year.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Too Soon?

What did I do today? Apparently, my offhand, wise-ass comment about a certain wrapped-in-plastic murder victim having been killed by her dad spoiled the show for someone.

I guess a seventeen year old show is too soon to talk about.

In other news: It's a sled. He's Luke's father. Bruce Willis was dead the whole time. Jack is Tyler Durden. Oh, and Ozymandias is the villain.

Maybe I should've waited on that last one.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday Night Strikes!

Posting's been... light around these parts, a bad habit I need to kick. No one cares about excuses, so I won't offer any.

Today is Day 26 of the Writer's Guild strike. As someone who's goal is to someday be a dues paying member of the WGA this has pretty much been the only current event I've forced time into my schedule to follow. I assume if you're here reading this then you're already up to speed on the incredibly justified reasons for the strike. Or you're here on this site because you know me, in which case, I've already beat into your head the incredibly justified reasons for the strike.

Go buy a T-shirt already. Proceeds help support non-WGA members affected by the strike.

In the mean time...

Bahlactus can show you the way.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Classic Cover of the Week

As a kid I bought my comics where I could. The book store, a cigar store, the local equivalent of the Kwik-E-Mart, they all enabled my early buying habits. Heck, I even bought the Spider-Man/Wolverine one-shot at the supermarket, along with the Buckaroo Banzai movie tie-in and the first issue of Iceman's original mini-series.

But this isn't about being able to find comics everywhere. This is about the first time I found a comic in a local comic book store. It's also the first back issue of a comic that I bought.

The next time that someone's complaining about the "death" of the comics industry, or specifically the reality that comics no longer exist outside of your LCS, point them to "Moon Knight". The first (correct me if I'm wrong) direct market title, Moon Knight showed that comics could tell more "adult" themed stories and be sucessful without newsstand exposure.

Me, I just loved (and love) that art.

Friday, November 2, 2007


Ho. Ley. Crap..

Whedon, Dushku and Minnear? Count me in.

Of course, it being a Fox show I suppose I can look forward to having a "Dollhouse: The Complete Series" DVD box set on my shelf next to "Wonderfalls: The Complete Series" and "Firefly: The Complete Series". That is, if Fox even lets them get past the initial seven episode order. My excitement is tempered by the writer's strike induced delay and "baby steps" thinking. Please get further than "Drive" did, or "The Inside".

Monday, October 29, 2007

Classic Cover of the Week

My introduction to the character actually took place in the pages of Suicide Squad #1, which I picked up because of the "Legends" crossover blurb on the cover.

This series though, by Ostrander, Yale and McDonnell, took Floyd Lawton's character which they'd been building in the main title and cemented it. The four issue mini-series was a perfect exploration of the character's history and motivations.

For me, and the way the selective continuity in my brain works, the original 1988 Deadshot mini-series is on par with, and DC's answer to, Marvel's original Wolverine mini from Claremont and Miller.

As far as I know, the series has never been collected but if you can find the issues is the dollar bins grab them. You won't be sorry.

Oh, and remember "DC Comics aren't just for kids", in case you needed that reminder while reading a story about a suicidal contract killer with mother issues who dresses up in orange and silver tights.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday Night Fights!





And with one of the all-time great first issue cliffhangers in comics, the Question gets his ass handed to him by Lady Shiva, takes a lead pipe to the noggin and has a slug from a .22 ride his skull like Bodhi riding the big ones at Bells Beach, all before getting dumped in an icy river. If you're going to "kill" your lead in order to kick start his title, this is how it should be done and O'Neil was the master.

Bahlactus says, "Cogito, ergo objurgo"

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Called Out!

Well, it looks like I've been called out, and with reason.

Catching up on a mountain of reading? No excuse.
The start of hockey season (even if the Sabres are 3-5 right now)? No excuse.
Trying to finish up the first two arcs of The Irregulars? No excuse.
Borrowing a friend's Farscape box set? No excuse.
Getting dumped? No excuse.
Being drunk? No excuse.

If I can't come up with even a 100 words a day related to Power Man and Iron Fist, talking monkeys, Cylons, Silver Age Lex Luthor, the Yakuza, Dan Slott: Marvel EiC, Ewoks, Dr. Doom's pimp cup or my fears that Mark Steven Johnson will make another comic book movie then I've got no business keeping this crappy little web log going.

Message received, Palette. Message received.

And by "Message received" I mean "Okay, okay, okay! I'll get back to work."

Friday, September 28, 2007

Casting Call Friday: The Pitch

The Fantastic Four. The X-men. Spider-Man. Captain America, Iron Man and The Avengers.

The shared universe of Marvel Comics is populated by some of the most colorful, interesting and recognizable superheroes being published today. The New York City patrolled by a web-slinging, friendly neighborhood wall crawler is the same city that’s home to the family of science-heroes living in the Baxter Building and the demigods who call Avengers Mansion home. The biggest thrill a kid can have reading a Marvel comic is when his heroes team-up to defeat the bad guy. Spidey and the Human Torch are trading wisecracks while trading punches with the Rhino? What are Wolverine and Captain America doing together on that cover? Any small boy seeing these icons together is going to be compelled to find out.

However, in television and the movies there are no big crossovers. 20th Century Fox’s X-men simply aren’t going to run across Columbia’s Spider-Man or Regency’s Daredevil.

While in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Luke Cage gained super strength and bullet proof skin in a tragic accident. Danny Rand, orphaned son of an American industrialist, was raised in Tibet to become the world’s deadliest martial artist, a living weapon with fists of iron. Together with ex-NYPD officer Misty Knight and the idealistic Colleen Wing, Luke and Danny are employed by the Nightwing Restorations detective agency. They investigate cases too strange for the police, exploring the hidden corners of the Marvel Comics universe and coping with their very unusual lives. They are Heroes for Hire.

Think Angel meets Se7en. The baddest man in Harlem and a kung-fu white boy team-up to fight ninjas, crime lords, serial killers and old Spider-man villains.

(1 hour action drama)

It's Heroes For Hire, coming fall of 2009 or, more likely, never.

Henry Simmons as Luke Cage

Chad Michael Murray as Danny Rand

Gina Torres as Misty Knight

Carly Pope as Colleen Wing

And Dennis Dun as Professor Wing.

Pitch... Pilot script... Series bible. Hey, a guy can dream, can't he?

And, should the series take off I've got a couple of people in mind for guest stars and recurring villains. Examples:

Tamoh Penikett as The Taskmaster (recurring, Season 3)
Peter Dinklage as Maynard Tiboldt, The Ringmaster (Season 1, Episode 8)
Masuimi Max as Lilah Cheney (Season 2, one episode)

And with the big finish, Fictional Comic Book Movie Casting Call Week comes to a close.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Casting Call Thursday: Solo Avengers!

Yeah, that's right. Solo Avengers. Save your laughter until the end.

Ron Livingston as Clint Barton/Hawkeye
David Boreanaz as Simon Williams
Diane Farr as Bobbi "Mockingbird" Morse

Clint Barton's hot temper and clashes with authority have led to his current "reserve" status with Earth's premiere super-team. But he hasn't laid down his bow. Clint's staying busy in Southern California, freelancing as a bounty hunter and super-criminal skip tracer.

Federal agent Bobbi Morse works out of the LA field office as the Avengers' west coast government liason. If the Rhino or Electro test California, or if a spare Ultron robot gets loose, she's the one stuck with the assignment of bringing them in. More often than she'd like, this requires her to call in Clint Barton for assistance.

Simon "Wonder Man" Williams is a former super-hero turned Hollywood action hero. His days of three picture deals and 100 million dollar opening weekends are behind him though. On the down side of both careers, Simon's desperate to recapture his fading spotlight. He now hosts a "Cops" style reality show that follows Hawkeye around, taping his exploits and clashes with the super-criminal element.

It's Magnum PI meets Cops meets the Marvel Universe. It's Solo Avengers.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dream Cast (Not the Video Game System)!

This time Fictional Comic Book Movie Casting Week is going to tackle a real project, coming to your living rooms next year.

Buckle up, it's Preacher!

Matthew McConaughey as Rev. Jesse Custer
James Marsters as Cassidy
Cameron Diaz as Tulip O'Hare
Gary Oldman as Herr Starr
Maggie Gyllenhaal as Featherstone
Ray Stevenson as Saint of Killers
Chris Cooper as Hugo Root
Johnny Galecki as Arseface
Val Kilmer as John Wayne
Christopher Meloni as Jody
Clint Howard as TC

With Piper Laurie as Marie L'Angelle and Ian McDiarmid as the Voice of God.

Not the Cameron Diaz from "The Sweetest Thing", but the Cameron Diaz from "A Life Less Ordinary".

Marsters might be a bit of type casting, but he'd nail the hell out of the part.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Fictional Casting Call. Spoilers Ahead!

Fictional Comic Book Movie Casting Week rolls along with a look at the alternate Earth IMDB page for David Fincher's Suicide Squad.

George Clooney as Rick Flagg
CCH Pounder as Amanda Waller
Helena Bonham Carter as Nightshade
Idris Elba as Ben Turner
Matthew Settle as Floyd Lawton
James Nesbitt as "Digger" Harkness
Tatum O'Neal as Karin Grace
Gina Torres as Mari McCabe
Dean Winters as Tom Tresser
Claudia Black as Duchess
Matthew Lillard and Eva Amurri as Punch and Jewlee

And Steve Buscemi as Arthur Light

Pounder and Torres were perfection in JLU. Why mess with what works? Plus, I (heart) Zoe Washburne.

When Punch gets offed during a mission for being a dumbass, who better for the audience to cheer when they get killed onscreen than Lillard?

Lawton was the hardest pick of the bunch, but I think Matthew Settle, who protrayed the dead inside Lt. Speirs in Band of Brothers, would be perfect as the cold-hearted Deadshot.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Spoiler Alert! Fictional Casting!

Fictional Comic Book Movie Casting Week opens with a bang.

52: The Series. A special one year HBO event.

Paul Walker as Michael Carter
Ciaran Hinds as Teth Adam
Steve McQueen as Vic Sage
Gina Gershon as Renee Montoya
Nathan Fillion as Adam Strange
Jay Harrington as Buddy Baker
Tricia Helfer as Starfire

With Anthony Stewart Head as Will Magnus and Ed Norton as Ralph Dibny

Yeah, I know Steve McQueen is dead. He's still a perfect Question.

I'm going somewhere with this actually. Friday's imaginary casting call will tie into a pilot spec script I've written for a pair of Marvel characters who's films have been in development hell for nearly a decade.

Tomorrow: David Fincher's Suicide Squad

Friday, September 21, 2007

Casting News! Spoiler Alert!

Steve McQueen, Edward G. Robinson, Ann Margaret, Karl Malden and Tuesday Weld.

Watched my DVD copy of The Cincinnati Kid again last night and realized that it has the perfect cast to star in "Steve Ditko's The Question", the imaginary movie set to open in my head next summer.

Steve McQueen as Vic Sage would've been bad ass.

In fact, I think next week might be Fictional Comic Book Movie Casting Week. This being the first post in almost a month (Damn you Irregulars. Why do you vex me so?), fake casting news for fake movies should be light enough to get me back into the groove while not taking time away from those in progress issues of the comic.

So on that note, stay tuned* for Monday's announcement of the cast of "52: The Movie"

*stay tuned all one (two?) hits I'm still getting.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Avalanche of Villainy

In the second arc of The Irregulars our heroic trio will face off against the villain I hope will become their arch-nemesis. And before you ask: no, I'm not done scripting the first arc yet. I'm lazy and I drink, so back off. Actually, I'll probably be done with the first six issues in a week or two. My brain's not always linear, so the second arc's been intruding on the first's time. First six issues are looking to take three months to complete, but issues seven through twelve should only take half as long.

Anyway, arch-nemesis. Prof. Gordon Saimiri, the world's smartest monkey, naturally needs an arch nemesis and the opposite number villian is a long establish tradition. The mysterious space aliens that disassembled Gordo and reassembled him as the super-intelligent Prof. Saimiri, it turns out they did the same thing when they picked up Laika's space capsule the previous year. Unfortunately, they put Laika back together wrong. Who better than a super-intelligent, deformed and insane evil communist canine to challenge Prof. Saimiri, our flamethrower-toting simian college professor, his robot and his girl?

So, that's our nemesis and part of Laika's plan to destroy The Irregulars is to assemble an army of villains (that in no way is inspired by the Legion of Doom) and have them all attack Los Angeles at once. Who are some of the players in this army of 35 villains that I plan on introducing in a single, bone-chilling two page splash panel?

Glad you asked.

Atomic Weight. Professor Emil Avogadro, longest tenured member of the physics department at USCLA, was driven insane in the lab accident that gave him his powers. He sees the world only as swirling patterns of protons and neutrons and is able to mentally multiply the number of isotopes in inanimate matter.

The Humidity! Master of super-heated water vapor. It's not the heat, it's The Humidity!

Ramses CDXVII. Egyptian despot and the 417th in an unbroken line dating back to Ramses I. Possesses the combined experiences, guile and intelligence of the previous 416 Ramses (Ramseses?).

Herr Zorn. Seven feet of blonde crew-cut and muscles, the super-strong Herr Zorn absorbs the anger of others as sustenance.

Ms. Limpid. Sultry, 40's Hollywood style femme fatale. Ms. Limpid projects an aura of calm. Her victims remain frozen in their tracks until they're nothing but transparent, glass-like statues.

Tyrannosaurus Reginald. Half man, half dinosaur, all polite. T-Reg kills and eats his human victims with a prehistoric appetite and the salad fork on the left. Please. Thank you. Kill!

Battalion. Mercenary with the power to replicate himself up to 1,200 times.

The Jam Band. Members: Inspiration, Comet Dust, Marble and Tina. Together, when playing their instruments, they weave a pied piper-like spell that mesmerizes those that hear the music, aurally lobotomizing them.

The Spangenhelm. A demonic medieval war helmet that possesses the wearer, slowly absorbing their body and turning it into spectral blue flame. Black helm, boots, gloves and cloak with a body of fire. Armed with a sword in each hand.

Occult Archer. Dressed in an all white Robin Hood outfit, the Archer carries no arrows. His enchanted longbow fires arrows composed of the ghostly forms of deceased criminals. Content with the life of a bank robber and career criminal, the Occult Archer does not suspect that his soul is doomed to become a spectral arrow for the next individual who wields the bow.

The Sirens. Peisinoe, Aglaope and Thelxiepeia are three sisters whose long skirts conceal their bird-like legs. Together, their singing voices have the power to hypnotize any who hear them. Typically they drown their victims and rob the corpses.

Brigadier Chatsworth. English big game hunter, dressed in colonial military attire. A pith helmet covers his bald pate, but he can psychically manipulate his long mustachios to do a range of actions, from firing a rifle to picking locks to crushing his prey like pythons.

Highbrow. Once the world's 53rd smartest man, a series of gristly murders, no two alike, has moved him up to 39th. Fourteen down, thirty-eight to go.

The Archivist. A bibliomaniac with a fixation on historical criminal records, the Archivist is the curator and head librarian of the secret Borgia Library, the moral and ethical antithesis of the Great Library of Alexandria. The Borgia Library is the greatest repository of criminal knowledge on earth.

King Khepri. USCLA professor of Egyptology who, after a tragic accident, believes himself to be the resurrected Egyptian god of the dawning sun, Khepri. King Khepri commits his crimes dressed in ceremonial garb with a headmask in the shape of a dung beetle. He has no super powers.

Dr. Cassiopeia. A stunningly beautiful woman, by day she's a respected clinical researcher. At night she is cursed to float upside down, from sunset to sunrise, as the invulnerable and criminially insane Dr. Cassiopeia.

Leo Lobelia. LA gangster who dresses in pinstripes with a purple lobelia flower in his lapel. Has nausea inducing powers, which form the basis of his extortion rackets.

Count Miasma. European nobleman who can mentally control clouds of noxious black fog. Displaced from his homeland, he's attempting to take over enough land in the states to rebuild his lost fiefdom.

The Tessellator. Dick Spilsbury is a puzzle obsessed criminal who, after an industrial accident, can transmute any object he touches into hundreds of tiny puzzle pieces. He wears a spandex unitard with a logo on his chest that's the outline of a jigsaw puzzle piece and he frequently commits puzzle related crimes.

The Faceless. Escaped from a luinatic asylum, the Faceless is a serial killer who conceals his disfigured visage with an endless series of carnival masks.

Ezekiel Euclid. The smartest and most dangerous criminal mind of a two dimensional universe. Exiled to a three dimensional prison, our earth, by their Supreme Tribunal as a last resort. Disoriented and reeling still, once he's adapted he'll be ready to take over this new dimension. Ezekiel Euclid exists as a 2D apparition, possessing only height and width. Evil has no depths.

These last two are not my own, but contributions from my brother and a friend.

Derrick. An offshore oil rig worker. Laid off from his job, he constructs a lumbering suit of oil rig themed armor and uses it to enact his revenge, and commit crimes. Belching grease and smoke, with a shoulder mounted crane. The crane has different attachments, like a wrecking ball and a giant hook.

Baroness Ape. Old gorilla in a cocktail dress, lipstick and holding a cigarette holder. Think simian Miss Havesham. Antiquities dealer, grave robber and the worlds richest non-human. Keeps human prisoners in a zoo habitat, feeding them bananas.

Some are good, some are lame but will work for the purposes of the plot and some are awesome, at least to me. I love the visual of The Spangenhelm and can't wait to write future appearances of Ramses CDXVII and the Occult Archer.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Batman and The Outsiders

Here are my picks for a new Outsiders roster, followed by Batman's thoughts on each team member.

Katana, Tatsu Yamashiro. "Tatsu has proven herself time and time again. I'll need a lieutenant."

The Question, Vic Sage. "I know I can trust him because he doesn't trust anyone."

Metamorpho, Rex Mason. "Rex is a good man, and his knowledge of the four corners of the globe rivals my knowledge of Gotham."

The Creeper, Jack Ryder. "I may not like it, or him, but I've fought enough madmen to realize that there's value in unpredictability."

Animal Man, Buddy Baker. "Buddy's never really fit in with a team environment, as his short stint with the League's European branch proved, but he's willing to sacrifice for his family. I can use that."

Deadman, Boston Brand. "There are few places I can't get into on my own. That's where Boston come in. Useful. Hal and Barry's friendship. I always saw it as a liability in the field, but with Boston I just can't help liking the old ghost, even despite his annoying habit of possessing random strangers and using them to break into Wayne Manor, raid Alfred's wine cellar and get drunk in front of the TV."

Green Arrow, Connor Hawke. "All of his father's talent with none of his... failings. The kid proved himself with the League and could be useful, from time to time. Taking advantage of his naivety will be simple."

Manhunter, Mark Shaw. "There's no denying his talent even if I can't stand the man or his motivations. A check of his bank accounts reveals that he's thrown the Mirror Master back in jail enough times to buy half the real estate in Star City. Time to find other motivations for him. He really, really hates Kobra. So we have that in common."

Marvin & Wendy. "American college kids, backpacking abroad on their parents dime. Ubiquitous enough to be invisible. Inexperienced, but so was Tim once."

Not quite a full pitch, but I've got a few ideas kicking around. Maybe I'll elaborate on them when time permits.

Black Lightning I'd leave off the team because his profile's too high (Secretary of Education, Meltzer's JLA). Katana fills the lieutenant role nicely and ties to the original team.

Same with Metamorpho. Original team, experience, can fill the heavy hitter role and I'd love to showcase some crazy applications of his powers.

Bats has a history of training children and "Wendy: Agent of the Bat" has badass potential all over it. Wendy and Marvin would be the "Outsiders in plain sight".

I loved Ostrander and Yale's Manhunter series. Plus the guy really hates Kobra and you gotta respect that.

Connor is exactly the kind of guy Batman would use for 20 issues or so until the scales fall from his eyes and he realizes Batman's been playing him. "Of course I've been playing you. I'm Batman." Talented but naive.

There's another character, long deceased, who I'd bring back as an unoffical member of the team as Deadman's new sidekick. I'd build up the character's return slowly, at first only through Deadman's dialogue, making comments and references about the "new kid" he's showing the ropes. Can you guess who it is?

Finally, the line that demands to work it's way into the first issue: "I'm the god damn Creeper."

This is a book I'd love to write. Love to write.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Spider-Man: Divorcé

Sigh. I suppose the arguement could be made that a Spider-Man who's single and has trouble with girls, maybe one who's still in high school, is more relatable for a younger audience. I'd agree with that. Spidey's always been the guy who's a great hero but crap at managing his personal life. Pretty much from the start it's defined who he is. He's the wise-cracking (and smart) smart-ass who stops the Sandman and Electro from robbing banks, but during the day has to dodge bullies and Aunt May's wheatcakes.

Marvel still publishes Ultimate Spider-Man and Marvel Adventures Spider-Man, don't they? And they're widely available in places like Target where kids can get to them?

I know, I know. With great power... Uncle Ben... Gwen Stacey...

These things are also a major part of the Spider-Man mythos. Hell, if you're reading this then you've read the banner at the top of the page. Spider-Man's guilt may motivate him, but it doesn't consume him. If it did then Peter Parker couldn't ever be the wise cracking Spidey we fell in love with during The Electric Company or Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, or while he was tooling around in Gerry Conway's spider-mobile. He'd be Batman.

I'm not convinced that the storytelling options with a widowed or divorced Spider-Man are greater than a happily married Spidey. Could any of the other MacGuffins that Marvel Editorial might employ, like mind-wiping Mary Jane or imprisoning her in the Negative Zone or having her whisked away to Red Raven's hidden island to raise their baby, be more palatable? Somehow I doubt it.

"Hey, where's Mary Jane?"


"The hot redhead from the movies. You know. Weren't they married for 20 years?"

"Nope. I have no idea who you're talking about. This is a swinging, single Peter."

The readership isn't likely to forget and the storyline that removes her from continuity isn't likely to have any permanence.

Morbid, violent "616" Spider-Man, who dresses up in the clothes of the guy who tortured his wife, or ex-wife, with his toxic stingers and magic healing blood, he bears little resemblance to the fun loving and fun super-hero I remember as a child.

But, you're about to say, comics weren't as innocent as your faulty memory thinks they were. I'll agree. They dealt with mature subject matter, like death and suicide and Emma Frost's corsets.* "Kraven's Last Hunt" played out over six issues across three titles, published over just a couple of months. It didn't take 5 years to play out and, while it was a grim story, the villain acted like a villain and the hero was heroic, coping with the challenges thrown at him.

Uh oh, I'm starting to rant here. Time to steer back towards the point. I'm highly suspect of the direction Spider-Man's being taken.

I read stories about Batman when I want to read about a grim avenger, driven by loss. I read stories about Spider-Man when I want to read about a man that perseveres against all of the crap that life and circumstance and Dr. Doom can throw at him, and he does it with a smile, because he's got the love of his aunt and his wife to keep him going.

Granted, I dropped Amazing not long after the "Sins Past" story, but if I only had "One More Day" at this point I'm pretty sure I wouldn't spend it reading Spider-Man comics.

Iron Man's a villain.

Captain America's dead and buried.

Spider-Man's wearing a serial killer's "skin" and his marriage is weeks from falling apart.

Unrelated, but I'm also hesitant to spend $2.99 on a DC comic that might not even be in continuity in six months.

If I love comics, then why does my pull list keep getting shorter?**


Oh, shit. The final panel of "One More Day" is a green skinned MJ holding her jacket in Peter's front door, proclaiming "Face it, Tiger. I'm a Skrull." isn't it?


*The White Queen's and Black Queen's fashion choices did nothing to influence my taste in women. Nope. Nothing at all.

**but I'm also enjoying the hell out of titles like Astonishing X-Men, Immortal Iron Fist, Daredevil and Agents of Atlas.

Friday, August 3, 2007

De-luxe Power Girl


"Feel the Power! POWER GIRL is the newest female addition to DC Direct's line of realistically proportioned, super-heroic 1:6 scale figures! This deluxe collector figure comes clothed in an authentically detailed fabric costume and includes a display stand. Packaged in a deluxe 4-color window box with a fifth panel."

You know, I really have nothing to add. The description for DC's realistically proportioned Power Girl says it all, and sincerely. Although her eyes do kinda creep me out.

I wonder what Ragnell thinks.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Unpublished Comics Cavalcade

After a few sputtering starts and stops, I'm back hard at work on Prof. Simian and the Irregulars, taking breaks only for drinking, gambling and researching which show I should prep a second spec script of, in case of the million-to-one shot that the Disney/ABC people come calling. Thanks, by the way, to the estimable Jane Espenson and her lunch-a-riffic blog for the warning.

It'd be a lot easier to write without the imposition of the day job. Actually, maybe not easier. But I'd rather have 10 hours a day to write than only 2-3.

If you don't want the outline for the first twelve issues of a comic book that might never get published spoiled for you, don't highlight the text below.

1) Introduction. In the can.
2) Jungle fight. Xenon vs Irregulars
3) Venus flashbacks, Prof Saimiri on campus
4) The terraformed jungle is contained thanks to comic book science. Just when they think they've won, enter Xenon Sunday's army of Labori.
5) LA gets overrun by an army of malevolent organic Venusian robots.
6) The big showdown, monkey brain power vs. Venusian world conqueror guile.
7) One-off, "Batgirl Becky" spotlight issue, Batman TV villain, ends with the "bananas and engine grease" line.
8) Becky tangles with Laika. Prof Saimiri: "Where have you been for 50 years?" Laika: (growls) "Planning."
9) Laika origin issue. Soviet Russia in the 60s.
10) The Irregulars race around the city, two steps behind the evil communist canine.
11) Reveal Laika's agents, a Legion of Doom's worth of Keane-verse supervillains.
12) Twenty-three pages of face punching and face kicking. One page of lemonade drinking.

There's lots of really fun crazy brewing and I'm really happy with the direction of the series so far.

Should I start posting excerpts or just hang onto it until I can find a penciller? Readership of Three, you decide!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Beat To The Punch

So Erik Larsen is releasing a line of comics featuring updated versions of public domain Golden Age characters. Read about it here.

Sigh. What are the odds? I mean, what are the odds other than pretty good?

I don't suppose I could get Mike Allred to draw my version of the Clock.

Oh well. Great minds, right? I guess I should take this as a sign that at least I'm thinking in the right direction. Still, if books featuring The Concordia, super champions of the European Union, the World's Smartest Monkey, or a Hawkeye/Top Dog team-up start showing up I'm gonna be pissed. Especially since I'm halfway through scripting the first arc of Prof. Simian and the Irregulars.

Speaking of which, anybody know any unemployed pencillers that want to draw monkeys, robots, hot chicks, classic cars and alien jungles?