SOURCE MATERIAL – The Justice League Movie

SOURCE MATERIAL – The Justice League Movie

Posted by on Nov 27, 2017 in Home, News, Opinion, Source Material

By Drew Mollo

SPOILER ALERT  (Fair warning if you haven’t watched the movie)

I just saw Justice League recently and honestly I enjoyed most of it. Sure there were certain things about it I wasn’t fond of or things that are more results of the well-publicized re-shoots but that’s not what this article is about. This was a comic book movie and upon watching the film I could see elements that were inspired by DC Comics story arcs about the famous superteam. So if you enjoyed the film and you’d like to read stories to give you an idea of what happened or who the heck Steppenwolf was, I recommend you checking these out.

1. Justice League by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee: The comic series that basically ushered in the New 52 in 2011 tells a new origin story of how the team got together set five years in the past. Batman is chasing a Parademon and runs into Green Lantern. After the creature explodes, they decide to ask Superman before they all realize these creatures are merely scouts for a bigger invasion. Meanwhile, a Mother Box provided by the Flash decides to go haywire in S.T.A.R. Labs around the same time Silas Stone is having an argument with his son Victor. When the Mother Box opens a Boom Tube full of Parademons, the explosion mutilates Victor’s body while fusing it with all sorts of alien technology (thus eventually making him into Cyborg). The appearance of Parademons attracts the attention of Wonder Woman and later Aquaman as well. The heroes battle back the Parademons and eventually their master, the Lord of Apokolips known as Darkseid. The film had many references to this storyline especially with the use of Parademons, Mother Box’s, and even a direct reference to the evil God himself but its primary influence was that the upcoming invasion was catalyst for getting the Justice League together.

2. Jack Kirby’s the Fourth World: Created by legendary writer/artist Jack Kirby in the 1970s, Kirby imagined a group of entities he called the New Gods who lived on two separate planets. The Gods in New Genesis lived in an idyllic paradise ruled by the Highfather and the Gods in Apokolips suffered in a mechanical polluted dystopia ruled by the tyrant Darkseid. Once beings of a single world, these two worlds were constantly in conflict over Darkseid’s quest to find the Anti-Life Equation which would gain him complete control of all living beings thoughts which was opposed by Highfather and his forces. Although it was intended to be limited series, Kirby’s characters were so successful that DC Comic’s eventually had them interact with other well-known superheroes. Darkseid and his forces including his son Kalibak and his uncle Steppenwolf would become foes of Superman and the Justice League and other New Gods like Orion or Mister Miracle would become allies and eventually members of the Justice League. Characters like Steppenwolf, Parademons, Darkseid and others would not exist if not for the incredible imagination of Jack Kirby. Although Steppenwolf was the main villain and Darkseid was only mentioned in Justice League, the fact that Steppenwolf and his ravenous Parademons were teleported away instead of destroyed suggest this war is far from over.

3. The Return of Superman by Gerard Jones, Dan Jurgens, Karl Kesel, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson and Roger Stern : After Superman was killed by Doomsday, the world mourned their loss and eventually four new characters appeared all claiming to be Superman. As the multiple Superman comics explored and played with the idea that one of them could be a new Superman, it was revealed that Superman’s body was taken by the Kryptonian robot called The Eradicator and placed in a regeneration matrix. While the four Supermen’s identities were revealed, the original Superman emerged alive although greatly depowered. When he revealed his presence and helped the other Supermen fight Cyborg Superman and Mongul who destroyed Coast City, he revealed his true identity to Lois Lane by referencing something only the true Clark Kent would know. After they defeated the villains, Superman’s powers had returned and he used the black Kryptonian battlesuit that had earlier protected him to fashion a new take on Superman’s traditional costume. While some of his powers were the same or stronger than before, Return of Superman is also famously known for giving Superman the mullet that he was portrayed with for most of the 1990s until his wedding to Lois Lane in 1996. Its central influence to Justice League was the idea of using Kryptonian technology among General Zod’s ship along with the Mother Box to revive Superman body to help unite the League and give them an advantage against Steppenwolf and his forces. Thankfully Superman’s mullet did not translate over to the big screen and remained an unfortunate comic book footnote.

Considering DC Comic’s track record over the last few years, I can more than understand everyone’s skepticism and debate over this film. While it’s not fair to compare it to other comic book team films like Marvel’s The Avengers, I thought the film established these characters and had them work together against a common enemy. Hopefully plot threads and questions for some of these characters can be answered in any of the upcoming solo films so I hope you enjoyed the film and if you didn’t, hey at least it wasn’t as bad as Batman vs. Superman, right?

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Bendis Leaves Marvel for DC – A fan’s reaction

Bendis Leaves Marvel for DC – A fan’s reaction

Posted by on Nov 8, 2017 in News, Opinion

Bendis leaves Marvel for DC Comics – a Fan Reaction

By Drew Mollo

 

Out of all the things that could have popped up on my newsfeed yesterday, the news that comic book writer Brian Michael Bendis will be leaving Marvel to work for DC Comics was completely out of left field. At first I thought I thought this was a huge blow for Marvel, as Bendis has been one of their most successful writers for almost 20 years.. He wrote Ultimate Spider-Man with pencils by Mark Bagley for 111 consecutive issues – breaking Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s record of 108 FF issues.  USM’s success lead to the creation of the Ultimate Universe, which has been an inspiration for much of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He and Michael Gaydos helped launch the Marvel Max imprint aimed at mature audiences with Alias – a series about a former superhero turned private investigator that became the inspiration for the award winning Jessica Jones Netflix series. He reintroduced the man formerly known as Power Man to the world by making Luke Cage a critical Avenger. He broke and then reassembled the Avengers more than once. He was the writer for such universe-changing events as Secret War, House of M, Secret Invasion, Dark Reign, Siege, Age of Ultron and more.  He reintroduced the five original X-Men from the past into the present and brought Scott Summers to command a team of X-Men again. He created the Miles Morales Spider-Man with Sara Pichelli (who remains one of the few Ultimate Universe characters present in the primary Marvel universe). He has worked with some of the greatest artists known to the medium to tell countless stories in his own unique fashion. From Daredevil to Guardians of the Galaxy, Brian Michael Bendis has been a pillar of the Marvel writer’s room for years and he has never been afraid to tackle subjects that some may deem controversial.

Surely any Marvel fan is already curious, but let’s consider the situation and the environment for they may give us insight to such a big decision. Marvel just launched their Marvel: Legacy line as yet another soft kind-of-but-not-really reboot that returned many series to their original numbering with new creative teams. This company-wide change was made to counter a severe sales slump with Marvel titles over the last few years ( so far so good but time will tell if it’s a real success). DC Comics bounced back with DC: Rebirth in 2016 and their choice to learn from the mistakes of the New 52 and restore much of the DC Universe prior to 2011’s Flashpoint has been successful so far.  Bendis is known for his excellent character development which is something DC characters could always benefit from. Superman, Justice League or even Batman could use his signature style to find stories that help the audience relate with the characters that are often depicted with ideal lives or omnipotent powers and/or abilities.

This announcement comes at a time of change for DC Comics. Already in the middle of their Dark Knights: Metal storyline (quick recap: evil alternate Batmen invade the main DC universe), DC reveals some big changes. The upcoming Doomsday Clock event promises to continue to change the future of DC Comics and its direction going forward. This may be the perfect time and place to get Bendis in on DC’s ground level and start his trademark character building.

Bendis isn’t the first Marvel writer to make the switch amongst the Big Two. His eventual departure is already being compared to Jack Kirby leaving Marvel and working with DC for years. Due to the nature of comic book contracts, many known creators have worked for both companies throughout comic book history as we know it. The comic book marketplace is constantly in flux and both writers and artists are constantly searching for the best place to showcase their talents and grow as creators.

Overall, a lot of unanswered questions remain. When is Bendis officially leaving Marvel and starting at DC Comics? How does this change affect any current or planned series that bear his name under the Marvel banner? What titles would he be starting with?  Regardless of his reasons, Mr. Bendis should be proud for all the great work he’s done at Marvel. I  wish him luck on this new chapter in his career and life.

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13 Freaky Facts: Horror Movie Classics

13 Freaky Facts: Horror Movie Classics

Posted by on Oct 30, 2017 in News, Opinion

 


13 FREAKY FACTS: Horror Movie Classics Edition

 

Whether they’re playing in the background on Halloween night or you’re watching intently with loved ones, horror movies are a treasure to be enjoyed. To help you determine which flick you’re going to scream for this Halloween, here are 13 facts about classic horror movie monsters that’ll shed new light and make you giddy with fear.

  1. In Bela Lugosi’s landmark role as Count Dracula in Dracula (1931), the studio did not want to film the scripted scene where Dracula attacks the outcast character Renfield. They were concerned with the perception of a homosexual subtext. They even sent a memo to director Todd Browning stating “Dracula is only to attack women.” Oddly enough, a future arrangement between a vampire and his familiar did have such a context: Jerry Dandridge and Billy Cole in 1985’s Fright Night.

  1. “Even a man who is pure at heart, and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.” Sound familiar? Fans of the Wolf Man franchise know it well, since this rhyme has been recited in every Universal appearance of the Wolf Man starting with Lon Chaney Jr. in 1941. Originally it was believed to be an authentic Gypsy or Eastern European folk saying which gave the tortured creature of two worlds an extra level of spooky credibility. Even though Wolf Man writer Curt Siodmak later admitted that he simply made it up, it has become synonymous with the creature and versions of it continue to be used in modern monster movies like Van Helsing (2004).

  1. Universal Studios wanted to make actor Boris Karloff’s face realistically wrinkled and scary in his role as The Mummy (1932).  Jack Pierce was responsible for the costume design and makeup and at one point, they applied
    so many layers of cotton to Karloff’s face that he was unable to speak simply because he couldn’t move the muscles necessary. He would say to Pierce regarding the costume “Well, you’ve done a wonderful job, but you forgot to give me a fly!”

  1. During the production of Frankenstein (1931), there was some concern on set regarding the scene where the little girl Petunia would befriend the monster and a simple misunderstanding would result in her being thrown in the lake where she would drown. The team was worried that seven-year-old Marilyn Harris would be too afraid of Boris Karloff in full monster makeup to complete the scene. On the day they were getting ready to travel to location, Harris ran up to Karloff in full costume and makeup and took his hand, asking him “May I drive with you?” Karloff was so delighted and happy at her request that he responded, “ Would you, darling?” They drove to the filming location together and filmed the scene with no issue.

  1. While filming Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), stuntman Ricou Browning once had to make an emergency bathroom break while filming an underwater scene of the creature. He had been underwater for several minutes and quickly breached the water in full costume next to an unwary mother and her young daughter who had been swimming nearby. Browning recalled they fled in complete terror once they saw him advancing out of the water and said, “ they took off, and that’s the last I saw of ‘em!”

  1. In The Fly (1958), during the scene where Andre Delambre’s head and arm is caught in the spider’s web, a small animatronic figure with a moving head and arm was used in the web as a reference for Vincent Price and Herbert Marshall. Price later recalled that the scene took multiple takes to finish because every time he and Marshall looked at the figure with the human head and fly body, they would immediately burst out laughing.

  1. During The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Gunnar Hansen was directed to look agitated and stomp his feet out of frustration because Sally got away at the end of the film. Hansen decided that swinging his chainsaw back and forth because would be a better expression of Leatherface’s defeat. He also wanted to scare director Tobe Hooper as a form of payback regarding how he treated the cast and crew during filming. His decision is now an iconic gesture synonymous with the character.

  1. For the film Halloween (1978), their shoestring budget required the prop department to buy the cheapest mask that they could find in the costume store: a William Shatner mask. They spray-painted the face white, teased out the hair, and reshaped the eye holes. Shatner had no idea of the concept until someone asked how he felt about it in an interview.  Since then, he has said he is honored for his contribution to the classic slasher villain and it probably did wonders for his already famous ego. I guess you never know how far $2 can go.

  1. In the original script for Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Freddy Krueger’s sweater was supposed to be red and yellow, which was a reference to the DC superhero Plastic Man. Both Plas and Freddy could change their form at will and it was imagined that whatever Freddy would change for his victims would retain the color scheme. This idea changed when creator/director Wes Craven read an article in “Scientific American” in 1982 that two of the most contrasting colors to human sight were red and green. He changed the colors and Krueger’s wardrobe has remained unchanged throughout the years.

  1. In Friday the 13th (1980), the silence would be forever marked by composer Harry Manfredini’s sound clip building tension around the Camp Crystal Lake grounds and its supernatural slasher Jason Voorhees. Everyone knows the sound but always misspells it; the correct spelling is “Ki, ki, ki; ma, ma, ma” and it’s supposed to be Jason’s voice speaking to his mother. During the first Friday the 13th, Pamela Voorhees reveals she is not only Jason’s mother and the movie’s killer but that she suffers from schizophrenia. She chants “Get her, mommy! Kill her” in a childish tone which gave Manfredini the idea that Jason was saying “Kill, kill, kill; mom, mom, mom.” He created the effect by speaking the syllables into a microphone running through a delay effect. The franchise continues to use the sound clip to this day.

  1. The homicidal doll Chucky possessed by the soul of murderer Charles Lee Ray would be nothing without the voice of actor Brad Dourif. The first Child’s Play (1988) scared a good number of children while delighting horror movie fans and one time, Dourif’s performance even scared his own children. He was recording lines for the first movie in his recording room and didn’t even know his baby daughter Fiona crawled into the room. He didn’t realize until he was recording screams for the scene where Chucky was set on fire in the Barclay’s fireplace and his daughter was so scared that she started crying herself.

  1. During the filming of Steven Spielberg’s Poltergeist (1982), actress JoBeth Williams was scared to shoot the swimming pool scene because of a fear of electrocution from the equipment positioned over and around the pool. To comfort her, Spielberg crawled into the pool with her to shoot the scene, saying “Now if a light falls in, we will both fry.” She agreed to get into the pool and shoot the scene but she didn’t know the skeletons that emerged in the pool were real skeletons until after the scene was completed.

  1. During a post-production party celebrating the end of filming Hellraiser (1987), Pinhead actor Doug Bradley was annoyed that he was being ignored by members of the cast and crew. He was under the impression that he had gotten along with everyone during the making of the film and later learned that nobody from either department had seen him without his intense Cenobite makeup. They simply did not recognize him from his horror movie counterpart.

-Drew Mollo is a freelance writer specializing in Comics media

 

 

 

 

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Top 10 DC Elseworlds that Deserve an Animated Makeover (last)

Top 10 DC Elseworlds that Deserve an Animated Makeover (last)

Posted by on Aug 15, 2017 in News, Opinion

 


10 Animated Elseworlds we want to see

By Drew Mollo

 

 

1. Kingdom Come:  (W: Mark Waid/ A: Alex Ross)  Superman has retired following the tragic death of Lois Lane. This alternate future is full of conflict – the former traditional heroes are at odds with the new generation of undisciplined and irresponsible vigilantes, most of whom are children of many classic heroes themselves. When Superman decides to return to active duty, he encounters opposition from Lex Luthor and his group of supervillians.  A nearly-paralyzed Bruce Wayne, who is also attempting to bring down Luthor and prevent an apocalyptic superhero war, does not agree with Supes’ methods and pursues his own agenda. All of this is witnessed by our narrator, minister Norman McCray, who has to put aside his wavering faith and play a crucial role in the events that will unfold. Waid’s now-classic story alongside the gorgeous artwork we’ve come to expect from Alex Ross continues to be a bestseller and would make an inspiring addition to the DC animated library if adapted properly.

-Drew Mollo is a freelance writer specializing in Comics media

DC’s Next Animated Film IS an Elseworlds >

 

 

 

 

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Top 10 DC Elseworlds that Deserve an Animated Makeover (cont.)

Top 10 DC Elseworlds that Deserve an Animated Makeover (cont.)

Posted by on Aug 15, 2017 in News, Opinion

 


10 Animated Elseworlds we want to see

By Drew Mollo

 

5. Scar of the Bat: (W: Max Allan Collins/ A: Eduardo Barreto) Noted crime fiction writer Max Allan Collins composed an Elseworld that has more to do with history than it does DC comics. Narrated by famous Prohibition agent Elliot Ness, he tells the story of a masked vigilante who assisted Ness in taking down Al Capone during Prohibition in 1920s Chicago. Complete with moments you’d expect in gangster movies and practically no other DC characters appearing in the issue, this unique Elseworld simply stands out because without the mask, it’s a creative crime tragedy told by someone who stood against the very crime and corruption Batman would rise to resist.

4. Golden Age: (W: James Robinson/ A: Paul Smith) The Golden Age of Comics was an era where DC Comics heroes were not only combatting the evils of war abroad but also the evils within their own country. We return to that era where we see classic DC characters struggling not only with fallout from World War II but also the rise of McCarthyism in America. While they all transition into retirement, a sinister plot involving one of their own will require them to put aside their individual problems and join together as a team if they are to preserve their country and its future. James Robinson assembled a classic team of iconic DC characters with Paul Smith’s artwork to tell a story that is one part pulp mystery and one part American history about humanity and its struggle to adapt to change in the face of great tragedy.

 

3. Red Son:  (W: Mark Millar/ A: Dave Johnson and Killian Plinkett) This story ponders a simple question: What if Superman’s vessel crash landed in Soviet Russia instead of on American soil? Superman grows up to become a symbol for everything the USSR represents and his presence creates a new arms race. Struggling with his position of power, his dreams for a utopia encounters resistance from Lex Luthor of the United States, the terrorist Batman and former allies Wonder Woman and Brainiac amongst other definitive DC characters. Millar spent years working on the intricate amalgamation of politics, history and references to Superman into a story that shows what vast difference a few hours in Earth’s rotation could mean for one of comic’s most iconic American heroes.

 

 

2. Red Rain:  (W: Doug Moench/ A: Kelley Jones) Originally titled Batman & Dracula, Batman discovers vampires are responsible for terrorizing Gotham and is “converted” (a.k.a. turned into a vampire)  to give him the strength necessary to stop them and their leader, the legendary Dracula. Later sequels will show the return of Batman as he is awakened from his slumber to battle foes aligned with the vampires continuing his transformation from Gotham’s protector to Gotham’s bogeyman. This horror movie Batman has shown up in other comics and animated series and would make for a fantastic adaptation full of shadows, blood and monsters.

 

*Special*. Honorable Mention: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? ( W: Neil Gaiman/ A: Andy Kubert) Now I know this last story isn’t technically an Elseworld but if we’ve learned anything from Neil Gaiman it’s that you can’t judge a story until it’s over. Taking place between the events of Batman RIP and Final Crisis, Batman is seen attending his own funeral where different characters tell stories about the famous Caped Crusader, ones that are so bizarre that Batman neither remembers or believes they’re true. The story itself is a reference to the classic Alan Moore story Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? which told the final story of Superman and this conclusion of Batman pays homage to the character and the artists that made him what he is today. Upon learning the moral of these stories is Batman’s persistence and perseverance even in the face of Death, Batman finally accepts his fate and says goodbye to his world in a manner that is both touching and symbolic. If anything else, the conversation Batman has with a famously haunting Gaiman character is something fans have wanted to see on any big screen for.

 

#1 Elseworld we want to see animated ==>

 

 

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Top 10 DC Elseworlds that Deserve an Animated Makeover

Top 10 DC Elseworlds that Deserve an Animated Makeover

Posted by on Aug 15, 2017 in News, Opinion

 


10 Animated Elseworlds we want to see

By Drew Mollo

 

Back in the early Nineties, DC Comics wanted to continue to experiment with the stories they could tell with their massive universe of powerful and interesting characters. They wanted to tell new and interesting stories but place iconic characters such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman or other Justice League characters like the Flash or Green Lanterns in alternate timelines or realities. Without the constraints of present day continuity, you could do things to the character that wouldn’t interfere with the current storylines or could be the complete opposite of everything defining the character in the present day. They tested the waters with Gotham by Gaslight in 1989 and when that was a success, they continued to publish various Elseworlds comics until the early 2000s. With Gotham by Gaslight announced as the next DC animated film, there is the possibility that other Elseworld titles could be considered as full length animated films. With that in mind, here’s my list of Top 10 Elseworlds that should be produced as animated DC features.

10. Superman: Last Son of Earth (W: Steve Gerber/ A: Doug Wheatley) In a complete role reversal, Superman is not sent from a dying Krypton but a dying Planet Earth. His vessel crash lands on Krypton and he is raised by scientist Jor-El but remains different from his super powered people. This changes when he discovers the existence of a Green Lantern ring which enables him to fly like the other Kryptonians and after saving the planet, he becomes the Green Lantern of Krypton. This switch of planets and identities could prove an interesting change to a classic character who always drew his powers from his environment and shed light on the society of Krypton which until recent years we had only seen in flashbacks and origin stories.

 

9. JLA: Age of Wonder (W: Adisakdi Tantimedh/ A: P. Craig Russell and Galen Showman) In this story, Superman arrives in Kansas but during 1850s. Twenty or so years later, he reveals his existence as Super Man to the world during the 1876 Centennial Exposition. From that point on, Superman and other heroes like the Flash, Star Man, and the Green Lantern help usher in an age of technological advancement alongside other famous inventors such as Nicola Tesla. As other heroes slowly emerge, the progress these heroes represent is met with opposition from Lex Luthor and other figures who are suspicious and paranoid of the power this League of Science possesses. Focusing not solely on Superman or Batman, this team-centric Elseworld story shows a world where the super human and technological progress go hand in hand and what difference it would make in the early 19th century and beyond.

8. Flashpoint: (W: Norm Breyfogle/ A: Pat McGreal) Yes, there WAS already a Flashpoint animated film… but that’s not the Flashpoint we are talking about. Before there was a Flashpoint changed the DC Universe (i.e. the birth of the New 52 in 2011), there was originally an Elseworlds story about Barry Allen (aka The Flash) who was the only costumed hero in existence. After he loses the use of his legs preventing the JFK assassination, his superpower becomes his quick mind and his inventions advance humanity further especially in its exploration of space. When a mission to Mars involving his nephew Wally West uncovers a strange artifact but at a terrible price, Barry’s investigation puts him on a collision course with the immortal Vandal Savage and will test his understanding of himself as the Flash but also his place in his universe and more. This Flash Elseworld tests the sanity of Barry Allen as he examines his role as the Flash but also what the Flash could mean in other universes full of superpowered allies, family and friends.

 

7. Legacy: (W/A: John Byrne)  Unique in that this Elseworlds story was published as an Action Comics annual issue – Man of Steel writer/artist John Byrne reimagines a Superman who arrives on Planet Earth in the late 17th century when the American Revolution was just around the corner. Siding with the British, this relative of the House of El completely changes the course of the American Revolution resulting in the quick demise of many significant figures in American history. Years later when his actions have resulted in a world devoid of liberty or freedom, his almost human descendant, horrified at the price his legacy has demanded of Earth and its people, leads a rebellion against him. Just like Red Son, Legacy challenges the ideals of Superman with his limitless power and shows what a difference such a person could make in a very vulnerable time in world history.

6. The Devils Workshop: (W: Howard Chaykin and John Francis Moore/ A: Mark Chiarello) This story recounts an encounter between the mysterious Bat-Man and the famous escape artist Harry Houdini in the early 20th Century. Children have been disappearing in Gotham City in the area of the city known as the Devil’s Workshop. Exploring Batman’s detective nature as well as Harry Houdini’s later interest in spiritualism, the investigation takes a quick turn into the paranormal and requires our heroes to work together in order to save the city. Narrated by Harry Houdini, this Elseworld entry continues the clever trend of real historical figures working alongside fictional characters.  

 

NEXT 5 ==>

 

 

 

 

 

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