08 May 2011

A SUPERHERO SUMMER 2011

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This summer at a theater near you comic book are coming to life. Moving superheros from their known medium with the creators that know them best is a risky endeavor both creatively and financially. The best intentioned and most skilled filmmakers can easily make a mess of a solid character's universe that they either just don't understand or their idea doesn't line up with the times.

With that said, I start with something coming to a regular bookstore near you by one of comics most gifted storytellers and eccentric personalities named Grant Morrison. Grant, having started his Batman work in the late 80s, is most responsible for guiding the major arc of the caped crusader's world for more than the past five years as well as the groundbreaking Animal Man, the modern twelve part classic All-Star Superman, a very fun silver-age styled Flash run, a reinvention of the X-Men franchise, and many many more.

In Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Humanshis debut non-fiction book-length work coming this July, Grant Morrison writes how "these heroes are powerful archetypes whose ongoing, decades-spanning story arcs reflect and predict the course of human existence: Through them we tell the story of ourselves, our troubled history, and our starry aspirations." This I can't wait for and by then we'll know how these next latest film adaptations turned out. 

Being primarily a fan of DC comics I was initially elated to learn that one of my favorite comic scribes, Geoff Johns, was overseeing the production of their film slate including this summer's first Green Lantern film who Johns helped bring back from the bottom of the sales charts in the comic world. The first images of the movie costume, CGI in an odd shade of green, and the frat-boy attitude from Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan highlighted in the initial trailers really had be doubting that this world work. More recently trailers have highlighted the multi-specie space policeman aspect of the comic's mythology which has gotten me at least a little excited about seeing what they can do with it. Yeah I have a lot of doubt about this interpretation, but it'll be nice to see some kind of version on the big screen. I am impressed to see DC go out on a limb on this storied character that up until recently was considered B-list (see my post on Blackest Night).


Without a doubt though, Marvel Comics will make the biggest bang this summer with three films starring three A-list characters: Thor, Captain America, and the X-Men. Both Thor and Captain America have received great response from avid comic readers based on clips and trailers not to mention all the excitement over their team's franchise, The Avengers, which is slated to be released in summer 2012. And while X-Men: First Class, the fourth or fifth in the franchise if you count the Wolverine film, garnered a lot of skepticism based on a perceived lack of respect for established X-Men continuity, since then the trailers have shown that if nothing else it will be a stirring visual super-hero flash-back piece.



Oh and I almost forgot. This summer's semi-annual DC Comics event, Flashpoint by Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert, stars my favorite superhero since I was twelve: the Flash. According to the press (USA Today), one can pick up the first of the five issue mini-series with almost no knowledge of the universe or characters because in this series we learned that the world and all its heroes have been altered save for a few including Barry Allen as the Flash. There is plenty more back story if you want it but even without it's a mystery of an alternate but present reality and what it means to the people in it. I'm not sure if actually sounds intriguing to her or she is just trying to participate a little but my wife even said she'd read it with me. I'll take her up on it either way. You can pick up Flashpoint #1 this Wednesday at a comic book shop near you and enjoy the miniseries even if you pick up no other connected titles ever. Or so they say.



It will surely be an exciting summer.
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