All posts tagged: Batman

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JUST WONDERING: 10 comic book TV questions

I have to admit that I’ve kind of given up lately on brainy, morally ambiguous cable and Netflix shows like “House of Cards,” “Mad Men” and “Boardwalk Empire,” in favor of a genre that is less taxing on my overworked cranium: comic book shows, and Lord knows there’s no shortage this year. But just because I enjoy these hours of action-packed escapism doesn’t mean they don’t leave a few nagging questions in their wake. I’m still a season behind on “Arrow,” so I’ll refrain from sharing my queries on that one in case they’ve since been answered. (Things like, “Oliver Queen’s a billionaire, shouldn’t he own more shirts?”) But maybe the more comic-book-literate can help me answer these: AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. 1) When Phil Coulson runs into people he used to know, say from high school or the S.H.I.E.L.D. academy, how does he explain being alive? And has anyone told Captain America yet? 2) Since S.H.I.E.L.D. is officially disbanded and operating as a shadow organization, who’s paying their electric and jet fuel and mercenary bills, …

Batman v Superman fan mash-up via Comic Book Bros.

A bad feeling about ‘Batman v Superman’

When I saw the above fan mash-up (via Comic Book Bros) of the three character stills from the upcoming “Batman v Superman” movie, it really crystallized the nagging concern I have about the entire project: That these are some of the most depressing sourpusses ever to appear in an action blockbuster. I can’t imagine being stuck at a cocktail party with these three downers, much less pay to see them mope through an entire movie. As Frank Miller made clear with “The Dark Knight Returns” back in 1986 — and as Hollywood has relentlessly reminded us — Batman works as a “dark” hero. His parents were murdered in front of him, he dresses like the angel of death, he’s got “dark” in his nickname, etc. But do we really have to drag Superman and Wonder Woman down with him? These are supposed to be happy, arms-akimbo-in-the-sun kind of heroes, not getting-rained-on-in-muted-colors types. Granted, previous versions have occasionally gone a bit over the top in the patriotic goodness department, what with Superman’s stalwart, underpants-on-top reliability, as …

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Holy YouTube! Fifteen Videos Inspired by the Batman TV Show

Legions of Bat-fans can now rejoice because, after years of wrangling between studios, individuals, and estates of individuals, the seemingly impossible has happened: the 1966 Batman television show will finally be available on DVD, Blu-Ray, and digital download. If you don’t believe me, check out this promo and see for yourself. There’s going to be a big announcement at San Diego Comic-Con today with more details as to what to expect from these sets and what extras will be included. But until then, here are a few videos to help get you in the mood.

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The Great Summer Movies: This Town Needs An Enema

Picture a pre-pubescent me, acne sprouting up like weeds across the oily plains of his face, visiting his local comic book shop. His eyes dart across the racks. His heart starts to race. He picks up every Batman comic he can find. Detective Comics, Batman, Legends of the Dark Knight, maybe a miniseries or two. He brings them all home and he devours them, laying on his bed beneath his Batsignal poster, his Bartman poster, and the poster he pulled from an old comic book magazine of Adam West and Burt Ward in their Dynamic Duo garb from the sixties. Yes, little Mattie had Bat-fever. I still remember the exact date that Tim Burton’s Batman premiered in theaters: June 23, 1989. I remember it because until that date, I lived to see it. It was the summer after seventh grade, and I absolutely could. Not. Wait. For. This. Movie. The Tuesday after the film premiered, my dad took an afternoon off from work and we saw Batman at the once-beautiful River Oaks Theaters in Calumet …

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Extra Medium #8: 6 Reasons why “Batman: Arkham Asylum” is a better game than “Batman: Arkham City”

Comics don’t stay in comics. For better or worse, most comics are produced with the hope they will lead to films, cartoons, action figures, video games, backpacks, beach towels and bubble baths. Extra Medium is my weekly column about all those things and more. There’s a good chance that as you read this I am sitting in my home office, guiding my Batman avatar through the open-world Gotham featured in Batman: Arkham Origins. Having picked up the game at the midnight release, I’ve either been up all night playing, or I grudgingly slept for a few hours and jumped right back into the game as soon as daylight made it seem less crazy. Unfortunately, review copy embargo or no, I can’t give you a review of Batman: Arkham Origins this week. Even if I’d somehow managed to get a review copy, I’m just not that hardcore. I don’t finish games that quickly and wouldn’t feel right about reviewing a game I hadn’t finished. So while you can expect my thoughts on the prequel next week, today I …

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Extra Medium #6: 7 Reasons Why “Daredevil” Shouldn’t Make Us Hate Ben Affleck

Comics don’t stay in comics. For better or worse, most comic books are produced with the hope they will lead to films, cartoons, action figures, video games, backpacks, beach towels and bubble baths. Extra Medium is my weekly column about all those things and more. Okay, the following is a confession, just so I lay all my cards out on the table. These are all my Facebook posts from August 22nd, the day of the Casting Choice heard ’round the world: But, I have to say this is the one of which I’m most proud (but if you’re not the type to read comic book news, you might not get it). In other words, yes, I was one of the hordes of angry Internet protesters who looked at the hunger, violence, deprivation, and subjugation in the world and chose to spend my energy bitching about Ben Affleck. After the Internet gave me and my fellow whiners a few hours to cry it out, cooler heads linked compilations of reactions to similar casting choices, such as the …

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Popdose Roundtable: Ben Affleck as Batman?

Following yesterday’s surprise casting announcement of Ben Affleck as Batman in the upcoming Superman/Batman film, it took all of three seconds for a great tidal wave of fan rage to wash over the internet like few other things can. We here at Popdose, however, like to think as ourselves as being a little more detached and analytic than that. We’ll leave it to you to judge whether or not we’re full of shit. David Medsker – Between this and his casting in Gone Girl, I’m starting to think that Ben has photographs of powerful people in compromising positions. Thierry Côté – I’ll just re-hash my Twitter reaction: “Ben Affleck is a bad man? What?” Dw. Dunphy – I didn’t buy him as Daredevil. Why would I buy him as Batman? Scott Malchus – Sucks to be Henry Cavill. Usually the hero gets overshadowed by the villain in these pictures. I think Affleck has become such a smart filmmaker/businessman that part of me thinks there is some agreement with WB that they’ll bankroll some big budget dream project he …

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10 Movies…With a Replacement Actor in the Sequel (Like ‘Grown Ups 2’)

The big news surrounding Grown Ups 2, other than the fact that it’s yet another cynically-conceived way for Adam Sandler to hang out with his friends at a waterpark for two months, is that Sandler crony Rob Schneider is not returning from the first film. Replacing Schneider, who reportedly wanted more money, is Sandler crony Nick Swardson, who gets a bigger role than he usually does. Here are ten other movie sequels that Darrin Stevensed us and replaced an actor with another actor and hoped we wouldn’t notice. Iron Man 2 Evidently Terrence Howard was the first major actor to sign on for the first Iron Man, before it was a known entity as a franchise, and as such was the highest paid actor. In negotiating for the sequel, his pay was cut, Howard’s agents said no, and Don Cheadle was cast as Rhodey. The Dark Knight With her long courtship, marriage, and be-childing with couch-jumping Tom Cruise generating a certain amount of unwelcome tabloid attention happening in between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, …

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10 Movies…That Are Reboots Of Really Old Pop Culture (Just Like the New ‘Lone Ranger’ Movie)

A new big-screen version of The Lone Ranger comes out this weekend, starring Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow as Tonto. It looks less like a faithful adaptation of the Western saga that thrilled your great-great-grandfather as a little boy in front of the magic sound box, and more a vehicle for Johnny Depp to act goofy and the delight the fuck out of everybody once again. That’s because rebooting The Lone Ranger, which premiered on radio in 1933 and TV in 1949, is a hard sell. Yeah, Hollywood is reboot crazy these days, but they tend to go after known entities from the last 20 years or so (Man of Steel is a rare exception, but that’s SUPERMAN, you guys). Here are 10 other movies that paved the way for Disney’s cautious attempt at a modern, big-screen update of a popular franchise that began in radio, comics, film serials, or pulp novels in the early 20th century. The Legend of the Lone Ranger Clayton Moore was deeply associated with the role of John Reid/the Lone …

The inevitable pop-culture collision of 1989: Batman meets Prince.

World’s Worst Songs: “Batdance” by Prince

Hollywood has been making Batman movies more-or-less continuously for a generation now, going back to 1989 and continuing through this past summer’s The Dark Knight Rises. The 1989 Batman was intended to make everyone forget the colorful, cartoonish Batman of 60s TV. Its Caped Crusader would be dark and driven, and Gotham City would be a forbidding futurescape and not the cardboard New York of TV. It would star Jack Nicholson as the Joker, dream casting at that moment in history. It would be directed by Tim Burton who, while not yet the famed auteur he would become, was already known for possessing a unique vision. Burton cast Michael Keaton as Batman. As odd as that strikes us now, it was strange even then, for Keaton was known as a comic actor. And it would feature soundtrack music by Prince. It’s that last part that interests us here, for Batman inspired one of the World’s Worst Songs: “Batdance.” “Batdance” doesn’t actually appear in the film, although it contains random snippets of dialogue. According to Wikipedia …

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Popdose at Kirkus Reviews: From Bat To Verse

For almost 80 years, Kirkus Reviews has served as the industry bible for bookstore buyers, librarians, and ordinary readers alike. Now Popdose joins the Kirkus Book Bloggers Network to explore the best — and sometimes the worst — in pop-culture and celebrity books. This week, high culture meets high concept as a poet tackles a comic-book icon… Most of the recent movies based on DC Comics are no fun at all. This is by design. Over at Marvel, they’ve grown out of their aspirational high-mindedness of Bryan Singer’s glum X-Men movies and into the confident popcorn swagger of Iron Man,Captain America, and Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy — but DC remains desperate to be taken seriously. Filmmakers and fans alike seek to cement the cultural legitimacy of superheroes by stressing Big Themes — the cost of heroism, the ethics of vigilante justice, the psychological implications of a dual identity — over Big Thrills. But the poker-faced approach has been wildly successful for the Batman film series, the capstone of which, The Dark Knight Rises, is currently …

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Current Events: Rising in the Dark

I can’t write this article. Not the one I am supposed to write. See, I was meant to write about the film The Dark Knight Rises and how it reflected and refracted the book I read this week, the excellent and elegant poetry chapbook Bat & Man; something about the durability of the Batman character, the way he is mutable enough to invite and support a variety of allegorical readings, the way his myth can be expressed in comics, films, and even a sonnet cycle. But there are as many as fourteen people dead now in Aurora, Colorado, shot dead in the dark by a gunman whose true motive we will not, cannot ever understand, because we are sane and rational and fully human — maybe not fully functional, all of us, but able to get along in society — and he is hideously broken inside, broken enough to think it is a fine idea to set off tear gas in a packed theater and start firing randomly into the suddenly panicked crowd. That’s an …

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TV on DVD Review: “MAD” and “The Looney Tunes Show”

I’m not breaking any new ground by telling you our world’s pop-cultural landscape is liberally littered with remakes, reboots and other works that pay homage to the past. It’s one thing to feel that way about programming for adults, but what does this mean for the children of today? We may groan at Nickelodeon trying to beat the Disney Channel at the pre-fab pop star game with shows like Big Time Rush and Victorious, but it wasn’t that long ago that the generation raised on MTV caught reruns ofThe Monkees. Entertainment is a wildly cyclical thing, and it’s certainly fun to look at how variations on a familiar theme play themselves out over the stretches of time. With that in mind, it’s worth looking at two shows on Cartoon Network that, while obviously geared toward kids, possess a large enough cultural cache to make you and your friends stop and think for a second. The station’s MAD and The Looney Tunes Show, both recently released to DVD, take two of Warner Bros.’ most consistent avatars of comedy and gussy them up …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 68

Hello and welcome to my online comics confessional, in which I attempt to enlighten you about various comic book and graphic novel releases of recent vintage, many of which should still be on sale somewhere near you, be it online or brick and mortar. SNARKED #0 Script/Art: Roger Langridge KaBoom/Boom! Studios, $1 I’m still not sure that I really get what went down when Boom! lost the Disney titles, and I suppose it’s not all that important to me in the grand scheme of things- but one unfortunate result was that The Muppet Show comic, which Langridge was (by most comics blogger accounts) killing on, also ceased to exist. For those wondering what his next project would be, well, wonder no longer- he’s doing Snarked. Rather than the spawn of Henson and Oz, he’s repurposing Lewis Carroll, specifically the Walrus and the Carpenter characters, and this is a one-dollar loss leader designed to get people interested in the latest title for Boom!’s kids imprint. The “snarked” of the title refers to the ruse used by …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 54

Time once more for Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, in which I opine on various recently released publications of the sequential graphic nature, some of which may be sitting on the rack at a comics shop, or awaiting the click of a button on some online merchant’s web page, near you. If you’re lucky. Or not, as the case may be. KING CONAN: THE SCARLET CITADEL #1 of 4 Script: Timothy Truman; Art: Tomas Giorello, Jose Villarrubia Dark Horse Comics; $3.50 Conan and I (the Barbarian, not the talk show host) go back a ways- I bought the occasional issue as a preteen back when Marvel first brought us the illustrated adventures of Robert Howard’s most well-known creation, beginning with #4; I, like most young fanboys, loved Barry Smith’s increasingly-assured and oh-so-decorative art, especially those who remembered his not-so-polished beginnings as a Kirby imitator pre-Barbarian. Roy Thomas was cool with me too a the time, having dug his sadly aborted X-Men with Neal Adams, as well as his Avengers. Eventually, Smith added a Windsor hyphen …

Comics Review: “Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali”

Let’s tell it like it is.  Out of all the superheroes, only Superman can say he has gone up against the greatest of all time.  It wasn’t Lex Luthor.  It wasn’t Brainiac or Doomsday.  It wasn’t even Mxyzptlk or Bizarro.  The matchup to end all matchups featured the big blue boyscout from Krypton entering the ring to practice the sweet science against one Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., better known to the world as one Muhammad Ali.  Originally brought to you in 1978 (and recently reprinted in late 2010) by Dennis O’Neil, Neal Adams and the fine folks at DC Comics, the story was too big to be contained by a mere 22 page comic book.  The historic meeting of Superman and Muhammad Ali was one of DC’s great Treasury editions, an oversized 72 page comic that sold for a whopping $2.50.  Superman #321, out the same month as Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali, was a mere $0.35.  Truly Superman vs. Muhammad Ali was a comic book for the ages. Hopefully you’ve read that last paragraph in …