9/11 and Super-Heroes

The Superadaptoid has returned! I moved into a new place at the end of last month, and even though it was just a cross-town move, it still wrecked my writing schedule. But now I’m starting to settle in, so more blog posts will be coming soon.

I’m working on a series of Flash-related posts, but have decided to set them aside for the time being until I get a better feel for the direction that the current season of CW’s Flash TV show is taking. For my newest post, I’ve decided to tackle a more serious topic than usual: the effects of the real-world events of September 11, 2001 on the fictional settings of super-hero stories.

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Universe Lost, Part 9: Not the Hero We Needed

NOTE: I originally planned for this to be the final installment of “Universe Lost,” but I wrote more than usual and can’t cut it down! So I’ll wrap up the series on Wednesday. After that, I’ll start a new feature on the Flash and the DC Multiverse, so stay tuned!

Last week, at Variety‘s Entertainment and Technology Summit in Beverly Hills, Diane Nelson, president of DC Entertainment since 2009, stated that there were no plans to connect the film adaptations of DC properties with their TV adaptations.

To regular readers of this blog, this should sound like a foregone conclusion on the part of DC and its parent company, Time Warner. Continue reading

Universe Lost, Part 8: Revenge of the Super Friends

In 1984, DC Comics characters were reaching new levels of media exposure through Kenner’s Super Powers toy line.

1984 comic book ad for Kenner Super Powers Collection

1984 comic book ad for Kenner’s Super Powers Collection

The success of the toys prompted a revival of the Super Friends Saturday morning cartoon, the first new episodes of the series to be produced since 1979. The season premiere pitted the Super Friends against Darkseid and his minions for the first time.

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Universe Lost, Part 7: “When the Old Gods Died!”

“THERE CAME A TIME WHEN THE OLD GODS DIED!”

That is the single most awesome sentence ever to appear in comic books. The caps lock on my computer turned itself on as soon as I started typing, such is the power in those words.

In 1971, Jack Kirby put those words on the first page of DC’s New Gods #1, setting out the themes of what would become known as the “Fourth World Saga.” It began with the end of the world, an apocalypse playing out over four exclamation-pointed sentences.

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Tales to Astonish: The Origin of a Blog

I’m traveling right now, so my writing schedule is a bit off. As I work on the next installment of “Universe Lost,” I thought I’d fill the gap with some remarks on why I started this blog.

In May 2008, just days after Iron Man‘s US premiere, Marvel Studios announced its plans to produce a cycle of films that would lead into 2012’s The Avengers (originally slated for a 2011 release). The news astonished me. Previous cinematic adaptations of super-hero comics had always dealt with individual characters in isolation from one another, even when they were close associates in the comic books.

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Universe Lost, Part 4: Family-Friendly Vigilantes

Part 4 of a series. Catch up on Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Tracing the histories of comic book companies in the 1930s and ’40s can be difficult for a number of reasons. Virtually all the first comic book publishers emerged from the business of pulp fiction – cheaply produced, illustrated periodicals that contained serialized stories in a variety of genres, most often science fiction, fantasy, horror, westerns, and detective thrillers. The genres represented in pulp fiction hardly counted as respectable literature, and the people who ran the pulp publishing companies were rarely respectable people.

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Universe Lost, Part 3: Visions of Clowns and Demons

Part 3 of a series. Catch up on “Universe Lost,” Part 1 and Part 2.

When Warner Brothers hired Tim Burton to direct the first Batman feature film in 1986, he had only directed a single motion picture for theatrical release, 1985’s Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, a whimsical low-budget vehicle for an off-beat stand-up comic. It was the work of a director who already had a singular visual style. Burton was capable of producing images that imprinted themselves upon the subconscious of the audience (as young Superadaptoid’s vivid memories of “Large Marge” can attest), so certainly he was well suited to work on a character who, in one of his earliest appearances, described himself as “a creature of the night, black, terrible….”

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How I Discovered a Fictional Universe

The next installment of “Universe Lost,” continuing a comparative look at Marvel and DC’s attempts to reach the big screen, will be up on Monday once it’s been edited and fact-checked. I expect “Universe Lost” to run a half-dozen or so entries (see Part 1 and Part 2), but I’ll also be interspersing some slightly off-topic posts along the way. This post is one of those, and I also hope it might inspire feedback from you, the reader.

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Summer Sight and Sound: “Batman Forever” But Not Really

While I’m examining the background and broader context of comic-to-film adaptations, Same Page Team is looking at the same movies one-by-one. Recommended.

Same Page Team

By: Daniel Reynolds

To see all of the Same Page’s Summer Sight and Sound series–a look at the biggest films of each decade from 1975 on–check out Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

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It was inevitable for comics and movies to come together. That’s obvious now in 2015 with comic book-based film plans stretching on into the next decade. Studios want to invest in projects that guarantee a solid rate of return, and comic books are happy to provide both an endless stream of content and an audience. But, it was not always this way. There was a time when pursuing comic book brands as a means to financial success was a risky career move in film. (It’s risky today too–as the Fantastic Four can attest.) It was long believed that many of these stories just didn’t, or couldn’t, translate into film.

With the release of 1978’s Superman, and then…

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Universe Lost, Part 2: Abandon All Hope, DC Comics

Since 2008, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has succeeded in transforming little-known comic book characters into billion-dollar franchise tentpoles, Iron Man being the single clearest example of this. This success has prompted Marvel’s chief publishing rival, DC Comics, to capitalize on its corporate relationship with Warner Brothers to produce a film using two of DC’s much better-known properties, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which they hope will anchor a shared universe of super-heroes drawn from DC Comics titles.

Even the Star Wars franchise, now owned (like Marvel) by Disney, has been reformulated along Marvel lines: a central “spine” of Star Wars movies will run concurrently with “anthology” films spotlighting the secondary characters of the franchise. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is changing how films are conceived and marketed across the board.

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