Thursday, July 27, 2006

Stuff and Nonsense (Comic Con)

Midway through writing my "10 Coolest Costumes" bit, I was feeling a bit deflated knowing that maybe four people tops would be reading it. So, on a whim, I sent it to comics guru Scott Tipton over at one of my favorite sites, Comics 101. To make a short story even shorter, he offered to post it on the site as a Guest Lecturer article. Needless to say, I was (and still am) completely and utterly JAZZED about the whole thing. My piece should be up sometime this week, but in the meantime, check out the site. It's a veritable hog heaven for geeks like us, with comics, movies, and wrestling coverage galore. I'll hopefully be able to do some more articles now and then. I already have my concept for the next one; I just need to find the time to do it, what with my soul-crushing-yet-extremely-lucrative summer job. Ironically, once summer is done with and school starts I will have a lot more free time, so expect a lot more updates here as well.

In other news, once again the San Diego Comic-Con has come and gone, and once again I wasn't there. True, I only just recently experienced my first convention, Wizard World Philly, this year, but I always feel so left out in the wake of all the gushing news coverage from the Big One. I'm going to try and get out there next year, as I think I'm ready to graduate from the farm league of comic book conventions. Some of my favorite bits of news from the Con:

Spider-Man 3

No real earth-shattering news. Sure, we got our first glimpse at Venom and whatnot, but I think everyone pretty much knew he was coming. Most of us haven't even seen that brain-eating bastard in all his symbiotic glory yet, since the only image Sony released to us civilians is a picture of Topher Grace in mid-transformation:

Pretty cool, nuh? The Con-goers got to see quite a bit more, as the teaser footage ended with the Lethal Protector (shudder) lunging and snapping at the camera, which was met (as all things down there seem to be) with thunderous applause. Sadly, the only version of this footage online is a shaky fan-cam file on Youtube. While I've heard some rather disconcerting rumors regarding the Sandman and his ties to Peter Parker's past, I trust in Sam Raimi to bring the same respect and reverence to the table that made the first two Spidey films so special.


So Peter Cullen is going to voice Optimus Prime, God is in his heaven and all is right with the world, right? This is a bone, people. Michael Bay is throwing us a bone so we will look the other way as he piddles all over our favorite Robots in Disguise. I have no illusions about the Transformers in their original incarnation. They were a bunch of cool toys from Japan accompanied by a poorly made cartoon cash-in. Even so, they somehow managed to transcend their original commercialized shackles and actually become something special, thanks mostly in part to the endearing characters and the phenomenal voicework of Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, the late Chris Latta and Scatman Crothers, and the rest of the Transformers cast. There are people who genuinely love these robots, and it's a crime that some slick Hollywood hack like Michael Bay has come along and swept all that aside to make the movie he, not the fans, wants to see.

Optimus Prime? Now he's got bitchin' flame decals on his alt mode. Bumblebee? Well, Volkswagen wouldn't allow him to be a Beetle, so now he's going to be a Camaro purchased by Shia LaBeouf in an attempt to get laid. The names of various Autobots and Decepticon are being arbitrarily assigned to robots with no regard to the original characters at all, and the movie seems to be focusing on the humans much more than the titular Transformers. Sure, I'm still going to see it, since while I like the Transformers, I really don't have the same emotional investment as I do with, say, Spider-Man. The changes will probably cheese me off, but I'll be able to live with them as long as I get to see giant robots beating the crap out of eachother on the big screen.

Iron Man

Not much in the way of actual information about this project, but from everything I've read so far, director Jon Favreau seems to really understand this project. He's created a Myspace account to talk directly with the fans, to share ideas and hear their opinion. It's very refreshing to see a director who understands that, while he has to make a movie that appeals to the masses, he also has a responsibility to the fans, without whom there would be no reason to make a film.


Man, remember when John Woo was supposed to do this? That guy's name gets attached to more properties than Quentin Tarrantino. Still, Woo or no Woo, a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie sounds pretty cool. A "vague sequel" to the first two theatrical films (there's a lot of that going around...), the new CGI flick is supposedly going to be much more down-to-earth than the recent animated series, which started off great but eventually caved in to the marketing silliness that plagued the original incarnation of the Turtles. The trailer is exciting, and the character designs are top notch.

Still, they don't hold a candle to the original Jim Henson Company costumes from the first live-action movie.

The Simpsons Movie

I was surprised to find out that there was a panel showing clips from the Simpsons movie at the Con, and even more surprised to find decent quality fan-cam footage online. The clips were only in rough storyboard form and, sadly, I wasn't much impressed with what I saw. A big, unruly Springfield mob was storming the Simpson’s house out for Homer's blood. Not to sound like the Comic Book Guy here, but it was almost exactly like the mob scene in episode 2F06, "Homer Badman." Actually, the whole clip seemed like it could have come from any given (later seasons) episode of the show. I was kind of hoping for a more epic and cinematic feel to the direction of the animation, but I suppose that can't really be seen until the final product.

There was much, much more news from Comic-Con that I'm not posting here, of course. The upcoming Ghost Rider and 300 films both look promising, and I really can't wait to see Edgar Wright's Ant Man. However, those five little rants up there are all I really have to say about the Con, aside from the fact that I hope to God I can get out there and make my pilgrimage next year.


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