I’m not doing these news posts as much anymore—too busy in my real life—but I still like to keep up on the haps.
COMIC BOOKS ON TV
Let’s start with the world of comic book TV shows, which is exploding. They’re filming Preacher for AMC, and most people are skeptical that it can possibly be as blasphemous, disgusting, or brilliant as Garth Ennis and Kevin Dillon’s comic book. iZombie is plugging away, with fair-to-middling numbers and nobody noticing. But best of all is DC. DC’s live comic book shows The Flash and Gotham are damn good, and there’s a spin-off coming, Legends of Tomorrow, coming in the next six months or so, has mad potential: The Atom, Captain Cold, Black and White Canary, Hawkgirl, Lazarus Pits and Vandal Savage, Firestorm, and even Rip Hunter … And Gotham and Flash just get better, while SHIELD’s ratings continue a long, slow, deserved slide downwards. It’s not that SHIELD is terrible—and this season was definitely their best—it’s just not nearly good enough. And when you compare it to Flash, which has costumes and superpowers all over it, and Gotham, which has neither, you realize how good SHIELD really ought to be—whether it’s about superhumans or secret agents. Despite the low ratings, SHIELD will return next season. We’ll also get season two of Agent Carter.
There may be hope for Marvel though. Disney appears to be developing an entire cable network built around Star Wars and Marvel—or at least they’re exploring the possibility of such a thing in 2020. It’s easy to imagine how much time they could fill up with Marvel alone, especially if they include the films, shows, and cartoons developed outside of Marvel Studios.
Meanwhile, DC has even more to come: ABC’s teaser for Supergirl is promising, and the TNT series based on Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s The New Teen Titans has begun development. Are we hitting the market saturation point? I still don’t watch Arrow—it’s just a little too dark and brooding to keep my interest—but I understand it’s cool. So DC seems to be hitting all home runs, while Marvel’s TV roster flounders. Which is the exact opposite of the movieverse (see below).
SO BASICALLY, THE MARVEL TV-VERSE SUCKS, RIGHT? UNLESS ITS DAREDEVIL. The Netflix show was amazing, and now auditions for the part of Elektra in season two have leaked online. They were taken down for spoiling the assassin’s appearance in the show but, come on, did anyone really thing she wouldn’t be in season two?
THE STATE OF THE MOVIEVERSE
MARVEL CIVIL WAR. Leaked set photos for next summer’s biggest film show a funeral. Of course, the hope is that it’s Captain America so we can see the rehabilitation of Winter Soldier in the next film…Although I feel like we haven’t had enough Chris Evans yet. He’s a great Cap. But it would be a cool movieverse twist to have it be Tony Stark. Robert Downey Jr. has publicly said he’s too old for the role, and the end of Age of Ultron suggested a new Avengers team would be in offing. And speaking of Age of Ultron…Meh. It was good, but not great. The villain didn’t seem bad enough. I get that there was a huge threat and all life on Earth was in peril, but blah blah blah. Even the “shocking” surprise death felt a little cold. The film lacked the energy and interpersonal excitement of the first Avengers, and of nearly all the Marvel movies. It was still good enough that I’d say it’s not Marvel Studio’s first big misstep (and it’s made boatloads of money), but it does show the potential for weakening. The good news is that Marvel has help in the way of FOX studios also making their films (much like DC has spread its TV properties around to other networks).
FOX DEVELOPS NEW MUTANTS AND PLANS X-MOVIES FOR DECADES. The good news: FOX’s X-movies have been mostly pretty good, so a New Mutants movie has promise. The bad news: It’s being written and directed by Josh Boone, who just finished the treacle-fest “The Fault in Our Stars.” Hm. Meanwhile, we’re getting saturated with news from the Deadpool set—including a possible Wolverine cameo. And then, of course, there’s the shared studio deal over Marvel’s biggest property…
ASA BUTTERFIELD IS PETER PARKER. You probably haven’t seen him in anything, but he was in the Martin Scorsese flop, “Hugo.”
DR. STRANGE IS NOT A WOMAN. But his mentor the Ancient One might be, as Tilda Swinton is negotiating for the role. Frankly, I think it would be a much, much, MUCH cooler movie if she was Dr. Strange. One issue: The Ancient One is from Tibet, and Tilda is white as an Irishman locked in a cellar at night. Hm. When Avatar was white, everyone cried racism, so expect some more of that again.
AND DC HAS SOME MOVIES COMING OUT TOO. But man do they all look bad. Suicide Squad’s Joker created an internet rebellion, and the Batman vs. Superman teasers and leaked images look bland and boring.
AND SO DO SOME OTHER FOLKS….
- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is getting looked at by Fox for a reboot, after the miserable 2003 movie.
- The movie adaptation of Daniel Clowes’ “Wilson” will star Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern andbe directed by Craig Johnson, who did the brilliant “Skeleton Twins” movie.
AND NOW, A FEW WORDS
ABOUT ACTUAL COMICS:
CONVERGENCE. DC’s latest event is just awful. Unless you’re a huge fan of DC Comics for the last 30 years and understand all the pre-Crisis, post-Crisis, pre-52, and new 52 continuities, you (like me) won’t understand what’s going on most of the time and, worse still, won’t give a shit. And I tried. And there’s really no stakes. I have no sense of why any of this matters. Even at the end of it: Okay, so we got a set of “official” alternate universes. Didn’t we have that already? I can’t keep it straight and, worse, I don’t understand why I need to keep it straight. And as for the tie-ins, I’ve tried to read about 15 of them and not a single one has captured my attention. Even Ambush Bug couldn’t make it enjoyable. Maybe I’m officially done with DC forever.
SECRET WARS. Contrast DC’s change-everything-change-nothing event with Marvel’s. Yes, we know eventually the Marvel Universe will revert to using the characters we’ve known and loved for decades in basically the same settings we’ve known and loved for decades, but in the meantime we’re getting a solid main miniseries and some really adventurous, slam-bang tie-ins like A-Force, X-Men ’92, and Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars.
REBELS. The new Dark Horse Comics book by Brian Wood amost makes me forgive him for ending The Massive. Yeah, it’s Civil War fiction—which probably interests about five comic book readers—but it’s fantastic.
MIND MGMT IS DEAD…LONG LIVE NEW MGMT! The best ongoing Dark Horse comic of all time is Mind MGMT. Yeah, I said it. It’s better than Yojimbo, better than Hellboy, better than Sin City or Tank Girl. It’s mind-blowing, unique, and often a challenge to fully understand. And it’s ending. But, it turns out, it will be reborn—still written and drawn by Matt Kindt, as “New MGMT.”