1.  SPIDER-MAN 4. Seems like there’s a new rumor every week.  Or, in this case, several.  First, John Malkovich said he’d been been cast as The Vulture for Spider-Man 4.  But at the same time, Sony was putting its foot down and saying it wouldn’t pay for a movie with a lead villain who was . . . Old and in green tights.  And now, in an incredible turn of events, Sony is saying the entire project is scrapped.  That’s right.  They’d rather leave Raimi, Maguire and Dunst behind than make a movie with Oscar-winner Malkovich.  Great thinking, Sony!  Way to kill a billion-dollar baby!  Now, they’re going to revive the franchise as Ultimate Spider-Man.  Great.  So now we have to sit through ANOTHER origin movie?  Sam Raimi said it best: The origin story is the one everyone has to sit through before they get to the story they really want to see.  Even if the reboot is great, there’s no way anyone can re-tell Amazing Fantasy #15 better than Raimi did in SM1.  There’s no way to make an origin fresh and exciting after what Sam and Tobey did—that was pure genius.  Top that off: Sony’s top choice for director is Marc “(500) Days of Summer” Webb.  A music video director who made a brilliant but cute-as-hell love story?  The whole reason SM1 and 2 worked was Raimi’s eclectic horror/action perspective—his ability to find humor in the darkness is exactly what makes for a good Spidey comic.  David Fincher’s name is also being kicked around, which isn’t bad, but I can’t think of anyone who would do better than Raimi.  Except maybe Joss Whedon.  And they want to shoot it in 3D, with those godawful glasses.  What a lousy way to lead this week’s news roundup post.

2.  In better news: No date is announced yet, but AMC—home of one of my favorite shows (no, not Mad Men—Breaking Bad!)—will be serializing Robert Kirkman’s “Walking Dead” comic book.  Comic is a ton of fun . . .

3.  I saw my first movie of 2010—Daybreaker.  Was it great? No.  But it was amusing, and definitely had its moments.  My main problem with it was that it was too well produced.  Stylized monster movies just don’t tend to be scary to me.  I prefer the grit of Romero and Carpenter.  Did see a preview for The Crazies, though, and it looks vile.  Can’t wait to see it.

4.  Did you hear that David Finch, the genius artist of Millar’s Ultimates run, recently signed exclusively to DC?  How did that happen?  I can’t believe Marvel would let him go like that.  Anyway, he’ll be the cover artist for the post-Blackest Night event, titled “Brightest Day.”  It’s not entirely clear what the even will mean, but it will have lots of cross-overs so that you can spend your money on titles you wouldn’t normally buy just to get a page or two of necessary continuity.  The series will start in April, will last a year and be published biweekly.  Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi are the writing staff.  I know lots of folks praised 52, but I guess I’m just not enough of a DC guy to get all wet about this.  I do dig BN, though.  In fact, Newsrama ran a great interview with Geoff Johns, where he explained about Blackest Night and the fight between mortals and Nekron: “We [mortals] age because we’re not supposed to be here. So we grow old. It’s the universe fighting against us. We age and die because we aren’t wanted here. Space was here then life came and messed up everything. In truth, life is chaos and death is order.”  I never read the series that way before.  It’s kinda deep.

5.  Why aren’t you all reading the hilarious, ultraviolent, carefree and insane Punisher comic book yet?  It’s like Deadpool, only way more wild.  Seriously.  Punisher isn’t a stupid idea anymore, not since Warren Ellis did the “serious” PunisherMax series.

6.  There’s an A-Team trailer out, with Liam Neeson as Hannibal!  The real key to this film will be whether Quinton “Rampage” Jackson can fill Mr. T’s bejeweled shoes . . . And believe me, I have doubts.

7.  Joe Johnston, director of The Wolfman, discussed the Captain America movie with recently, and showed that he doesn’t know much about Cap. First, he says, “The great thing about Captain America is he’s a super hero without any super powers.”   Really?  So that super soldier serum was a placebo?  Then, Johnston says that after Steve Rogers was turned into Cap, “You’d think he got everything he wanted. Well, he didn’t get everything he wanted.”  Yes, he did!  He wanted to be a hero!  One of the best things about Captain America is that he never, ever doubts being a hero.  He doesn’t let a burglar run by him and kill his uncle; he doesn’t miss his mommy and daddy as a drive for vengeance; and for a long time, he hasn’t even had a secret identity!  The movie will be an origin story, and I’m not real psyched about that.  I’d much rather see him and Bucky tearing ass through the Nazis than skinny-boy-gets-big.  Cap is probably my second favorite superhero, so I hope to God they do right by him.  Or at least pattern him after Brubaker’s Cap, not Bendis’ or Millar’s.

8.  And finally, in the advance hype section, I don’t know if I’ve told y’all that Animalogic Studios (Happy Feet) is working on a movie of Jeff Smith’s wonderful, all ages appropriate “Bone” comic.  Hope it’s good!

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