“Most creators go into superhero comics wanting to tell stories, and it’s pretty easy to see the ones that are only in the money, because they end up writing Kick Ass making absolutely terrible comics.”
–Chris Sims of Comics Alliance in his always wonderful Ask Chris column.
Okay, that’s a little rough. Kick Ass was a good comic. Kick Ass 2 is absolutely terrible. But I get the idea: Comics are comics, and should be written as comics. Movies are movies, and should be written as movies. If you can’t see the difference between a long, mythological approach to an alien invasion told over the course of a year in tale like the Kree-Skrull War, and a third-act explosion-filled denouement told in thirty minutes like The Avengers, then you have no business being a fanboy. What makes for great comics are stories that use all the available aspects of the medium: Multiple inner narratives and points of view, the potential to tell a story one way with words and another with pictures, the ability to quickly jump between situations and characters, and sowing the seeds for future tales. What makes for great movies are one or two main characters, to serve as the entry point, and a single story progressing through three, well-defined acts, and offering a satisfying conclusion.
In other words: Comic book movies SHOULD be different from the source material, and saying they’re not shouldn’t be a valid complaint. I mean, they shouldn’t be wildly divergent. You shouldn’t have, for example, a Peter Parker who is not a nerd and has a hot girlfriend and whose Aunt and Uncle have almost no relationship with him and certainly never give him a sense of responsibility. If you do that, you’ll have…The Amazing Spider-Man. But organic web shooters and a fast transition from boy to superhero? Completely acceptable.
And now, the news….
BEN AFFLECK WILL BE THE NEXT BATMAN. This, after all the times he’s said he would never be in a superhero movie. But I’m sure you already heard this.
MUNCHIN ADVENTURE TIME. If any one out there still plays cardgames, I recommend Munchkin. And by this time next summer, you’ll be able to play an Adventure Time version. Also, there’s a Sons of Anarchy board game. No, that’s not a joke. It’s for people who like to watch the violent misogyny of leather-clad biker gangs.
GRANT MORRISON’S WONDER WOMAN. Previously referred to as “Wonder Woman Earth One,” it’s now going to be called “Wonder Woman: The Trial of Diana Prince.” It will be an origin story and will be part of DC’s “Earth One” line, and, best of all, art by Yanick Paquette. It’s only a fifth of the way done yet, though, so this book—like Multiversity—may be another one of those promised-but-not-delivered Morrison DC projects.
MATT FRACTION OFF FANTASTIC FOUR/FF. He resigned to work on his new Inhumans comic. Noooooooo! At least Mike Allred is staying behind on FF (his brother Lee will write it), and Karl Kesel will join Mark Bagley Fantastic Four. The new writers will work off the plots and groundwork created by Fraction. This is a huge loss, as FF has been one of the best Marvel books of the year.
THE NEW VERTIGO U FOR UNWRITTEN. Well, not really. But the acclaimed series that I’ve never read but keep meaning to is “ending” with issue #50 in October, then rebooting in January with a new #1. There’s also an original graphic novel, The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Ship That Sank Twice, coming in September.
DAY MEN. No, it’s not a spin-off from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. It’s a Boom! comic about human servants to vampires, and it’s been optioned to Universal for a movie adaptation—after publishing just one issue. It could be good. Boom! did a good job with the 2 Guns movie. It was better than the comic, and way better than it had any right to be.
X-MEN/F4 MOVIE. Mark Millar, who is coordinating all the Fox movies based on Marvel properties, says they’ll be doing a crossover movie. The downer here is that Marvel Studios is doing a great job with Marvel properties, and I’d love to see what they’d do with these films. The upside is that Marvel Studios has limited itself to three movies a year, so we get more.’
NEW GARTH ENNIS PUNISHER? He says he’s working on it for a 2014 release. He is hands-down the best Punisher creator of all time, so there’s no way this won’t be awesome.
ANT-MAN. I’m liking Edgar Wright’s views on his Ant-Man movie, including that he has no intention to recapture half a century of Hank Pym mythology in a 2 hour movie. This will be Marvel Movieverse Pym, not comic Pym. I had been hoping it would be Scott Lang, not Pym, but I trust Wright completely. Scott Pilgrim was one of my favorite comic book movies. Folks are talking about what villain could be in it, but I don’t think the movie even needs a villain. A story about a guy who invents something that lets him shrink and talk to ants is certainly enough fodder for a film. We don’t need a big third act with explosions and a major threat. In fact, it’d be nice to have at least one superhero movie out there where the stakes aren’t complete armageddon.
VENOM CANCELLED. The Marvel series by Cullen Bunn will end with #42. While I’m happy to save the money (it’s been on my pull list since #1), I do have to say that this book was always pretty good. For some reason, it never caught on.