Wow. I’m doing two news posts in a month. Either you’re lucky, I’m bored, or both. I’m going to start with a bunch of movie news. No, I’m going to start with some advice to Marvel Studios. Do they need my advice? Not right now. They’re making tons of money. But let us look at their output this year: Ant-Man and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Both sold well, but neither were very good. They weren’t bad, just not very good. And both were due to conflicts with directors. Now let’s look at their best works: Iron Man, Captain America: Winter Soldier, and Avengers. All works where directors were allowed to take risks. Hmm. But that’s not what I want to talk about, really.

My big problem with Avengers 2 was that there were so many characters, we barely got to know any of them (and Quicksilver died before he came close to having a personality). My big problem with Marvel’s SHEILD TV show is that there’s not enough superheroics. We can solve both problems. Marvel’s DVDs often have “mini films” as extras, and they’re pretty good. Why not block out 5-10 minutes per episode and have a short story about Scarlet Witch, Black Panther, Hawkeye, etc.? Surely that won’t break the bank, it would give Marvel a platform for its newer character—you could even cross-promote Daredevil, Luke Cage, etc. that way.

Hell, I just want to see more supers. I don’t hate SHEILD, but I really want to see more actual comic book characters in it, so I can feel like I am in on something big.

And now, the news.

MOVING PICTURES NEWS! Lots of directors and writers and yodda yodda released in the past few weeks:

  • THOR 3. The second one was the rare example of a mediocre (not bad, just meh) Marvel movie, but it looks like we’ll finally get Ragnarok for the third one—so it should be awesome. Taika “Eagle vs. Shark” Waititi has signed on to direct…For now. You know if he doesn’t toe the line Marvel will fire him. Although I hope they learned from how they watered down Avengers 2 and Ant-Man.
  • BLACK PANTHER. Joe Robert Cole is the likely screenwriter, but both Ava “Selma” DuVernay and F Gary “Straight Outta Compton” Gray have passed, the latter because (sigh) they’re actually going to be doing a Fast and Furious 8.
  • KINGSMEN 2. Kingsmen surprised the hell out of me by being a terrific movie, but it looks like Taron Egerton, the film’s star, has signed on to play Robin Hood and they’re having trouble getting started on the sequel. Director Matthew Vaughn is also committed to other projects.
  • THE CROW MIGHT NOT HAPPEN. The reboot has lost several leading men, and now its director has walked and the studio has filed for bankruptcy. But seriously, is anyone looking for this remake? I mean, the 1990s version may be dated, but it’s still good.
  • GAMBIT. Joining the “another one bites the dust” department, Rupert Hyatt quit as director of Gambit, citing creative differences (which usually means the studio wanted the movie to suck and the director did not). But with Channing Tatum attached as the lead it seems unlikely that the movie will be scrapped.
  • GEORGE MILLER, who directed the best action movie of 2015 (Mad Max), will not be directing Man of Steel 2—despite rumors to the contrary.
  • BROOKLYN ANIMAL CONTROL. And in TV news, Stephen “Boardwalk Empire” Graham has taken the lead role in USA Network’s adaptation of IDW’s comic about city workers who round up stray werewolves.
  • WATCHMEN. HBO is looking to develop a series, and is talking with Zack Snyder, who did a pretty good job adapting it for film. Of course, he’s done a crappy job with Man of Steel—so your level of optimism may vary.

MORE SHAFT! I loved Dynamite Comics’ “Shaft: A Complicated Man,” a miniseries that concluded earlier this year, and I’m happy to learn that creators David F. Walker will return to write more adventures about the private dick that’s a sex machine to all the chicks. This time, he’ll be paired up with artist Dietrich Smith. The plot involves Shaft being a consultant on a biopic…About Shaft! I can dig it.

AND IN OTHER DAVID F. WALKER NEWS…POWER MAN AND IRON FIST!  Power Man and Iron Fist was one of my favorite early 1980s comic books—a great buddy book, whose success has never been duplicated (see my tribute to them here). In fact, traditional “buddy” pairings are conspicuously absent from the market (unless you count “hero and sidekick” titles like Batman and Robin, but those are different). Walker and artist Sanford Greene will create a new PM&IF book in 2016. Luke Cage hasn’t called himself “Power Man” in a decade—and a young upstart now uses the moniker—so that will be an interesting development. Can’t wait!

REPRINT NEWS! A few nice collections will be coming in time for Christmas…

  • BLOOM COUNTY! IDW Publishing will be reprinting the revived strip in a collected edition, and as a result creator Berk Breathed is no longer reprinting them on his Facebook page.
  • MOEBIUS! Dark Horse will publish a hardcover collection of one of comics/sci fi’s most celebrated artists, Jean Giraud.

DIGITAL COMICS EXPAND. I read everything on my iPad these days, so I was happy to learn that Dark Horse will start same-day-single-issue releases of their books via Dark Horse Digital, ComiXology, and Kindle. I know a lot of folks say digital books are killing comic stores, and there may be some truth to that, but I think Amazon and trades did a lot more damage. Many times, I try something on digital and then buy hardcopies as gifts. But I do wonder what happens when the market finally falls out for monthly floppies—will we still get a serialized story in 30-day chunks? Will there be enough money in digital-only to support careers for real talent? Or will comics become on-line film treatments? I’d hate to see this art form die…Which is a sad note on which to end this post.

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