Saturday, July 27, 2013

Casting Goodness

Most people never have anything good to say about a studio casting decisions. Remember when Nolan cast that guy from 10 Things I Hate About You to play the Joker? What a disaster! Just go back and read the threads before Ledger even dawned the makeup and you'd think that by now the value of the Batman franchise would be less than that of Enron's stock!

Guess what? We were wrong. And we are wrong, a lot!

But one casting decision I think everyone can agree on is the casting of veteran actor Ed Asner to play Darkseid's henchwoman Granny Goodness, in not just the Justice League cartoon but also in the ensuing DC Direct releases.

Asner brings the scruffiness of his Lou Grant (The Mary tyler Moore Show) mixed with the devotion of a twisted Mrs. Garrett (Facts of Life, google it) to the role and FREAKIN' nails it with every line! Don't believe me? Take a look...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

12 Questions with Tony Isabella

I know it's been a while since I have consitantly posted here but I am very proud to present to you an interview I did with legendary comic book writer/editor and creator of the ground breaking hero Black Lightning, Tony Isabella! Tony pulled no punches during the interview, which makes for quite and interesting read!
After the interveiw be sure to check out his blog at:

I was a longtime subscriber of Comics Buyer's Guide. You were a longtime contributor to CBG (which is infinitely cooler than subscriber by the way), so what is your fondest memory of your time there?
Probably when readers told me how much they liked something I had recommended and when comics creators told me my reviews had helped them in some way.  Of course, receiving literally hundreds of review copies every month didn't suck either.

Is there a character/concept that you created earlier in your career that didn't quite make the impact that you had hoped, that was possibly ahead of its time and you think would've succeeded in today's market?
War Is Hell predated Quantum Leap, so that would be one.  I was ahead of the curve with my original concept for the Champions as a super-hero buddy road trip starring just Iceman and the Angel.  But the one that hurts is Black Lightning, which has been adversely affected by DC's mismanagement of my creation since pretty near day one.  Not to mention DC's failure/refusal to honor their agreements with me.  Black Lightning was not a work-for-hire creation.

Would rather see Black Lightning get the Smallville/Arrow TV treatment or become part of DC's next push of film releases?
I would rather see Black Lightning entirely out of the hands of anyone from DC Entertainment.  I think it's pretty obvious DC does not understand or respect the character.

Do you see your controversial introduction of "The Friend" in your 70's Ghost Rider run opened the door for Miller's spin on Matt Murdoch's Catholic Guilt issues during Born Again arc?
I never considered that.  Guys of my comics industry generation who had been raised Roman Catholic often had issues and negative impressions of the Church.  I created "The Friend" because I felt there should be a Marvel Universe counterpart to Satan, but it was as much mythology as "religion."  Jim Starlin took a more satirical approach in Warlock.

What's the one character/issue/arc/idea you wish you could have a mulligan on?
Not really.  A writer's less-than-wonderful stories are part of the learning process.  That said, I wouldn't mind having another go at some earlier stories, mostly because I think I could write them better now than I did then.

What's the one idea you pushed for but were turned down that you still think should have been approved?
My afore-mentioned original concept for the Champions.

DC or Marvel, if you could only read one, who is it?

Is there any chance we'll see Justice Machine again?
An excellent chance...but not with me as the writer.  Some time back, JM creator Mike Gustovich sold the rights to the property to another writer who has his own and distinctly different vision of the characters.  I think the new owner is planning to relaunch the title in the near future.

Who is the most overrated character in all of comics? I mean I know it's Wolverine, but what do you think?
The Joker.  It defies logic that no one has put several bullets into his brain or otherwise dispatched him.  Since he always kills people whenever he's on the loose, every person who encounters him or who is in proximity to him could rightfully claim self-defense. And the person who killed him would never spend a day in jail for doing this.  Guaranteed.

I rank The Champions as one of my top three favorite team books ever. Where do you rank it personally in regards to your career?
Not as high as you, but I'm beginning to understand why so many fans love it.  It was not the book I pitched - Angel and Iceman as traveling heroes - and it wasn't the book I wanted it to be after the editors had their way with my original concept.  But there is some good stuff in the handful of issues I wrote and I may return to some of the core concepts in the future.

You're from the birth state of Superman. Did that have any impact on you at all when you decided to go into writing comic books?
 No. I didn't know I was from the birth state of Superman until after I had decided I wanted to write comic books when I grew up. That decision was inspired by Stan Lee.  I wanted to be Stan Lee.

If DC or Marvel gave you the keys to the kingdom and told you, you could write a mini or ongoing series for any character in their stable who would you pick and why?
At DC, it would be Black Lightning...if I could do it my way and without the editorial micro-managing in vogue there.  Just as I did in the 1990s, I would keep the essentials of the character and his history, but update him for the present.
At Marvel, it would be Ghost Rider Forever, a continuation of what I had been doing in the series when I left it and as if my finale hadn't been rewritten by Jim Shooter.  It wouldn't be a month-by-month continuation.  I'd do a few stories set in one period, then jump ahead to the next period in Johnny Blaze's life.
My second Marvel choice would be, believe it or not, the Mole Man.  I have an idea for something different with the character that I think would be fun.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

New Eisner Award...Best Splash Page

We interrupt the countdown for the best page yet in the New52...BRILLIANT! 

Go read Green Arrow #22 now!!!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Spider-Film: The Clone Saga

Remember way back in 2008 when Sony announced that Spider-Man 4 was a go and Sam Raimi was back at the helm? Dylan Baker was finally going to transform from Doc Connors to The Lizard. John Malkovich was in talks to play the Vulture and Anne Hathoway was going to become Felicia Hardy's feline alter ego The Black Cat.

(Too bad she never got the chance to wear those black tights and seduce a hero with her...on second thought, never mind.)

Back to the lecture at hand.  I loved the 1st two Spider-Man flicks, still do! Hell I don't even hate 3! Is it great? No. But it's certainly not awful (see, Halle Berry's Catwoman). But after the poor reception of the 3rd film the future of the franchise was in question. That's why in 2008 when the news of a 4th film broke and it was also mentioned that films 5&6 would be extensions of one another and filmed simultaneously I was cautiously optimistic. Turns out my caution was warranted.

Sony, Raimi or maybe both had put the cart way before the horse. The studio and films creative team could not see eye to eye and in the end, Raimi and crew were essentially fired. Spider-Man on the big screen was DOA and I for one was more than disappointed. But just like death in comic books, didn't last long.

Soon after, it was announced that the franchise was to be rebooted under the Amazing Spider-Man tag line. The movie was released in 2012 and was a critical and commercial success, putting a different spin on the old familiar tale and it wasn't long before the sequel was anounced. Now, just weeks into shooting Sony has had casting problems (Woodely who was to play Mary Jane Watson will be recast and the character has even been cut from ASM 2 altogether) and has already announced ASM 3&4. Where have I heard this before?...Oh yeah, 5 years ago when Sony dropped the ball with the previous franchise!

I'm generally a positive person but this news is troubling at best. Spider-Man is my favorite Super Hero and the thought of his film franchise being bungled again just doesn't sit well with me. I hope Sony has learned from it's previous debacle and is not embarking on a "real life" Spider-Man Clone Saga because we all know that those do not end well!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Coming Attractions...

It has been a busy couple of days, so naturally my time to blog has been non existent. That being said I wanted to break my silence, and with the SMASHING success of the Man of Steel film I thought it only appropriate to bring you some Coming Attractions!


In the next couple of weeks I will be posting interviews with comic book legends Tony Isabella (creator of Black Panther and prolific Ghost Rider writer) and the writer of countless classics like the "BWAHAHA" JLI, Kraven's Last Hunt, as well as the newly announced Justice League 3000, JM DeMatteis. I am extremely honored to have had these opportunities and I hope you will enjoy reading them as much as I did conducting them.

I'm also hoping to deliver some fresh art from a project that a friend and I are working on. We are super stoked about it and can't wait to update you as soon as it gets further underway.

Until then, enjoy one of my favorite covers of all time!


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Man of Steel's Audiences Silence Critics

For far to long the average movie goer has been under the tyrannical thumb of the all powerful movie critic! Critics force their opinions of what is good and what is pure garbage, letting us know that crime dramas with badges and pistols can be works of art, but throw a cape and cowl into the mix and it's no longer considered serious cinema. Well today that rule is over! The people have spoken and risen up against their overbearing overlords and simply told them, their wrong.

The movie going public has voted with both their wallets ($132 mil projected opening weekend) and their words. While the majority (of over 200 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes) of critics has panned Man of Steel, movie theaters were filled from wall to wall with audiences ready to take in the next cinematic chapter of Superman. Then, like most of us do in our current world of mobile media, took to the web to let their voices be heard. Over 81,000 members of the paying audience have ranked MOS as 82% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and the well regarded Cinemascore has audiences grading MOS as an A- film.

So why such contrast in opinion from critics to the paying public? I can't answer that question. but what I do know is that the weekend of June 14, 2013, the weekend we finally got Man of Steel, audiences gave critics the metaphorical and financial middle finger that they have deserved for oh, so long, and I loved every minute of it!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Lemire Hits the Mark With Green Arrow

To say that Green Arrow has had a bumpy road since the post -Flashpoint relaunch would be an understatement. Right out of the gate GA suffered from a severe case of inconsistency, being penned by 3 different writers by just the 7th issue. Ann Nocenti tried valiantly to establish a tone for Ollie but seemed to fell short and it never flowed organically, it felt forced at best. I attribute some of these issues to the handling of the 0 issue. In the middle of trying to establish her voice for Arrow, a one-shot written by Judd Winnick was thrown in the mix. The book was never able to regain its footing, but as a loyal GA reader never gave up hope. The books weren't bad, they just weren't Green Arrow.

Then, out of the shinning light stepped Jeff Lemire!

When Lemire started his run on Green Arrow with "The Kill Machine" there was an excitement that jumped off the page. The status quo was changed. People died, Oliver lost his company, a mysterious blind sage (Magus) was introduced to us along with a rival archer (Komodo) with skill to spare who turned Mr. Queens world upside down! Now this is a Green Arrow book! None of this at all compared to the pay off of the final chapter. Lemire gave a nod to the already established canon of his predecessors and swiftly moved forward with a new book that is now all his own. He in no way disrespected those that came before, but made it known that, that chapter of Arrow's history was just that, history. With the introduction of "The Outsiders", John Butcher and...wait for it...SHADO! Yes the Shado of Long Bow Hunters fame is back in GA next month!

So, if you've been Leary of the new52 Green Arrow but love the character, start with Lemire's "The Kill Machine" (issue #17) and don't look back. You'll thank me later.