‘AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2’: As first trailer lands, our 5 Takeaways about Rhino, Electro and Gwen.
MARVEL’S CINEMATIC universe looks as strong as ever. Phase 1 was a success, culminating with the smash hit “The Avengers”; Phase 2 looks to bring even bigger box office with “Thor: The Dark World” performing well and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” leading the charge in 2014 — as the countdown begins to “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” in 2015.
But Marvel Comics, of course, doesn’t have complete moviemaking control over all its stars, including arguably the biggest one of all: Spider-Man.
We’ve been reminded of Marvel’s splintered film rights when 20th Century Fox recently released a trailer for “X-Men: Days of Future Past” (and again today when director Bryan Singer reportedly announced a new X-men film for 2016). The echo is even louder today with Sony offering the first full trailer for “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”
As we pick up the action, Andrew Garfield is trying to cement his status as the Peter Parker of a new generation (Tobey Maguire is still fresh in the minds of many Spidey fans). He’s now apparently battling multiple villains (always a risky move — are we seeing the formation of The Sinister Six?). And perhaps the biggest addition in this sequel: Jamie Foxx is playing Electro.
Here are Comic Riffs’ Five Takeaways from today’s trailer:Continue reading this post »
BEST BOOKS OF 2013: Ed Piskor finds a beautiful groove with ‘Hip Hop Family Tree’
ED PISKOR was born just after most of his current book takes place. And yet his latest graphic novel booms and resounds with such a sense of textured observation, you’d swear the young Pittsburgh cartoonist must have been alive and around and tuned in during the infancy of hip hop.
“Hip Hop Family Tree” (Fantagraphics), Piskor’s first book about the ‘70s New York rise of a music and a culture, positively pops — if not pop-locks — off the page with its energy and movement. And those pages themselves even bear the yellowed aesthetic of nostalgia.
Through his painstaking study of the period — with references that range from gritty ‘70s films (like, say, “The French Connection”) to Bob Camp album covers — Piskor is able to render a world that resonates as truth. And his encyclopedic knowledge of early hip hop allows him to blend smart narrative lines with his bold pen lines.
As Piskor works on the next volume in this hip-hop series, Comic Riffs caught up with the cartoonist to talk about journalistic storytelling, Pittsburgh art — and his commitment to depicting hip hop’s origin story.
MICHAEL CAVNA: One of my favorite short comics [in recent years] is your take on the similarities between comics and old-school hip hop. Maybe it's just the sight of the Yellow Kid wearing a Grandmaster Flash lyric, but the pairing just works. ... Can you open the window some into what that comic represents to you — because it seems right on the intersection of two streets where you really "live"?Continue reading this post »
Rep. Lewis, publisher give his graphic-novel memoir to all of Congress
Rep. John Lewis continues to spread his good word.
This past summer, the Georgia Democrat became the first sitting member of Congress to write and release an autobiographical graphic novel, according to his publisher, Georgia-based Top Shelf Productions. His acclaimed civil-rights memoir, “March: Book One” — co-created with aide Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell — soon topped the bestseller list.
Today, Lewis is donating a digital copy of his book to every member of Congress, says Top Shelf.
“Just like the comic book I read more than 50 years ago,” Lewis said in a statement, “it is my hope that this graphic novel can inspire new generations to speak up and speak out, to make their voice heard, and, hopefully, to make our nation a more just and peaceful place for all.”
That comic book of a half-century ago he refers to is “Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story,” a visual lesson of nonviolent protest published by the Fellowship of Reconciliation.
Top Shelf has teamed with the Fellowship of Reconciliation and the digital publisher comiXology to bundle the two electronic books and make them jointly available to every member of Congress.
Lewis, a true civil-rights icon and voice of nonviolent protest, was the youngest speaker (age 23) at the 1963 March on Washington.
“March: Book One” is the first volume in a planned trilogy.
Lewis and Aydin will appear Tuesday night at 6:30 at Barnes & Noble in downtown D.C. (555 12th St NW).
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ANNIE AWARDS: ‘Frozen,’ ‘Monsters University’ lead animation nominations with 10
IT’S ONLY MONDAY and it’s already been a mighty good week for “Frozen.”
On Sunday, Disney announced that according to its box-office estimates, its latest princess tale had set multiple records.
A day later came more good news: “Frozen” has been nominated for a field-leading 10 Annie Awards — tied with Disney/Pixar’s “Monsters University.”
Besides those two films, the other nominees for best animated feature film at the 41st Annies are “The Croods” (DreamWorks Animation) and “Despicable Me 2” (Universal) — which each received nine nominations — and three foreign films: “The Wind Rises” (Disney/Studio Ghibli) and the GKIDS entries: “Ernest & Celestine” and “A Letter to Momo.”
There may be much professional sentiment for “Wind”; it reportedly will be the last film from animation legend Hayao Miyazaki (“Spirited Away,” “Ponyo”), who is also Annie-nominated for writing.
And speaking of legends: Steven Spielberg, manga artist/filmmaker Katsuhiro Otomo (“Akira”) and the Oscar-winning visual-effects artist Phil Tippett (“Jurassic Park”) will receive the Winsor McCay Award for career achievement.
Elsewhere, the Maryland-sprung animator Steven Sugar is on the “Steven Universe” team of five that is nominated for outstanding production design in an animated TV/broadcast production. The new Cartoon Network show was created by his sister, Rebecca Sugar (who’s also from Silver Spring).
The Annie Awards are presented by the International Animated Film Society/ASIFA-Hollywood, which Monday announced the nominations in 30 categories for film, television and video games — including commercials, short subjects and student films.
The awards ceremony will be Feb. 1 at UCLA.
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FIRE AND ICE: ‘Frozen,’ ‘Catching Fire’ torch box office with big holiday weekends
DISNEY ANIMATION continues to grow its own stable of popular CG films down the coast from Pixar’s Oscar-winning render farm.
Disney’s “Frozen” set twin box-office records for the Thanksgiving weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday; final domestic-gross numbers are due Monday.
“Frozen” — which centers on a teenager’s perilous wintry journey — set Thanksgiving-debut records for both the three-day weekend ($66.7-million) and the five-day holiday weekend ($93-million), according to Box Office Mojo.
“Frozen” — which features the voices of Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad — topped Disney/Pixar’s “Toy Story 2,” which in 1999 set the three-day ($57.4-million) and five-day ($80.1-million) records for a Thanksgiving opener. (Figures not adjusted for inflation.)
“Frozen” builds on the success of Disney’s 2010 hit “Tangled” (previously the second-best Thanksgiving opener ever), and the studio’s “Wreck-It Ralph” from last year. Both of those earlier Disney hits — which are both CG-animation — grossed more than $470-million globally.
“Frozen” — which received a CinemaScore of “A-plus” — reportedly was powered largely by the turnout of females (57 percent) and families (81 percent).
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