‘MAN OF STEEL,’ ‘WOLVERINE’ TRAILERS: Of Zod and man, we glimpse superheroic fates
TWO QUESTIONS face many fanboy filmgoers this summer:
1. “How many times am I going to see ‘Man of Steel’ “?
2. “Do I really want to see another Wolverine movie?”
As the new trailers arrive this week for “Man of Steel” and “The Wolverine,” we break down these sneak peeks:
I CAN’T FOCUS on this new “Wolverine” movie without getting the last one out of my mind. “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” wasn’t exactly “The Dark Knight Rises,” but it did have its moments. The links to the “Origin” storyline from the comic books and his rivalry with Sabertooth were genuinely fun elements, but the fanboy public was demanding more.
I prefer to think of how we first met Jackman as Wolverine in the first “X-Men” movie (2000), thanks to Bryan Singer. Or the last time we saw Jackman as Wolverine, in a seconds-long cameo in “X-Men: First Class” (which, despite its brevity, was one of the film’s best and funniest scenes).Continue reading this post »
HERBLOCK AT HALF-CENTURY: Library of Congress show illuminates cartoonist’s brilliance in 1963
THE IMAGE strikes you, as racially diverse crowd-members stand shoulder to shoulder, holding the signs of a historic rally.
The caption hits you, as the words ring out from above: “…conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal… .”
Then, perhaps most jarringly, the date stops you, as the cartoon depicts the Aug. 28, 1963, March on Washington.
The publication date is from one day earlier.
The verdict upends you: Herblock seemed to forever have his finger uncannily on the pulse of the nation and the world, especially when his job required not only a moral conscience, but a beyond-mere-mortal prescience.
“Herblock had a long history of being ahead of events and 'calling it early', “ comics scholar Warren Bernard — who helped create the 2009 DVD for the companion book, “Herblock: The Life and Works of the Great Political Cartoonist” — tells Comic Riffs. ”And this prescient ability spanned decades.” (Bernard also highlights Herblock’s keen “prophetic” readings of events in 1933 Germany, as well as tying Watergate to the White House in a cartoon published in June of 1972, just six days after the break-in)
That sense of prescience, combined with the sheer magnitude of the moment, makes Herblock’s “Conceived in liberty…” artwork a powerful centerpiece to “Herblock Looks at 1963,” a 10-cartoon exhibit that runs through Sept. 14 in the Graphic Arts Galleries of the Library of Congress. (After that date, a second exhibit of Herblock cartoons from that same year will be up till next March.)
‘STAR TREK’ BOX OFFICE: ‘Into Darkness’ debut tops billion-dollar ‘Iron Man 3’
CAPTAIN’S LOG, Stardate 19.05.2013: J.J. Abrams’s second tour on the Holodeck did not go as boldly as the studio hoped.
In the search for shekels, “Star Trek: Into Darkness” grossed $70.6-million in its domestic debut this weekend, according to studio estimates — short of the $75.2-million that Abrams’s first “Trek” outing opened with in 2009. Final numbers are expected Monday.
After opening Wednesday in IMAX theaters — and in wider release a day later — “Into Darkness” has grossed $84.1-million in North America, light-years behind the $100-million that Paramount predicted.
The 12th Star Trek film topped the third Iron Man flick, as Disney/Marvel’s former champ grossed $35.2-million this weekend. Shane Black’s “Iron Man 3” has now grossed almost $1.1-billion globally.
NO MERIDA MAKEOVER? ‘Brave’ director Brenda Chapman on Disney princess and ‘sexing her up’
WILL THEY or won’t they?
Disney announced this month that Merida, the strong and spirited archer from Pixar’s “Brave,” was entering its “princess collection.” But the Merida Makeover swiftly made Disney the target of criticism.
Disney, after being upbraided for sexualizing young Merida — and accused of de-emphasizing her strength — reportedlly said this week it was changing course with the makeover and reverting to Merida’s original form. And yet — speaking of targets — you can still find images of the Made-Over Merida on Target’s website.
Oscar-winning “Brave” director Brenda Chapman — who created the film as a “love letter” to her young daughter, providing a model of feminine strength — strongly criticized Disney’s makeover decision this week.
“As far as the Disney makeover, I was incredibly disappointed and frustrated, but not surprised,” Chapman tells Comic Riffs. “I do hope that Disney will correct it... . They have taken the images off of their Web site here in the States, but they are still up in other countries... so I’m dubious.”
Although Disney distributes Pixar films — and John Lasseter heads up animation for both studios — Chapman (who since “Brave’s” release has moved on to LucasArts) emphasizes the differences between Pixar and Disney.
“I thought ‘typical,’ when I first saw the artwork,” Chapman tells Comic Riffs. “So wrong-minded, [especially] when the Pixar crew and myself worked so hard to give them a completely different kind of princess — one that kids and parents today can relate to in many different ways. And Disney turned her back into the same old thing, taking away her symbol of strength and individuality, her bow and arrow, and sexing her up. Not cool.”
Many Merida fans felt a similar disappointment and disgust. More than 220,000 supporters have signed the Change.org petition “Say No to the Merida Makover.”. That response has pleased Chapman.
“I was blindsided by the overwhelming response to this issue,” Chapman tells ‘Riffs, “which is quite nice.”
‘CANDORVILLE’: Darrin Bell poignantly memorializes his 94-year-old grandfather, who embodied the Greatest Generation
WHEN DARRIN BELL pays tribute to recently deceased people, depicting each honored figure on a train to the afterlife, the arc can be sharp and moving.
But when Darrin Bell pays tribute to a family member, depicting the dear relative who once worked on trains, the story is especially transporting.
This week, the “Candorville” creator has memorialized his “Grandpa Roscoe” Bell, who worked for Los Angeles’s transit system for more than 40 years. The California-based grandson shares the proud and ennobling story of his grandfather, who died last month at age 94, as he poignantly rides that rail to another realm.
“Grandpa was so proud of ‘Candorville’ that I knew he’d be tickled to know that he would live on in Candorville,” Darrin Bell tells Comic Riffs of this week’s arc. “But more fundamentally, the train to the afterlife is reserved for people who’ve made an impact on this world. And when I sat down to pay tribute to him, my first thought was: ‘Grandpa Roscoe and his entire generation changed the world forever.’ ”
Emmett Roscoe Bell Sr. embodied a generation that fought for freedom both at home and abroad.
“He endured and prevailed over racism with class and dignity,” the ”Candorville” cartoonist — who is syndicated by the Washington Post Writers Group — wrote on his blog, in tribute to his grandfather. “He fought in World War II, at the Battle of Guadalcanal and many other places. He raised a family. He drove cable cars and then a bus for L.A.’s Rapid Transit District for over 40 years, and when he retired, he turned his attention to creating the semi-annual Bell family reunions.
“He became the family historian. He was our living history. Grandpa Roscoe lived his life exactly how he wanted to, with integrity, humor and perseverance.”
Comic Riffs recently caught up with Bell — author of the new book , ”Does the Afterlife Have Skittles?” — to discuss his grandfather’s influence, example and personal legacy:
MICHAEL CAVNA: My deepest condolences, Darrin. ... How are you coping with the loss?
DARRIN BELL: “Oh… I'm fair,” as my grandfather would say to anyone who asked him the last few days of his life. The man had just days to live and he knew it -- and he was still refusing to complain. As for me, I'm coping fairly well because I'm not alone. I was his primary caretaker, but I had the help and support of my fiancee, Makeda Rashidi, and of the people closest to Grandpa Roscoe — his companion Dr. Bennie Reams, his sister Alta Faye Crawford and her husband, Mr. Nathaniel Crawford. I'm coping well because I have no regrets. I left nothing unsaid. I was with him till the end. I did everything in my power to care for him while he was with us, and I'm doing everything I know how to do to care for his legacy now that he's moved on. When you don't have regrets, it's much easier to smile again.
It is tough, though, to lose my number-one fan. He was the audience for whom I wrote. He's the only one I was afraid to disappoint. He was the first one I wanted to make laugh.
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