Comic-Con just concluded yesterday and, by all accounts, it was the OMG Totes Bessevah! I Googled that. It’s pretty positive. So everyone had a good time and huge billion dollar companies got to act like kids for a few days. No harm no foul as far as I’m concerned. But this year saw the hype taken to levels not seen since John, Paul, George and Ringo posed for Playgirl. And the reason for that is the convergence of the DC universe finally hitting its cinematic stride just as the Marvel Juggernaut is celebrating its continuing success by risking some strange ideas. Antman? Really? But, while Marvel takes its risks with white males and, pretty much, only white males, DC has plunked a couple of billion of their dollars on the bet that there are more kinds of people on the planet than just straight white men. And even DC’s white guy is a little off the beaten path. Think I’m kidding about all of this? Just note that they are doing a movie about Cyborg; a disabled black man. Aquaman features Jason Momoa, a man of color, and is being directed by Jason Wan, yet another man of color. Wonder Woman is being played by a native Israeli, Gal Gadot, and will be the first comic book motion picture to feature a woman and be directed by one, Patty Jenkins. The Flash will be played by a white guy who just happens to be openly queer; Erza Miller. And then we get to Suicide Quad which features a cast so diverse they didn’t even bother noting race in the notes. Just FYI, racial notes are for the make up artists so they know what to bring. In the case of Suicide Squad it’s bring everything and shut the fuck up.
Okay, so what did we learn this weekend. First, Berkeley Breathed, is bringing back his beloved, and Pulitzer prize winning, comic; Bloom County. It’s been twenty-five years since the last strip was printed. In other comic news, the underground sensation Nebezial has been garnering some mainstream recognition for his work. More naughty than nasty he manages to skewer some common comic tropes. Also, if you’ve ever wondered what Superman’s penis would have to really be like, click the link. You’ll laugh.
In the happy land of television NBC has taken the unusual step of rebooting a critically acclaimed series that went off the rails in its final two seasons. Heroes Reborn picks up a few years after where Heroes left off. It’s darker and weirder than the original, if that’s possible, and it looks awesome. If they follow the path laid out for season one they should be around for quite some time. In CW-Land Stephen Amell opened the Arrow’s section of the conference by showing up in his new costume and using the opportunity to announce he would now be known as The Green Arrow. For those just tuning in he’s gone from The Hood to The Arrow to this. His speech, accessible via the link, is a rallying cry for warriors (a/k/a viewers). It’s pretty cool. And Arrow, like the biblical patriarch Abraham, has been doing a lot of begetting. First there was The Flash which managed to be a critical and ratings success. Now it’s begotten Legends of Tomorrow, which features the strangest ensemble cast outside of Carol Burnett Meets KISS! The next mutant spawn of Arrow is a truly mutant idea. CW is releasing a cartoon featuring Vixen that will be voiced by the actors in all of their live action shows. This is kind of cool because, if it works, they can do the online cartoon treatment with numerous characters and, if they work, ease them into the live action world.
Moving on to movies let’s start with the aforementioned Suicide Squad. Warner previewed a trailer for the film. They will not be releasing it publicly for a host of reasons. They just finished shooting a couple of weeks ago and the visual effects are incomplete, the rights to the music are in limbo and so on. Let them actually sort through what they have and they’ll get something out to the public. In the meantime the leaked trailer can be viewed via the link.
EDIT: After a couple of minor tweaks the trailer for Suicide Squad has been released. And it is fucking awe —– some!
X-Men: Apocalypse also used Comic-Con to debut a trailer just for the attendees and, as you may have guessed, it got leaked. Just seeing Storm with a Mohawk makes it all worthwhile. Clearly they are embracing all of the pseudo-religion inherent in the comics. Another leaked trailer was the one for Deadpool. In this case they aren’t having lawyers yank it down or anything they’re just letting people know that a real trailer, with complete visual effects and the correct music and voice overs, will be released in three weeks. After that all they’re saying is “thanks for your support.”
Marvel’s Antman, however, leaked nothing. The film opened to generally solid reviews, has already started to gather repeat business and has the silliest fifteen second TV spot you’ll see for a while. Another film that didn’t spring a leak was Fox’ Fantastic Four. Josh Trank, the director, says that this film is more like a prequel than an origin story. While that sounds risky Fox was happy enough with the whole thing to pay for a second movie before they finished shooting the first. Not to be outdone Disney has booked three main films and, thus far, two attenuate ones, to flesh out the Star Wars universe. If you click on the Star Wars link you’ll be taken on a behind the scenes tour of the current film. It’s pretty cool stuff.
Now let’s head to the land of the truly weird. There are three Star Trek movies currently in various stages of completion. There is Star Trek Beyond which features all your buddies from the reboot. This will be a blockbuster and, if the script synopsis I was allowed to read is accurate, true to the concept of exploration over destruction. That could be very worthwhile. Then there is Star Trek Renegade which has a plot line so thinly obvious as to be insulting (hey look! Bad guys doing good!) and features cast members from the original Star Trek as well as from Star Trek Voyager. I don’t like to be critical but it looks like a poorly made fan film. And since the big debut will be at the Crest Theater (1262 Westwood Blvd, LA, CA 90024) on Saturday August 1, 2015 at 4:30 pm, an event so epic it’s not even on the theater’s calendar. This is a theater that hosts films dedicated to a Beatles record. The bar is pretty low already. You have to think that everyone even remotely involved with the Trek franchise took a pass as well. It isn’t helped by the whiny and pretentious music video attached to it either. But the last film, Axanar, looks incredible. It is set twenty one years before the first episode ever helmed by Captain James T. Kirk and follows both the creation of the Federation as well as the development of the technology and the reasons behind it all. There is a twenty minute prequel at the link that lays the foundation for the movie. It is definitely worth your time if you’re into Trek at all. Hell, even if you aren’t.
We’ve already covered Batman -vs- Superman and the release of Supergirl here previously so I won’t belabor them again. I will note that I finally got to see the Supergirl pilot episode with my nieces and their friends. Yeah, me and 11 teenage girls. Whee. Anyway, they had all the right emotions at all the right spots and they loved the show.
So bust out your wallets and be prepared to spend lots and lots of your hard earned money. Or not. It’s up to you.