DC Comics made some headlines last week when they announced they would be ending their long running Vertigo title HELLBLAZER to be relaunched as CONSTANTINE, a more superhero friendly DCU set series starring the titular mage. If Jeff Lemire’s twitter is to be believed, they’re about to set comments sections aflame again.
Author: Dominic Griffin
Main Event: JMS vs. Mark Waid
It all started with a chart. An angry fanboy makes a factually inaccurate infograph depicting the declining sales of Marvel’s Amazing Spider-Man and former ASM writer J. Michael Straczynski shared on his facebook page, coupled only with the passive aggressive missive, “Just sayin’”.
It was the shot heard round the world.
in light of editor Steven Wacker’s recent sidelining injury, DC Comics has agreed to let JMS sign a One Night Only contract to take on Wacker replacement and fellow former Spidey scribe Mark Waid in a No Holds Barred, Peter Parker on a Pole Match! Spider-Man creator Stan Lee will serve as the special guest referee as the two wordsmiths battle it out for for honor and the right to say they weave a more tangled web.
In Waid’s corner will be current ASM writer Dan Slott, and in JMS’ corner, a giant pile of Babylon 5 royalty money.
As a special stipulation, if JMS loses, he will have to notate on the cover of anything he writes that he willfully tackled the ambulatory abortion that was the Red Circle relaunch and if JMS loses, Waid will never be allowed to write the webslinger ever again, and will be forced to endure a cross country road trip with Alex Ross.
In a special undercard bout, Grant Morrison and Mark Millar look to end their bitter feud in a Loser Leaves Scotland steel cage match.
Ron Perlman to Star In Creature Make-Up Free Film
HELLBOY star and SONS OF ANARCHY leading man is returning to the big screen, but this time, he won’t be playing some sort of monster. He’ll be playing a librarian. British kitchen sink drama helmer Mike Leigh’s new film, LOANER, follows a quiet, mild mannered clerk at a library in Ireland. The story is about him coming to grips with people abandoning the dewey decimal system.
Perlman, infamous for donning the complicated, cumbersome prosthetics that turn him into a striking creature since television’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST series, has been genuinely confused on set.
Leigh has a particularly odd creative process. He will rehearse with his cast and improvise for months before locking down a shooting script and actually start filming, something that puts off less than dedicated actors. That, however, is not Perlman’s issue, who has been seen walking off set, endlessly searching for Rick Baker or someone from KNB FX. He literally doesn’t understand what to do without having his face molded for masks.
“On SONS OF ANARCHY, at least I get to wear a lot of cool leather jackets. I’m out of my element,” Perlman said.
Rumors persist that Leigh had originally wanted singer Tom Waits and that his casting director has since been replaced. He could not be reached for comment.
Cult-Favorite TV Show M.A.N.T.I.S. Returning As A Comic Book
Following in the footsteps of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Jericho, and other series taken away from loyal fans too soon, Sam Raimi’s nineties sleeper M.A.N.T.I.S. will also be seeing a second life as a comic series.
Picking up right where Fox’s cancellation axe landed, M.A.N.T.I.S. Season Two #1, written by former show writer Sam Hamm and drawn by Greg Land, will continue the following adventures of crippled, acronym loving superscientist Miles Hawkins who notoriously died in the final minutes of the show’s series finale.
“OUR Miles did, in fact, die at the end of the show, but as fans on the internet have argued for over a decade, an alternate Miles from 1994 STILL exists in 2026, living in a mysterious future altered by the previous Miles’ timeline changes. ”
Hamm tried to further explain the time travel logic that backs up this rather tenuous loophole in the minutiae that is M.A.N.T.I.S. mythology, but for fans of the underrated character, logic has never mattered much.
“I used to talk to JJ about it everyday on set,” former M.A.N.T.I.S. star Carl Lumbly said. The “JJ” in question is of course JJ Abrams, creator of the hit show ALIAS Lumbly used to perform on. It’s widely believed that M.A.N.T.I.S. was highly influential on JJ’s work.
A lot of the ground that Hamm and co. had planned to cover in the series over time has long since been accomplished by shows like LOST and FRINGE, both Abrams creations. Has the time for M.A.N.T.I.S. passed us by?
“Oh, almost certainly,” Hamm added. “But irrelevance has never stopped us before.”
Pitch Week: Jem and The MotherF*cking Holograms
Jerrica Benton isn’t getting any younger. Starlight Music has seen better days, and the big 4-0 is coming up. Pop stars have come and go over the years, but none have ruled the charts like Jem. It’s been nearly twenty years since Jem released a single. The mysterious starlet disappeared just as fast as she appeared. Jerrica refuses to speak on her whereabouts, even as record sales continue to plummet.
What the music listening public doesn’t know is that Jerrica IS Jem, or at least she was. Ever since the music synthesizing AI her father created and called Synergy went offline, she hasn’t been able to transform back into her better, singing half. The years haven’t been kind to Jerrica, but somewhere in that supercomputer, Jem hasn’t aged a day.
She still writes songs for younger, hotter commodities, but no one wants to see Jerrica on the stage. They want JEM. So, when her ex-flame Rio Pacheco’s tech wiz son, Dino, finds a way to bring Synergy back to life, will Jerrica take the chance to relive her early twenties and give the people what they want? The other option would be truly, truly outrageous.
JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS is a film about pop music and rock n’ roll, and how no matter how old the artists get, the core of the music will always be about youth. It’s a bold and inventive piece of slick pop art that cuts beneath the thin veneer of glitz to show the shallow heart of fame.
McG likes to lay awake at night and tell himself he’s capable of making a movie like this, and he’d be stellar if this were a CW pilot, but it’s not. It’s a feature length film. The only man bold enough to take on a project like this is Nicolas Winding Refn.
After giving Tom Hardy a chance to shine in BRONSON and making the most nightbus movie of all time in DRIVE, Refn is an intense visual stylist with a strong sense of theme and tone. He also longs to make a WONDER WOMAN movie and is attached to remake LOGAN’S RUN. He’s totally the type of guy who’d do this. And it ensures that Ryan Gosling would take a role as Riot from The Stingers!
The first writer for this project is a no-brainer. JOSS WHEDON would never take time off from his awesome career to do this movie, but if you’re a fan of Buffy or have ever read his super awesome web-comic Sugarshock (and you better have) then you know no other writer in Hollywood or otherwise can write witty, strong female types in ensembles better than Joss.
This being a big-studio project (in my imagination) with an off-kilter director, the script will go through multiple drafts. Alot of Joss’ ideas will be rejected and he’ll quit, wanting more control than MTV Films (or Fox Atomic, or whothefuckever) is willing to give. That’s when the ball will be handed off to super-mega-hot-awesome Oscar winner DIABLO CODY.
Being super hot shit, despite the relative failure of JENNIFER’S BODY, she’s fielding any number of ridiculous job offers from junior-studio execs and I wouldn’t be surprised if this actually were one of them. Diablo would be responsible for the irony, wit and hipster cred this movie is going to need to survive. All the characters will be speak like cool-bitch catchphrase was their native tongue and I imagine her name alone will get asses in seats.
Unfortunately, Diablo isn’t as professional as we need for this. We need someone who knows the ins and the outs of screenplay construction. A worker. A craftsman.
We need JOHN AUGUST. After Go. Big Fish, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, The Corpse Bride and any number of unproduced or uncredited script work, there is no one else in my mind who could write a movie like this. He’s talented, smart and can do tongue in cheek guilty pleasure movies. (Just watch Charlie’s Angels, on second thought, don’t.)
August would meld all the ideas from the previous drafts into something workable and fresh, giving Refn the playbook he needs to win the championship, or, failing a championship of some sort, at least a movie that makes enough money to justify its existence without pandering to twelve year olds.
And, of course, Refn being a writer himself, he’ll have no problem fine tuning all of this to suit his vision.
If anyone is going to play Jerrica Benton, aka Jem herself, its SCARLETT JOHANNSEN. The lead would have to be, A) smoking hot, B) capable of being pretty but normal looking and C) able to sing. 2 out of 3 ain’t half bad. Scarlett Jo could play shy, nice girl Jerrica turned older, embittered spinster just as well as voluptuous sexbomb Jem and we could get someone with actual singing talent to dub over her smoky, man voice. Mission accomplished.
I don’t have alot of strong reasons why OLIVIA THIRLBY, of Juno fame, should play Kimber, Jerrica’s younger sister who keeps her grounded, but she’s hot and I’m putting her in here somewhere, so try and stop me.
The rest of The Holgrams could be filled out with various singer-model types, namely NICOLE WRAY (who already made a Jem-homage in her video for “If I Was Your Girlfriend”), M.I.A. (who would be an interesting addition to any movie, this one or otherwise, even if she’s not white) and maybe one of the Pussycat Dolls (don’t care which one.) JULIA LING, from Chuck would be awesome as Aja.
While we’re on the subject of Chuck, ZACHARY LEVI would be great as Rio, the nice guy who loves Jerrica and Jem. In our film, he’s married with a son, but a fire still burns within him for Jerrica.
We already mentioned Gosling as Riot, so to front the other rival band, The Misfits, Juliette Lewis is the only person I could see playing Pizzaz.
Also, I never noticed it before, but CRAIG SHEFFER is the spitting-image of series villain Eric Raymond.
The rest of the cast would need to be mixed up with familiar faces, cute up-and-comers and the occasional real musician. It also wouldn’t hurt to get cameos from some of the original voice-over actors and actresses, if only for the message board nerds.
Here’s where things get fun. I really feel like there’s one man who needs to be involved with the music for this film. His name is TIMBALAND. I don’t think he should produce all the movie’s cuts, because his sonic identity is far too recognizable to blend in, but he’d be great as a consultant. That’d open us up to getting his wingman DANJAHANDZ involved, not to mention his little brother JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, who, I’m sure, could do something for the film from a marketing standpoint. Plus, Timmy’s friends with Pharrell and half of the Neptunes’ songs sound like tracks from the cartoon anyway.
I’m sure THE DREAM could write some new, infectious tunes, or re-arrange old-ones to involve his trademark “ay-ay-ay” bullshit. LINDA PERRY could help out. As could MAX MARTIN, the man who made Kelly Clarkson seem likable and owned your ears in the late 90s/early 00s with all the shit he did for N*SYNC and The Backstreet Boys.
Remember, as much as we’d make off the movie, imagine how much the soundtrack would sell? If High School Musical could move that many units, imagine this?
Also, for good measure, we should put out a Lil’ B sponsored remix-album on the streets, to keep The Fader happy.
Well, that about covers it. Perhaps this idea will eventually exist somewhere outside of my brain.
Tyler The Creator To Star In ROCKET RACER
Marvel Films has tapped rapper/producer Tyler The Creator to star in its ROCKET RACER film.. GOSSIP GIRL creator Josh Schwartz turned in a draft of the screenplay early last year, but it appears that controversial filmmaker Harmony Korine will be sitting in the director’s chair and closes source to the production confirm that he will be rewriting the project from page one.
“I’ve always been a Rocket Racer fan,” Korine, writer of indie classic KIDS recently said to MTV Splash Page. “He’s a technicolor minstrel…on wheels.”
Tyler, on the other hand, doesn’t share quite the same afffinity.
“All I know is I’ma be a f***ing superhero. When I was younger, I always wanted a f***ing rocket powered skateboard, and now I’ve got one. S**t is gonna be bananas.” Tyler shared with us, before unconsciously pantomiming the keyboard chords from Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl.”
When we explained more of Rocket Racer’s origin and asked how Tyler felt about working on a green screen, he insisted the film was going to eschew CGI altogether.
“I don’t think you understand. I HAVE A F***ING ROCKET POWERED SKATEBOARD. They made me one. It’s f***ing real. I used that s**t to go to Randy’s donuts today. S**t is f**ing insane.”
James Franco is in talks to play a supporting role, marking his return to the Marvel universe. When approached for comment, he blew marijuana spoke in our faces and talked about Allen Ginsberg for forty five minutes.
Early word is that Tyler has already contributed songs to the film’s soundtrack and is eager to work with legendary Disney composer Alan Mencken on an eventual AVENGERS sequel.
“The Little Mermaid is my absolute S**T! I got my first boner from Arielle. F**k T-Pain, I’ll f**k ten mermaids.”
ROCKET RACER is scheduled to hit theaters in 2013.
Pitch Week – Batman REBORN
Christopher Nolan is going to do in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES what Frank Miller did when he was on DAREDEVIL: he’s going to tip that sumbitch over and LEAVE.
After making two perfect (or near perfect, depending on your contrarian point of view) Bat films, he’ll be making a Towering Conclusion, and then leaving the franchise. He’ll most likely end it in such a way that no one can do a fourth film in the universe he’s created, which means Warner Bros will bring in someone new to make yet another reboot. This is already the plan, oddly enough with Nolan on board to “godfather” in the new franchise.
You know what else he’s “godfather”ing? Zack Snyder’s Superman. Yeah. Exactly.
I propose we get some REAL new blood in on the bat films, and what better place to look for source material than Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s brilliant run on BATMAN & ROBIN?
Now. the point could be made that this run, though bold and inventive and exciting, is not new reader (or viewer) friendly, and it’d be a good point to make. However, imagine this: a ten minute opener that quickly, and in ALL STAR SUPERMAN fashion, brings us up to speed on a mainstream viewpoint of the Batman & Robin mythos. Everyone understands the generalities. They just need the information given to them in a fresh and fun way.
Modern filmgoers already have origin fatigue from constant reboots, preboots and reimaginings, so give them a quick cliff notes version of Bruce and Dick going on adventures, Dick growing up, Bruce being lonely without a surrogate son, and having his true biological son foisted upon him, only to die before he can become a positive role model for him. Dick returns to fill his mentor’s shoes and is paired with his rambunctious, rebellious, sometimes murderous son. The chemistry is off the charts. It’s Brian and Stewie from FAMILY GUY fighting technicolor super crime, with considerably fewer dick and fart jokes. Also, less show tunes.
Joseph Gordon Levitt is the perfect choice to play the grown up Dick Grayson. He has the charm and the intensity. I think SUPER 8 showed that there are still talented child actors out there, so I don’t doubt that there is an unknown who can give Damien Wayne the bite and verve he needs to shine on screen. Audiences loved Hit-Girl, so of course they’ll love this new Robin.
As far as the villains go, I think a modified version of Grant’s run would make for a fun array of villains, particularly Paul Giamatti hamming it up as Mr. Pyg, Toby Kebbell pumping enough iron to bring The Flamingo to life, and I’d love to see someone like Benedict Cumberbatch bring Dr. Simon Hurt to the bring screen as the man who “killed” the Bat. Imagine someone doing a sad imitation of Heath Ledger’s Joker in a third act cameo; a spectre of his former self in the absence of his better half? People would be okay with a Joker this broken and empty, because that’s who he’d become without his nemesis.
I think the script could feature a lot of the big points of the arc, but could deviate from the necessity of having 60 years of bat continuity fueling the minutiae. It’d have to have the rollicking, adventurous but fiercely modern feel of Steven Moffat’s run on DOCTOR WHO, so why not get The Moff to write it?
As for a director, I say Michel Gondry. Obviously, anyone who has ever seen THE GREEN HORNET will disagree, but I think if given this rich source material, Gondry would have a blast making a vibrant, colorful, high octane action film supported on the strong structure of two brothers (of a sort) finding their way in the world without their father. It’s exactly the sort of nostalgic subject matter Gondry loves to make films about, and without a horrible faux-comedic script from Seth Rogen, Gondry could actually focus on making the film visually exciting and stick to the well written words of someone used to creating evocative adventure storytelling.
4thWRLD’s Mother Box Finally Comes To Sprint
At a press conference in Metropolis today, Highfather, Fourth World ruler and stepfather of part-time Justice League member Orion, announced that he was bringing Mother Box technology to Sprint, the nation’s biggest 4G network. The futuristic handheld will be available in time for the holiday season and pre-sales are through the stratosphere.
For years, every gadget nerd with a blog hypothesized about an iPhone killer, a device so ahead of it’s time, it’d dethrone Apple from its perch at the top of the cell phone game. Tech developers scoured the world looking for the requisite inspiration to accomplish such a Sisyphean task. It turns out they were looking at the wrong one.
When Highfather finished a lengthy legal battle over the propriety rights to his world’s Mother Box with GBS president Morgan Edge, he made the technology available through his business front, 4THWRLD, forever changing the landscape of cellular devices, personal entertainment, and transportation.
“Waging a never ending war on the tyranny of Darkseid and all of Apokolips has been a taxing effort for our economy,” Highfather said in a recent interview with TIME magazine. “Rather than keeping this technology to ourselves, we decided to share it with you third worlders…for a price. ”
Previously only available on AT&T, Verizon and LexTel, the new Sprint Mother Box keeps all the features that made it the must have gadget of the last year. Though many of the hacking capabilities have been toned down after the recent congress hearings and issues with the NSA, the Mother Box still utilizes short distance teleportation through BOOMTUBES, perfect for nipping out to Wal-Mart or picking up the kids from school. The signature PING notification system has been updated with an all new library of personalized tones, including several created by hip hop star T-Pain.
“One more thing,” Highfather noted at the end of the press conference. “We figured out how to make it play Angry Birds.”
4THWRLD’s Mother Box, available on Sprint starting next Monday. Pricing starting as low as $999.99, with a seven year contract.
Cable Explains Daylight Savings Time
An hour forward in the spring. An hour back in the fall. The clocks shift, but things stay the
same. Some things don’t. The Askani understood the influence of the sun. An extra hour of
daylight. Fewer shadows to hide in. My life is Daylight Savings. Spring forward two thousand
years here. Fall back to the twentieth century. Same war. Different sunlight.
In the past it helped to conserve energy. Where I come from, Apocalypse changed the clocks at
will. Sunless days. Never ending nights. Oppression and tyranny. What is, is. Shifting the hands
on the clock change nothing. The sand sinks to the bottom of the hourglass and my people are
no less free.
I set the time back to the past, hoping it’ll save the future.
*Note: Nathan Summers is not a meteorologist.
Salad Days: Warren Ellis
[What follows is an excerpt from a lost interview conducted for a 1997 Holiday Special issue of Wizard Magazine. When pressed about the miniseries discussed in this piece, Warren Ellis declined comment, mustering only to shrug his shoulders shamefully while dramatically exhaling cigarette smoke. He appeared particularly morose.]
Warren Ellis, the brilliant Brit scribe behind the twisted companion piece to Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross’ MARVELS called RUINS, has a new miniseries shedding light on another dark corner of the Marvel universe he wants you to read.
“I honestly don’t care if you read it or not. The check already cleared.” Warren Ellis sits in an Irish pub down the street from his New York City hotel, jotting the occasional note into the frayed pages of his well worn moleskine. Beginning in February, Ellis and artist Mark Buckingham will be releasing a six issue miniseries starring New Warriors founder Night Thrasher, giving the notoriously controversial writer a new canvas to brutally paint his harsh interpretations of the superhero genre.
Wizard: Well, what drew you to Night Thrasher as a character?
Ellis: Tom DeFalco had read RUINS and some of my Vertigo stuff and was quite the fan and asked if I’d fancy taking a stab. I’ve never read an issue of NEW WARRIORS in my life, nor did I know anything about the character.
Wizard: So, how did you end up getting the gig?
Ellis: DeFalco sent me copies of some pertinent storylines and they were just awful. He’s basically a black version of Batman, if instead of a bat, a methed up Rocket Racer had crashed through the window. I about pissed myself from crude laughter.
Wizard: …but, you agreed to do the series?
Ellis: Of course, I did! It’s a check. I told them I’d write THREE THE HARD WAY, but with Night Thrasher, Blade and Cloak from Cloak and Dagger and they agreed to pay my rent anyway! Do you think DC would ever let me do this with Cyborg? Fuck no!
Wizard: Will any of Night Thrasher’s comrades from New Warriors be making any cameo appearances?
Ellis: Well, Speedball shows up as kind of a Jimmy Olsen type assistant, but he’s coked to the gills and ends up being kind of a damsel in distress. He’s basically the well meaning friend who wants to join in on the cool black guy party, but fucks it all up because he’s off his tits.
Wizard: Was there anything editorial wouldn’t let you get away with?
Ellis: I did have a scene where Luke Cage calls Thrasher an Uncle Tom and they settle their dispute with a malt liquor drinking contest, and that was denied. It was really for a bet with Ian Edington, though, so no real loss.
Wizard: So, is the miniseries largely parody?
Ellis: Well, I’m pitching it more as a satirical urban jungle espionage thriller, but that may be the gin talking.