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Showing posts from December, 2010

Culture, Society, and Comic-Con

In the midst of my morning survey of pop culture landscape and I come across this story on the failure of Tron Legacy, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Watchmen, and Kick-Ass and the role of San Diego Comic-Con in creating or failing to create a success. Since I think seriously about comics and popular culture I have already thought about this. I know, very self serving, the professional media types at blastr.com write a story and I reply I have already thought about it /:-)

Still, the analysis of the failure of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World after the great buzz at comic-con touched on these issues already. There are several factors playing in the background here. Still my reaction to this story is...duh its comic con!!

If you have a comic or pop culture related movie bringing it to comic-con is the equivalent of bringing water to a person dying of thirst in the desert. Yes, he or she will be happy to see you. That doesn't mean he or she will let you move into their house and eat…

From Comic Book To Small Screen Jessica Jones Series In The Works

From Comic Book To Small Screen Jessica Jones Series In The Works

I'm intrigued by the idea of a Jessica Jones series because of three things. First, the idea of female character linked to Marvel's superhero universe, but not in costume would work well on television. For the most part, that has been the successful model for shows like Smallville and Heroes. Despite NBC's The Cape coming to the small screen in January, the usually approach is to avoid the costume even if the hero has superpowers. Second, a female character has a better chance of picking up a big audience on television, especially if they follow Brian Michael Bendis great characterization. Finally, and most importantly, Jessica Jone is married to Luke Cage in the current Marvel Universe. If the series is successful, even a modest success, more people will get a chance to see Bendis' revamped and modernize version of Luke Cage on television. This would open the door to getting the character into a mo…

Comic Milestone: The Brenda Starr Byline Has Ended

Brenda Starr, the groundbreaking female reporter created in 1940 by Dalia (Dale) Messick, is coming to an end. Starr was a standout female character in the Golden Age of comics. Yet, her success was the result of her popularity as a syndicated newspaper cartoon strip, not as comic book property. Messick created the character for the Chicago Tribune Syndicate and despite resistance from the editors, the character resonated with readers. While initially not appearing in the Chicago Tribune, it was relegated to a Sunday supplement, by 1945 Brenda Starr had a daily strip and was one of the most popular characters in the Sunday paper. In that same year, the character made its first cross media appearance in a movie serial, Brenda Starr, Reporter starring Joan Woodbury. By the 1950s the character appeared in over 200 newspapers nationwide. The character's popularity is noteworthy because in an era where women were expected to suppress their career aspiration and return home after Wo…

Thinking About Cloak & Dagger

Cloak & Dagger (2010) #1 cover by Mark Brooks | Marvel Images | Downloads & Extras | Marvel.com

The return of a Cloak & Dagger solo series is a good thing, but it also gives me a moment to reflect on C&D's place in Marvel comics.

Cloak and Dagger's 1982 appearance coincides with Ronald Reagan's conservative revolution taking hold. There are many elements of the Reagan revolution that bear examination, but the legacy from the "war on drugs" continue to affect us today. The explosion of crack cocaine and the gang culture related to it had a powerful effect on American cities. While many people don't remember, the origin of Cloak and Dagger was very much a reflection of this societal concern.

Tyrone "Ty" Johnson (Cloak) and Tandy Bowen (Dagger) met as runaways in New York. Experimented on by criminal trying to create synthetic heroin, they were given superhuman powers. Not surprisingly, they were retconned to be mutants (the drugs…

Tron Legacy...the title tells the story of the power and the curse of the new cross narrative bleed

Ok, I saw Tron Legacy. It is not a bad movie, nor especially great movie, so it is similar to a lot of mass entertainment. Still, thinking about its release for a few weeks and seeing the pop culture landscape react to it, I gotta take a stab of contextualizing it.

Tron Legacy is the perfect example of major corporate entity (Disney) trying to exploit a legacy property they know (or have been told) is cool, but they don't quite understand why it is cool. The original 1982 TRON was a financial disaster for Disney, but the movie became a cult classic because it foreshadowed our modern cyber culture. The idea of world inside the computer (the GIRD), the struggle to bring "freedom" to the digital world and the fate of the "user" all resonate with an emerging computer culture shifting from industrial computing to desktop/personal computing affecting everyone. TRON spoke to the implication of living in a world shaped by the computer--good and bad.

For kids …

This Week in Spandex – The Invincible Iron Man #32 & Secret Warriors #22

This Week in Spandex – The Invincible Iron Man #32 & Secret Warriors #22

There is no question these titles are some of the best in the marketplace. If you are not reading Secret Warriors and Iron Man you are missing out. While my love of Iron Man is well known, I don't think people realize the complexity of the story being constructed in Secret Warriors. An updated and perhaps better version of previous Nick Fury comics, this title takes a gritty look at the superspy/superhero dichotomy. The original Nick Fury is a Cold War character (unlike the ultimate universe version constructed in reaction to the war on terror). As a result, the aesthetics linked to this character are informed by a ideological struggle associated with global political viewpoints competing against each other. While contemporary comic have made a unconscious (or conscious) link between Hydra and al-Qaeda. This interposition of Cold War global framework within the contemporary global terror…

IM3--Favreau and the New Disney-Marvel Cultural Campaign

Jon Favreau will not direct Iron Man 3 and I can't say I blame him. While rumors that conflict with Marvel drove him out, the reality is it doesn't matter. After doing more to build the Marvel Cinematic Universe than any director alive, he has earned some time off.

With the 3rd film facing the inevitable problem of trying to integrate multiple Marvel movie narratives, it smart to walk away and let new eyes look at IM3. His relationship with Disney is only going to get stronger and he can provide a lot of creative vision, something the Disney/Marvel fusion needs if it is going to be successful. Favreau is moving on to another major Disney movie and he will likely have a hand in shaping the coming Marvel movies as a executive producer. The future for Disney is the effective use of legacy properties and integrating acquisitions like Marvel in way that expand the entertainment experience on multiple platforms. That future requires creative collaborator who understand the pro…

Golden Age Gold Rush?

The recent article from Fine Book Magazine on prices for comics points out a particular problem associated with attention on comic book media. The rush to pay high prices for Golden Age comic book has put the spotlight on collecting and the cultural value of the comic books, especially the superhero comic book. With this rise in value comes a serious re-evaluation by academics and cultural critics. The real value in the article is the overview of price points--Silver Age stuff in six figures, Golden Age stuff in the seven figure range. Rarity is a more complex question than this article reveals. There are a number of lesser known Golden Age characters that arguably would be easier to find, but would the average reader even recognize such characters. Recently, as I was putting together my TEDx Orlando talk, I was cautious not to use characters under copyright protection. Thus those characters from Marvel (Spider-Man) and DC (Superman) were for the most part off limits. On the other…