Friday, April 17, 2015

Jack Kirby and WikiLeaks

This is fascinating stuff via Bleeding Cool. The background: Yesterday WikiLeaks posted a searchable database of the Sony Pictures Entertainment emails that were hacked last year.

A search for "Jack Kirby" shows Sony execs talking about potential properties created by the Marvel Comics artist that could be exploited in future TV shows and movies. It also demonstrates the millions of dollars studios and publishers such as Sony, Marvel and the rest make, and stand to make, by exploiting the imaginative work Kirby did years ago.
The key assets are the Jack Kirby projects.  These are 30 – 50 properties he developed post Marvel and there are around 100 drawings encompassed by this as well.  They have a treatment for the first Kirby related project (which I think is called Microminds).  It is  not a superhero project and their assumption is that it will cost around $100 million.  Peter did not go into details and I can get more information tomorrow, but there seems to be an option on the Kirby projects which expires 4/30 (which would explain the targeted close of the first equity tranche).

Deal alert: Kindle version of Pete Townshend's autobiography on sale for $1.99

Click here.




Hear Ursula Le Guinn's "Left Hand of Darkness"

BBC Radio 4 is now broadcasting an audio drama based on Le Guinn's sci-fi epic here. You can read about the production here.


Pop culture roundup: Herb Trimpe; Wonder Woman; Coca-Cola; The Spirit

The great Marvel Comics artist Herb Trimpe, known for his classic run on "The Incredible Hulk," passed away this week. We'll have a "pop focus" tribute to him on Sunday. 


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The first design sketch of Wonder Woman is up for bid. The 1941 drawing includes a written exchange between artist H.G. Peter and writer William Marston about the character's look.

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A documentary about the iconic Coca-Cola bottle is planned.

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If only Brad Bird's animated adaptation of "The Spirit" had happened instead of that horrid Frank Miller film.

Fab Friday: Vintage Beatles magazine covers

Visit The Glass Onion Beatles Journal for Beatles news, views, reviews and history.






Thursday, April 16, 2015

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens Official Teaser Trailer #2

Video find: The Shadows in "Rhythm and Greens"

Via Bob Stanley:





Vintage ad: Yogi Bear for Kellogg's Cereal


Pop stuff: Cinderella, The Reluctant Dragon, Daredevil

What I'm reading, hearing, watching, etc.


Cinderella. This is a fun, albeit not terribly necessary, live-action update of Disney's animated classic. I guess they're doing this with a number of the originals - "Pinocchio" is up next.

As Cinderella, Lily James ("Downton Abbey") looks and dresses much like her cartoon counterpart. She's not much more dimensional either. She's a sweet girl confronted by nasty people who learns to stick up for herself while remaining nice. Not a bad life lesson. But beyond being a sad Pollyanna, James doesn't have much to do.

Cate Blanchett is given a bit more to work with and has fun vamping it up as Cinderella's evil stepmother. She's provided a back story that makes her somewhat sympathetic. And we see, via her behavior and Cinderella's, how loss and adversity has the potential to either destroy or strengthen you. This contrast is a nice touch. I liked, too, that the stepsisters in this version aren't ugly. They just act that way.

As in the original, Prince Charming (Richard Madden) has little to offer beyond good posture, nice hair and a bright smile. He's dull. Cinderella could do better.

Helena Bonham Carter, meanwhile, steals the show as Cinderella's offbeat, possibly tipsy Fairy Godmother. Her magical transformation of pumpkin into carriage and mice into horses is great fun.


The Reluctant Dragon. Never having seen it before, we gave this 1941 Disney film, now on Netflix, a shot for Family Movie Night last weekend. And it's great!

Though it includes the animated short in the title, the real highlight is everything leading up to it. This is a full-length feature focusing on writer/actor Robert Benchley's tour of the Disney studios.

Along the way, we see how the Disney animators in art class and at work, working with animation cels, creating sound effects and background music and more. It's all planned out and scripted, of course. But it's shot on location and provides an opportunity to see behind-the-scenes Disney stars such as animator Ward Kimball and Clarence Nash (the voice of Donald Duck) on screen.

The animated shorts included are actually less entertaining than the scenes of Benchley meeting and interacting with these folks. There's also a great scene where the action marvelously transforms from black and white into Technicolor. Check it out.


Daredevil. I'm not a serious binge watcher, but I have watched the first couple episodes of this new Marvel series on Netflix. I liked it, though I found the first couple of storylines a bit predictable and the pace - apart from fight scenes - a little slow.

Charlie Cox star as Matt Murdock/Daredevil and the show has a dark mood obviously inspired by Frank Miller's classic early 1980s run on the "Daredevil" comic book series.

Daredevil inhabits the ground level of the Marvel Universe. No bombast and epic, world-shattering action here, just dark shadows and urban blight.

At least in the first couple of episodes, Daredevil fights mobsters, not super-villains. And he has no super strength or invulnerability of his own, just heightened senses brought about by a freak accident that stole his sight but fine-tuned everything else.

The fight scenes are especially well-executed and dramatic. Daredevil has great martial arts moves, but he also gets pummeled. He gets knocked down and picks himself up only be sheer force of will. He's super human in the sense that he's very, very human. There's a sense he could be killed at any moment.

Accordingly, Rosario Dawson turns up as a nurse in the second ep to fish a beaten Daredevil out of a Dumpster and treat his (many) wounds. Dawson is good, bringing personality to a cliched part. Also nice are Elden Henson as a funny, self-deprecating Foggy Nelson and Deborah Ann Woll is the sad and troubled Karen Page, who becomes the secretary in Foggy and Matt's law office.

Cox is very good in the lead role. He could be overly brooding, but is charming, funny and mysterious instead.

I also like that the show connects to the rest of Marvel's on-screen universe in a very subtle way.

There are mentions of "the incident," which resulted in the destruction of the show's Hell's Kitchen environs, but it's up to viewers to realize this refers to the epic New York battle that took place at the end of the first Avengers film.

"Daredevil" and other Marvel series planned for Netflix will apparently have their own niche and tone, while still acknowledging their connection to the rest of the Universe.

It will be interesting to see more. Judging by these episodes, the series if off to a promising start.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Pop Artifact: Steranko's History of Comics 1972-73 calendar

A tie-in to Jim Steranko's fantastic two-part history of U.S. comics, this calendar features artwork by a number of greats, including Jack Kirby, Bill Everett, Joe Kubert, Lou Fine, and Alex Toth.