Thursday, July 07, 2005

Pop Artifacts! Shadow club buttons

"Fantastic Four" review roundup

Roger Ebert:It's all setup and demonstration, and naming and discussing and demonstrating, and it never digests the complications of the Fantastic Four and gets on to telling a compelling story. Sure, there's a nice sequence where the Thing keeps a fire truck from falling off a bridge, but you see one fire truck saved from falling off a bridge, you've seen them all.

The Fantastic Four are, in short, underwhelming. The edges kind of blur between them and other superhero teams. That's understandable. How many people could pass a test right now on who the X-Men are and what their powers are? Or would want to? I wasn't watching "Fantastic Four" to study it, but to be entertained by it, but how could I be amazed by a movie that makes its own characters so indifferent about themselves?

San Diego Union-Tribune: "Fantastic Four" has jolly payoffs but could have been better, perhaps a blithe pop convergence of the comical charms of "Galaxy Quest" and the thundering effects zest of "The Core." But both those movies thudded at the box office, maybe because they asked the audience to do more than gape, and the makers of this show aren't going to take such chances.

Go in expecting just another summer bulldozer, and you might be pleasantly surprised. Expect much more, and you might get impatient. Either way, it isn't the morbid mosh pit of Spielberg's invasion epic.

New York Daily News: ...this adaptation of the popular Marvel Comics superhero series plays like a neighborhood Halloween party, where the guests spend the evening checking each other out and trying to guess who will win Best Costume.

..."Fantastic Four" is aimed at a teenage audience, but I expect the average age of the most-pleased viewers will be in the single digits. It's a big, noisy, colorful lark, and perhaps the safest children's summer movie this side of "Madagascar."

Seattle Times: As super-flicks go, the long-awaited and long-troubled big-screen adventure of Marvel's "first family" is no "Spider-Man," but it stomps on "Elektra."

...For all its misses, the movie has more hits. Doom is not a hyperbole-spouting caricature but a manipulator who first tries to turn Ben against his friends. Johnny's constant, playful needling of Ben — a highlight — taps into the essence of Lee and Kirby.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Jack Kirby museum planned

Just came across this interesting press release:

Signifying a momentous step for comicbook lovers and popular culture scholars worldwide, Lisa Kirby, the daughter of the late Jack Kirby, artist and co-creator of the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, the Hulk, Captain America and many other comicbook characters and stories, today announced the creation of the Jack Kirby Museum and Research Center (JKMRC).

"My dad's work, starting with Captain America in the 1940s and reaching a peak with most of the other Marvel Comics superheroes in the 1960s, had a great influence on our culture, " Lisa Kirby says. "His imagination, storytelling ability, and prolific output contributed significantly to
making the comicbooks he created among the most highly regarded in the U.S."'

Although the general public is familiar with some of his work, Kirby himself is still relatively unknown. "In the years since his death in 1994, there have been a number of high profile movies featuring properties and characters Dad created, but he has, for the most part, not been
featured in the movies' promotions," Lisa Kirby added, "In that respect, my family and I were excited by the creation of a non-profit educational organization devoted to Dad's work."

Spearheaded by Randolph Hoppe of Hoboken, New Jersey, a cartoonist and web designer who hosts Kirby discussion groups, and supported by the Kirby Family and John Morrow, the award-winning publisher/editor of the Jack Kirby Collector magazine from Raleigh, North Carolina, JKMRC is devoted to promoting and encouraging the study, understanding, preservation and appreciation of the work of comicbook creator Jack Kirby.

"Our first program is to build an exhaustive, collaborative online Jack Kirby 'Catalogue Raisonné'," reports Hoppe, referring to the term for a book of "all the works" by an individual artist. "With support from the Kirby Estate, TwoMorrows Publishing, JKMRC members and scholars worldwide, we will take what has been known as the Jack Kirby Checklist and build it into an invaluable media-rich resource ‹ not just for comicbook and Kirby fans, but for popular culture scholars, as well. I hope that programmers who have knowledge of or experience working on similar volunteer-based online projects will be able to provide some expertise."

However, the online Catalogue Raisonné is not JKMRC's only project. "We hope to develop an exhaustive, multimedia Jack Kirby biographical presentation and to partner with museums, conferences and conventions around the world on Kirby-related exhibits, papers and more," Hoppe adds. "But it all depends on how much support we can garner. I know the first question on most people's mind when learning about a new Jack Kirby Museum will be, 'where will
the building with the collection and the exhibit space be built?' My cautiously optimistic response is, 'One step at a time'. At this early stage, it's best to say that anything's possible with the right support."

For John Morrow of TwoMorrows Publishing, the JKMRC is a perfect fit. "I've been editing and publishing the Jack Kirby Collector magazine for more than ten years," Morrow says. "Back in 1995, Rand approached me about posting a web site for the Kirby Collector ­ I didn't know what a web site was. When he told me his idea for a Kirby Museum, I agreed it's time had come.
I'm going to put the full resources of TwoMorrows Publishing behind this effort." TwoMorrows started with a 16-page bi-monthly xeroxed Kirby Collector, and is now a thriving operation publishing trade paperbacks and five magazines targeted at the comicbook specialty market.

JKMRC will also celebrate Jack Kirby's co-creators and colleagues. For almost fifteen years starting in 1940, Joe Simon partnered with Kirby, becoming the top creative team during comicbooks' so-called "Golden Age".

Starting with their work on Captain America, they then worked on Sandman, Manhunter, Newsboy Legion and Boy Commandos. Simon & Kirby also invented the Romance comicbook genre with the publication of "Young Romance Comics" in 1947. "I've had considerable contact with Joe Simon while publishing the Kirby Collector," Morrow added. "I hope we can work closely with Joe on JKMRC programs, too."

"Most people remember Jack for developing and telling the stories of the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, the Hulk and more in the 1960s with Marvel Comics' Editor, Art Director and Writer Stan Lee," Hoppe noted. "Marvel Comics would not be what it is today without those Kirby/Lee
collaborations they defined the Fantastic Four in the more than 102 issues they produced together," he said. "We can't celebrate Jack's 1960s work for Marvel without acknowledging Stan Lee's substantial efforts. We look forward any contributions Stan Lee can make to our programs." Lee's partner on Spider-man was Steve Ditko.

"All of us in the Kirby family look forward to the growth and impact of this organization," Lisa Kirby stated.

Mission Statement:

The Jack Kirby Museum and Research Center is organized exclusively for educational purposes; more specifically, to promote and encourage the study, understanding, preservation and appreciation of the work of Jack Kirby by:

* illustrating the scope of Kirby's multi-faceted career,

* communicating the stories, inspirations and influences of Jack Kirby,

* celebrating the life of Jack Kirby and his creations, and

* building understanding of comicbooks and comicbook creators.

To this end, the Museum will sponsor and otherwise support study, teaching, conferences,
discussion groups, exhibitions, displays, publications and cinematic, theatrical or multimedia productions.

Pop Artifacts! Chandu the magician club button

New CD releases of note

July 5

OST Dark Water (score by Angelo Badalamenti)
OST Fantastic Four and Fantastic Four: The Album
SACD Jeff Wayne Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of the War of the Worlds
VA Hal Lifson Presents Music for Lonely Housewives

July 12

Marian McPartland and Elvis Costello Piano Jazz
Willie Nelson Countryman
Son Volt Okemah and the Melody of Riot
Richard Brautigan Listening to
Duke Ellington The Piano Player
The Everly Brothers A Date with, Both Sides of an Evening, Instant Party!, It's Everly Time and Sing Great Country Hits
Soft Machine & Heavy Friends BBC in Concert 1971
Joe Strummer Walker

Twomorrows Publishing solicitations for July

Upcoming goodies include:

ALTER EGO #52 features GIELLA, PIKE, & THALL, a Triptych of Titanically Talented Comic Artists! Behind a new GIELLA color cover, featuring a trio of DC super-stars facing their greatest foes, JOE GIELLA—legendary inker of DC’s 1960s Flash, Green Lantern, & “New Look” Batman—and artist on the Batman, Phantom, Mary Worth, & Flash Gordon newspaper strips—talks about the Silver Age at DC, the Golden Age at Marvel, JULIE SCHWARTZ, et al., in an exclusive JIM AMASH interview! Featuring rare and lavish art by CARMINE INFANTINO, GIL KANE, MIKE SEKOWSKY, CURT SWAN, DICK DILLIN, SHELLY MOLDOFF, FRANK GIACOIA, DAN & SY BARRY, KURT SCHAFFENBERGER, and others! Then, there’s JAY SCOTT PIKE on STAN LEE & the Marvel/Timely years (Jann of the Jungle, Black Rider, Lorna the Jungle Girl, Kid Colt, & Cold War spy comics) and on CHARLIE BIRO’s Crimebuster! MARTIN THALL on working with ROSS ANDRU & MIKE ESPOSITO (Get Lost!), GEORGE EVANS (Captain Video), WALLY WOOD, SIMON & KIRBY, AL WILLIAMSON, CHARLES SULTAN, MAURICE WHITMAN, etc.! FCA featuring MARC SWAYZE, C.C. BECK, & OTTO BINDER—ALEX TOTH on comic art—MICHAEL T. GILBERT & MR. MONSTER—BILL SCHELLY interviews 1960s fan GLEN JOHNSON—& MORE!! Edited by Roy Thomas.

The 100 page (plus cover), saddle-stitched 8 1/2" x 11" magazine with a
full color cover and black-and-white interiors retails for $6.95 (New
Price) in the U.S. and ships 7 September 2005.

BACK ISSUE #12 examines comics revamps of the ’70s and ’80s in our “Extreme Makeovers” issue! Pulitzer Prize-winner MICHAEL CHABON, DAVE GIBBONS, ROY THOMAS, KURT BUSIEK, and other insiders explore the history of the postmodern super-hero—from Squadron Supreme to Watchmen to today—with rare Gibbons Watchmen art! TOM DeFALCO and RON FRENZ go “Pro2Pro” to unravel the true story behind Spider-Man’s 1980s costume change, while DENNY O’NEIL and friends unlock the secrets of Superman’s 1970 revamp (with art by CURT SWAN and MURPHY ANDERSON)! BOB ROZAKIS and MARSHALL ROGERS plug us in to the Calculator, recently rebooted in DC’s Identity Crisis, and “The Greatest Stories Never Told” spotlights JOHN BYRNE’s aborted SHAZAM! Plus: MIKE FRIEDRICH’s “Off My Chest” editorial reminds us of how Star*Reach changed the comics world; TONY DeZUNIGA draws bead on Jonah Hex, the anti-hero that reinvented the Western comic (with JOHN ALBANO’s never-before-published roughs for the first Hex story); a look at how STEVE GERBER and JACK KIRBY’s Destroyer Duck took a stand for creator rights; a “Rough Stuff” pencil-art gallery featuring FRANK MILLER’s Elektra, LEE WEEKS’ Daredevil, DAVID MAZZUCCHELLI’s Batman: Year One, CHARLES VESS’ Spider-Man, and more; plus extra surprise features! With an all-new SPIDER-MAN cover by RON FRENZ and JOE RUBINSTEIN!

The 100 page (plus cover), saddle-stitched 8 1/2" x 11" magazine with a
full color cover and black-and-white interiors retails for $5.95 in the
U.S. and ships 14 September 2005.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Pop Artifact! Mandrake the Magician club pin

"The Batman vs. Dracula" DVD set for October release

A straight-to-DVD animated film, the title will be out Oct. 18.

Here's a synopsis from Warner Home Video:

Gotham City is terrorized not only by recent escapees Joker and Penguin, but by the original creature of the night, Dracula! Can Batman stop the ruthless vampire before he turns everyone in the city, including The Caped Crusader, Joker and Penguin, into his mindless minions?

Extras include:

Featurette: "Science vs. Superstition": Batman?s computer gives light to the legend of Dracula and all its rumors.

Other: 1) "City of Knight": Click on a map of Gotham and discover behind the scenes and hidden buttons with short video clips of the making of.
2) "Voices in Close Up": Multi-window montage with pop-up trivia boxes and interview footage give intimate interview looks at the voices behind Batman vs. Dracula.

Lisa Kirby speaks out on "Fantastic Four" flick

The daughter of legendary comics artists and FF creator Jack Kirby tells the Los Angeles Times that her dad's name will be listed in the credits of the new film, but the Kirby Estate hasn't been promised any money from the film.

"I have mixed feelings every time one of these movies comes out," Lisa Kirby said. "My dad would be amazed that they're making these superhero movies — that his characters are still alive and that people are still enjoying them. Then again, it's disheartening that he isn't getting as much recognition as he should."

Also, while Marvel reaps the rewards of Lee's and Kirby's creations through licensing and profit agreements, Kirby's heirs see nary a dime. Because Kirby was considered "work for hire" when he was drawing for Marvel, the company has complete ownership of the characters.

(Any doubt about Kirby's employment status was put to an end in 1987, when, in exchange for the return of his original art, Kirby signed a document giving up any rights he might have had in the characters he created.)

More golden age comics podcasting

Bill Jourdain continues with his Golden Age of Comics podcasts this week:

The fifth installment of The Golden Age of Comic Books podcast has been uploaded. In this issue, we discuss some very high dollar books in our marketplace segment. We also discuss the Golden Age Human Torch from his start in Marvel Comics #1 in 1939, through his appearances in the Silver and Bronze Ages. If you have iTunes 4.9, you can subscribe to The Golden Age of Comic Books podcast by selecting the link on our web site, If you use a different player on your computer (i.e. Windows Media Player, Quick Time, Real Audio, etc.) you can download the .mp3 file directly from our web site.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Pop Artifact! Marvel Super Heroes lunch box

DVD new releases for July

July 5

The Film Noir Classic Collection 2: (Born to Kill / Clash by Night / Crossfire / Dillinger (1945) / The Narrow Margin (1952)

Monk Complete Third Season

Fantastic Four Complete 1995 Animated Series

July 12

Million Dollar Baby

Cry Baby

July 19

Earth 2 the Complete Series


Sliders the Complete Third Season

Lost in Space Season 3, Vol. 2

Dead Like Me Complete Second Season

July 26

The Brady Bunch Complete Second Season

The Return of the Pink Panther

Gilligan's Island The Complete Third Season

Silk Stalkings The Complete Third Season

The Jerk

Star Trek Enterprise Complete Second Season

The Mary Tyler Moore Show Complete Second Season

Third Rock from the Sun Complete First Season

Remington Steele The Complete First Season

Profiling Joe Simon

The Philadelphia Daily News has a feature story on the 91-year-old comics pioneer and co-creator of Captain America:

"We were just trying out new superheroes at the time," said Simon. "We were at war, and Adolf Hitler, of course, was the villain of the world. Villains seemed to be in fashion at the time, and we had one ready-made for us, even if he wasn't a figment of someone's imagination."

..."We just caught on immediately," he said. "I gave Jack Kirby the scripts. It was both of us that came up with it. We were both responsible."

And now today's weather report...

from David Lynch?!

Found via BoingBoing.

Comics Buyers Guide launches Web site, forums

Yeah! A new place to fight and argue about comic books!

The Comics Buyers Guide--one of the longest-running magazines devoted to comic book news and collectors info around--has announced a new Web site with several discussion areas:

They include ones to talk about recent features (including this month’s Battle of the Ages among its columnists and editors about when the Golden, Silver, Bronze and Mylar Ages began) and one for each columnist. The Mr. Silver Age one is the only on-line message board he runs (as opposed to columnists like Peter David, Tony Isabella and Captain Comics, who have their own long-time boards elsewhere). The Mr. Silver Age board already has several features, including a full table of contents for his book, Baby Boomer Comics, and several long-gone features from 1990s issues of CBG.

Check it out here.

San Diego Comicon gets sneak preview of new Eisner documentary film

A 45-minute preview of "Will Eisner: The Spirit of an Artistic Pioneer" will be shown at this month's Comicon International in San Diego.

According to a press release from filmmaker Andrew Cooke:

WILL EISNER: THE SPIRIT OF AN ARTISTIC PIONEER chronicles the brilliant innovator's astonishingly prolific life, beginning with his modest upbringing in Depression-era New York City, into his burgeoning career at the birth of comics in the mid-1930s, and all the way up to the completion of his final graphic novel, The Plot, shortly before his passing in January.

In interviews with such luminaries as Stan Lee, Denis Kitchen, Kurt Vonnegut, Art Spiegelman, Michael Chabon, Neil Gaiman, Gil Kane, and with as yet unseen home movies, audio tapes (with Jack Kirby, Milton Caniff, Gil Fox), and newly uncovered archival photographs, the documentary honors the true master of sequential art as never before.

A 45 minute preview of Andrew and Jon Cooke's documentary will premiere on Thursday, July 14 at 1:00pm in Room 8.

There's an official site for the film here.