On a regular basis, I like to peruse sites like Behance, My Modern Metropolis, This Is Colossal, Artstation, or Contemporist, where I can gaze in slack-jawed admiration at the skills of so many amazing artists. From woodworkers, sculptors, and metalworkers to graphic designers, traditional pen and paper artists, and photographers, I have come across some amazingly talented individuals. One such individual takes pop culture icons and smashes them together to create interesting (and occasionally thought-provoking) works of art. Today’s fabulous artist is Brazilian-born Butcher Billy:
In their regular series Best Art Ever, Comics Alliance spotlights artwork by working professionals, rising stars, and talented fans. Thanks to this series, I’ve been introduced to the work of many amazing artists. Here are several pieces by one such artist, Héctor Barros. Enjoy!
Head on over to Barros’ Tumblr to check out more of his amazing work.
One of the many upcoming projects from Marvel Studios is the long-simmering Doctor Strange movie. In the comics, Doctor Stephen Strange was a talented yet arrogant neurosurgeon who sought to regain the use of his hands after a tragic accident. He traveled around the world seeking the best doctors to repair his hands, but all to no avail. Despondent, distraught, broke, and homeless, Strange continued his search and eventually learned of the Ancient One, a hermit in the Himalayas who might be able to assist him. While he is initially rebuffed by the hermit, Strange eventually proves his worth and the Ancient One agrees to help the doctor, though not by repairing his hands. Instead, he trains him in the use of the mystic arts and eventually grants him the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme.
Why all this background about Dr. Strange and the Ancient One? Weeeeell, Marvel is currently in the casting stage for the upcoming Dr. Strange film. They already have Benedict Cumberbatch lined up to play the arrogant, former neurosurgeon, and they might be close to picking someone to play the Ancient One. And they’re thinking outside the box on this one. In a move that many (myself included) see as a positive step, actress is in talks to play the Ancient One:
The Ancient One is a hundreds year old mystic who has mastered magic and travels the Earth, battling demons, later settling in the Himalayas with an order of monks. In the comics, The Ancient One was an older, Tibetan man, — and earlier in the film’s production, they had talked with Ken Watanabe, Morgan Freeman and Bill Nighy for the role — but the character’s identity is being altered slightly for the film. In the film, the character will train the villainous Baron Mordo before sensing evil in his heart and turning to mentor Dr. Stephen Strange, eventually bestowing on him the powerful Eye of Agamotto.
Swinton’s casting is exciting for a variety of reasons. The first, and most obvious, is that the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and superhero movies as a whole) don’t need another all-powerful male character; there are plenty of those. It’s honorable that Marvel was looking at a group of actors that were ethnically diverse, but even better than they were thinking further outside of the box to cast a woman.
For all that Stan Lee’s work at Marvel was groundbreaking and noteworthy, he was still writing comics at a time when women were not well represented in pop culture because the socially approved role of women was homemaker or housewife. Yes, Stan created the Wasp, the Scarlet Witch, and the Invisible Girl, but they were frequently relegated to the role of damsels-in-distress or the girlfriend (and dear Odin, Stan wrote many a cringe-worthy scene involving female superheroes). Meanwhile, their male counterparts rarely (if ever) received such treatment. No, male characters in the various titles written by Stan got to be more than the boyfriend. They didn’t have to worry about being hogtied, captured, and held hostage waiting for a savior to swoop in and free them. The men got to steer the plot. The women were treated as window dressing. So it probably never crossed Stan’s mind that a woman could serve as mentor to Doctor Strange.
It’s sad in a way. Like so many people back then (and plenty today), Stan Lee’s creativity was constrained by an adherence to rigid gender roles imposed by society-he was thinking inside the box. As a result of such limited thinking, Stan Lee’s comics did not-contrary to a long-running narrative about Marvel Comics-“reflect the world outside your window“. How could it, when the Marvel Universe as created by Stan was populated by a sea of white, male faces (with a few women and a smattering of black folk included for token attempts at diversity)? That’s not what the real world has ever looked like.
That’s one of the reasons I like the idea of casting Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One. Women exist in the world outside my window (and everyone else’s). Yes, some women are housewives and homemakers, but they’re also sanitation workers and teachers, doctors and dental hygienists, lawyers and judges, astronauts and chemists, sociologists and electricians, librarians and painters, writers and activists, and so much, much more. That’s why it makes sense to me for Hollywood executives to widen the pool of potential candidates for movie roles. Instead of treating men as the default, they’re slowly beginning to realize that women can do the same things as men (hello Charlize Theron in Fury Road), and that includes playing the role of wise and aged mentor to the master of the mystic arts.
Disclaimer: The title of this post is meant metaphorically. I am opposed to violence in all its forms (though I accept that there are times when the use of violence is justified), and I do not engage in, advocate for, or support violent actions. So no, I don’t want the actual, literal heads of MRAs to go kablooey. Sending them into fits of incoherent rage? I’m all about that.
All done? Cool.
Regular blog readers know that I’m a feminist. That means I advocate for gender equality in the social, political, and economic arena (basically all areas of society). Over the years, I’ve encountered more than a few MRAs in my online travels and read more than enough comments from them to know that I find them vile. They like to claim their goal is to fight for men’s rights (hence the name), but I’ve yet to see them do anything other than harass women and feminists (while there is significant overlap between both groups, not all feminists are women). Feminists advocate for eliminating the gender wage gap, paid maternity leave, an end to restrictions on women’s reproductive rights, equal gender representation in all areas of society, an end to Rape Culture, and more. In addition, feminists have accomplished a great deal (not a comprehensive list by any means) in the fight for gender equality. Meanwhile, MRAs advocate for…well, I’m not quite sure what, if anything, they advocate for (and yes, I’ve looked); nor what, if anything, they’ve actually accomplished (and again, I’ve looked). They have grievances, some of which are legitimate, but the kicker is that feminism addresses those issues while MRAs don’t address the grievances of feminists. If they spent their time, energy, resources, and person-power working on those legitimate issues, their “movement” might actually have a r’aison d’etre. Instead, these rage-filled misogyny-bleeding douchebags spend their time spewing lies about feminists, co-opting campaigns aimed at ending violence against girls and women, and generally engage in vile behavior directed almost exclusively at women. Hell, these supposed activists for the rights of men are so disgustingly misogynistic that the Southern Poverty Law Center keeps tabs on them.
Given their misogyny and opposition to all things related to gender equality, I imagine MRAs will suffer from a case of exploding heads upon seeing the work of 18-year-old Hungarian blogger Agnes. In a series of gender-swapped portraits of various characters from the first Avengers movie, Agnes takes aim at the lack of gender diversity in superhero movies:
Click the link for images of a gender-swapped Captain America, Bruce Banner, Thor, and yes, Black Widow.
While you’re doing that, MRAs will be doing this (warning: graphic imagery of exploding heads…ahead):
We’re definitely at a point where the public perception of comic book characters has shifted. For years, people looked down on comic books, thinking them for kids, and mocking or ridiculing adults who enjoy them. That’s changed with the success of comic book movies like the Dark Knight Rises, Iron Man, and Avengers (I’d like to point out that even if comic books were “for kids”, that still wouldn’t excuse shaming an adult for enjoying them; social rules that dictate what adults should or shouldn’t enjoy annoy the piss out of me). That cultural shift has resulted in a growing interest in comic book properties on the part of Hollywood executives. Here’s some juicy news about several of those properties:
Robin. Starfire. Raven. Changeling. Cyborg. Kid Flash. Wonder Girl. Under the pen of writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Perez, they were the New Teen Titans, one of DC Comics’ most popular titles in the 80s. This era appears to be the source of inspiration for the in-development Titans series on TNT:
Announced back in September, not much has been officially confirmed about the pilot, which follows a group of young superheroes led by Dick Grayson aka Batman’s sidekick Robin, who is fated to become Nightwing. Oscar winner Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind) penned the pilot with Marc Haimes, and Nerdist.com has reported that the titular team will also include Barbara Gordon, Hawk/Hank Hall and Dove/Dawn Granger, Raven/Rachel Roth and the alien princess Starfire.
Asked for a status report on the project, Reilly told TVLine at TNT’s Upfronts luncheon, “Akiva’s been very busy doing some other things,” but it’s his hope that “maybe this summer” they will lock casting and ramp up production.
After all, the small screen hardly has been lacking for comic books-based fare. So there is a concerted effort for TNT to take its time and make this series unique.
“I sat down with Akiva and said — and he ultimately agreed — that the [TV] landscape right now is well-serviced on the superhero front. So what space is this going to inhabit?” Reilly related. “And really what he wants to do is be very true” to the source material.
Written by Tom Kapinos (“Californication”) and directed by Len Wiseman (“Underworld”), the pilot stars Tom Ellis (“Once Upon a Time,” “Doctor Who”) as the Lord of Hell who, bored and unhappy, resigns his throne and abandons his kingdom for Los Angeles. There, he gets his kicks helping the police punish criminals.
I hope he doesn’t assist the cops in brutalizing racial minorities like many of them do in the real world.
Here’s the trailer:
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Suicide Squad director David Ayer recently Tweeted an image of the cast of the upcoming movie, minus Jared Leto as the Joker and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller.
For those that aren’t familiar with this DC property, the basic idea is that a government agency (Task Force X) offers freedom to supervillains in exchange for performing dangerous missions for them. Mark your calendars for August 5, 2016 for the release of Suicide Squad.
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Spinning out of Arrow and the Flash comes Legends of Tomorrow, set to debut on the CW as part of their fall 2015 mid-season lineup. Here’s the synopsis for the 13-episode series:
When heroes alone are not enough… the world needs legends. Having seen the future, one he will desperately try to prevent from happening, time-traveling rogue Rip Hunter is tasked with assembling a disparate group of both heroes and villains to confront an unstoppable threat — one in which not only is the planet at stake, but all of time itself. Can this ragtag team defeat an immortal threat unlike anything they have ever known? DC’S LEGENDS OF TOMORROW stars Victor Garber (“The Flash,” “Alias”); Brandon Routh (“Arrow,” “Superman Returns”); Arthur Darvill (“Doctor Who”); Caity Lotz (“Arrow”); Ciarra Renee (“Pippin”); Franz Drameh (“Edge of Tomorrow”); with Dominic Purcell (“The Flash,” “Prison Break”); and Wentworth Miller (“The Flash,” “Prison Break”). Based on the characters from DC Comics, DC’S LEGENDS OF TOMORROW is from Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. Television, with executive producers Greg Berlanti (“Arrow,” “The Flash,” upcoming “Pan”), Marc Guggenheim (“Arrow,” “Eli Stone,” “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters”), Andrew Kreisberg (“Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Eli Stone,” “Warehouse 13”) and Sarah Schechter (“Arrow,” “The Flash,” upcoming “Pan”).
And here’s a first-look trailer (they haven’t filmed the pilot episode yet):
Oh, and that immortal threat they’ll be battling? This guy:
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Over at Marvel, or to be more accurate, FOX Studios, we have confirmation of an X-Men spinoff movie, the New Mutants:
“We’re so excited to explore this new part of the X-Men universe, and so excited to do it with Josh, who is uniquely suited to tell this story about young characters,” X-Men franchise veteran and “New Mutants” producer Simon Kinberg tells Deadline.
Boone, director of massive 2014 hit “The Fault in Our Stars,” is set to co-write with Knate Gwaltney, who wrote upcoming thriller “Kidnap” (starring X-Men franchise vet Halle Berry) and worked on several “Jackass” productions. Kinberg will produce with Lauren Shuler Donner, who has worked on all of Fox’s X-Men films.
“The New Mutants” looks to be a couple years away, as Boone has been linked to “The Vampire Chronicles” (based on the work of Anne Rice) and “The Stand” (an adaptation of the Stephen King novel). Deadline states he’d been targeted by Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios for the upcoming Spider-Man reboot, though he wasn’t on the reported shortlist of choices that surfaced last week.
No details have yet been released as to which New Mutants the film will feature, though Deadline describes the film as starring “a new crop of mutant characters born with special powers.” The original New Mutants team, introduced by Chris Claremont and Bob McLeodin 1982’s “Marvel Graphic Novel” #4, consisted of Cannonball, Karma, Mirage (Dani Moonstar), Sunspot and Wolfsbane; new, teenaged students at Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.
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Via Bleeding Cool, here’s an extended trailer for Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man, to be released on July 17:
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Last up is sad but predictable news. Following the release of the untitled Wolverine 3 in 2017, Hugh Jackman says he’s done playing the iconic character:
Oddly enough, the actor who once starred in “The Boy from Oz” on Broadway dropped the news he won’t be reprising his role as the Marvel superhero in future films after the 2017 movie during an appearance on “The Dr. Oz Show” Friday.
“This will be my last one,” the 46-year-old actor said. “It is my last time, I just felt … It felt like it was the right time to do it. And, let’s be honest, 17 years. I never thought in a million years it would last this long. I’m so grateful to the fans and for the opportunity of playing him, and I love it. I kind of have, in my head, what we’re going to do in this last one, and it just feels like this is the perfect way to go out.”
To date, Jackman has played Wolverine in all films constituting the “X-Men” franchise, including two movies that focused only on the titular character with a metal skeleton, razor-sharp claws and a healing factor. According to Entertainment Weekly, Jackman is expected to reprise his role first in “Apocalypse” and then in the third “Wolverine” flick, giving him a total of nine turns as the gruff Canadian since his 2000 debut.
I wonder how FOX Studios will handle this going forward. Given the popularity of Wolverine and the association of Jackman with the character, finding a replacement might be as difficult as replacing Heath Ledger as the Joker (we’ll see how Jared Leto does).
I have a fondness for Godzilla (thanks dad). A huge fondness (seriously, thanks dad). Toho Pictures’ 1954 film depicts the awakening-via nuclear testing-of a prehistoric creature that subsequently ravages Japan. Gojira (or Godzilla, as he is typically referred to in USAmerica) is a suspenseful film that invokes the horrors of nuclear testing, and serves as an allegory for the deadly forces that might be unleashed when humans tamper with forces beyond their control. Despite the mixed to negative reviews the movie garnered in Japan, the film was financially successful and paved the way for a host of sequels. All told, Godzilla has appeared in 28 Toho Co., Ltd films, as well as several USAmerican ones (including Godzilla 1985 which was a heavily re-edited version of an earlier Japanese Godzilla movie; the 1998 Roland Emmerich-directed abomination of which the less said the better, and last year’s Godzilla movie from Legendary Pictures). In 2004, following the release of Godzilla: Final Wars, Toho Co.,Ltd decided to put the Godzilla franchise on hiatus for 10 years. The box office success of 2014’s Godzilla convinced Toho that it was time to dust off everyone’s favorite King of the Monsters:
“Neon Genesis Evangelion’s” Hideaki Anno and “Attack on Titan’s” Shinji Higuchi will co-direct “Godzilla 2016,” the first Japanese film in the long-running franchise in 12 years.
Anno will also write the film’s script, while Higuchi will oversee special effects. Anime News Network notes the two have been close friends for decades, and previously collaborated on Studio Ghibli’s live-action short “Giant God Warrior Appears in Tokyo.”
“Ever since Hollywood announced that ‘Godzilla’ was to be resurrected, the expectation for another Japanese Godzilla grew,” Toho said in a statement. “And if we were to newly produce, we looked into Japanese creators who were the most knowledgeable and who had the most passion for Godzilla.”
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Janusz Grünspek is an artist who uses little more than glue and tiny wooden dowels to create scale replicas of everyday objects such as a laptop, chandelier, or power tools. Hmmm, I wonder if he could construct a scale replica of Godzilla (and how many dowels would that take). Check out more of his work here.
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Over at TV Insider, Oriana Schwindt gives a list of the Top 5 Fight Scenes That Pack A Punch:
#5 Arrow vs Flash:
#4 The Real Housewives of New York City: Aviva vs Everyone
#3 Game of Thrones: The Mountain vs The Viper
I won’t spoil which fight scenes made the top two (you’ll have to click the link to find out) other than to say neither one of them is King Kong vs. Godzilla.
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As a kid, the idea of being a superhero greatly appealed to me. Actually, it wasn’t so much being a superhero as having super powers. Being able to walk on walls like Spider-Man seemed like a really cool idea to me. Or being able to create any object I wanted with Green Lantern’s power ring. And being able to run like the Flash or lift one of the Great Pyramids like Superman? Can’t beat those powers. Unlike many kids, I didn’t have much appreciation for Batman growing up. To me, he was just a normal guy. Yeah he was the world’s greatest detective, was mega rich, had lots of cool gadgets, and could fight really well, but at the end of the day, I wanted to be one of those heroes who had cool powers. I do know that many people love Bruce Wayne. This next link is for all the kids and adults who wish they could be the Dark Knight (and for anyone else who simply thinks this is rather cool). A real-life Batman suit has been created:
Made from Kevlar, quarter inch Kydex plating and impact resistant foam, Armatus Designs created a real life version of the Batman suit. It won’t stop bullets or make you Bruce Wayne but it is stab and slash resistant while still being pretty lightweight and flexible. I wouldn’t recommend you putting it on and becoming a vigilante or anything.
I must stress that last part. Don’t become a Batman-like vigilante. Everyone knows the police don’t like vigilantes (and for heaven’s sake, definitely don’t become one if you’re a Person of Color). They don’t like anyone using brutal or excessive force unless they have the sanction of the government.
That suit is pretty nifty though. I bet it wouldn’t offer much protection from Godzilla’s atomic breath (now I want to see a Batman/Godzilla battle).
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Speaking of Godzilla (oh, wait, I have been already)…have you ever wanted to stay in a King of the Monsters-themed hotel room? Come April 24, you’ll be able to, provided you live in (or have the money to visit) Tokyo, Japan.
Opening April 24, the 30-story Hotel Gracery, which sits atop the Toho Cinema in Shinjuku, boasts three themed rooms: two Godzilla View Rooms, which overlook the 39-foot head of the King of the Monsters that erupts from the roof of the theater below; and the Godzilla Room, which, as the video shows, boasts its own statue, a gallery of movie posters and an enormous claw that looms over the beds. The hotel of course also offers Godzilla memorabilia and special sweets.
The Godzilla Room costs between $334 to $417, depending on the night, while the Godzilla View Rooms go for a more reasonable $125.
Neill Blomkamp’s next film will be part of the Alien franchise and while Sigourney Weaver will reprise her role as Ellen Ripley, it looks like Blomkamp will be taking a leaf out of Brian Singer’s Superman Returns playbook:
“Chappie” director Neill Blomkamp suggests his hotly anticipated “Alien” film may gloss over the events of “Alien 3″ and “Alien: Resurrection,” if not ignore them entirely.
“I want this film to feel like it is literally the genetic sibling of ‘Aliens,’” he told Sky Movies while promoting “Chappie.” “So it’s ‘Alien,’ ‘Aliens’ and then this movie.”
Franchise star Sigourney Weaver, who will reprise her iconic role as Ellen Ripley, endorsed the plan, saying, “I would love to take Ripley out of orbiting around in space and give a proper finish to what was such an excellent story.”
Fans of both movies may be disappointed, but they can rest assured that their memories and their dvd’s (or blu-rays; possibly even their VHS tapes) will not retroactively disappear. You’ll still be able to enjoy both movies. Heck, you can even pretend Blomkamp’s movie doesn’t exist in continuity if you want to.
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I’ve only seen a few plays in my life, and I’ve had little desire (and really, little opportunity) to see any others. THIS one, though? I’d see it in a New York minute:
Throughout the National Theatre of Scotland’s Let the Right One In, adapted from John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel and Tomas Alfredson‘s film, audiences are subjected to a parade of lyrically gruesome images: a man tied upside-down to a tree, his throat perfunctorily slit and drained into a bucket; another man literally self-effacing with acid; a diminutive teenage girl in a candy-pink sweater whose mouth brims with vomit when she actually tries to eat candy, and whose face cascades with blood every time she enters a home uninvited. All of this stirs a reverent, rapt silence in the audience. This is not the type of play where spectators listlessly turn to their programs mid-show, pretending that looking up the catering credits will somehow enhance their experience.
No, such special effects, though often attempted, aren’t often performed with ease or elegance onstage, and for that reason, audiences are rigidly captivated. But despite their remarkability, none of these macabre flashes induces fear as universally as a girl merely popping out of a box. Late in the play, we see the vampire protagonist/antagonist hybrid, played by Rebecca Benson, enter a box. We see another man enter the room in which the box lurks. An immense sound claps, the lights wax blinding, and suddenly Benson has abandoned the box, and we, the audience, are physically altered: hearts palpitate, couples’ hands clasp, and deep breaths vacuum the room.
It turns out the spectacle of the breakability of the human body here carries less weight than a theatrical game of peek-a-boo, because this shocking occurrence, this moment tailored purely to startle, is so rarely attempted in theater. Unanimous, physical panic is a novel sensation for theater audiences. In Shakespeare, bloody-handed kings will see ghosts. In Sarah Kane, characters will suck out one another’s eyeballs. In Sweeney Todd, civilians’ innards are spiced, serenaded, and crushed into pies. But if theater history were broken into video-store categories, “horror” would not appear; unlike with film, there is not a genre of plays whose fundamental aim is to induce palpable dread in its audiences.
This notion seems in some ways counterintuitive: theater by definition necessitates a captive audience, so wouldn’t the promise of real-time, live horrors make the stage the ideal vessel for the genre? Let the Right One In, which runs through March 8 at Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse, with its provenance in and transcendence of horror tropes, sheds light both on the relative nonexistence of theatrical horror and its potential for growth into a relevant stage genre.
In his New York Times review, Ben Brantley used a flattering superlative to describe this achievement, comparing the play not to the film on which it’s based, but to another horror film entirely: “A production of the National Theater of Scotland, Right One offers the most gut-twisting presentation of the middle teens as a supernatural horror story since Brian De Palma’s movie cameras invaded the girls’ locker room in Carrie.” In resorting to film analogies to pay his compliments, Brantley underlines both the dearth of theatrical horror and this production’s potential to set precedents.
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Excited about the April 10 debut of all 13 episodes of Netflix and Marvel’s Daredevil series?
To whet your appetite, here’s a trailer:
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Disney and Lucasfilm have announced details of the upcoming “Stars Wars” films at its annual shareholders meeting in San Francisco.
Rian Johnson has also been confirmed to write and direct “Star Wars: Episode VIII,” which will hit theaters May 26, 2017.
Gareth Edwards’ upcoming standalone film, starring Felicity Jones, will be called “Rogue One.” The movie starts filming in London this summer and opens Dec. 16, 2016.
“Rogue One,” based on an idea by Oscar-winning vfx supervisor John Knoll, was written by “Cinderella” scribe Chris Weitz.
Kathleen Kennedy will produce the standalone film alongside Knoll, Tony To and John Schwartz.
Plot details of “Rogue One” are unknown.
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Remember this movie?
It’s getting a sequel.
Given that the movie made more than a billion dollars worldwide, this isn’t much of a surprise.
Last year, Marvel Comics announced a crossover within the Spider-Man family of books called ‘Spider-Verse’. Leading up to that event was a mini series called ‘Edge of Spider-Verse’. Each issue featured brand-new alternate reality versions of spider characters from the mainstream Marvel Universe. One variation, Earth-65’s Spider-Gwen, received an overwhelmingly positive response from fans even before her one-shot hit the stands! Created by writer Jason Latour and artist Robbi Rodriguez, Spider-Gwen’s popularity has resulted in fans writing songs, creating custom-made hoodies, and creating art–lots and lots of art (the groundswell of support for Spider-Gwen has also led to an ongoing series which debuts today-check here to find your local comic book shop). While I’ve featured some examples of that art in the past, there’s plenty more to show off, hence this post. Hope you enjoy!
I just happened upon a post over at Bleeding Cool highlighting the alternate covers for Spider-Gwen #1. Among them was one image that really stuck out to me:
That alternate cover is by artist Jenny Frison. More of her lovely work can be found on her DeviantArt page. Here are a few more examples of her awesome art:
It’s been talked about for a while now, but only as rumors. Would Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures reach some sort of agreement concerning Spider-Man-an agreement perhaps, that would allow the web-slinger to appear in Marvel Studios movies like The Avengers? That speculation, hoped for by many, has now become a reality, as an agreement has been made between both companies to share Spider-Man:
Sony Pictures Entertainment and Marvel Studios announced today that Sony is bringing Marvel into the amazing world of Spider-Man.
Under the deal, the new Spider-Man will first appear in a Marvel film from Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (MCU). Sony Pictures will thereafter release the next installment of its $4 billion Spider-Man franchise, on July 28, 2017, in a film that will be co-produced by Kevin Feige and his expert team at Marvel and Amy Pascal, who oversaw the franchise launch for the studio 13 years ago. Together, they will collaborate on a new creative direction for the web slinger. Sony Pictures will continue to finance, distribute, own and have final creative control of the Spider-Man films.
Marvel and Sony Pictures are also exploring opportunities to integrate characters from the MCU into future Spider-Man films.
Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko back in the 1960s, Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man (the correct spelling of his name includes the hyphen), has become (arguably) Marvel Comics’ flagship hero. The character, known for the phrase “with great power comes great responsibility”, has been the subject of countless comic books, cartoons, coloring books, novels, records, and children’s books. The Spider-Man movies-5 in total, including the 3 directed by Sam Raimi and the 2 directed by Marc Webb-have grossed well over a billion dollars worldwide. Unfortunately for Marvel, because they licensed Spider-Man to Sony Pictures in 1999 (long before there was a Marvel Cinematic Universe-MCU for short), they haven’t been able to make use of the character (or any of his villains or supporting cast) in their movies. Much to their chagrin, I’m sure. One of the appeals of the Marvel Comics Universe (and the MCU) is the shared nature of their fictional world. Characters interact with one another on a regular basis. That was the basis (in part) for the creation of the Avengers. Not having access to their flagship character while building their shared universe had to be frustrating for Marvel Studios execs. With this new deal, Marvel Studios will now be able to expand their cinematic universe to include Spider-Man, and from the looks of the above press release, they’re already making plans.
If I had to guess, those plans include Spider-Man participating in Captain America 3, which will be based on Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s 2007 comic book mini-series Civil War. The story centered around the creation, in the wake of a tragedy involving superheroes, of the Superhuman Registration Act. The SRA required all superhuman beings to register their abilities and identities to the federal government. Iron Man supported the SRA. Captain America opposed it. Spider-Man initially sided with Iron Man but eventually switched sides and joined with Captain America. A significant moment in the story occurred when Spider-Man revealed his secret identity before the eyes of the world. The three characters are incredibly important to the story and when Marvel Studios announced that Captain America 3 was going to be a cinematic version of Civil War, I wondered how they would fill the Spidey shaped hole in the story. While it’s not been confirmed by Marvel, I think it’s quite likely that Spider-Man’s first MCU appearance prior to his own movie will be in the third Captain America movie.
No matter where his first MCU appearance occurs, one thing is certain: Andrew Garfield will not be reprising his role as the wallcrawler. In fact, the studios are apparently looking to reboot the character again. According to Variety, Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures want the character back in high school, which means finding a younger actor to portray him.
Actors have yet to be approached, and sources say Sony is looking to hire a new director to replace “The Amazing Spider-Man” films’ Marc Webb before tapping a new Spidey. The studio also needs to figure out whether it wants to go with another Peter Parker or introduce another character that suits up as Spider-Man, including Miles Morales, whose father is African American and mother is Puerto Rican.
Sony has put the character, played by Tobey Maguire and Garfield, in Midtown High School before, but the plan is to spend more time in the setting and explore his awkward relationship with other students while fighting crime out of the classroom. Midtown is a major setting in the comicbooks, and Peter Parker also returns to the school to become a science teacher in storylines.
One of the side effects of the Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios deal is a reshuffling of the release dates for upcoming Marvel Studios movies:
Disney has even pushed back almost all of Marvel Studios’ slate of upcoming films to make room for Sony Pictures’ next Spider-Man film, starting with Thor: Ragnarok, which will relocate from July 28, 2017, to Nov. 3, 2017. That, in turn, will bump Black Panther to July 6, 2018, Captain Marvel to Nov. 2, 2018, and Inhumans to July 12, 2019. The two Avengers: Infinity War movies, however, are still slated to open on May 4, 2018, and May 3, 2019.
Despite the change in release dates (I’m particularly bummed about Captain Marvel and Black Panther being bumped), I am excited to finally see Spider-Man interact with the heroes of the MCU. Now, if only Marvel could somehow reach a similar deal with FOX over the rights to Fantastic Four and the X-Men…