“How many F’s in ‘catastrophic’?” — Superman Returns

By 2006, Bryan Singer was a hot property. He put himself on the map with The Usual Suspects, a movie that had some of the best word-of-mouth of the 1990s, one that made “Keyser Soze” a household name. Then he added to his own legend by providing the first Marvel movie to be a mainstream success. It’s easy to forget now, eighteen years later when “Marvel Cinematic Universe” is synonymous with “the most popular movies on the planet,” how impossible that sounded at the turn of the century (though I think this rewatch has illuminated the wasteland that had been Marvel’s movie oeuvre of the 20th century).

Prior to X-Men, the only superheroes that were true mainstream successes starred either Superman or Batman—but it had also been two decades since there was a Superman movie. Warner Bros. wanted to change that, and they turned to the man who ...

More Team-Down than Team-Up — Generation X and Justice League of America

DC Comics rebooted and/or revitalized many of their superheroes throughout the late 1950s, and when that had proven successful, Julius Schwartz and Gardner Fox then provided a new version of the Justice Society of America, now called the Justice League of America, in 1960, which brought all those heroes together in a single team book.

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the X-Men in 1963 to serve two needs: provide an easy out for origin stories by creating mutants—people born with powers—and also do a school for superheroes where they learn about their powers in an academic environment.

Over the years, both the Justice League and the X-Men went through numerous permutations—and also subsidiary teams. In the latter case, in 1982 Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod created a new team of mutant students. The X-Men at that point had moved far past the school notion, so the New Mutants ...

Better Off Unreleased — Captain America (1990) and Fantastic Four (1994)

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Marvel Comics kept trying to do their characters in Hollywood. In 1981, Stan Lee moved from New York to California to head up Marvel’s screen department. There were tons of false starts and poor attempts, as Marvel sold their film rights to any number of companies that made a pig’s ear out of it, or never got the film out. (I lost track of the number of Spider-Man films in development in the last two decades of the twentieth century, one of which was supposed to be directed by James Cameron.) We’ve already covered two of the disasters that got made: The Punisher and Howard the Duck.

Two more that were actually filmed, after long and tumultuous production histories, were never released theatrically in the U.S. Captain America, starring Matt Salinger, was released to theatres in the UK in 1990, but didn’t ...

“I’m not bedtime story lady, so pay attention!” — Barb Wire and Tank Girl

The 1990s was the era of the “bad girl” in comics, with such characters as Shi, Witchblade, Razor, the women of Gen13, and more. Two of the earliest and most successful examples were Tank Girl, which started in a UK comic magazine called Deadline, and which was more of an underground comic tying into the punk scene of the era; and Barb Wire, a dystopian future series from Dark Horse.

Both got made into mid-1990s movies that did remarkably poorly at the box office.

Barb Wire is one of many films produced by Dark Horse Entertainment, an arm of the comics company designed specifically to produce film and TV versions of their funnybooks. Barb Wire was their fourth film (following The Mask, which we’ll cover next week, along with Dr. Giggles and Timecop), and their first big flop. Intended as a starring vehicle for Pamela ...

Marvel’s The Punisher First Impressions of Episodes 1-3

The Punisher first impressions episodes 1 2 3 Marvel Netflix Jon Bernthal Frank Castle

“I actually care what happens to you, which makes precisely one of us.”

There were three separate attempts to adapt the Punisher for live-action, including one from Marvel Studios itself, Punisher: War Zone. Marvel found movie success in their big-time heroes, and their more street-level types wound up thriving in television, specifically Netflix.

To that end, instead of a fourth attempt at the Punisher in film as part of the MCU, the character was folded into the Defenders set of shows by being half the plot of season 2 of Daredevil. Jon Bernthal inhabited the role so magnificently that Netflix green-lit a wholly unplanned Punisher series to go along with Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders.

Based on the first three episodes, we get a story that, at least so far, is the most connected to the real world of soldiers and violence ...

Secret Identity as Role Model: A Look Back at Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman

The Wonder Woman TV show—which ran on ABC from 1975-1977 and on CBS from 1977-1979—is remembered quite fondly by many, even those who didn’t actually like it much. The cheesy theme music, the spinning around to change identities, the different suits for different needs (a swimming suit, a motorcycle-riding suit, a skateboarding suit), the snotty IRAC computer, Lyle Waggoner’s perfectly unmoving hair—it’s all grist for the fond nostalgia mill. Most of all, though—and this is the main reason why the show is remembered with a certain fondness even by those who disdain it—there was the absolutely picture-perfect casting of Lynda Carter in the title role, who ended almost every episode with a bright smile. This was the third attempt to do Princess Diana of the Amazons on the small screen. William Dozier, trying to ride the wave of the 1966 Batman’s popularity, filmed a promo piece for his appallingly ...

An Action Hero without Action or Heroism: Iron Fist Season One

After watching the first three episodes of Iron Fist, my initial impressions were that Finn Jones was engaging and mostly harmless in the title role, that Colleen Wing as played by Jessica Henwick was a breakout character with whom you do not mess, and that the show started out as an unfocused mess. Well, ten episodes later, and the first two impressions are soured, and the third has held true, sadly. This is not to say that season one of Iron Fist is a complete disaster, but it is the least of Marvel’s Netflix offerings so far, and there are three primary culprits—the treatment of the lead character is a scattershot mess, the show can’t make up its mind who the villain is, and there’s very little fun to be had. SPOILERS AHEAD FOR IRON FIST SEASON ONE Here’s the biggest issue with Iron Fist: this is a ...

An Action Hero without Action or Heroism: Iron Fist Season One

After watching the first three episodes of Iron Fist, my initial impressions were that Finn Jones was engaging and mostly harmless in the title role, that Colleen Wing as played by Jessica Henwick was a breakout character with whom you do not mess, and that the show started out as an unfocused mess. Well, ten episodes later, and the first two impressions are soured, and the third has held true, sadly. This is not to say that season one of Iron Fist is a complete disaster, but it is the least of Marvel’s Netflix offerings so far, and there are three primary culprits—the treatment of the lead character is a scattershot mess, the show can’t make up its mind who the villain is, and there’s very little fun to be had. SPOILERS AHEAD FOR IRON FIST SEASON ONE Here’s the biggest issue with Iron Fist: this is a ...

This Morning in Publishing: February 3, 2017

Norra Wexley propaganda poster Snap Wexley’s mom Norra Wexley was a badass! And now we get our first look at the crucial character from Chuck Wendig’s Star Wars: Aftermath trilogy: io9 has the propaganda posters of Norra and Imperial Rae Sloane, inspired by Wendig’s latest installment, Empire’s End. Also in this morning’s publishing roundup: Connie Willis on why telepathy is an awful idea, John Darnielle on the perfect dice roll, and the first pages from the American Gods comic. Crosstalk Connie Willis Subterranean Press new cover
American Gods comic preview

This Morning in Publishing: February 3, 2017

Norra Wexley propaganda poster Snap Wexley’s mom Norra Wexley was a badass! And now we get our first look at the crucial character from Chuck Wendig’s Star Wars: Aftermath trilogy: io9 has the propaganda posters of Norra and Imperial Rae Sloane, inspired by Wendig’s latest installment, Empire’s End. Also in this morning’s publishing roundup: Connie Willis on why telepathy is an awful idea, John Darnielle on the perfect dice roll, and the first pages from the American Gods comic. Crosstalk Connie Willis Subterranean Press new cover
American Gods comic preview

This Morning in Publishing: January 27, 2017

James S.A. Corey Reddit AMA James S.A. Corey—in the form of Daniel Abraham, Ty Franck, and a cardboard rocket—took to Reddit for an AMA! They talked all about the ending to The Expanse (well, the fact that they know the ending), how the TV series looks different from what they envisioned, and what it’s like to be two people who are also one person. Like Corey, today’s publishing roundup contains multitudes: the meeting of minds (of a sort) between Asimov and Tyson, Rogue One prequel adventures in book form, and more!

Watch the Very Poignant and Very Meta Final Logan Trailer

final Logan trailer X-Men comics Logan is the best fumbling dad slash reluctant comic book hero in the latest trailer for Logan, his standalone Wolverine-and-Professor-X-road-trip movie that looks kinda great. The two, who seem to be the last of their kind, are trying to make a run for it and hide from the cyborg baddies, when they pick up another passenger: young mutant Laura Kinney (Dafne Keen), a.k.a. X-23—a fact that the trailer fully embraces, showing her in action. There’s also the delightfully meta revelation that there are X-Men comics in this future—though, as Logan makes sure to point out, “maybe a quarter of it happened, and not like this.” Director James Mangold broke down the trailer frame-by-frame, and mentioned this tidbit about the in-universe comics:

“It’s not a real comic. For copyright reasons, we had to make new ones. We used original period X-Men artists to do it, for instance Joe Quesada did ...

This Morning in Publishing: December 16, 2016

Lin Manuel Miranda Harry Potter Half Blood Prince J.K. Rowling Twitter Last week, Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted a thread of pop culture moments from which he has never recovered. Alongside Shakira and The Book of Mormon was praise for J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and a particular scene between Harry and Dumbledore. Or, actually, scenes—as Rowling responded, Miranda told her that the real impact was in the repetition of the same line in two difference scenes. “You’re deadly with a reprise, maestro” from Miranda is high praise indeed. Plus, a mini-chat with John Scalzi, a new Red Rising trilogy, and a tribute to Octavia Butler—all in this morning’s publishing roundup.

Gregg Schigiel Inks Deal With Image Comics

PIX (GalleyCat)Gregg Schigiel has signed a deal with Image Comics. In the past, he has worked on the SpongeBob comic series at Marvel. For this new project, Schigiel intends to create a new children’s comic series entitled Pix. The first volume will be released on February 22. Here’s more from the press release: “Pix is a superhero—but she also believes herself to be a fairy and a princess to boot. And if that weren’t enough for one teen to juggle, in PIX, VOL. 1 she’s got attacking electronics, secret crushes, a magic 8-ball monster, cell service issues, a dragon war, a bad date, worried moms, a furtive frog, and a malevolent monkey, all jockeying for her attention.”

Two Archie Comics Stories to be Featured in the Love is Love Book

Love is Love Graphic Novel (GalleyCat)Archie Comics has come on board to contribute two pieces to the Love is Love graphic novel anthologyRoberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Stephen Byrne, and Dan Parent worked together to create two stories that star Kevin Keller, Archie Andrews, and several other characters from the Riverdale crew. This book honors those who suffered from the tragic shooting at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub in June 2016. IDW Publishing and DC Entertainment have set the release date on December 28. Here’s more from the press release: “The Love is Love collection, curated by writer Marc Andreyko, features artwork from dozens of collaborators in the comic book industry designed to send a powerful message of support to the victims, survivors, and their families. All materials for the project have been donated and all proceeds will go directly to the families and victims via Equality Florida.”

Marvel to Publish a Rocket Raccoon Series

Rocket Raccoon Comic (GalleyCat)Marvel announced plans to publish a solo Rocket Raccoon comics series. The first issue will be released on December 28. Matthew Rosenberg has come on board to write the story. Jorge Coelho has signed on to create the illustrations. Antonio Fabela has agreed to work on the colors. In an interview with Marvel.com, Rosenberg shares his thoughts on the nature of this rambunctious character: “Rocket is a loner by nature. Or at least he is really good at telling himself that. He has to deal with things that the other Guardians can’t really understand. He has a troubled past, a lot of personal demons and people who don’t know him treat him like a real freak. Which he sort of is, but it’s still rude. So Rocket wants to head out, get off Earth as quick as he can, and if the other Guardians aren’t interested then what ...

First Second Books to Publish an English Edition of Cici’s Journal

Cici's Journal 200 (GalleyCat)Joris Chamblain and Aurelie Neyret have signed a deal with the Macmillan imprint, First Second Books. The publishing house will release an English translation of their middle grade graphic novel, Cici’s Journal. Carol Burrell will serve as the English translator on this project. First Second Books has set the release date for November 7, 2017. Chamblain and Neyret’s book, entitled Les carnets de Cerise, was originally published in France by Delcourt in 2012. Neyret offered this statement about this new development: “I’m really excited — I can’t wait for my English speaking friends to finally read our graphic novel. It’s a new adventure for us and for Cici, with all of you.”

NaNoWriMo 2016 Tip #11: Surround Yourself With Inspiration

Zen Pencils (GalleyCat)Today marks the end of November. Even though this year’s edition of National Novel Writing Month is coming to a close, surrounding yourself with inspiration is helpful at any point in time. For those who need a boost, we recommend checking out Gavin Aung Than’s Zen Pencils webcomic series. Some of the pieces that feature quotes from prominent authors include “the life of art,” “make good art,” and “a cartoonist’s advice.” This is our eleventh NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day. To help GalleyCat readers who are taking on the challenge of writing a draft for a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, we will be offering advice throughout the entire month.

The Many Costumes of Batgirl: INFOGRAPHIC

50 years ago, Batgirl (a.k.a. Barbara Gordon) came swinging into the DC Comics universe. The team at FUN.com has created an infographic called “The Evolution of Batgirl.” We’ve embedded the full image below for you to explore further—what do you think? To learn more about the costumes of some of your favorite comic book characters, follow these links to view infographics on “The Evolution of Wonder Woman,” “The Batsuit Evolution,” and “The Flash Costume Evolution.” Here’s more from the company blog post: “There have been several versions of Batgirl over the years, but the most the definitive one has been Barbara Gordon, who made her DC Comics debut on November 29, 1966 in Batman #359. While it’s been 50 years since Gordon’s debut as Batgirl, there was another Bat-girl (Betty Kane) who debuted 5 years earlier in Batman #159. Betty Kane is the niece ...
Batgirl Infographic (GalleyCat)

Marvel to Launch the Elektra Comics Series

Elektra Comics (GalleyCat)Marvel announced plans to launch the Elektra series. This assassin character was first introduced in the Daredevil comics. In this new series, Elektra Natchios has moved to Las Vegas. Matt Owens will serve as the writer. Alec Morgan will serve as the artist. The first issue will be released in February 2017. In an interview with Marvel.com, Owens talked about how he intends to shape the character in this new series: “Elektra has a very deep and complicated past. It’s a challenging balance to honor that while also trying to move a character forward. No matter where we find her we know one thing to be true about her above all else: she’s a badass. That part will never change.”