Mattel Mashes up DC Comics and Thomas the Tank Engine for Comic-Con

Thursday, May 14, 2015 at 4:30 pm

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Although a Thomas the Tank Engine toy prominently features in the current trailer for Marvel's Ant-Man, he and his friends are getting DC Comics makeovers as one of Mattel's Comic-Con exclusives. I'd make a joke about him being a slut, which might be funny given that he's a fictional train with (presumably) no naughty bits, but that's probably a bad idea.

I'm more curious about the decision to bring Joker and Harley Quinn anywhere NEAR the world of Thomas. While Joker has had more family friendly incarnations, those that involve Harley usually are not. And the Thomas people aren't like Sanrio, who gladly slap their cartoon characters on sex toys...you may recall that when I visited the Thomas the Tank Engine amusement park in England, there were rides we were forbidden to go on without a child accompanying us.

...and I just realized Julia's gonna want these anyway. Damn.

Ender's Game's Asa Butterfield in Final Talks for Spider-Man

Thursday, May 14, 2015 at 3:49 pm

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Latino Review's Kellvin Chavez has been right about everything Spider-Man so far, but even if he weren't, this seems like an easy guess - Asa Butterfield is known by every trade to be on the shortlist, and was the only actor on said list to have been a lead in two other films as big as Hugo or Ender's Game. He's also pretty much the best working movie actor in his age range...and yet another English thespian playing an American hero.

Not to mention he has a lot of experience already with form-fitting bodysuits and wire harnesses. He's the obvious choice, and I look forward to seeing what he does with it, assuming nothing falls through at the last minute.

Now tell me again how fanboys always hate every casting choice.

UPDATED With Trailer! Legends of Tomorrow Revealed! White Canary Shown, Vandal Savage Announced

Thursday, May 14, 2015 at 9:29 am

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Based on Tweets from those at the CW TV Upfronts today, Vandal Savage will be the villain (as many of you guessed correctly upon hearing the synopsis), and perhaps is the third DC character never-before-seen in live-action that we were told about a while back. A new trailer that reveals Hawkgirl flying and Atom shrinking was shown, and will be revealed during next week's The Flash IS ONLINE NOW AND POSTED BELOW! Damn, it's pretty epic.

And Caity Lotz is playing White Canary, who was a different character in the comics - it's yet to be seen how they handle that here. It's a ballsy move all-around - a show that will obviously have to be effects-heavy based on characters who haven't really been mainstream-recognized before (again, as you can see it is not the Hawkgirl we generally think of).

Meanwhile, in the movies, I imagine ten more Batman films are being planned.

UPDATE: via Pop Critica, a featurette has surfaced online. See below.

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10 Knock-Off Superheroes That Took on Amazing Lives of Their Own (Besides Watchmen)

Thursday, May 14, 2015 at 6:30 am

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From time to time, articles come up about fictional characters who are clearly derived from other characters. In the realm of super heroic comics, that "time to time" is increased exponentially. One of the currently best known "bet you didn't know that" bits floating around is that Alan Moore's landmark miniseries Watchmen is based off of a set of characters that DC Comics bought from Charlton Comics two years before they went out of business. Alan Moore was going to do a dark story that would have ended things in a place with nowhere left to go for the characters, but DC still wanted to use them later so they asked Moore to come up with a new set of characters and he based them pretty close to what he'd started with. Then Watchmen became one of the biggest comics of the '80s and changed everything, etc.

While it's easy to throw hate at the feet of writers and artists who create characters so similar to what's already around, a closer look can yield some examples that bear interesting results. When creators play around with the building blocks of what makes a character cool and interesting and add in some pieces of their own, a story can emerge that is both an intriguing exploration of the original character and a compelling tale in and of itself. Let's take a look at the very best of the best.

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Arrow SPOILER Thread: Ra's, Too Far He In

Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at 4:41 pm

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Season finale tonight! Who's still enthused?

Here's a 6-Minute Trailer for CBS' Supergirl

Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at 3:09 pm

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Well, it's not quite canonical - a little X-Files, a little Devil wears Prada, and 100% "Superman without Superman." No secret identity, apparently, but Superman exists in this world, as do other aliens (Callista Flockhart, oddly, is not one of those).

It seems mildly likable to me, but I'm not as up on my Supergirl canon as some, and of course there have been several interpretations. What do you all think?

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High-End Ninja Turtles Figures Based on Kevin Eastman's First Napkin Sketch

Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at 1:15 pm

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Just when you think there are no more possible Ninja Turtles variant figures that can be conceived, a new one - and a canonical one, at that - is dug up. But this'll be a little harder to get than your average Playmates figure, as it's from Mondo, the company best known for ridiculously limited-edition variant posters created as tributes to nerd-beloved movies. The First Turtle is based on Kevin Eastman's very first drawing of a Ninja Turtle, on a napkin.

And OF COURSE there are four variants: the all black-and-white one, as well as full-color with red mask and full-color with orange mask are $65 each. For 6" figures with 5 points of articulation, just to clarify. But if that's not enough of a hole in your pocket, feel free to "shell" out for an exclusive black-and-white version with three interchangeable heads (actually, all the same head, just different colors on the mask) and a print of the original napkin art.

Alternately, you could use that money to buy six Playmates Turtles. But preorder The First Turtle now if you wish.

Fox Announces New Mutants Movie, Surprisingly Not Called X-Force

Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at 12:15 pm

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Maybe they want New Mutants and X-Force to be separate properties, since they could conceivably have totally different lineups? You have to reckon Fox will milk the X-rights as much as possible.

Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars) will direct. If Fox has any sense, they'll tie it to the upcoming Deadpool movie somehow.

There's no indication yet which roster will be used. Who would you like to see? Should Cable be saved for a separate X-Force movie, or will the temptation to milk his family ties right away be too strong?

New Comic Book Day: GODDAMMIT, CROWDFUNDING

Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at 6:30 am

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Fantagraphics
Normally I'd use the "One That Got Away" space at the end of the column to look back at a comic I missed, but I spent half of my day banging my head to a bloody pulp against my desk, trying to cram all my trepidation about the Archie Kickstarter into 300 words, and I couldn't do it. So let's jump right into the books this week, or you can skip to the end for more grumpy Luddite Jim railing against the evolution of technocapitalism.

This week in comics, I'm a lot less surly about the books I that actually came out. First: a bear hunt!

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7 Things We Learned About Teenage Lois Lane From the New YA Novel Fallout

Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at 5:00 am

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Go figure - this past weekend, I actually read a book. It was free, and it was for work, but it counts. See, ever since I first heard about this "Lois Lane as Young Adult fiction heroine" pitch, I was intrigued. Would it be terrible? Would it shoehorn in younger versions of other characters just to be hip?

Well, I won't say it's any masterpiece, but Gwenda Bond's book is an easy, breezy read even if the pacing's off. The climax happens super-fast relative to the buildup, and some of the character quirks - one girl makes her own fake band T-shirts, a different one every day, which would be pretty costly to do right - feel a bit strange, and more like adult perceptions than actual young-person stuff. But mostly it's an okay read, if you're willing to accept that the canon gets rewritten for a modern teen.

How so? Glad you asked, imaginary questioner...

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