Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Dark Joker? Superman Barbie? Hmmm...

Grim Joker, Penguin in Batman Begins 2?
Not that I'm one to overreact, but even then mention of the name "Penguin" makes me run in fear.  Was I raised on a remote snow drift?  Did I fall into the "Birds of Winterland" tank at the Zoo? Was I the only survivor of a vicious knife spree by actor Burgess Meredith?  Worse.  I saw "Batman Returns!"  You too?  Oh. Then you know.  A perfectly fine Superhero Romance Action Movie, ruined by flipper boy and his army of Cyber-Opuses (or is it Opi). And don't forget the giant yellow Duck!  A Giant Yellow Duck? And the worst part?  Tim Burton did all this to make the character edgier. cause before this movie he was  just a short guy in a tuxedo with an umbrella.  
Please, if you want a Penguin in the movie use this one.
Some plot rumors surface about Joker's motivation in the sequel and what other Bat-villain will make an appearance.

Warning: Spoilers

Comic book fan rumor we heard over the Turkey Day holiday has it that the Joker in the Batman Begins sequel won't be zany and clowny but rather, in keeping with the tone of director Chris Nolan's films, will be dark and frightening with a broad smile under his wide-brimmed hat.
According to our sources, the Joker will be an x-factor in the Gotham crime scene, sometimes acting against the Batman and sometimes acting against the Mob still taking orders from the League of Shadows.
Meanwhile, the Penguin is rumored to be a Russian arms dealer working with Gotham gangsters. No word on the imminent return of the Scarecrow.

Meanwhile, Batman Begins director Chris Nolan was fairly mum about the sequel to his hit Bat-film in an interview with

The web-zine asked: "Will you use two villains again or is the Joker going to be enough? I wouldn't want to talk about any specifics per se. All I can really say is it's a film we're talking about doing.

Bob Gough
Source: Comic Book Movie

Bryan Singer Spills Superman Bits!


Tim's Geeky Bryan Singer Experience
November 18, 2005


Report on the first Christopher Reeve Lecture series at the Princeton Public Library featuring "acclaimed film director Bryan Singer". They started off by touching on how Bryan got started in movies, eventually leading to The Usual Suspects, Apt Pupil, the X-Films and finally Supes. 

Bryan started by talking about how he had been a Superman fan since he was a small child, originally of the George Reeves Superman, and eventually seeing Superman: The Movie at "a twilight matinee" right down the road from Princeton in West Windsor back in '78. Being informed by his parents as a youngling that Chris Reeve was a Princeton boy, he was amazed that "Superman wasn't from Krypton or Kansas. He was from New Jersey!" I must say it was quite cool to see the full circle of Bryan Singer sitting in Princeton, talking about watching the original flick there almost 30 years ago, especially with Chris Reeve's mother in attendance.

He talked a bit more about the basic premise of the movie, here's the highlights...

* When a gentleman asked if the goofy aspect that he loved about the old Superman flicks would be in Returns, Bryan answered that he is trying to steer clear of "goofy" but it is definitely the most romantic and humorous film he has done to date.

* There is no truth to the rumor that there is a clause in Brandon Routh's contract to do a Superman/Batman crossover flick, only a standard Warner Brothers multi-picture deal. Although I was later told that even though it most likely will never be seen in the movie, the set was so detailed that the Daily Planet newspapers were all filled with stories, including a "Bat Creature" being spotted in Metropolis with a picture of a shadowy Batman jumping off of a building with Jimmy Olsen photo credits. Very cool. Bryan also mentioned that the only time he ever considered a Batman/Superman movie was when Wolfgang Peterson was attached, and just thought how he would do it. "Who would be the bad guy? It'd have to be Batman. But he can't be that bad...he's Batman!" He said tonight was the first time he had thought about it since then.

* As confirmed already Noel Neill (The Adventures Of Superman's Lois Lane and Lois Lane's mother in Donner's '78 film) will be making a cameo, which Bryan described as a important one, in addition to Jack Larson's cameo featured on Bryan's Video Journal #25 and in the Comic-Con footage.

* When asked about Kevin Spacey's portrayal of Lex Luthor (whether he was a scientist, billionaire, etc.), Bryan said that Lex is "fresh out of jail" and that his history with Superman and/or Clark doesn't tread one way or another over the groundwork left by Smallville. Only that the two characters have some kind of history as we join them in the movie.

* Bryan agreed with someone in the audience that the biggest change to the Superman mythos he made was giving Lois a kid with James Marsden's character (not a raised S logo). He thought this was something that you've never seen Superman deal with before that his version brought to the table. You've seen Superman save every disaster, but how would he deal with this? The world has moved on a bit, but it seems Lois has completely moved on.

* To keep Clark's disappearance under wraps, Martha Kent sent postcards to Lois during his Daily Planet hiatus. In the Comic-Con footage Martha asks Clark "What about that nice girl you used to talk about? The one you had me send post cards to?" or something to that effect.

* There's roughly 1,400 effects shots to be completed to the movie, and although obviously an expensive movie, the budget has been exaggerated a bit on the net, and is still roughly under 200 million.

* Bryan had pitched his idea to the Donners in a hotel several years ago when he was working on the X-Men films if he ever were to make a Superman movie. Richard Donner loved the idea and the idea of Bryan doing a Superman movie, which really gave Bryan the confidence to pitch it to Warner Bros. years later when the opportunity presented itself.

* The crew of X-Men 1 religiously watched Superman: The Movie during the production of the movie to decide how to base their superheroes in a reality based movie.

* The opening credits will feature John Williams classic Superman march, with a new score by editor/composer John Ottman integrating old and new themes. I believe I also caught a mention that the opening credits will feature some of Superman: The Movie.

* Acknowledging Barbara Johnson, Bryan attributed Clark being a bit "annoying" to Chris Reeve's genius in playing the role. He played him as the kind of guy that you don't really want around, that is just kind of there functioning, but you don't really look at. If anyone looked too hard they might see the man in tights.

* Although he had a tough time narrowing down his favorite moments from the '78 Superman, he said that he thought Superman's responses in Lois's balcony interview was a great template of the character. (Lois: Why are you here? Superman: To fight for truth justice and the american way. Lois: Unbelievable. Superman: Lois, I never lie.) "That's Superman." He then went on talking about how he thinks it's a good time to have such a idealistic character in such a cynical time. That's one of the things that made it so appealing to him to tell a modern Superman story.

Finally, we ran out of Q&A time, and Barbara Johnson talked briefly to Bryan about how she had mixed feelings when she first heard there was going to be a new Superman movie, but seeing the footage and talking to Bryan completely won her over and she wished him the absolute best of luck. It was quite a touching moment actually.

* There's a huge plane action scene, briefly seen in the Comic-Con footage, that may run 20-25 minutes and is going to be BREATHTAKING and UNBELIEVABLE.

* A huge amount of time and effort went into fighting gravity so there wouldn't be any "droop-age" when Superman flies, including clever camera maneuvers and several green covered men puppeteering the cape at any given time.

* Superman being able to breathe in space (and underwater) is addressed in the movie, and yes he has to breathe in Bryan's Super-World. He is "too logical" in his thinking to let these things fall under the suspension of disbelief category.

* The raised S under the suit is addressed, as is the costume's origin in some way.

* The sets are incredibly detailed, down to the stack of business cards on Perry White's desk, and some of the props have already gone on sale at the prop department for cheap as heck. (Someone has already snagged Lex Luthor's smoking jacket for twenty bucks.)

Finally before they kicked us out, Bryan took some pictures with fans and eventually his mother and Barbara Johnson. Bryan started by telling her how much her son embodied Superman to him, and then she talked for several minutes about how much torture Chris went through in the flying harnesses, and would come home covered in bruises. Bryan mentioned that he heard that there were several mishaps where they flew him into trees. She laughed and said that that was true, and then the scene got cut.

It was a very amazing night for a huge Superman fan such as myself, and especially special seeing Chris Reeve's mother tell Bryan stories about her much missed son. I for one really can't wait until June 30th now…or more likely midnight on June 29th .

A Side note: As I was browsing through Google's image search looking for images of Christopher Reeve, I was disgusted by the amount of political cartoons I found showing Reeve as a "Superman Angel" flying to heaven and out of a wheelchair. This seemed to be a bit of a easy "cash in" on sentimentality. There were also many tribute images, done I'm sure by well meaning "photoshoppers" showing Reeves in full costume soaring to the stars or looking somberly at Earth. Almost all of them had the dates of his birth and death somewhere on the picture.

With the new movie coming in the new year and with it's director dedicating the film to Reeve, I worry about how we will truly remember this man, without trivializing his ordeal with red boots and a cape. Christopher Reeve was, to my generation, Superman. He will always be that. But he was also a man who had once played Superman.

He suffered horrible tragedy and lost an incredible amount of physical freedom, all in the public eye. What he did to shine the spotlight on the further research of spinal cord regeneration will be remembered always. What he did to overcome and live those many years after the accident, something that happens to hundreds of Americans every year, is inspiring. All newly disabled people show tremendous strength when they show the courage to fight for a better quality of life. To live. To survive. I most admire Mr. Reeve for is his ability to do that, while bearing the unneeded weight of all our misplaced and well meaning sympathy and pity.

We just couldn't stop reminding him that he played Superman, that he had symbolized the pinnacle of potential and now was severely disabled. That incredible weight, that pressure, he took gladly, without letting us know how much more we burdened him. He redirected our fear and sadness on losing an iconic figure and focused us on the real issues, on the hope and medical technology, on the money and influence needed to keep things rolling. He turned our act of ghoulish interest and made it productive and positive.

I'm not saying we are bad people, but the spotlight of celebrity is tough enough when you're 26, built like an Olympian God and filthy rich. When you have depleted your life savings on medical bills and are trying to live each day, each battle, and still give your family a glimmer of hope, nobody needs to remind you that you played Superman.

He was a hell of a guy and from everything I've heard, a kind, nice and thoughtful man. As Iconic as he was on the screen in 1978, and as much of a Comic fan as I am, I ask for us all, "Can we stop eulogizing him in red boots and a cape?" He seemed to prefer sweaters anyway.

Superman and Lois Lane Barbie Dolls  

Some news bits need no introduction.  This one does.  This would be embarrassing if the dolls actually looked more like the actors and less like hair glued on a broom handle. Guess this movie is using the "Spider-man Love Story" methodology to build it's female audience.


November 21, 2005: Superman and Lois Lane Barbie Dolls
 We've all wondered when the first item of merchandise for "Superman Returns" would become available, but I don't think anyone had any idea the first thing to feature Brandon Routh's likeness would be a Ken Doll with a Lois Lane Barbie Doll.

The image    The image
We've already seen a Supergirl, Wonder Woman and Catwoman version of Barbie. Now there's a Lois Lane "Barbie" doll due to be released in December, and she'll be joined by a Superman "Ken" doll.

Both come in packaging featuring the "Superman Returns" artwork, including a picture of Brandon Routh as Superman. Both dolls also come with a "Superman Returns" poster inside.

You know it's a slow news day when I add a story like this, which, forgive me, looks like this year's "Witch Blade."  Honestly, I don't even know who PainKiller Jane is, but it is a major/minor comic book TV show coming to your screen in a few weeks. So enjoy, maybe?



Jimmy Palmiotti, who created Painkiller Jane with Joe Quesada, said Sci Fi's live-action Painkiller Jane movie, set to debut on Dec. 10, is "an interesting and totally different take on the character."

Palmiotti, who visited the set in Vancouver last winter, provided The Continuum with his take on the film, which stars Emmaneulle Vaugier in the title role of the Event Comics character.

"The set-up is different but the main idea is still there," Palmiotti said. "Emmanuelle, Tate Donavan, Eric Dane and Richard Roundtree give it their all, as does the rest of the cast, and it¹s a lot of fun. The director, Sandy Bookstaver, brought his style to the picture and overall I am pretty pleased with it."




"The strength of the film is in the production and when there is action happening," Palmiotti said. "I thought the crew gave it their all...really. They were working hard on this. The casting was pretty good."


"The weaknesses will, for me, always be in the writing and changing the character to come off as more modern a story," Palmiotti said. "I don¹t agree where they took the character, but understand it. The Painkiller Jane we created is a little wilder then her screen counterpart. I wish it was more violent and had taken the character in a darker direction. Hey, I co-created it, so I will always find something until I write and direct it. It's a natural thing."

Palmiotti said that Painkiller Jane does have a chance to be a series -- viewership numbers pending, of course.

"The good thing is that if it goes to series...well, that's a positive thing for fine-tuning a character like this," he said. "I sure hope it does. I would love to take a crack at writing an episode or two."

Palmiotti said he will be opening a forum on his sit to discuss the film after its debut on Dec. 10. A new Painkiller Jane comics series is launching in February from Dynamite Entertainment.

Stuff Daddy History Lesson: Painkiller Jane


Real Name: Jane Vasko

Identity/Class: Human mutate

Occupation: Vigilante, former police officer

Affiliations: The 22 Brides, Punisher, Darkchylde, Hellboy, Vampirella (allies); Fernandez Fonti (former partner in Police), former member of the Fonti Mob

Enemies: Fonti mob, Darkness

Known Relatives: Karl Vasko (father, deceased); Maria Vasko (mother, deceased)

Aliases: None known

Base of Operations: U.S.A.

First Appearance: 22 Brides Volume 1, #1 (Event Comics, 1995)

Powers/Abilities: Whatever Adam did to Jane gifted her with exceptional recuperative abilities. Minor injuries heal in seconds, and don't even slow her down; more major ones tend to take a few minutes. She has recovered from multiple gunshot wounds, explosions, axes buried in her spine, even a shotgun to the face (which simply knocked her off her feet for a bit). The healing power doesn't stop the injuries from hurting however, which is where her new name come from; given her new profession, Jane tends to get hurt a lot. She normally covers herself with bandages, both to hide her face and to soak up the blood from when she gets wounded.

History: Jane Vasko was an undercover police detective working to inflitrate the Fonti Mob. She was posing as an elevator operator to get closer to the Don, Joey Fonti, and passing the information she was getting on to another detective, Fernandez. Fonti, in the middle of a turf war with his rival Adam, was blackmailing the all-female mercenary team known as the 22 Brides, to fight his battles for him. As Jane spent more time undercover, she came to respect the mercenary squad. When she made to move on Fonti, she found out that he had them at his mercy, and would kill them if Jane failed to obey his orders. In order to keep the Brides alive, she agreed to carry a message to Adam for him, not realising she was being planted with a bomb, which detonated when she got to Adam's home. Adam, not truly human, was uninjured, but Jane was killed. However Adam realised that she had not been behind the assassination attempt, and feeling that she might make life difficult for his rival, Adam somehow brought her back to life.

Jane woke up, unsure of how she had come back to life, in an abandoned subway station filled with high tech equipment. Not too happy with Fonti, she tracked him down and rescued the Brides, leaving the evidence that would send the Don down where her former partner Fernandez would find it. Knowing that she had died, Jane left her old life behind and became the vigilante Painkiller Jane.

Comments: Created by Jimmy Palmiotti and Joe Quesada.


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