The GeeksverseNEWS Round-up | Nov. 11–16, 2012

NEWS Round-up | Nov. 11–16, 2012
Published on Friday, November 16, 2012 by
Warren Spector talks a good game, Watchmen director Zack Snyder says an(other) unfortunate thing, Paul Jenkins discusses his Fairy Quest,  and more in this week’s NEWS Round-up. 

Warren Spector wants to make a Marvel game

Warren Spector is sort of like the video game design equivalent of Steven Spielberg. No, we’re not talking about their shared propensity for Verdi-style facial hair. What we mean is that Spector, just like Spielberg, is universally respected in his field for the combination of his creative vision and the technical merits of his work, and even the less highly regarded (but still overwhelmingly positively received) entries in his oeuvre, such as 2010’s Epic Mickey, are only “failures” in that they don’t live up to the extremely high expectations encouraged by the quality of his previous work. So when Spector—a huge comic book fan who managed to write a DuckTales mini-series for BOOM! Studios last year even with his responsibilities as president and creative director of Junction Point Studios—said in no uncertain terms in a publicly streamed video chat that he’d “really love to do a Marvel game,” the collective superhero and video game blog commentariat immediately took notice.

The exception that PROVES the rule.

Of the current-generation video games based on Marvel properties, only Raven Software’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine–Uncaged Edition ever really comes close to successfully replicating the “feel” of the source material and combining it with gameplay and design that make absolute sense to fans of the character, and even that game was slightly hamstrung by an attenuated case of “movie tie-in video game syndrome.” Hearing that a developer of Spector’s stature is so passionate about making a Marvel-based game that he realistically has a shot at making (since Disney owns both Marvel and Junction Point Studios) has us excited for the future of comics-based video games. We’d love to see how Spector would design a Daredevil game, for example. How would he translate the character’s radar sense and hyper-acute hearing and tactile senses into the largely visual experience of video games beyond the obvious design solutions?

What Marvel Comics character would you like to see Warren Spector translate into video games? Let us know in the comments section below.

Zack Snyder: “The fun of [Watchmen] is that these superheroes rape each other… ”

Honestly, I thought Snyder’s film adaptation sort of missed the whole point of Moore and Gibbons’ graphic novel.

Watchmen and 300 director Zack Snyder had to know that readers wouldn’t be able to resist quoting him out of context when he recently mentioned in an LA Times interview that “The fun of [Watchmen] is that these superheroes rape each other,” referring to the plot development in both the graphic novel and the film where [SPOILERS, highlight the following text to view] costumed crime-fighter Sally Jupiter is raped and impregnated by the superhero known as the Comedian. Actually, giving it more thought, even knowing the context of his quote, it still comes off either as intentional trolling or a derivative of Poe’s Law in action. The quote isn’t going to earn him points with women and victims of sexual abuse, regardless of the underlying intent for his statement, that’s for sure. (The online firestorm over last year’s Sucker Punch certainly isn’t going to help matters on that score.) Snyder may think he’s being funny, or transgressively clever, or generating viral buzz for the upcoming Man of Steel, or even that he’s ensuring the health of our free speech rights (the defense favored by the intellectually lazy, irresponsible, and self-absorbed 21st century artist), and maybe he is, but he’s also perpetuating the notion that “mature” comics automatically imply a ramping up of prurient appeal whilst promoting the stereotype that adult comic book readers are slavering, sexually regressive, arrested adolescents.

Troy Osgood says: I can understand making a statement to increase awareness of the upcoming Man of Steel. And I can understand making some kind of edgy comment, trying to say that this Man of Steel will be edgier then the others, but this is not the kind of comment that will do that.

Two new cast members added to ABC’s S.H.I.E.L.D.

Elizabeth Henstridge (Hollyoaks, The Thompsons) and Iain De Caestecker (Young James Herriot, Coronation Street) have been confirmed as players on The Avengers spin-off TV series S.H.I.E.L.D., which is set for a 2013 debut on ABC. Henstridge will play Agent Gemma Simmons and De Caestecker will play Agent Leo Fitz, science and technology specialists who have no prior appearances or history in Marvel’s comics. The duo joins a crew and cast that already includes The Avengers writer-director Joss Whedon as co-writer and possible director, Ming-Na Wen (E.R., Stargate Universe) as Agent Melinda May, and Clark Gregg reprising his breakout role as Agent Phil Coulson from Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and The Avengers.

Now, if only Whedon and the ABC production team can agree to stylize the show’s title as “SHIELD.” Seriously, those periods are really annoying to type out every time.

Troy Osgood says: I really wish Amy Acker was involved in this, or any of Whedon’s regulars.

A Hopeless future for Marvel’s teens

As part of its ongoing campaign to promote the upcoming Marvel Now! stable of books, Marvel held a press conference with the writer and editor of the new Avengers Arena. The title will feature many of the characters from Avengers Academy (which ended with this month’s issue #39) but is built on an entirely different premise—with long-time villain Arcade taking 15 teenagers and throwing them on a remote island version of his Murderworld amusement park to fight to the death. Sound familiar? Writer Dennis Hopeless (Legion of Monsters, Gearhead) acknowledged the book’s similarities to the Battle Royale franchise and The Hunger Games film adaptation in the conference call, but said that a key difference was that “the perspective of teenage superheroes changes it enough.” Of course, of course.

“The perspective of teenage superheroes changes it enough.”

We have to wonder why this book is called Avengers Arena, though. What part will the Avengers play beyond some nebulous brand tie-in? Avengers Arena #1 hits stores next month and is illustrated by British artist Kev Walker (2000 AD, Thunderbolts).

Young Justice comic canceled, TV series to follow suit?

Newsarama‘s Lucas Siegel noted the apparent cancellation of the Young Justice tie-in comic book with the series’ 25th issue, “revealed unceremoniously” with DC’s solicitations for February 2013. This does not bode well for the future of the Young Justice TV series which is currently on mid-season hiatus, with airing on the Cartoon Network set to resume in January 2013. Previous TV series tie-in comic books published by DC have generally outlasted the shows they’re based on by several months, such as in the case of Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century, to several years, as seen in the wildly successful The Batman Adventures. That the Young Justice comic book’s upcoming cancellation has already been discreetly announced is a likely indication that the Cartoon Network only plans to burn through the remaining four episodes in the Emmy Award-winning series’ second season schedule and hold off on ordering a third season.

Paul Jenkins on Fairy Quest

Comic Book Resources‘ Steve Sunu scored an exclusive interview with writer Paul Jenkins and talked with him at length about the publishing history and the future of Fairy Quest, his Kickstarter-funded graphic novel collaboration with artist Humberto Ramos.

An interesting excerpt from the interview (you should really read the whole piece, though, as it provides an interesting insider’s peek at the current state of comics self-publishing):

We never did solicit [Fairy Quest] to the direct market. We used Kickstarter, we did a prestige edition of the book, which is really, really high production values and really, really expensive to make. Once the book came into existence, that’s when BOOM! contacted me and said, “We love this book. We’d love to be publishing it and working with you guys to do the serialization.” This “Fairy Quest” book, there are eight chapters of it in a sense and the first two chapters are contained in the first book that Humberto and I printed ourselves. There are eight chapters to be available and it’s never been solicited to go out to the direct market. When I tried to put the book forward to the direct market where the first product was not really a comic, but instead was a prestige edition, it almost seemed like an unmanageable sort of thing. It was almost like the direct comic book market struggled to find a way to sell those. I think in a sense if we had done these editions that BOOM! is going to do first and then sold the ones that we had, the comic stores and the fans would already know the product because they had already bought it at a cheaper price. So what we’ll probably do is to solicit the book in our version at some point in the direct market later on and BOOM! are going to help us with that. We’re not sometimes too equipped to do it.

What’s really interesting about the success of Fairy Quest—it holds the record for the second-highest Kickstarter funding total for a comic project behind the crowd-funding juggernaut that is Womanthology—is that it shows that there’s a sizeable paying audience out there for independently-developed comics based on characters and stories in the public domain. We’ve grown so used to seeing publishers and comics creators working within the confines of creative enclaves restricted by copyright and branding concerns that we often forget about how much of our collective cultural store of stories and art originally came from public domain sources.

Troy Osgood says: I had never heard about this until now. Kickstarter is great for getting projects funded but where it’s seriously lacking is in advertising. If you don’t frequent Kickstarter you can easily miss projects you might be interested in. Something like this, with the big name talent involved, why wasn’t this talked about in the comics media? Definitely will have to check this out.

Disney Interactive signs deal for Asia-exclusive Marvel game

Marvel and Smilegate sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I…

In further video game-related comics news, MMO Culture reports that Disney Interactive Studios has signed a deal with South Korean game developer Smilegate to create an Asia-exclusive MOBA/ARTS (multiplayer battle arena/action real time strategy) game that will feature Marvel Comics characters, for launch sometime in 2014. Smilegate may be an unfamiliar name to Western gaming and comic book audiences, but its game Crossfire is one of the most popular online FPS (first-person shooter) games in China where it is exclusively licensed by Tencent Holdings, the third largest Internet-based business in the world behind Google and Amazon. Note that Smilegate’s Marvel game, currently code-named “Project PK,” is unrelated to Marvel Heroes, the free-to-play, massively-multiplayer online (F2P/MMO) game being made by Gazillion Entertainment.

Images of Thor: The Dark World villain posted online

Pictures of actor Christopher Eccleston (Dr. Who, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra) in costume as Malekith the Accursed have found their way online courtesy of Clevver.com:

The costume and make-up look decent as far as a comics-to-film translation of one of the more outlandish character designs in the Thor comics canon, but unless the images were flipped prior to posting, it looks like the dark half of his face has been switched to the opposite side for the film.

Thor: The Dark World, the sequel to 2011’s Thor, will star Chris Hemsworth as the eponymous superhero deity, Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, and Tom Hiddleston as Loki and is scheduled to premiere on 8 November 2013.

Uncanny Avengers roster gets reinforced

In what seems like a continuing bid to re-brand all its superheroes as “Avengers” (see the Avengers Academy story above), recently-launched book Uncanny Avengers is getting its roster reinforced with the addition of three new members—Wonder Man, the Wasp, and Sunfire—with February’s Uncanny Avengers #5. Granted, two of the three recruits are former Avengers, so it’s not like writer Rick Remember is forcing their inclusion in any way.

Shining Knight: Is he or isn’t she?

Newsarama‘s Vaneta Rogers tries to dance around the reveal regarding Shining Knight’s sexual identity in a discussion of DC’s Demon Knights #14 (“out” this week, ha ha) but this panel is all that readers really need to see to understand the character’s orientation:

It’s clear that regardless of the character’s biological gender, Shining Knight self-identifies as both male and female. We have to give props to DC Comics for not encouraging a spectacle of speculation to build out of this story development—we’ve always maintained that the circulation of self-congratulatory and somewhat exploitative “You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby!” style press releases whenever publishers reveal a re-imagined character to be from a minority only makes them seem more out of step with the real world. It’s better to just let the work speak for itself.

 Troy Osgood says: I’m not quite sure what to make of this. Shining Knight was originally a male, member of the All-Star Squadron, then Grant Morrison reworked the character for his Seven Soldiers of Victory series. He took Sir Justin, renamed him as Sir Ystin and then revealed that he was a she, Ystina, who posed as a male to become a knight. Paul Cornell is leaving the title and the new writer picks the series up 30 years in the future. This could be nothing more then Cornell taking the original ongoing question (is the knight male or female) and having some fun before he goes.

Cable comes home

Dennis Hopeless (him again?!), with artist Salvador Larocca, will be helming a new series entitled Cable & X-Force, with the first issue set to hit shops next month. The book will pick up where Uncanny X-Force left off, with everybody’s favorite walking, talking, gun-toting, pouch-packing, shoulderpad-wearing retcon leading a rogue paramilitary strike force composed of Colossus, Domino, Forge, and Dr. Nemesis.

Anybody else do a double-take looking at the promo image above thinking that “Nick Fury Classic” was back in the regular Marvel Universe? Still, with the eye-patch look going on, Cable at least looks significantly less like the transparent Valance the Hunter rip-off Rob Liefeld created back in the late 1980s.

Paul Cornell and Alan Davis working on a new Wolverine comic?

iFanboy has an exclusive teaser image from Marvel, showing the word SNIKT, the names “Cornell” and “Davis,” and a date of “March ’13.” Not much of a mystery here: We’re likely looking at a new comic headlined by Wolverine, Daken, or X-23 (or maybe even Rancor… NOT!) with British creators Paul Cornell (Doctor Who, Captain Britain and MI:13) and Alan Davis (Excalibur, Wolverine: Bloodlust) attached, set for release in March of next year.

Dredd-ful

Forbes.com, the original home of the “listicle,” (suck it, Cracked) has released its annual rundown of the year’s ten biggest box-office flops. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that neither John Carter nor Battleship made it into the top (bottom?) ten, as the two much-maligned films actually made enough money internationally to offset their disastrous domestic showings. You have a lot to answer for, Rest of the World. Dredd (a.k.a. Dredd 3D), the second major studio film to feature the popular 2000 AD comics character, is third on the losers list, making back just $28 million of its $50 million budget, for a deficit of $22 million. By contrast, the universally-derided—in 2000 AD comics fan circles, at least—Judge Dredd released in 1995 took in $113 million worldwide (against a budget of $90 million). Yup, even with inflation and “3D money” weighing the numbers heavily in its favor, 2012’s Dredd still lost out the celluloid abomination that gave us this:

Then again, that scene did give rise to this:

4 Responses
    • S.H.I.E.L.D. looks great, even if it is hard to type!

      Young Justice is cancelled? Crap. I miss buying the last issue and they cancel the booK? That’s cold. Maybe I shouldn’t take it personal.

      The show has been on hiatus before during season 1. Honestly, I don’t have cable but it sounds like cartoon network’s lineup is hit and miss with frequent interruptions of the schedule. It makes me miss cartoons every afternoon on network television. You can’t expect a show that only airs hit and miss at best once a week to carry an audience of consumers to buy comics, DVDs, toys, and McDonalds Happy Meals. It seems odd to cancel the comic while the show is on hiatus and while the toys are in Happy Meals. Odd timing all around on the brand, but it doesn’t bode well.

      I still haven’t gotten around to check out Dredd 3D. The one guy I know that watched it loved it which surprises me not because I know someone that went but that he enjoyed it.

      • Yeah, I probaly will check out Dredd eventually when it comes out on Blu-Ray or VOD… the most negative reviews I’ve read (from the sources I generally trust) say that it’s unremarkable, but that’s not the worst thing that’s ever been written about a comic book movie. Besides, Alex Garland (the film’s screenwriter) is supposedly a real fan of 2000 AD, so I want to see if that love for the property made it to the screen, and maybe the critics and audiences who didn’t like Dredd just weren’t the types who would have responded well to a comics-accurate film translation of the character.

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