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Ash, Trouble, Garfield, Hulk and History: Comics2Film wrap for May 29, 2003

ASH

Progresscontinues on the newly ignited development effort on Joe Quesada and JimmyPalmiotti's "Ash." In March Comics2Film/CBR News was able to exclusivelyreport that newcomer Todd Galicano had been hired to pen a brand new scriptfor the movie. 

A source at Mad Chance, the production house behind thefeature film development, now tells us that Galicano has completed a script forthe film that the producers there like.

The next step is to find a studio homefor it. Although the movie had long been in development as an animated featurefor DreamWorks, our source tells us that that is no longer the case, althoughmany studios are circling the super-hero meets fire-fighter concept.

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"We're very enthusiastic andwe're going to set it up. We're confident we'll find a home for itshortly," Mad Chance said. "There's beenplenty of interest in it."

The latest plans are now focusing on theproject as a live-action movie, rather than animation.

 

TROUBLE

The all-seeing eye of Rich Johnston has spied a movie deal Mark Millar andTerry Dodson's upcoming Marvel/Epic book "Trouble." 

InTuesday's Lyingin the Gutters column, Johnston reports that the romance book has beenoptioned by MGM. Johnston designates a green light the rumor, meaning, "youcan bet your life" on its accuracy.

Johnston also mentions "another more bizarre option is also inthe works."

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GARFIELD

Several readers pointed out that we'd missed an interesting factoid in ourreport that Bill Murray would provide the voice for the CGI star of theupcoming "Garfield" movie.

Fans will recall that the late Lorenzo Music (who first became famous as thevoice of Carlton the doorman waaaay back on the "Rhoda" TV show) wasthe voice of "Garfield" in the original animated shows, starting in1982 and continuing until 1991. 

Music became a staple actor on animated shows and also landed a gig on"The Real Ghostbusters" which was based on the"Ghostbusters" movies. And what character did he play on that program?None other than Peter Venkman, the role originated on the big screen by BillMurray.

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So, the circle completes itself.

Thanks to John and The Xenos for sending that bit of info in.

 

HULK

The "Hulk" movie is another month away, but fans can start hulkingout now on their game console of choice. Vivendi Universal has announced thatthey've shipped the movie-based "Hulk" video game for PC, SonyPlayStation 2, Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo GameCube and Nintendo Game Boy Advance (GBA).

The console versions of the game are rated "Teen" (with adescriptor for violence) by the ESRB.The PC version carries a $29.99 price tag while the others go for $49.99.

The new game features a story line set after events depicted in the film,following troubled scientist Bruce Banner and his enraged alter ego, The Hulkthrough a smashing action-adventure, where everything you see can be destroyed,and everything you destroy can be a weapon. Players can master two types ofgameplay as either Bruce Banner or The Hulk as they battle lead characters fromthe film, familiar villains from the Marvel Universe and new enemies createdspecifically for the game. With his superhuman power fueled by rage, The Hulkcan smash through any physical obstacle and annihilate his foes with over 45devastating attacks.

VU Games and Universal Pictures also created an integrated content programdesigned to reward fans who experience both the film and the game. Through theemployment of "codes," special movie and game content can be unlockedwith a series of passwords related to the film's plot or characters. Clues tohelp identify these codes will be revealed through the gaming website IGN.combeginning June 16th through the film's opening date on June 20th.

The GBA version is rated "E" by the ESRBand carries a suggested price of $29.99. Played from an isometric perspective,players must guide the Hulk through six destructible worlds including militarycompounds, barren deserts, subterranean cities, underground caves, and earth'sdistant future. Throughout the game's 33 levels and 30 hours of gameplay, gamerswill have to unravel complex puzzles and smash their way through the game'sfully destructible environments as well as hoards of soldiers, tanks,helicopters, jets, cyber-warriors, robots and super-villains that stand in theirway. Additionally, would-be Hulksters can enter a "Hulkmatch" with upto four other players and battle for supremacy via a link cable.

 

COMIC BOOK SUPERHEROES UNMASKED

From a "History Channel" press release:

Superman.Batman. Spider-Man. The Hulk. The X-Men. For much of the past century, comicbook superheroes have captured the imaginations of readers around the globe.They are often dismissed by adults as "kid's stuff," but a lookbeneath the cowls, capes, and brightly colored spandex costumes reveals anotherstory. Comic book superheroes reflect the best and worst of humanity, tacklingpersonal, political, and social stories in a way that no other medium can.Hosted by Shane West, star of the upcoming Twentieth Century Fox feature film"The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," COMIC BOOK SUPERHEROESUNMASKED debuts on The History Channel on Monday, June 23 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.

COMIC BOOK SUPERHEROES UNMASKED was granted unprecedented access to comicbooks published by DC and Marvel Comics from the late 1930's to the present.Featured are interviews with many of the most influential comic book writers andartists of the past fifty years, including Stan Lee, Will Eisner, Denny O'Neil,Michael Chabon, Jim Steranko, Kevin Smith, Frank Miller, Neil Gaiman, and JoeQuesada. The program was designed to bring visual depth, energy and movement toclassic comic book images while still preserving the integrity of the artwork.

In 1938, the first and greatest superhero of them all-Superman-leaped fromthe pages of Action Comics #1 and into the imaginations of a generation. JerrySiegel and Joe Shuster, two young Jewish boys from Cleveland, sold their firstSuperman story, and all rights to the character, to DC Comics for $130, neverrealizing that they were launching the Golden Age of Comics. Superman's exploitssold nearly one million copies every month, leading DC Comics to launch thetales of another costumed hero-Batman. After Batman became another huge success,other heroes quickly followed-The Spirit, Hawkman, Wonder Woman, The Flash,Green Lantern, The Sub-Mariner, The Human Torch, Green Arrow, Captain Marvel,and more.

The superheroes of the 1930's emerged from a background of New Deal politicsand The Great Depression. They were strong authority figures who, unlike theprevious pulp heroes, lived in our world. By the 1940's, these superheroes wouldgo to war with Germany. Long before America entered World War II, Superman wasseen defeating Nazis and Captain America was seen punching out Adolf Hitler.During World War II, comic book sales more than doubled. But when the war wasover, superheroes faced an even more imposing threat-the United States Senate.

During the 1950's, superheroes almost completely vanished. They were soclosely tied to the New Deal and World War II that most superheroes couldn'tsurvive the end of those events. Readers were now reading teen comedies,westerns, and horror comics. Those few superheroes who did survive soon facedthe wrath of Dr. Frederick Wertham. Wertham, a psychiatrist from New York'sBellevue Hospital, became convinced that comic books and superheroes inparticular, were destroying the minds of children. His 1954 book Seduction ofthe Innocent, claimed that Superman allowed children to experience"fantasies of sadistic joy," Batman and Robin inspired homosexualthoughts, and Wonder Woman was "the exact opposite of what girls aresupposed to be." Wertham's campaign lead to burnings of comic books, amassive decline in sales, international bans on American comics, and a Senatehearing.

Though Wertham did not succeed in wiping out comic books altogether, theywere now published under a censorship code that reduced their content to gradeschool level issues. Comic books, which had been popular with adults, were nowsolely written for young children. It wasn't until the 1960's that comic bookswould begin to recover. A new generation of readers who were growing upquestioning authority found new heroes like The Hulk, Spider-Man, The FantasticFour, The Avengers, and the X-Men, all of which were created or co-created byStan Lee. These heroes were appearing on the pages of Marvel Comics, a companythat by the end of the decade was selling 55 million comics a year and hadsurpassed DC to become the biggest publisher of superhero comic books. Theseheroes were dealing with contemporary concerns about atomic energy, racialtensions, and war.

By the 1980's, America was facing a rising crime rate, economic downturn, anda feeling of helplessness. Goody-goody superheroes no longer seemed relevant,and a new breed of tough anti-heroes emerged. Daredevil, Wolverine, thePunisher, and the Watchmen became the new standard. In this "grim andgritty" era, old characters were given new problems. Child abuse wasrevealed as the source of The Hulk's anger. Batman was re-imagined as a darkerand more violent vigilante and even had to cope with the murder of his sidekick,Robin.

Over the next decade, comics continued to develop. Critically acclaimedcomics like Sandman by Neil Gaiman exemplified that the majority of comic bookreaders were sophisticated and wanted adult stories. Comics now frequently dealtopenly with political, social, and sexual issues. Yet, despite this growth, thecomic book industry nearly collapsed. Speculators saw comic books as aninvestment and drove the market until the bottom fell out. When it did, theentire industry was nearly ruined. Marvel Comics filed for bankruptcy andthousands of comic book stores were closed.

In the 21st century, superheroes have gained new popularity. Television andfilm studios are gobbling up superheroes and turning them into big screen stars.On the comic book page, superheroes are finding a renewed relevance to modernlife. Comic books are once again a place to explore the best and worst ofhumanity.

Executive Producer for The History Channel is Susan Werbe. COMIC BOOKSUPERHEROES UNMASKED is produced for The History Channel by TriageEntertainment.

 

SHAMELESS PLUG

In case you missed it,check out thisinterview at CBR regarding C2F's own Rob Worley and the Marvel/Epic comiche's working on with Andy Kuhn and Bill Crabtree!

 

PUNISHER CONTEST

Lastweek Artisan shipped the teaser poster for next summer's "ThePunisher" to movie theaters everywhere. The artwork got a good reactionfrom fans, with it's menacing skull and black and red color scheme.

Now Artisan has provided Comics2Film with a copy of the one-sheet to pass onto you members of the Punisher posse.

Just fill out the simple entry form on Comics2Film.comfor your chance to win! 

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