The Herald finally returns after a little time off, due to relocation and life in general. Did you read my Comic-Con coverage? Of course you did. Right…back to it. A lot happened in my absence.
As ever, trailers for comic book movies have sparked all manner of geeky discussion, both good and bad. The most notable is easily the teaser for Marvel’s The Avengers, which hits cinemas in May. If you didn’t already know, the trailer was attached to the end of Captain America: The First Avenger, and some fan with a camcorder managed to capture this brief slice of awesomeness. Excuse the shoddy quality.
Alternatively, you can see a cut-down, official release here, which gives away the last scene from Captain America. SPOILER warning!
A few things can be gleaned from this hastily cut-together footage (no doubt filmed first just to get the teaser out), such as the new costumes. Cap (Chris Evans) has a more updated version of his duds that is pretty faithful to the original design, while still maintaining a modern flourish. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is also sporting the sleeveless Ultimate Universe costume. There’s not much else left to say, as it really is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it teaser, but it does the job of getting fans wet with excitement.
But where’s the Hulk? There’s a split-second peek at Edward Norton’s replacement, Mark Ruffalo (left), but no shot of the green behemoth. Which is perhaps understandable when you consider the extensive post-production work required to bring the character to life.
Yesterday, Marvel announced that they’re putting together a compendium of comic books, called “The Road to The Avengers” in anticipation of next year’s big event. This will bring newbies up-to-speed, with five titles in all: I Am Iron Man, Iron Man Security Measures, Iron Man 2: Public Identity, Iron Man 2: Agents Of SHIELD and Captain America: First Vengeance. There’s no street date on the issues yet, but you can check-out the rough cover for First Vengeance to the right. Just look at them. Can you believe this movie is happening?
If that wasn’t enough, the cast also assembled at Disney’s D23 Expo earlier in the month (yeah, it’s easy to forget that the Mouse House now owns Marvel). New footage was screened, which will presumably end up in the full-length promo, but for now you can check-out a geek’s description here. Judging from these interview snippets, the cast members are getting along famously:
A flurry of set videos have also leaked online in recent weeks, giving us a glimpse of Cap and Thor fighting unknown villains (perhaps the Skrull?) in downtown Cleveland, as well as a rather impressive explosion. Chief villain Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has also been spotted flipping cars and generally being a bad-ass. This will have to do until the full trailer arrives. The anticipation is starting to get a little much.
On a related Avengers note, there’s been a bit of development on Thor 2. It has been slated for July 26th 2013, and Hemsworth has confirmed that he will be reprising his role as the God of Thunder. However, as previously reported, Director Kenneth Branagh won’t assume his duties. Yet he has stated that he would like to be involved in some capacity, possibly in a co-producer role, so there’s reason to be optimistic. Word is that Don Payne, one of the writers on the first movie, has been signed up to write the sequel. Payne’s other writing credits include Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and My Super Ex-Girlfriend, so one has wonder how Thor turned out so well.
Speaking of leaked set footage, there has been lax security on the set of The Dark Knight Rises, which is rather surprising given the secretive track record of Christopher Nolan. While it would be best to mark these as SPOILERY, I don’t think anything major has been given away. The second vid, which features Tom Hardy’s Bane, has sparked a bit of an uproar online due to his oddball voice. Although we’ve been promised that he’ll dub over his lines later. Let’s hope so.
The Dark Knight Rises might be the film that I’m most looking forward to in 2012. Nolan’s final installment directing the Batman has only been glimpsed in a teaser trailer so far, which gives very little away, but has succeeded in making everyone giddy in excitement for the film. Personally, I think it will be better than the previous one, but won’t gross as much. We shall see when the film is released 20th July 2012. Make sure you see it in IMAX.
Next up is the return of Spidey to the big screen in The Amazing Spider-Man. I have heard this film getting a lot of flack for a number of reasons, although the omission of Mary Jane Watson as the love interest of Peter Parker seems to be a sticking point. This might be due to the common misconception that MJ was his first love. She wasn’t – she came after Gwen Stacey (played by Emma Stone in the new film), who met an unfortunate end at the hands of the Green Goblin in Amazing Spider-Man #125 back in 1973. With the more comic-focused name and story lined up, it is possible that Sony may atone for Spider-Man 3.
To dip into the world of actual comic books for a moment (remember those?), the new Ultimate Universe reboot is upon us and we have found out the identity of its new Spider-Man. Anoraks will inform you that the Ultimate Universe Peter Parker died saving his neighbourhood from the Green Goblin. A lot of fans have been disappointed by the choice of the new web slinger, Miles Morales. And the issue is entirely racial: Miles is black! A lot of the criticism seems to centre on changing such an iconic character, which many feel is unnecessary, but there’s always room for new heroes. Peter Parker won’t disappear into the ether. There have been no revelations about the back-story of Miles, but it is rumoured that he will have a connection with Peter. We’ll see how long this lasts before things revert to normal.
On a tangential note, it was also announced that Laurence Fishburne will be taking on the role of Perry White in Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot, Man of Steel. White is the Editor of the Daily Planet and has always represented his name, until now. Comparing this to the new Spider-Man, no one seemed to mention the racial change. It doesn’t matter, of course – Fishburne was probably the best actor available for the job, and he should be able to bring an authoritative spirit to White. He’s also adept at humour, so here’s hoping he can best J.K. Simmons’ portrayal of J. Jonah Jameson in the Spider-Man movies!
In a previous issue, I mentioned that fantasy novels turned hit TV show Game of Thrones is becoming a comic book. Now we can look forward to the legendary fantasy world of The Lord of the Rings in comic book form too! The series will be a tie-in to the upcoming LOTR video game, War in the North, and focus on the back-story of the interactive title. It will run parallel to the storyline of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Given this mammoth task, is Brian Wood (DMZ, Demo), who admits that it is a dream project for him. The comic will be a digital-only exclusive obtained when pre-ordering the game, but if successful may be released in print form. I can’t wait to read it.
To round off the issue, I’ll leave you with a couple of questions: Are you an inspiring comic book artist? Fancy moving to Taiwan? If your answers to both are yes, then you may be interested to know about the developments over there. In New Taipei City, they are building an animation, comics and games artist village with sixteen studios, which is currently due for March next year. It is intended to be a hub for Taiwan’s comics and comics-related industries. The village, which doubles as an incubation centre, will provide eight aspiring comics, animation and video game artists with free studio space for gatherings, education, exhibitions and business activities.
Partnered with universities, artists will be encouraged to reach students and other residents and become part of the community. So no more 18-hour stretches at the boards! Get out there and smell the salty coffee.
The incubation centre is part of New Taipei City’s first long-term program aimed at supporting animation and comics talents. And that’s the perfect note to end on. The future is looking good for the industry.