One of the more peripherally connected comics-type movies coming out this year is HOLLYWOODLAND, due in September, which stars Ben Affleck as George Reeves, the actor who once played Superman, whose controversial death continues to haunt Hollywood. Adrien Brody, Bob Hoskins, Joe Spano, Robin Tunney and Diane Lane also star — we remind you that since in real life Reeves girlfriend’s ex-husband was a gangsterish studio head, it is required by law that Bob Hoskins appear in the film.

Anyway, the trailer is up. Although the timing following SUPERMAN RETURNS release cannot be accidental, one notes that the Big Red S is not explicitly shown.

Here’s a screen cap courtesy of Beat Spy Bucephalus:

We could be wrong, but in this still Reeves/Affleck seems to be asking the question, “Who am I?” and wondering if as a flawed human he can live up to the heroic ideal of the character he plays. Just guessin’ though, really.

New PORN STAR GN by Neil Strauss and Bernard Chang

Chang Reganbks1 Over at PWCW, The Beat files a wee story about yet another new graphic novel by a best-seling author:

ReganBooks is jumping into the graphic novel field with How to Make Money Like a Porn Star, a satirical graphic novel written by Neil Strauss and drawn by Bernard Chang. The story follows a young woman named Claudia Corvette as she discovers the ins and outs of the porn business. The book includes fake ads and puzzle pages, along with more traditional comics, to satirize both the porn industry and its addicted consumers.

More in link.

Vertical news, no PLUTO, but Takeshi on tap

 Archives Images Urasawa Pluto
Over the last few days, an exciting rumor, doubtless started at AX 2006, suggested that Vertical might be publishing an English version of PLUTO by Naoki Urasawa (MONSTER). Translation for non-manga readers: Urasawa is the, um, Grant Morrison of Japan, reinventing Tezuka Osamu’s Astro Boy with a dark, post-modern sensibility.

Alas, a writer—probably Anne Ishii—is quickly along to kill that rumor yet deliver a bit of good news:

1. We would sell a left nut belonging to one of the male Vertical-ites to get Naoki Urasawa on out roster. As of yet, all men chez nous are bi-testicled. I.e. Urasawa is still a Viz author.

2. Urasawa is a rockstar, and rockstars like to flirt (this is not a bad thing, mind you). It keeps people on their toes, especially people who are paying you to be the rockstar. By flirting, rockstars can get more money, a better contract, or possibly just to get a prettier version of their precious work.

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India learns Superman secrets

In a widely quoted interview, Paul Levitz talks to Indian website Rediff about Superman and other stuff. Part two here.

Levitz on how movies impact comics: Those movies were, in turn, very firmly based on the comics — so it all carries through in a linear passage, but it is built one apart from the other, each adding nuance and texture to the iconography.

Levitz on Batman and Teddy Roosevelt: In the case of Superman, we worked on a very fast schedule. (director) Bryan (Singer) and the writers came up with the story line last summer, they pitched to Warner Brothers, it was dead on to the heart of the mythology so it wasn’t like there was a lot of discussion needed. We talked a little, but Bryan drove it in the direction he saw from the beginning.

Chris on Batman had questions from the very beginning, about different things. We had a lovely entertaining afternoon once, discussing what Batman’s relationship to his father was — I remember using the metaphor that it was like the relationship between Teddy Roosevelt and his father; If you look it up, you will see it is true. It actually works.

Levitz on what’s to become of that annoying kid: Will he grow up to become the next Superman?

I don’t know. You can apply the principle of hybrid vigour, and say that the child is a Kryptonian and a human, and so should be stronger than both. Or you can say that there is a lot planted in this movie, his first, that says the genes aren’t reacting particularly well — his health problems, fragility, all of that.

Best-selling author Picoult takes on Wonder Woman

 ~News Releases 2003 10 Images PicoultThe New York Times, where most really big comics news is has a brief item this am about best-selling author Jodi Picoult taking on Wonder Woman for 5 issues after former celebrity scripter Allan Heinberg leaves.

Jodi Picoult, a top-selling author, will turn her pen toward Wonder Woman, the comic-book hero published by DC Comics. Ms. Picoult’s most recent novel, “The Tenth Circle,” about a comic-book artist whose teenage daughter is raped, landed in the No. 2 slot on the New York Times best-sellers list in March. The first part of Ms. Picoult’s five-issue run of “Wonder Woman” is to be published next year.

Typical roll-out, eh? Not really.
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SDCC Programming for Thursday, July 20

 Cci Prog Prog06 ThuAieeeeee! It has begun!!! Brian Bolland! Rosario Dawson! Peter S. Beagle! Tim Biskup! David Arquette! Deepak Chopra AND Grant Morrison! KLANG!

Oeming’s Heroes Con movie

Emerging filmmaker Mike Oeming has made a Heroes Con movie using stills and loud music. Watch it if you dare.

Let’s all learn new words

The AP reports on new words in the latest edition of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary and one of the most imporant ones has made the cut!

Manga: A Japanese comic book or graphic novel.

Sweet! “Ringtone” and “polyamory” have also been deemed worthy to stand the test of lexiconographic time.

Jon Peters, man of Aquanet

As chronicled for the life of this blog, Superman has had a long, twisting journey back to the screen. One of the key figures in that journey is Jon Peters, the producer who parlayed a lowly job as Barbra Streisand’s hairdresser into an eventual post running a movie studio. Peters has always had a hand in getting Supes to the screen, and the Los Angeles Times has a profile which recounts some of the darker moments:

In 2003, gossip columns buzzed with reports that Peters and director Brett Ratner came close to blows when Ratner abruptly quit the “Superman” project. Sources say Peters also erupted in a meeting with Warners production chief Jeff Robinov, accusing the studio of being disrespectful of director McG, who at the time was in discussions to helm “Superman.” Robinov did not return phone calls seeking comment.

One might think that Peters would be front-and-center, trumpeting the new film. But from his enclave in the ritzy, celebrity-drenched Malibu Colony, the man who remains one of Hollywood’s more intriguing figures declined to be interviewed.

According to the article, Peters meddled with the script for the film, asking for changes every Monday morning after seeing the weekend’s hits. Stress over getting the movie to the screen also caused his marriage to break up, but ex-wife Mindy raced back to his side after seeing SUPERMAN RETURNS billboards along the road. Only in Hollywood.

Marvel Movie News: Surfer, Arad

Will the Silver Surfer, who is slated to appear in the next Fantastic Four movie, be an entirely CGI creation? That’s what the rags seem to be saying. It seems that Vin Diesel’s wish (ugh!) to play the cosmic character has been scotched by this plan:

Vin Diesel has missed out on playing comic book hero The Silver Surfer to a computer. The director of The Fantastic Four sequel has confirmed the character will be created using computer generated imagery and internet reports linking Diesel to the role are false.

Filmmaker Tom Story tells website moviehole.net, “(There’s) no truth to it. The Surfer will be a new CGI design being developed especially for the movie. It’s going to be incredible.”

Allowing for internet news board hyperbole, we’re just not sure we like this idea. Humanish CGI is still too uncanny valley for our tastes.

Also, the Motley Fool looks at Avi Arad’s departure from Marvel, and what it may mean for their film slate.

Arad takes with him the rights to produce subsequent entries in the Spider-Man movie franchise, as well as the upcoming Iron Man and Incredible Hulk pictures. Furthermore, as of the beginning of June, Arad owns around 5% of Marvel shares, including unexercised options. He has also stated several times that his shares are not frozen, and that he can sell them at any time. Arad will likely be working with Marvel for a while, but his fiduciary responsibilities will be to the newly formed Avi Arad Productions, not to Marvel or its stockholders.

Kibbles ‘n’ Bits

Steven Grant has a very lucid view of Anime Expo:

I noted this when I last attended, a couple of years ago. It has only amplified. If one element overwhelms you at Anime Expo, it’s the sense of community, and union. Fan and professional alike go there with the same attitude, and often the same obsessions: while companies hawk their specific wares with gusto, there’s also an underlying promotion of anime and manga across the board. The convention isn’t simply about selling, but about bonding. For all the customers on the display floor – and most booths were doing a brisk business (the one notable exception was Wizard’s ANIME INSIDER booth, which drew no apparent attention from anyone any time I passed by it) – there were easily as many in the courtyard between the convention center and the Hilton next door, taking pictures and making new friends. At least 35% of the attendees were in a costume of some sort, from the minimal to the highly elaborate, and many dressed in full costume continuously despite daytime heat mostly in the mid-90s. These were people who really wanted to be there. And they were mostly young, ranging from mid-teens to early 30s, with incredible enthusiasm and focus across the board.

San Diego used to be like that, too.

Meanwhile, a blog over at ANN gives five ideas for activities to break up the crushing tension of attending the big show. Among them:

1. Sing karaoke with a friend.
The most fun I’ve ever had at a convention was trying to bust out a Kenshin image song with a random stranger back in 2000. Once you realize you suck, you can forget about impressing people and just let loose and have fun.

Heidi Meely has a harrowing account of what it’s like to be mistaken for The Beat:

… here is an interesting and true fact. I have been mistaken for the original Heidi M. more times then I care to remember. While it is extremely flattering, we are definitely two separate people. I don’t know how many times when I was doing review for 4 Color Review (circa 1999 forward) that I would get e-mails from people going “Hey Heidi, I met you at such and such con, how are ya?” and I would have to explain to them that I was not the original model, but another woman who ironically had the same first name and last initial. Too funny

While everyone is enjoying the terse dialog in the new Superman, you can download several of the previous script treatments, such as Superman vs. Batman, here.


 Mb Images Upload 04-Sparrow In Hiding-WebWhile the world worries about the Reds’ Rocket Dare, and what really killed Ken Lay, there is really only one topic keeping us up at night us here at Stately Beat Manor: what is the revamped PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN ride like? One Seth Kubersky over at Jim Hill Media has sampled the always inferior WDW version of the ride and has an encouraging report, accompanied by stills that seem to indicate that pirates are allowed to engage in rapine again — at least with dressmaker’s dummies.

Just past them is the 1st Jack Sparrow AA, and he’s truly a work of art. Unlike Ellen, Bogie, or just about every other celebrity AA, this isn’t some fugly Halloween-mask approximation. It is Johnny Depp in the flesh, down to the last fleck of eyeliner. Taken from a life-mask, and built with obvious care, it’s a dead ringer standing still, and eerily accurate in motion. Hiding behind some dress forms, Jack leans and cranes his neck in a way that is not merely lifelike, but that captures the quirky essence of Depp’s performance. I was initially wary when I heard they were doing a “realistic” AA, as opposed to a stylized caricature in the classic Marc Davis style. But when you think of it, the POTC films feature attractive leads surrounded by a grotesque, almost cartoonish cast of characters – much as the rides now do. Whatever qualms I might have had, now that I have seen it first-hand I can only applaud the decision to add Captain Jack.

Smashing news! As the world swelters beneath imminent heat death, we can only rejoice that the most wonderful place on earth will go down swinging.

The Beat: now with morning coffee

 Home Files 8 Che Cafe Duong Sua 2 Cafe 005245Thanks for all the well wishes and kind words! It’s great to have interaction back — although when the spammers get started, let’s see how we feel. We also figured out a way to import the sidebars, but it is tedious and time consuming so it will be done ssslllooowwwly. The new method is good for updating old links and adding new ones. However, WordPress’s hierarchy doesn’t seem to allow links to open in a new window which is annoying.

On the plus side, thanks to the miracle of scheduled posting, now you can read The Beat with your morning coffee, preferably Ca Phe Sua, the drink of choice here at SBM.

Anyway a few questions and assumptions keep coming up. So here’s a very small FAQ for you:

1) Old Beat postings.
As it stands right now, we are not going to import the old Comicon.com Beat. I know. For now it’s going to be archived at Comicon. There are a couple of reasons for this, but the major one is that all the images are linked at Comicon, and it’s not fair to steal their bandwidth, and I just don’t have time to re-code 2 years worth of postings. Plus, the import function for MT archives doesn’t seem to work without running all kinds of scripts. I’ve uploaded the last week or so of content, but that’s it.

2) My relationship to Reed Business/PW.
For the record, I am not am employee of Reed or PW, and I still maintain copyright of the content here.