The Alcott Analysis: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is in interesting entry in the world of long-form cinematic Batman stories for a few different reasons. First, it manages to do what the Tim Burton movies were unable to — make Bruce Wayne/Batman the protagonist of his own story. Second, it’s primarily a detective story as opposed to an action story. Third, at least half of the story is told in flashback, a parallel-action setup ambitious for an animated movie thought of as primarily for kids. Lastly, the story it tells is rather emotional and internal — Bruce/Batman broods a lot in this movie, even by his own standards. The action sequences feel perfunctory and tacked-on. The two that come to mind — a truck chase and the explosive finale — are poorly motivated and don’t advance the plot in any meaningful way.

Friedrich and Binder to receive Finger award

Via PR, Gary Friedrich, a seminal figure of Marvel in the 60s and 70s and co-creator of Ghost Rider, and the late Otto Binder, without whom there would be no Supergirl or Krypto or hundreds of other comics, are the two latest recipients of the Bill Finger Award. This honor is presented annually at the the San Diego Comic-Con to honor one living writer, and one deceased who have made significant contributions to the comics industry.

Alcott’s Analysis: Batman (1989)

The young people of today can hardly be expected to understand the impact that Tim Burton’s Batman had on movie-goers in the summer of 1989. The general audience of 1989 knew Batman only as the campy, self-conscious, broad-daylight superhero of the Adam West TV show. Nothing in movies prepared viewers for this radical re-thinking of the character, the weird darkness of the themes, the dense, oppressive production design or Jack Nicholson’s performance as The Joker. All of it was alarming, electrifying stuff back then. (Of course, it was all familiar territory for people who had read The Dark Knight Returns and The Killing Joke, but that’s another story.)

Marvel's Jim McCann's Exit Interview

During his six years as Marketing Manager at Marvel Comics, Jim McCann definitely established himself as a strong candidate for Nicest Guy In Comics, and certainly helped out The Beat on many occasions. This Thursday will be his last day on staff at Marvel, however, as he leaves to pursue his writing career with both regular Marvel writing gigs and a stiking creator-owned project, THE RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN, coming this fall from Archaia. As McCann mentions in the interview, he long had a background in writing, but his outgoing nature usually ended up spinning him towards marketing jobs, but now he’s sticking with the path to what he wants to do.

McCann has definitely been in the middle of some of Marvel’s wildest rides over the last six years, and when he suggested an “exit interview,” we thought it would be a good way to look back on them. Plus he suggested a music number to end it all, so we had to go along. You won’t find too much muckraking here -—McCann could easily segue into inspirational speaking -— and things might get a little sappy at the end, but not every one can be a tearjerker!

Robert Kirkman as you’ve never seen him before

…unless you are his wife. Apparently Kirkman trims his beard before conventions but lets it grow to Little House on the Prairie dimensions when hanging around the house. Via Twitter.

Harvey Pekar Week

You still have two days to celebrate the dean of autobio comics at Graphic NYC. Today: the origin of Harvey’s head. Previously: How to Draw Harvey Pekar by Rick Parker Dean Haspiel’s Anatomy Of An American Splendor Cover American Splendor’s Inimitable Harvey Pekar on The Pekar Project

DC writer reveals the big secret of death

Now, I know it may be hard to believe sometimes because of all the “deaths” that occur in comics, especially right now in the DCU, but there’s not always a mandate where we sit around and say, “Who we gonna kill this time out?” XXXXX’x death came to be simply by the organic flow of […]

Thought for the day

“I think when you get to the last page of the story, it was kind of a mission statement for where I wanted to go from here,” Vaughan explained, “which is that it’s perfectly fine to love the characters that we grow up with, and that there’s nothing wrong with keeping them alive and breathing […]

Marc Bernardin leaves EW

As reported in a Twitter posting, Marc Bernardin was among those let go at Entertaiment Weekly yesterday, part of a general bloodbath at Time Inc. this week — as many as 500 employees are expected to be let go. Bernardin, who received the news while on vacation, tweeted: Ladies and gentlemen, my 15-yr tenure at […]

Salman rushing to comics?

ICv2 has a full report on an appearance by internationally acclaimed author Salman Rushdie (shown above with his ex, Padma Lakshmi) proclaiming his interest in writing a graphic novel on the Craig Ferguson Show. Rushdie answered, “Yeah, and actually I got asked recently if I’d like to write a graphic novel. I was kind of […]

Link of the day: Brian Heater’s Harvey Pekar weekend

§ If all profiles/travelogues were as good as Brian Heater’s account of a trip to Cleveland for Harvey Pekar’s 70th birthday, people wouldn’t wonder about the state of comics journalism. In five days, Harvey Pekar will turn 70, a fact commemorated by the cake in the center of the room, shaped like a giant doughnut, […]

Comics writers found wanting?

Over at TCR, Ng Suat Tong labors mightily and makes the startling and groundbreaking twin discoveries that cartoonists who write use the formal conventions of the comics medium more fluently than writer artist teams and — even more shockingly — that few comics writers are as inventive as Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. While a […]

SD09: Man of Action Studios — #2007

Steven Seagle writes to tell us: Man of Action Studios, the creative collective of Joe Casey, Joe Kelly, Duncan Rouleau, and Steven T. Seagle – creators of the hit BEN 10 franchise and the upcoming GENERATOR REX both for Cartoon Network as well as countless cult comic books will return to booth 2007 at CCI. […]

Broome and Jacobs win Finger Award

John Broome Photo by Maureen McTigue Frank Jacobs The winners of the award recognizing pioneering comics writers have been announced: John Broome and Frank Jacobs have been selected to receive the 2009 Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing. The choice made by a blue-ribbon committee chaired by writer-historian Mark Evanier was unanimous. […]

Cute newly announced couple alert

Via Spin

TSA finds comic script threatening

Via his Twitter feed, writer Mark Sable reveals that he was detained for 30 minutes prior to a flight by the TSA after a random search turned up a copy of his script to UNTHINKABLE. In the BOOM! series, a government think tank spends its time thinking up possible terrorist scenarios. Read Twitter backwards! # […]