Archive for the 'DC Comics' Category

Jan 14 2013

Justice League Movie Update 2

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

Will Beall, the screenwriter for the upcoming Justice League movie, just had his first movie (Gangster Squad) out. It averaged 33% on Rotten Tomatoes (thanks to “lackluster writing and underdeveloped characters”) and disappointed at the box office. I think this bodes poorly for the JL movie.

 

To recap:

  • Writing the Justice League movie will likely be much more challenging than a relatively simple police shoot-em-up. (For example, several of the Justice League characters have their own movies in the works, so the creative coordination will be more complicated).
  • Introducing multiple characters simultaneously on a team would be challenging for a very good screenwriter.
  • It does not look like DC-WB has A-grade writing talent on this.
  • Several directors have passed on Beall’s outline/script for Justice League (which might suggest problems with the outline, or might be totally unrelated).
  • DC-WB’s had some notable problems with scheduling/delays before (e.g. Green Lantern’s production delays set back marketing efforts by months and contributed to the under-editing).
  • Avengers 2 is scheduled for release in May 2015. DC-WB’s under pressure to get JL out in time to face Avengers 2, but Justice League doesn’t even have a director yet. Hollywood studios sometimes rush out godawful movies before they’re ready because of pressure from competing films (e.g. Skyline vs. Battle: Los Angeles).

 

I’m lowering my Rotten Tomatoes prediction for Justice League from 30-45% to 25-35%.

 

PS: Speaking of box office results this week, the three top-performing theaters for Zero Dark Thirty (a movie about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden)  were within 5 miles of the CIA headquarters in Langley, VA.

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Aug 18 2011

Name That Quote: Batman or Shakespeare?

Published by under Badassery,Batman

I found this Sporcle game’s mix of Shakespeare and Batman so dangerously amusing that I wanted to punch an English teacher in the face and throw him two or three stories onto the street.  Then I realized that the closest English teacher was me and I thought better of it.

 

PS: If you’re a long-time fan of Batman, you might remember that Adam West hid the remote control for the entrance to the Batcave inside a bust of Shakespeare.

2 responses so far

Jul 14 2011

Green Lantern Was Good for Something (Learning How Not to Write)

Published by under Green Lantern,Plotting

Novelist Jami Gold has two articles about learning from the Green Lantern movie: How Not to Write Characters and How Not to Plot a Story.
 
I’d also use Green Lantern to show why scenes should usually have some transition explaining why a character goes from doing A to doing B.  One of the transitions between a scene of GL talking with his geek friend and a scene of GL talking with his love interest is the geek randomly asking “Hey, doesn’t a superhero always get the girl?”  First, the line comes out of nowhere–they hadn’t been talking about romance or the lady until the geek tossed that line out.   Second, the line probably doesn’t work well as a transition because it doesn’t create a good reason why GL would want to go talk with his love interest.
 
There are so many easy ways to switch a scene without anybody noticing the seams.  For example, the protagonist-geek conversation could have been interrupted by a phone call or a text from the love interest.  Then it would have made sense for the geek to start talking about romance and it would have given GL a good reason to talk with his love interest.  Additionally, depending on what she said in the call/text, it could have added some urgency to the impending protagonist-love interest scene.

4 responses so far

Jun 28 2011

Good news and bad news for Green Lantern fans

The good news is that Warner Bros. is planning a GL sequel.  The bad news is that the preliminary box-office returns look rough enough (so far) that I do not think the sequel will survive.

 

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Jun 19 2011

Are Marvel or DC Movies Better? A Research Survey

Summary

  • Including the older movies, the average Rotten Tomato score was 47.3% for DC and 58% for Marvel.  If we look only at movies since 2000, DC drops to 47.2% and Marvel inches up to 60%.  DC’s movies have actually gotten slightly worse since 2000.

  • Marvel has been having more critical success with more series.  Since 2000, DC’s non-Batman movies have averaged 38.7%.  Since 2000, Marvel’s movies without Spider-Man have averaged 56% and its movies without X-Men have also averaged 56%.

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13 responses so far

Jun 01 2011

A shakeup for DC’s series

Published by under Comic Books,DC Comics,News

DC Comics announced a few changes that might be significant.  Details are sparse at the moment, but here’s what DC Comics, USA Today and the New York Times have reported.

  • Every DC series will restart at issue #1 and many of the characters will be younger than they were before.  It’s less clear whether the plots will substantially change in noncosmetic ways.  The only substantial changes announced so far are that “a lot” of series are not returning, Justice League will focus more on relationships and DC will branch into genres besides pure superhero action.  “We’re going to use war comics, we have stories set in mystery and horror, we’ve got Westerns.”
  • “We really want to inject new life in our characters and line. This was a chance to start, not at the beginning, but at a point where our characters are younger and the stories are being told for today’s audience.”
  • DC will be digitally releasing all of its issues the same day they arrive in comic stores.
  • Some titles will return and “a lot” won’t.  Most DC writers and artists are also getting shuffled around. “Series that are successful and writer/artist combinations that work well together won’t be tweaked too much.”
  • The direction for the costume changes is to look more contemporary.   They’re also trying to “alter the physicality of many heroes and villains to modernize the DC Universe.”  I’m not sure what that means, but it sounds like a dangerous surgery illegal in most countries.
  • “The recent emphasis on diverse characters such as lesbian superheroine Batwoman, Hispanic hero Blue Beetle and African-American adventurer Cyborg (who will be a core member of Johns and Lee’s new Justice League) also will continue.”

32 responses so far

Jun 28 2010

Is there a quality difference between Marvel and DC movies?

Judging by ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, DC movies do almost as well on average (although its bombs tend to be uniquely awful).

For the sake of convenience and clean numbers, I took the top 20 grossing movies from each publisher and then gathered their Rotten Tomato rankings, which are averages of hundreds or thousands of reviews.  (A RT ranking isn’t a perfect measure of quality, but it’s probably pretty accurate).

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7 responses so far

Jul 23 2009

How I Would Reboot Superman

Superman is a waning superhero.

In the past year, his comics have consistently been outsold by Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Flash, Green Lantern, Deadpool, and every A-list franchise.   (For example, his top-performing comic book in June 2009 placed #43 on the bestsellers list).

According to io9, even DC Comics acknowledged that the Superman movie franchise is struggling.  Superman’s latest film-outing grossed about $390 million on a production budget of $270 million.  That’s notably worse than 1996’s Batman Forever, let alone either of the two most recent Batman films.  Yes… even Joel Schumacher, the “director” that put nipples on the Batsuit, beat Superman.

Here’s how I would reboot Superman.

1.  Give him a real personality with some actual flaws. This does not mean that he has to be brooding.  (Please see Spiderman or Ironman– characters can be three-dimensional and fun!) For example, maybe he’s a bit overconfident or careless.  Even a small flaw would make him more likable and believable.

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65 responses so far

Jul 09 2009

Take That, Joel Schumacher!

Published by under Comedy,DC Comics

Joel Schumacher is a director best-known for his vicious crimes against Batman, including putting nipples on the batsuit. Earlier today, I was browsing through TV Tropes and found that one of the Batman cartoons had a hilarious scene mocking Schumacher.  (The idiot in the scene is named Joel and is standing in front of a sign that says Shoemaker).

One response so far

Apr 06 2009

Valerie D’Orazio’s advice about being an assistant editor

She offers some advice here.  Here’s what I took away from her article…

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