Archive for the ‘Comics go to the movies’ Category

Comics go to the movies…on the cheap

February 22, 2010

Target has a number of complete animated series on DVD for only $5. Good news, huh? Well, sure, but it seems that most are pretty awful shows from the ’80s. I’ve only watched one episode of “Defenders of the Earth” (featuring the super team-up you’ve been waiting for: Flash Gordon, The Phantom and Mandrake the Magician, as well as a less-racist version of his man-servant Lothar) and it put me to sleep in under five minutes.

Pre-enjoyed shopping – Part 2

September 7, 2009

Well, we’re back to doing the Netflix, but thank heavens for Blockbuster. If it wasn’t for them where else would I get used DVDs for a fraction of the cost of new?

On a recent trip to see my folks I bought, for $20 total, Punisher: War Zone, the first season of The Boondocks and The Spirit.

My wife asked, “Why did you buy a movie you didn’t like?”

I answered, “Because I’m an idiot.”

Actually I collect films that originated as comics. I even teach a college course on it. And I really love the behind-the-scenes stuff, especially commentaries. And now that I teach this course I do feel I need to keep up on this stuff.

(Sorry that it took me so long to get to Part 2. If you care about Part 1, here it is.

“Graphic Novel to Film” class update

April 1, 2009

I posted here about the “Graphic Novel to Film” class I’m teaching at Gettysburg College and what we’d be covering. Well, the students have picked their subjects for their final presentations (the selection field was broadened to include all comics). Here they are in no particular order:

Tank Girl

From Hell

Constantine/Hellblazer

X-men: X2

The Tick (both animated and live-action TV shows)

Men In Black (film, perhaps animated TV show)

Devil’s Backbone/ Paracuellos

Captain America (awful 90s movie, awful 70’s TV show, maybe old serials)

300

Lone Wolf and Cub

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

The Mask (film, perhaps animated TV show)

Wanted

Daredevil (film, perhaps guest starring role in Hulk TV movie)

My new class – “Graphic Novel to Film”

January 19, 2009

My new class at Gettysburg College started on Friday. I mentioned this class when I posted about why I was not going to review Frank Miller’s film version of The Spirit. Here’s a list of what we’re going to be looking at:

(Even though “graphic novel” has become it’s own genre in the public’s mind, I’m expanding the definition for the class to be “work done under one creator”. Let’s face it, a graphic novel is just a long comic.)

The Spirit (2008 flop and 1987 TV movie)
Sin City
Persepolis
American Splendor
Ghost World
The Rockteer
Hellboy
Watchmen
V for Vendetta
Asterix
(live action film “Asterix and Obelix vs Caesar” and animated feature)
Metropolis
(by Osamu Tezuka)
Road to Perdition
History of Violence

And for the mid-term paper:
Tales from the Crypt
(the HBO TV series)

Comics go to the movies – The Spirit VS my new class

January 7, 2009

And the winner is…my new class.

Let me explain.

I went to see cartoonist-turned-director Frank Miller’s film version of Will Eisner‘s classic 40’s character “The Spirit” on the day it opened – December 25th. And I could tell you what I thought…but I’m not going to. See, I’m teaching a new class next semester called “Graphic Novel to Film” and we’ll be studying The Spirit. And it doesn’t seem right for me to be tossing around my opinion if, by some slim chance, one of my future students should read this.

It’s a pretty interesting combination though: one cartoonist interpreting another cartoonist’s creation and able to do it in his own visual style because of the advances of digital film making.

First, the original:

Then Miller’s drawn interpretation:

(Here’s an interesting piece about the poster campaign that came after the one above. It’s an audio “slideshow” with the art director.)

…then Miller’s version translated to a real live human:

BONUS: Did you know there was a 1987 Spirit TV movie? It starred Sam Jones, who was also Flash Gordon in the cheesy 1980 film version. (Wow. That’s one very blue suit.)

spirittv

Christmas loot list – Part 2

January 6, 2009

And now for the cartoon-related stuff I gifted to myself. (And now that I think of it, it was all discounted. What a cheapskate I am.)

• Three book collections of Batman and Superman newspaper comic strips from the 30s and 40s.

• DVDs of Superman II, III and IV, Rocky and Bullwinkle, and a collection of King Features comic strip-based animation. Barney Google, Beetle Baily, Blondie, Flash Gordon, Prince Valiant, The Phantom, Hagar the Horrible, Mandrake the Magician. “131 cartoons, 20 hours of hilarity” it says on the cover. (Prince Valiant funny? Who knew?)

• And from my favorite used book store, The Book Centre, in my hometown of Spencerport, NY: “To Afghanistan and Back” by Ted Rall, a Jim Borgman 25 anniversary editorial cartoon collection and book by French cartoonist David B. I don’t know his work at all but I’ve heard good things and, heck, it was a used book… The image below is from the original, not the English translation I bought. (At least I think it’s the same one. Can’t know for sure. I only took 6 years of French.)

(I got the English translation. This image is just what I could find on the web.)

Christmas loot list – Part 1

January 5, 2009

Remember when you were a kid and compared what you got for Christmas with your friends?

I haven’t outgrown that.

I didn’t get a ton of gifts cartoon-wise but ending buying a number of items for myself during the holiday season (more on that later in the week). To be honest, the main reason that my family doesn’t buy me cartoon stuff is that I may already have it…which is why the things I did get are ones I picked out….which is why I got…

• Two copies of the Ironman DVD from two different relatives. (I’m such a comics/film nerd that I returned both and got the special 2-disc special edition. It’s geektastic in many respects but it has no commentary. I mean, c’mon…)
• A DVD of the Bloom County Christmas special “A Wish for Wings That Work.” I still have the VHS tape I used to record it off TV when it aired in 1991, but I couldn’t pass it up for $5 at Walmart…well, I asked my wife not to pass it up.
• And speaking of asking my wife for something, I found a piece of art on ebay by one of the old school “usual gang of idiots”* that made me very happy.
*MAD Magazine-speak for artist or writer.


Comics go to the movies – Captain and the Kids

November 23, 2008

I have an unruly collection of films and TV shows based on comics so I thought I’d do an occasional review. (I haven’t done reviews since college, but I still have opinions. Just ask anyone I’ve gone to the movies with in the last 20 years.) And rather than review modern movies (in other words: ones you might have seen), I figured I just do semi-obscure ones. (That way it’ll be harder for anyone to disagree with me.) This first one is not from my collection but from the library.

Last weekend the wife and I threw in a DVD of a Marx Brothers movie and, in the special features, there were three cartoons. The first one was based on the comic strip “The Captain and the Kids.” It was called Old Smokey (1938) and concerned the John Henry-ish battle between a old fire horse and a new fire engine when flames engulf Mama’s house. (The Captain appears to be the fire chief.) It wasn’t that good. And, oddly enough, “the kids” don’t show up at all. They did show up in the second cartoon, Mama’s New Hat (1939). Hans and Fritz buy Mama a hat for Mother’s Day, ruin it by dropping it in the mud, steal a horse’s hat (that’s right – the hat of a horse) and said horse spends the rest of the cartoon trying to get it back. There are some good gags in this one, but I started to wonder who in the MGM animation studio had the obsession with horses. I thought it was all just in my head but then I got to the third (non-“C & the K”) cartoon and…IT WAS ALL ABOUT HORSES!

That’s when it dawned on me.

The DVD was “A Day at the Races” and, thus, about horses.