ADV Films has provide Comics2Film with a first look at new artwork for the currently-in-production animated feature Lady Death.
The artwork is of a poster and T-shirts that will be available to fans at the upcoming Comic-con International in San Diego.
Although design art for the film has been released previously, we believe these images represent the first look fans have had at the animated rendering of the title character.
The poster features Lady Death and her supporting cast with the words "Innocence, Betrayal, Rebirth" above the logo.
The poster also reveals that the movie is targeted for a 2003 release.
The posters will be distributed for free at the convention while the shirts will be sold at the ADV booth.
Fans attending the Con are encouraged to stop by Room 8 at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday for a panel discussion on the film. Director/writer/producer Carl Macek will be on hand as will producer and art director Andy Orjuela (of ADV Films).
G-MEN FROM HELL
The feature film version of Mike Allred's G-Men From Hell is due in video stores next week, with the latest release date set at July 30th. Comics2Film recently spoke with Allred who shared his insights into his involvement with the creation of the DVD.
The comic creator traveled to L.A. last April to record a commentary track for the disc. The original intention was for the track to include commentary from both Allred and director Christopher Coppola.
However scheduling pressures (including work on the newly launched X-Statix book from Marvel) thwarted efforts to get the pair into the recording studio at the same time. Instead Allred recorded a separate commentary, accompanied by his wife and frequent collaborator Laura Allred.
"It was a blast," Allred said.
There was, however, a glitch in the process which necessitated the pair commenting on the second half of the movie first, while the first half was being prepped with the proper timecode. "It was funny because when we went back and did the first half I predicted that I would say things. 'I think I'll probably mention that...,'" Allred told us.
Fortunately, in spite of the tight scheduling and the recording glitches, the commentary track was completed. It will be the only commentary track on the disc. Coppola recorded one as well, but the decision was made not to use it in light of some potentially controversial remarks from the director.
The recording studio was near the graphic design studio where the box art for the discs was being created. After recording the commentary track, the Allreds looked in on the design team. Although they had worked up numerous appealing designs, the one they had decided to use was disappointing.
Difficulties arose due to the science of creating art that met all the contractual agreements with the featured actors. The incorrect size, placement and/or order of actor likenesses ruled out all of the superior designs. "I was really disappointed," Allred told C2F. "They were like, 'look at all our great designs. Oh, by the way, this is the one we're going to use.'"
However, the comic creator lobbied to have one of the better designs reworked until it was in compliance with the contracts. The one regret with that design is that they could not include the visually appealing image of Paul Rodriguez's weenie man character.
"It was kind of a bummer. Gary Busey is really funny in the movie but on the cover Paul Rodriguez is really weird looking and it just made it that much more interesting," Allred explained. The final box art shows Busey where Rodriguez would have been.
An alternate box cover was created by Allred himself. This version of the DVD, which differs only in the exterior artwork, will be solicited from Diamond Comics Distribution for the direct market.
The Allred's have the Cheetahman suit on a life-sized artist dummy, wearing a Madman Halloween mask under the cowl. It's perched to overlook the front entrance of the house, keeping a vigilant eye on visitors.
"It totally freaks people out when they come in the door," Allred said, laughing. "They glance up and there's this person in this weird suit looking right down at them."
Presently the comic creator is full steam ahead on various comic projects. X-Statix (retitled and relaunched from Marvel's popular X-Force) is due out this month. Spaceman from Oni Press will be out in August.
Allred is also inking Jay Stephens (Jetcat Clubhouse) on a Teen Titans one-shot. "It's crazy, I'm so excited about it," Allred said.
Finally he hinted at an ambitious, top-secret graphic novel project. He would not disclose any details except to say, "I hope it will be the greatest thing I ever do."
SOME TROUBLE OF A SERRIOUS NATURE, SHI
Comics2Film recently spoke with Shi creator Billy Tucci about the recent announcement that his flagship character had been optioned for feature film development by producer Mimi Polk Gitlin and Mandolin Entertainment. The comic-creator-turned filmmaker had just returned from a screening of his short movie Some Trouble of a SeRRious Nature at the Long Island International Film Expo.
"We rocked. It was a rough cut but we rocked," Tucci said of the audience reaction to his film.
Although he was up against some tough competition, Tucci said that the comedic Some Trouble may have stood out against other more somber films. "So many independent films are very emotional straining pictures. They're supposed to be very serious or quirky," Tucci said. "Mine was just like a live-action cartoon."
Comic fans will get a chance to see the director's fledgling effort at the upcoming Comic-Con International in San Diego. There'll be a screening of the movie on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. in Room 13, followed by a panel discussion with Tucci. Copies of the film will also be available for sale at the show.
Of course, the comic creator is equally excited about the new development effort on Shi. Tucci said that after years of watching the property languish in a chaotic development hell, it is very refreshing to work with Gitlin.
"She's one of the few people I've met out there who actually got the story. She didn't think of Shi as Barb Wire or something," Tucci said. "She produced Thelma and Louise so she's got a good grasp on female themes in action-type pictures."
Tucci is enthused by the recent surge of interest in comic book movies, but would rather see Shi equated with the martial arts genre. "She's not super-hero. She's not fighting crime. She's a warrior who has been drafted into this battle that's been going on for hundreds before she was even born," the creator said.
He cites legendary Japanese directors like Akira Kurosawa and Masaki Kobayashi as influences he'd like to see in the film. While the movie will have plenty of action, he hopes that it tends towards realism. "If anyone dies in this picture you're going to feel for them, you're going to know these people," Tucci said. "The dynamic characters of Arashi and the cop, LaBianca; there's some really great, powerful stuff going on. When people fight I want [the audience] to feel it."
The comic creator also said that, while he won't be directly involved with the casting of the movie, if he was able to hand pick the lead he'd want Kelly Hu (X-Men 2) to do it.
Tucci is currently working on a new script with Kevin Bernhardt, who has been a supporter of the Shi movie in all its various incarnations. The comic creator sees plenty of room for improvement over his previous script. "I think I've come a long way since then. That was my first screenwriting attempt," Tucci said. "Now I have some experience to draw on. This time around it's a lot more fun."
BATMAN: YEAR ONE, WONDER WOMAN, SUPERMAN, BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN, CATWOMAN, BATMAN BEYOND (LIVE ACTION)
In his latest "Dish" column in Variety Michael Fleming discusses plans for DC Comics superheroes return to the big-screen, a charge spearheaded by the planned Batman Vs. Superman movie.
Although he mentions several projects, most interesting is a hint of who might helm the Wonder Woman movie. According to Fleming, George Miller may be the leading contender for directing chores. Miller is probably best known for directing the Mad Max action franchise. More recently he helmed the visually-loopy and mind-bogglingly intricate animal actioner Babe: Pig in the City.
The article also suggests that after BvS the next most likely candidates for production would be the solo Superman revival or Batman: Year One.
Fleming also says that Catwoman and Batman Beyond (which many had declared dead) are also viable.
Production of the Daredevil movie is facing a slight delay, according to star Ben Affleck, who talked recently with SCI FI Wire about the setbacks.
"[It's] just a couple of weeks of stunts, and the director was sick for three days," Affleck said. "These movies take a lot of time. We're not as over as we were like on Armageddon or Pearl Harbor, but it's just like, 'OK, instead of taking us three and a half days to do the car/limo/bike/wire sequence, it's going to take four and a half days.' Stuff like that. It's just a big, ambitious movie, and when the bar has been set so high by other movies visually, we've all just been like, 'We're not going to stop until we make sure we get it really right.'"
"On the Internet, people hated the X-Men idea-and I was one of them-until it came out," he said. "It's one of those things where you have to just see it. The Internet is a place where everybody gets to be a critic, and inherently you're not going to get something with uniformity. We stayed very close to the actual comic book, so if you were a fan of the comic book, you'll actually like the movie. We sort of erred on that side, which I think was a good way to go."
BIRDS OF PREY
Like the new face, Mista J.? Comics Continuum reports that Mia Sara has been cast as Harley Quinn for the upcoming Birds of Prey series. Sara is best known as Ferris Bueller's Day Off girlfriend, Sloane, and in Dark Horse's 1994 comic-to-film Timecop.
The role had been given to Sherilyn Fenn for the pilot episode, but the actress was unable to commit to recurring appearances. Scenes from the pilot featuring Harley Quinn will be re-shot using Sara.
In other news, an article posted last week on Gotham Clock Tower revealed that casting notices had been sent out for the role of Black Canary in Birds of Prey. For those who prefer ignorance in matters of the upcoming WB series, you may want to skip the rest of this report as it may contain SPOILERS.
No, Rachel Skarsten has not dropped out of the show. Apparently Black Canary is a completely different character... possibly even Dinah's mother. In a scene from an undisclosed episode, Dinah calls the woman "Mom". In another scene the Black Canary character tells Dinah, "I never told you about my past because I didn't want you to become what I was."
Gotham Clock Tower speculates that these scenes may be dream sequences. They also deduce that if Dinah is Black Canary's daughter it "also could explain why Barbara Gordon was so open to the idea of taking young Dinah in -- if she at some time worked with her mother."
From the casting of Colossus and the confirmations of Beast, Jubilee, Shadowcat, and Siren to the scheduled appearance of director Bryan Singer at this year's International Comic-Con, the past few days have provided a wealth of information concerning next summer's X-Men 2.
Beast, Colossus, Jubilee, and Siren are all reportedly scheduled to appear in X-Men 2 as cameos according to Countingdown.com. With the exception of Siren, there have been previous rumors surrounding appearances by the afforementioned characters in recent months. However, Countingdown.com claims to have a reliable source that says Fox is currently in the process of casting for the the roles of Colossus, Jubilee, and Siren. The site also reports that they have a trusted source that has confirmed Beast's cameo in the upcoming film. Their source also claims that the movie's official site will soon be host to new content.
Comics Continuum recently reported that the role of Colossus has been cast with actor Daniel Cudmore in an interview with representatives at 20th Century Fox. The representative also officially confirmed that Katie Stuart will play Kitty Pryde and that Bruce Davison will be returning in some capacity. Davison spoke fondly of Singer, whom he has worked with on numerous occasions, "He's a very smart guy. I like him. I have a lot of friends who are directors, but unlike them, he is unafraid of using people over and over, like Ian McKellen (who plays Magneto) and myself from Apt Pupil." In addition, the studio confirmed that Ray Park and Tyler Mane will not return in X-Men 2.
Comic-Con International officially announced that Bryan Singer is scheduled to appear for a panel which will also feature Daredevil director Mark Steven Johnson and actor Colin Farrell, who will play Bullseye in the new movie. Both directors will present exclusive footage and answer questions from their respective films on Saturday, August 3.
Fans interested in supporting the Nexus Animated TV pilot by buying original Steve Rude artwork can direct their web browsers to the online auction which is now underway.
The comic creator hopes to raise $8000 need to cover the costs of producting a Nexus animated promo pilot. This promo is to feature 1-minute of all the Nexus characters and will be the main selling tool for investors to help finance a TV show.
Up for bidding are 50 sketches in a dutch eBay auction. The winning bidders will be able to have Rude sketch their favorite Nexus character (Nexus, Horatio, Giz, Claude, etc). The sketches will be 8-1/2 x 11 inches and inked with a marker.
The top 5 bidders in the auction will also snag one of 5 pages of Nexus original art. The top bidders will have first choice, next high bidder 2nd choice, etc. Limit one page per person.
Also up for auction are T-shirts, Nexus pages (from the Dark Horse run), and comics.
The auction will end the evening of Sunday July 28 so hurry on over to http://members.ebay.com/ab outme/steve_rude before time runs out!
COMIC BOOK VILLAINS
Look for some cross-promotion between Lions Gate Home Video and TidalWave Studios on the upcoming direct-to-video release Comic Book Villains. The movie is written and directed by top comic book writer James Robinson (Starman, JSA).
TidalWave Studios will lend its 10th Muse comic book property and others to the film' s DVD release. To add a comic book feel to the DVD menus, characters from the TidalWave universe will be featured in the backdrop. There also will be a hidden "easter egg" that will link to information about current TidalWave comic books.
"A lot of the images are from upcoming TidalWave issues. This is a unique project in conjunction with Lions Gate. It should be fun for the public to have this extra added value to the DVD since the film is comic-related", said Darren G. Davis, President of TidalWave Studios.
Zachary Hunchar, Director of Worldwide DVD Operations, said, "Lions Gate is excited in the cross-promotion of the services that TidalWave has to offer. I feel like we can share the benefits of each other's media to make this DVD fly off the shelves".
TidalWave Studios has previously provided DVD menu design titles of films such as Natural Born Killers, Halloween H20 and the interactive games in the DVD of Shrek.
Comic Book Villains stars Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride), Michael Rapaport (Boston Public), D.J. Qualls (Road Trip), Donal Logue (Blade) and Natasha Lyonne (American Pie).
The movie takes place in a sleepy town, full of ordinary people leading ordinary lives, where something extraordinary is about to happenâ€¦ To some, comic books are a hobby, but for Raymond MacGillicuddy (Logue) and Norman Link (Rapaport) they are a way of life.
Both men own comic book stores and both men are after the hottest ticket in town a rare collection of old comics in mint condition potentially worth millions to the right dealer. However, when the elderly owner won't sell, it becomes a madcap free-for-all with friend turning against friend in a battle for the loot. As the stakes get higher, their antics take a dark turn, and begin spiraling into a dangerous game of greed, betrayal and murder.
Comic Book Villains is due in stores September 3rd.
Fans headed for the San Diego Comic-Con should be sure to stop by the TidalWave Studios booth for free posters, CDs and DVDs from the film.
Toon Zone reports that Cartoon Network will be airing a 90-minute Justice League movie in September. The movie "Savage Time" has the league squaring off with the immortal Vandal Savage.
The movie is tentatively scheduled to air September 7th at 7:00p.m.
WITCHBLADE SEASON 2
There's plenty of activity of the web for Witchblade fans to enjoy. C2F deputy Witchblade correspondence Dex provided us with a round-up of cool happenings promoting the show.
TNT is giving away a Witchblade Prize Pack at the show's website. Five first prize winners will take home the entire first season of the show on VHS as well as a T-Shirt and poster. Four second prize winners will get the shirt and poster. Four third prize winners also get a poster. Now is your chance to register and win.
Recipients of the Witchblade newsletter learned this week that Eric Roberts will be making a guest appearance on the show. Fans can also look for the character of Conchobar to return this season. He was killed in season one but...well...you know.
Fans who want a look behind the scenes at last Monday's "Hierophant" episode can c heck out the show's website. The site has been updated with behind-the-scenes pictures, storyboards, an evidence room, a playlist and an interview with storyboard artist Jeremy Simser. You'll also find two video clips supporting the episode.
Thanks again to Dex for that great round-up!
SPIDER-MAN, MEN IN BLACK 2
MTV announced that music videos from Spider-Man and Men In Black II were among the nominees for their upcoming MTV Music Video Awards.
In the catagory "Best Video From A Film", "Hero" by Chad Kroeger and Josey Scott from the Spider-Man soundtrack will contend with "Black Suits Comin' (Nod Ya Head)" by Will Smith off of the Men In Black II soundtrack. Spider-Man and Agent J will have competition in the form of "#1" by Nelly from Training Day and "Area Codes" by Ludacris and Nate Dogg from Rush Hour 2.
The nineteenth annual video awards will broadcast live from New York City's Radio City Music Hall on Thursday, August 29, 2002 at 8:00PM (LIVE ET/Taped PT).
HULK, THE MAGDALENA, JADE, NO HONOR
It's no secret that Gale Anne Hurd's Valhalla Motion Pictures is behind what will surely be next year's biggest comic book movie: The Hulk. A write up in Variety this week reveals a handful of additional comic-based projects for Valhalla.
The article details the promotion of Tracy Mercer, who is now senior VP of development at the production shingle. According to the report, Mercer is also responsible for hooking Valhalla up with Top Cow on movie versions of No Honor and The Magdalena. It was also Mercer who brought Chaso! Comics' Jade to Valhalla.
ROAD TO PERDITION, MEN IN BLACK 2
Road To Perdition is officially the weekend's #1 movie according to Box Office Mojo. Although weekend estimates had Stewart Little 2 in the top spot by a mouse whisker, the actual numbers scratched the mouse out.
By the numbers: Perdition took in $15,412,515 over it's second weekend compared to $15,115,152 garnered by SL2 (making its debut).
It's encouraging news for the critically acclaimed comic book adaptation, which opened on a relatively small number of screens with the goal of having a long stay at the box office. This marks a rare move up the charts which usually comes from a movie that gets good word of mouth and demonstrates staying power.
That other comic movie, Men In Black 2, dropped down to #3 this week, just trailing the leaders with its estimated $15 million take. It still managed to beat-out the Harrison Ford opener K-19: The Widowmaker.
Check out Box Office Mojo for a complete analysis of the weekend at the movies.
The MiB agents invaded the rest of the world in a big way according to this week's Variety. Men In Black II reportedly took in $24 million on an estimated 4,000 screens in 28 markets. It debuted in Germany on 1,165 screens generating $10.8 million in ticket sales and performed well in Austria, Hong Kong and Singapore as well. It's overseas total is now up to $70.2 million.
The filmmakers who brought you the super-hero satire The Specials, the Trek-centric Free Enterprise and the forthcoming The House of the Dead are set to launch a new comics line according to a recent press release.
Mindfire Entertainment Chief Executive Officer Dan Bates announced that the company will be launching Mindfire Comics, a new division of the company, at this year's San Diego Comic Con.
Mindfire's first title is "The Armageddon Gang," a sci-fi adventure series in the vein of "The Dirty Dozen," in which a group of rugged heroes must solve an intergalactic mystery, fighting against deadly alien threats as well as themselves.
Penciled and inked by Edwin David, based on designs and character concepts by Spider-Man's Scott Christian Sava, and colored by Blonde, the limited miniseries is written by Mark A. Altman, award winning screenwriter of Free Enterprise and a former comic book writer for DC and Malibu Comics as well as a regular columnist for Cinescape Magazine.
In addition to The Armageddon Gang" which will launch in October, Mindfire has also announced several additional comic book titles including Solar Flares, a unique graphic novel about the behind-the-scenes drama of a popular science fiction television show and Red Menace, a comic written and rendered completely in CGI by Emmy Award winning visual effects supervisor, Mojo, about a civil war between Earth and Mars. Finally, Free Enterprise director, Robert Meyer Burnett, is expected to turn the hit film into a limited edition miniseries for publication early next year.
"Given Mindfire's unique and quirky sensibilities and ability to push the limits of the genre in the field of motion pictures, comic books and graphic novels seemed a logical next step," says Steven Simak, president and editor-in-chief of Mindfire Comics, who heads up the launch of the new division.
Adds Mindfire Entertainment CEO Dan Bates, "We feel that Mindfire Comics will prove to be a great incubator for Mindfire's future film and television properties. As Mindfire is already well versed in turning established brands into feature films and television, we're excited about the potential of exploiting even greater synergy in licensing through the creation of new properties which will also be expanded into the realm of video games, toys and other branded merchandise."
"I've always been a huge fan of sci-fi films like Star Wars, Blade Runner and The Matrix, but I grew up loving movies like The Magnificent Seven and The Searchers as well so I see Armageddon Gang as a chance to combine some wonderful genres like westerns, sci-fi and film noir while working in a medium that I really enjoy," says writer Mark Altman of Mindfire Comics' launch title, The Armageddon Gang.
Information about Mindfire Comics will be available to both consumers and members of the trade at this year's San Diego Comic Con where Mindfire will be exhibiting throughout the four-day event. A preview of The Armageddon Gang will be featured during Friday's panel about the making of House of the Dead.
MORE ON BATCAVE'S BATMOBILE
Last week we presented pictures of a Batmobile that is to be used in the upcoming CBS movie Back to the Batcave (which we erroneously referred to as Return to the Batcave). At the time of the article's writing we were unsure if the car was a new prop or if it was actually the original car from the 1960's TV series.
Several readers wrote in to let us know that the car is not the original. Both Blink1Shady2 and Comics2Read pointed out that the bat symbols on the door of the new car are rendered incorrectly. They look identical to the bat symbol on the hubcabs, while the original car had wider bats (as can be seen on the website of George Barris, the car's designer).
Meanwhile Bandit points out that the new car sports a full circle steering wheel, where as Barris had cut down the wheel on the original car so that it resembled an airplane yoke.
Barris did create the car for the Back to the Batcave movie. However, various production pressures resulted in the variations from the original design.
CORRECTION: OVER THE HEDGE
In last week's Over The Hedge write-up we incorrectly stated that the CGI movie would be the first animated voice work for Jim Carrey.
A reader named Dan wrote in to point out that Carrey has done animation work before in an animated short called Itsy Bitsy Spider which appears on the video release of the feature Bebe's Kids.
In the short Carrey (credited as James) provides the voice for The Exterminator, a Terminator-esque character bent on destroying the Itsy Bitsy Spider.
Thanks to Dan for steering us right.
THIS WEEK ON JEREMIAH
Showtime's hit series Jeremiah came to it's climactic season finale last Friday. For those of you who missed the boat on the show the first time around, you'll get a second chance this week. The cable net is rebroadcasting the two-hour premiere movie "The Long Road" in the show's regular timeslot.
A group of young people who grew up in a world without adults are struggling to survive. Jeremiah (Luke Perry) meets Kurdy (Malcolm-Jamal Warner), and they find a reference to 'the End of the World.' Is it what they are seeking? This is the episode that started it all!
"The Long Road" is written by J. Michael Straczynski (The Amazing Spider-Man) and directed by Russell Mulcahy (Highlander).
The movie airs Friday, July 26th at 10:45 P.M. (ET & PT), with an encore on Sunday, July 28th on Showtime Beyond at 10:45 P.M. (ET & PT).
Preview clips of the show are available online at Showtime's Jeremiah site. Click "Episode Preview" from the site's nav.
You can also visit that site for a virtual tour of Thunder Mountains. Click "Behind The Scenes" from the site's nav. (Java and Flash required).
NEXT WEEK ON JUSTICE LEAGUE
Next Sunday night brings an encore airing of "Paradise Lost Part II," on Justice League on Cartoon Network.
Wonder Woman returns to Themyscira to find it has been devastated by Felix Faust and his mysterious master.
"Paradise Lost Part II" airs Sunday, July 28th at 7:00 p.m. on Cartoon Network. Additional showings are 7:00pm on Friday, August 2nd and 10:30 a.m. on Saturday August 8th.
Cartoon Network also presents a repeat airing of "Fury Part II" on Saturday, July 27th at 10:00p.m.
NEXT WEEK ON WITCHBLADE SEASON 2
Next Monday night brings repeat airings of the two season openers of Witchblade on TNT.
Fans can tune in July 29th at 9 p.m. (ET) for "Emergence", the debut episode.
In the season premiere, it's a case of deja vu when Sara Pezzini is once again chosen to wield the Witchblade. But when the sinister Kenneth Irons vows to take the powerful weapon from her, can she master its powers in time to defend her destiny?
The show is followed by another episode, "Destiny", follows at 10 p.m.
Using the powers of the Witchblade, Sara saves the life of her partner, Danny Woo. But when Irons procures an ancient weapon, can she save herself as the battle for the Witchblade turns into a fight to the death?
Can't get enough of these episodes? Watch them again 11 p.m. and midnight the same night.
Thanks to Dex for the scoop!
NEXT WEEK ON SMALLVILLE
It's a double doe of Smallville this week with encores airing Monday, July 29th and Tuesday, July 30th!
Monday's episode is "X-Ray" in which Clark discovers a new power.
Clark (Tom Welling) reels from his first flashes of x-ray vision and the shock is compounded when he witnesses an inexplicable bank robbery by his friend, Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum). Unsure how to control this new power, Clark discovers the reason for its arrival as a Smallville teen who has developed shape-shifting abilities threatens Lana (Kristin Kreuk). James Frawley directed the episode written by Mark Verheiden.
"X-Ray" airs Monday, July 29 at 9:00 p.m. ET on The WB network.
Next up is "Chill" which has Chloe falling for a chilling Casanova.
Clark (Tom Welling) has a chance at an evening out on the town with Lana (Kristin Kreuk) thanks to Lex's (Michael Rosenbaum) matchmaking, but the evening is interrupted when Clark faces an icy enemy (guest star Michael Coristine): the high school lady killer who has a kryptonite-induced case of permanent hypothermia and has to feed off of body heat to survive - starting with Chloe (Allison Mack). Jim Contner directed the episode written by Michael Green.
Watch "Chill" Tuesday, July 30 at 9:00 p.m. ET on The WB network.
Thanks to author and comic book movie journalist Andy Mangels for the info.