Comics2Film

Sat, November 8th, 2003 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Rob Worley, Columnist

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THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN

Twentieth Century Fox has given Comics2Film readers a first look at a new publicity shot from the upcoming film adaptation of Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. It's a nice pic of Tom Sawyer (Shane West) behind the wheel of a fancy horseless carriage with Mina Harker (Peta Wilson) in the rumble seat while Allan Quatermain (Sean Connery) looks on. We think we see the Invisible Man in the image too, but it's hard to tell because, well, he's invisible.

Click the thumbnail for a close-up look at this C2F exclusive image!

IGN Filmforce has uncovered the more pictures from the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie. The pic comes courtesy of the official website of actor Max Ryan who portrays the evil henchman "Dante" in the movie.

The picture shows Ryan as Dante and another henchman confining a character who appears to be a scientist as a cloaked figure approaches them. FilmForce speculates that the mysterious character may be our first look at the film's enigmatic villain, The Fantom.

Another sneak peek at the movie can be found on The Comics Continuum today. That site grabbed a few frames off of a preview reel that aired on a recent installment of the Entertainment Tonight show.

BATTLE ROYALE

Under the heading of comics-to-film-to-comics, Comics2Film has learned that TOKYOPOP is working to bring the controversial manga title Battle Royale to the U.S.

TOKYOPOP has lined up Veteran scribe Keith Giffen (Dominion) to write the English-language adaptation of the book. Giffen is a fan of the film, which has attained a large following in the United States in spite of never having had a legitimate release here.

"Keith is a perfect match with this project. He knows how to handle the sensitive material and bring out the social commentary from within this very dark, disturbing and violent project," Marc Paniccia of TOKYOPOP told C2F.

Takami Koushun wrote the original Battle Royale novel. He went on to pen the script for the manga which is illustrated by Taguchi Masayuki. The film was directed by Kinji Fukasaku who Quentin Tarantino (Kill Bill) and John Woo (Windtalkers) frequently cite as an influence.

The ultra-violent movie is largely viewed as unsuitable for mainstream, American, post-Columbine audiences.

The premise involves a near-future Japan, plagued by economic and social decay, and an increasingly violent youth underclass. To remedy the situation, the government enacts the Battle Royale Act, creating a to-the-death tournament for under-achieving junior high-school age children. The students are isolated on an island, given guns and other weapons, and forced to engage in the bloody, last-man-standing contest.

As with all TOKYOPOP translations, Battle Royale will be presented in authentic manga format. The format presents the artwork as originally intended, reading right-to-left (not a left-to-right mirror image as is often presented). The original Japanese-lettered sound effects are also left intact.

TOKYOPOP will publish the English-language edition of the eight-volume Battle Royale in May.

WONDER TWINS, THE

You Will Believe a Man Can Turn Into a Bucket of Water! Comics2Film followed up on the summer announcement of a live-action movie based on the Wonder Twins.

One of the film's producers Casey La Scala told C2F that the project featuring the Super Friends' sidekicks is still in the early stages of development with Warner Bros.

However, we did learn that the project now has a writer attached. Representatives for Merriwether Williams have confirmed that she is writing the script for the film. Williams previously wrote the script for an indie feature called The Hedonist, which James Franco (who co-wrote) is attached to star in. She also worked as a writer on Nickelodeon's cult hit animated show SpongeBob SquarePants.

SILVER SPYDER

[Kristia Knowles]Comic creator Glenn Porzig has announced that he's cast fitness model Kristia Knowles to portray his comic book character Silver Spyder.

Silver Spyder first appeared in the pages of Porzig's Ace of Diamond comic published by Lone Star Press.

"I used the Ace of Diamond comic book to introduce a lot of other characters like Silver Spyder, Bloodlust and Magnum," the comic creator told us. "Now I'm doing what I can to launch those characters on their own."

Knowles is a model who has graced the cover of many fitness magazines and an athletic competitor as well.

Although details about the casting are vague, initial plans call for Knowles to make in-costume appearances at conventions.

The comic creator, who has a background in televison, aims to follow that up with multi-media projects showcasing his characters. He's currently exploring plans for live-action episodes featuring Knowles as his web-slinging heroine that would initially be delivered on the Internet, and later collected on DVD.

Porzig also tells us that he's in conversation with various personalities and TV outlets for all of his characters.

"I definitely plan to do more comics. It's just a matter of when," Porzig tells us. The next issue of Ace of Diamonds will focus on Magnum. Following that is a Bloodlust story with art by Eddie Newell (Black Lightning).

All the characters are currently showcased on Porzig's website at Megababes.com. Look for more about Kristia Knowles and Silver Spyder right here on Comics2Film.

BLOODQUEST

Although the project has been very quiet in the past year, producer Simon Coombs told Comics2Film that work continues on the BloodQuest movie. The planned CG animated feature is based on the Warhammer 40,000 games and comics from Games Workshop.

Although the crew at Exile Films has been very open about the movie in past, launching a website where fans got an early look at computer models and designs, they've been more quiet recently. Coombs tells us they have been holding off with announcements until they had some specific news to report.

Coombs did reveal that there are currently several parties currently interested in providing financial backing for the animated feature. Should all negotiations complete successfully, there could be announcements in the coming months.

The producer also said that a major Hollywood director/producer has expressed interest in the project.

BloodQuest is an epic adventure set in a far-flung future which blends sci-fi and fantasy elements. Near-immortal, berserker Space Marines must battle ancient, evil forces over the fate of a world.

CRISIS

Comic creator Matt Busch tells readers of his e-mail newsletter that he's amped up efforts to pitch his illustrated screenplay, Crisis around Hollywood.

"I've just hired Erica Koltonow of Aural Pleasure Management and Dana Forrester of Heckler Entertainment to help me out," Busch said. "First step this year will be getting the right entertainment lawyer for the project."

Crisis tells the story of a modern-day hero cop of the Die Hard mold who finds his world turned upside down when a confrontation with a serial killer leaves him paraplegic. The cop must learn a whole new set of rules in order to bring his attacker to justice.

STRIPPERELLA

[Stripperella]Last month we reported that The Art of Ed Lee had posted some concept artwork for Stan Lee's new animated show Stripperella. However, interest from fans spiked traffic on that site and it experienced a temporary shutdown. Now, with the new year, the site is back up and running and the images are once again available for your perusal.

Stripperella was created for the TNN cable network by Stan Lee. It features Pamela Anderson, who voices and does motion capture for the main character, as well as providing live-action bookend sequences to each episode.

The 30 minute, animated Stripperella is set to debut on TNN some time next year.

SPIDER-MAN

A write-up in Variety details plans for the March 1st Sci-Tech Academy Awards. This is where the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences bestows kudos on technological achievements in filmmaking.

Of special interest to readers here is the news that Alias/Wavefront will accept one of the 13 awards. The software vendor's Maya product has been instrumental in the CGI/3-D animation movement.

Recently Maya was employed to bring Spider-Man to web-swinging, back-flipping, aerial acrobatic life. The software was also used in such eye-candy hits as Ice Age, Hollow Man and The Perfect Storm.

Alias will get one of three Oscar statuettes handed out on the 1st. The ceremony is slated to take place at the Beverly Wilshire.

In other news, Spider-Man may now be seen as an instrument of social change in South Africa.

Variety reports that the year's top comic film caused a stir when South Africa's Film & Publications Board assigned it an MA10 rating, forbidding youngster under the age of 10 from seeing it. Parents were irate that their children were bombarded with promos for toys and games but couldn't actually see the movie.

The board's public relations officer Ashraf Johaardien told the press that they are now launching a new classification to accommodate such parents. A "Mature Accompaniment" category has been tacked on to the MA10 and MA13 ratings, allowing children under 10 or 13 (respectively) to be admitted to movies if they are accompanied by an adult.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers will be the first movie released with the new classification.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES - ANIMATED SHOW

The previews for the animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles show just keep on coming at NinjaTurtles.com.

The site has now posted titles and brief synopses of first twenty four episodes of the new show. Check it out if you're not concerned about spoilers.

Also new on the site are downloadable videos of TV commercials for the new line of Turtle toys Playmates.

Head over to NinjaTurtles.com and click "New Stuff" on the site nav for easy access to both features.

SMALLVILLE

Superman fans are in for a special treat from The WB. Kryptonsite reports Christopher Reeve will guest star on Smallville during upcoming February sweeps.

In an upcoming issue, TV Guide reports Reeve will be playing a brilliant scientist who provides Tom Welling's Clark with "revelatory insight into his superhero destiny.'' According to Reuters, a spokesman for The WB has confirmed the report. The episode will also include a public service announcement for The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation.

In the TV Guide article, a Smallville insider is quoted as saying Reeve is a fan of the show and has told friends that Welling reminds him of a young Chris Reeve.

Kryptonsite has revealed the episode will be titled "Rosetta" and is tentatively scheduled to air on February 25. For more information, check out Kryptonsite or go here for the Reuters story.

ROAD TO PERDITION

A director nomination for Sam Mendes in Road To Perdition is just one of four nominations the comic-based feature garnered from the London Film Critics Circle according to today's Variety. The movie All or Nothing was the only film garnering more nominations with a total of five.

The movie itself topped the "Film of the Year" listing. Other nominees are Lantana, About Schmidt, Donnie Darko and Bowling for Columbine.

David Self also got a nod in the "Screenwriter" category. His gangster script is up against Nia Vardalos' screenplay for My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Andrew Bovell's work on Lantana.

In the "British Actor in a Supporting Role" category, Jude Law gets a nomination character for his portrayal of a rival assassin in Road. His competition is Kenneth Branagh for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Paul Bettany for A Beautiful Mind.

Mendes was nominated got the nod for "British Director" for his work helming Road. He faces Christopher Nolan for Insomnia and Mike Leigh for All or Nothing.

X-MEN 2

[X2 - Rogue]X-Fans looking for new downloads from the upcoming X-Men 2 can direct their web browsers to the official website. Upon arriving at the ever-mutating site fans will find themselves greeted by Anna Paquin, in full X-gear as Rogue.

Also new to the site is a Rogue wallpaper.

Thanks to John for the tip!

[Mazda RX-8]In other X2 news: director Bryan Singer was on hand Friday afternoon at the 2003 Greater Los Angeles Auto Show for a press preview of the new Mazda RX-8, which is featured in the film. The futuristic looking metallic blue sports coupe makes a cameo in the film, although fans won't be seeing it on the streets until 2004.

During the thirty minute show, Singer drove the car out from behind a curtain, and bantered with Charlie Hughes, president and chief executive officer of Mazda North American Operations. The whole production was staged in a 'movie theme' right down to theater style seating. The audience was then shown a short clip of the upcoming X-men sequel, highlighting the car, of course.

Singer also revealed he is quite the sports-car enthusiast during the after presentation interviews.

"It's great," Singer said. "It's very quick. It's weighted like a sports car," adding, "it shifts comfortably" and "the brakes are great."

For the complete article, including specs on RX-8 and some great pictures of Singer and the car, go here at Cars.com. Special thanks to The Comics Continuum for the lead.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, THE

Countingdown.com spoke with Pulitzer Prize Winning author and screenwriter Michael Chabon about his version of the Amazing Spider-Man script.

Chabon, excited about his take on the sequel to Spider-Man, explained that not everyone shared his excitement over the script. Chabon explans, "As far as I know it has now been handed, along with the two prior drafts (Gough-Millar and Koepp) to a well-known and well-regarded script doctor, Alvin Sargent, who is married to the film's producer, Laura Ziskin."

Check out Countingdown.com for the rest of the update.

MEN IN BLACK III

Hollywood can't resist a good sequel and even a lackluster retread like Men in Black II can get studio suits talking if the box office is big enough. Now TV Guide Online reports that Sony is interested in doing a Men in Black III.

"The studio wants one," franchise producer Walter Parkes told the Guide. "We're trying to figure out the auspices of it and what to do to freshen that franchise up a little bit."

While MiB2 has been consistently credited as one of the key contributors to Sony's record-setting year, Parkes admits that any sequel would have to go further creatively that this summer's installment did. "It was a heartbreaking thing," Parkes said. "There were many disagreements among the different principals, and what came out was not a movie worthy of the franchise."

At this point any sequel project can only be said to be in the talking stages. Neither franchise's leading men nor its director have committed to doing another one.

SPIDER-MAN ANIMATED???

Comic fans love it when Hollywood casts the right actor as their favorite superhero. So how does Woody Allen as the next Spider-Man grab you?

An article from this week's Variety tells us fans may see it this year on cable's AMC channel.

No, it's not some kind of weird spin-off from the Sony movie or the MTV animated show. Instead "Spider-Man" directed by and starring Woody Allen is part of a new stop-motion, animated TV show called The Wrong Coast.

The animated half-hour is part of the AMC channel's new line-up of shorter programming aimed at a younger audience. Other segments for The Wrong Coast are set to include a cop movie-cum-romantic comedy titled "When Dirty Harry Met Sally"; and "Snow White" as conceived by Quentin Tarantino (news).

The show debuts on AMC April 2.

DAREDEVIL

The Comics Continuum reports HBO will show a twenty-five minute special about the Daredevil movie called Daredevil: HBO First Look. The show will be similar to the First Look HBO did on Spider-Man last year.

Daredevil: HBO First Look will premiere on Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 10:35 pm. The program will also air on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 5:35 p.m.; Sunday, Feb. 9 at 3:40 a.m.; Monday, Feb. 10 at 8:30 a.m.; Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Thursday, Feb. 20 at 4 p.m. and 11:55 p.m.; Sunday, Feb. 23 at 11 a.m.; Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 6:30 a.m. HBO2 will show it on Friday, Feb. 14 at 11:30 a.m. and 11 p.m.; Sunday, Feb. 16 at 8:30 a.m.; Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, Feb. 27 at noon. HBO Zone will show it on Friday, Feb. 6 at 8:30 a.m.; Saturday, Feb. 7 at 5:35 a.m.; and Friday, Feb. 21 at 10:30 p.m.

THIS WEEK ON RIPLEY'S BELIEVE IT OR NOT

TBS Superstation's popular series Ripley's Believe It Or Not returns Wednesday night for the start of it's fourth season. Based on the long running comic-strip of the same name, the show features returning hosts Dean Cain (Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman) and field correspondent Kelly Packard (Baywatch).

The show airs exclusively on TBS Superstation Wednesdays at 9 p.m. (ET)/6 p.m. (PT).

This week fans can look forward to these amazing feats and natural oddities:

  • [Baby Shaq]Baby Shaq: Auri Allen of Nashville stands 6 feet, 8 inches tall and weighs more than 300 pounds, and he's only 12 years old. Now, he's ready to meet his hero, NBA star Shaquille O'Neal.

  • Conjoined Twin Sisters: Reba and Lori Shcappell are conjoined twins who are connected at the head. They have managed to live full lives and at the age of 42, Reba is pursuing a singing career. Lori was a hospital worker, but left her job to support her sister's passion for singing.

  • Cockroach Mouth: Kelly Packard goes on the road for the Ripley's Road Tour, where she discovers a man who stuffs cockroaches into his mouth. John LaMedica puts nine poisonous Madagascar cockroaches into his mouth to set a new world's record.

  • Speed Stacking: Speed stacking is a unique competition in which kids race to stack plastic cups in just seconds using 40 different motions. Fifteen-year-old Emily Fox holds the world record for speed stacking in less than 8 seconds.

  • Hair Hunger: A teenager chewed on her hair since she was a child, accumulating a mass in her stomach that weighed 3 1/4 pounds and had to be surgically removed.

  • Surfing Cat: Sweetie the cat surfs with her owners in Hawaii.

  • Bikini Cards: The latest trend in trading cards features models like Traci Bingham dressed in their favorite sports garb. Some cards have already risen in value to more than $15.

THIS WEEK ON JUSTICE LEAGUE

It's more Justice League reruns this month on Cartoon Network.

First up, Etrigan the Demon guest stars on a repeat airing of "A Knight of Shadows".

"A Knight of Shadows - Part 1" airs Saturday January 11th at 12pm. "Part 2" immediately follows at 12:30pm. Both episodes air again at 9:00pm the same night.

THIS WEEK ON SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH

The Bachelor host Chris Harrison and Drew Lachey from 98o Degrees guest-star in "Ping, Ping a Song," this week's episode of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch.

In order to write a behind-the-scenes article about a television talent show, Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart) recruits Roxie (Soleil Moon Frye) and Morgan (Elisa Donovan) to form a group and enter the competition. Sabrina's magic lozenges improve the girls' voices, but when they become finalists in the competition, they also become dangerous divas whose friendship is on the line. Asaad Kelada directed the episode written by Tod Himmel.

"Ping, Ping a Song" airs Friday, January 10th at 8:30pm on The WB.

Thanks to author and comic book movie journalist Andy Mangels for the info.

NEXT WEEK ON SMALLVILLE

In case you missed it Tuesday night, The WB is going to rebroadcast the Smallville episodes "Tempest/Vortex", in which wild weather causes problems for the Kents and all of Smallville.

As a massive tornado rumbles towards an unsuspecting Smallville, Clark (Tom Welling) is on the verge of discovering the first connection to where he came from when the missing piece of the spaceship is found and breathes life into the fallen craft. However, once the tempest hits, Clark rushes off to rescue Lana (Kristin Kreuk) and returns to discover that the spaceship has disappeared along with his father (John Schneider). Meanwhile, Lex (Michael Rosenbaum) makes a tough decision about Lionel (John Glover) and has a hard time dealing with the consequences. Rock band Remy Zero performs the "Smallville" theme song, their hit single "Save Me," in the episode at the high school formal. Sam Jones III and Annette O'Toole also star. Greg Beeman directed the episode with story written by Philip Levens and teleplay by Alfred Gough & Miles Millar.

"Tempest/Vortex" re-airs Sunday, January 12th at 5:00pm ET on The WB.

Then, in the show's regular timeslot, it's an all-new episode as Whitney returns to Smallville in "Visage."

As Whitney (Eric Johnson) returns home from the Marines looking to rekindle his relationship with Lana (Kristin Kreuk) but his suspicious behavior prompts Clark (Tom Welling) to question his true motives, ultimately revealing a shocking truth about "the new Whitney." Lex (Michael Rosenbaum) becomes suspicious of his new girlfriend (guest star Emmanuelle Vaugier) after he discovers a questionable photo of her with Lionel (John Glover). Allison Mack, Sam Jones III, Annette O'Toole and John Schneider also star. Bill Gereghity directed the episode written by Todd Slavkin & Darren Swimmer.

"Visage" airs Tuesday, January 14th at 8:00pm on The WB.

Thanks to author and comic book movie journalist Andy Mangels for the info.

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