Ash, Trouble, Garfield, Hulk and History: Comics2Film wrap for May 29, 2003

Thu, May 29th, 2003 at 12:00am PDT

TV/Film
Rob Worley, Columnist

ASH

Progress

continues on the newly ignited development effort on Joe Quesada and Jimmy

Palmiotti's "Ash." In March Comics2Film/CBR News was able to exclusively

report that newcomer Todd Galicano had been hired to pen a brand new script

for the movie.

A source at Mad Chance, the production house behind the

feature film development, now tells us that Galicano has completed a script for

the film that the producers there like.

The next step is to find a studio home

for it. Although the movie had long been in development as an animated feature

for DreamWorks, our source tells us that that is no longer the case, although

many studios are circling the super-hero meets fire-fighter concept.

"We're very enthusiastic and

we're going to set it up. We're confident we'll find a home for it

shortly," Mad Chance said. "There's been

plenty of interest in it."

The latest plans are now focusing on the

project as a live-action movie, rather than animation.

TROUBLE

The all-seeing eye of Rich Johnston has spied a movie deal Mark Millar and

Terry Dodson's upcoming Marvel/Epic book "Trouble."

In

Tuesday's Lying

in the Gutters column, Johnston reports that the romance book has been

optioned by MGM. Johnston designates a green light the rumor, meaning, "you

can bet your life" on its accuracy.

Johnston also mentions "another more bizarre option is also in

the works."

GARFIELD

Several readers pointed out that we'd missed an interesting factoid in our

report that Bill Murray would provide the voice for the CGI star of the

upcoming "Garfield" movie.

Fans will recall that the late Lorenzo Music (who first became famous as the

voice of Carlton the doorman waaaay back on the "Rhoda" TV show) was

the voice of "Garfield" in the original animated shows, starting in

1982 and continuing until 1991.

Music became a staple actor on animated shows and also landed a gig on

"The Real Ghostbusters" which was based on the

"Ghostbusters" movies. And what character did he play on that program?

None other than Peter Venkman, the role originated on the big screen by Bill

Murray.

So, the circle completes itself.

Thanks to John and The Xenos for sending that bit of info in.

HULK

The "Hulk" movie is another month away, but fans can start hulking

out now on their game console of choice. Vivendi Universal has announced that

they've shipped the movie-based "Hulk" video game for PC, Sony

PlayStation 2, Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo GameCube and Nintendo Game Boy Advance (GBA).

The console versions of the game are rated "Teen" (with a

descriptor for violence) by the ESRB.

The PC version carries a $29.99 price tag while the others go for $49.99.

The new game features a story line set after events depicted in the film,

following troubled scientist Bruce Banner and his enraged alter ego, The Hulk

through a smashing action-adventure, where everything you see can be destroyed,

and everything you destroy can be a weapon. Players can master two types of

gameplay as either Bruce Banner or The Hulk as they battle lead characters from

the film, familiar villains from the Marvel Universe and new enemies created

specifically for the game. With his superhuman power fueled by rage, The Hulk

can smash through any physical obstacle and annihilate his foes with over 45

devastating attacks.

VU Games and Universal Pictures also created an integrated content program

designed to reward fans who experience both the film and the game. Through the

employment of "codes," special movie and game content can be unlocked

with a series of passwords related to the film's plot or characters. Clues to

help identify these codes will be revealed through the gaming website IGN.com

beginning June 16th through the film's opening date on June 20th.

The GBA version is rated "E" by the ESRB

and carries a suggested price of $29.99. Played from an isometric perspective,

players must guide the Hulk through six destructible worlds including military

compounds, barren deserts, subterranean cities, underground caves, and earth's

distant future. Throughout the game's 33 levels and 30 hours of gameplay, gamers

will have to unravel complex puzzles and smash their way through the game's

fully destructible environments as well as hoards of soldiers, tanks,

helicopters, jets, cyber-warriors, robots and super-villains that stand in their

way. Additionally, would-be Hulksters can enter a "Hulkmatch" with up

to four other players and battle for supremacy via a link cable.

COMIC BOOK SUPERHEROES UNMASKED

From a "History Channel" press release:

Superman.

Batman. Spider-Man. The Hulk. The X-Men. For much of the past century, comic

book superheroes have captured the imaginations of readers around the globe.

They are often dismissed by adults as "kid's stuff," but a look

beneath the cowls, capes, and brightly colored spandex costumes reveals another

story. Comic book superheroes reflect the best and worst of humanity, tackling

personal, political, and social stories in a way that no other medium can.

Hosted by Shane West, star of the upcoming Twentieth Century Fox feature film

"The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," COMIC BOOK SUPERHEROES

UNMASKED debuts on The History Channel on Monday, June 23 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.

COMIC BOOK SUPERHEROES UNMASKED was granted unprecedented access to comic

books published by DC and Marvel Comics from the late 1930's to the present.

Featured are interviews with many of the most influential comic book writers and

artists of the past fifty years, including Stan Lee, Will Eisner, Denny O'Neil,

Michael Chabon, Jim Steranko, Kevin Smith, Frank Miller, Neil Gaiman, and Joe

Quesada. The program was designed to bring visual depth, energy and movement to

classic comic book images while still preserving the integrity of the artwork.

In 1938, the first and greatest superhero of them all-Superman-leaped from

the pages of Action Comics #1 and into the imaginations of a generation. Jerry

Siegel and Joe Shuster, two young Jewish boys from Cleveland, sold their first

Superman story, and all rights to the character, to DC Comics for $130, never

realizing that they were launching the Golden Age of Comics. Superman's exploits

sold nearly one million copies every month, leading DC Comics to launch the

tales of another costumed hero-Batman. After Batman became another huge success,

other heroes quickly followed-The Spirit, Hawkman, Wonder Woman, The Flash,

Green Lantern, The Sub-Mariner, The Human Torch, Green Arrow, Captain Marvel,

and more.

The superheroes of the 1930's emerged from a background of New Deal politics

and The Great Depression. They were strong authority figures who, unlike the

previous pulp heroes, lived in our world. By the 1940's, these superheroes would

go to war with Germany. Long before America entered World War II, Superman was

seen defeating Nazis and Captain America was seen punching out Adolf Hitler.

During World War II, comic book sales more than doubled. But when the war was

over, superheroes faced an even more imposing threat-the United States Senate.

During the 1950's, superheroes almost completely vanished. They were so

closely tied to the New Deal and World War II that most superheroes couldn't

survive the end of those events. Readers were now reading teen comedies,

westerns, and horror comics. Those few superheroes who did survive soon faced

the wrath of Dr. Frederick Wertham. Wertham, a psychiatrist from New York's

Bellevue Hospital, became convinced that comic books and superheroes in

particular, were destroying the minds of children. His 1954 book Seduction of

the Innocent, claimed that Superman allowed children to experience

"fantasies of sadistic joy," Batman and Robin inspired homosexual

thoughts, and Wonder Woman was "the exact opposite of what girls are

supposed to be." Wertham's campaign lead to burnings of comic books, a

massive decline in sales, international bans on American comics, and a Senate

hearing.

Though Wertham did not succeed in wiping out comic books altogether, they

were now published under a censorship code that reduced their content to grade

school level issues. Comic books, which had been popular with adults, were now

solely written for young children. It wasn't until the 1960's that comic books

would begin to recover. A new generation of readers who were growing up

questioning authority found new heroes like The Hulk, Spider-Man, The Fantastic

Four, The Avengers, and the X-Men, all of which were created or co-created by

Stan Lee. These heroes were appearing on the pages of Marvel Comics, a company

that by the end of the decade was selling 55 million comics a year and had

surpassed DC to become the biggest publisher of superhero comic books. These

heroes were dealing with contemporary concerns about atomic energy, racial

tensions, and war.

By the 1980's, America was facing a rising crime rate, economic downturn, and

a feeling of helplessness. Goody-goody superheroes no longer seemed relevant,

and a new breed of tough anti-heroes emerged. Daredevil, Wolverine, the

Punisher, and the Watchmen became the new standard. In this "grim and

gritty" era, old characters were given new problems. Child abuse was

revealed as the source of The Hulk's anger. Batman was re-imagined as a darker

and more violent vigilante and even had to cope with the murder of his sidekick,

Robin.

Over the next decade, comics continued to develop. Critically acclaimed

comics like Sandman by Neil Gaiman exemplified that the majority of comic book

readers were sophisticated and wanted adult stories. Comics now frequently dealt

openly with political, social, and sexual issues. Yet, despite this growth, the

comic book industry nearly collapsed. Speculators saw comic books as an

investment and drove the market until the bottom fell out. When it did, the

entire industry was nearly ruined. Marvel Comics filed for bankruptcy and

thousands of comic book stores were closed.

In the 21st century, superheroes have gained new popularity. Television and

film studios are gobbling up superheroes and turning them into big screen stars.

On the comic book page, superheroes are finding a renewed relevance to modern

life. Comic books are once again a place to explore the best and worst of

humanity.

Executive Producer for The History Channel is Susan Werbe. COMIC BOOK

SUPERHEROES UNMASKED is produced for The History Channel by Triage

Entertainment.

SHAMELESS PLUG

In case you missed it,

check out this

interview at CBR regarding C2F's own Rob Worley and the Marvel/Epic comic

he's working on with Andy Kuhn and Bill Crabtree!

PUNISHER CONTEST

Last

week Artisan shipped the teaser poster for next summer's "The

Punisher" to movie theaters everywhere. The artwork got a good reaction

from fans, with it's menacing skull and black and red color scheme.

Now Artisan has provided Comics2Film with a copy of the one-sheet to pass on

to you members of the Punisher posse.

Just fill out the simple entry form on Comics2Film.com

for your chance to win!

CBR News

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