– It has been a big week for Spider-Man news. Sony released a high resolution shot of Andrew Garfield in a Spider-Man costume for “SPIDER-MAN UNTITLED” (since the official title is still pending weeks into filming), which got the entire blogosphere in a flurry of debate (http://www.superherohype.com/news/articles/113727-first-shot-of-andrew-garfield-as-spider-man). Several websites have analyzed the costume as well as the actor; while he is without his mask, the material looks different from the costume using in the Sam Raimi trilogy, which is likely the point. It seems to lack a belt, but it also appears as if this may be a “battle damaged” suit (with claw marks that add to the evidence of Sony’s worst kept secret that the Lizard is the baddie this time around). The glove areas have been re-designed and with metallic parts that imply mechanical web-shooters as well. While Peter Parker had to invent his own web-fluid and mechanical shooters in the comics (both mainstream Marvel and to a degree in Ultimate Spider-Man), the Sam Raimi films went with them being an organic part of his power set (which the comics went with for several years). This time, mechanical web shooters won out, as Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy) revealed to MTV during the Golden Globes – “It’s a device” being her exact words (http://splashpage.mtv.com/2011/01/17/spider-man-costumes-web-shooters-emma-stone/). In the mainstream comics, Peter Parker invents the fluid and the mechanical shooters himself, while in the Ultimate comics, he stumbles upon his deceased father’s laboratory and notes and completes the formula to develop it. Since Parker’s parents have been cast in this film, the latter may be the take director Marc Webb is going for. The last time a live action Spider-Man utilized mechanical web-shooters, it was the 1977-1979 TV series on CBS that starred Nicholas Hammond. Fans of the organic webbing often claim that mechanical web-shooters either “complicate” Parker’s origin or mangle his status as an “every man” hero if he is smart enough to invent them from scratch from house hold materials, MacGyver style. This Examiner says that if a blind lawyer can invent his own walking “stick that transforms into a grappling hook” (Daredevil, whose gear is never explained in his film from Fox), then a teenage genius can invent web-fluid and wrist shooters. On Location Vactions also has a few snap shots of filming, which includes a blurry shot of a masked Spidey (whether Garfield or a stunt double is unknown) performing the very New York crime of jaywalking (http://www.onlocationvacations.com/2011/01/18/exclusive-fan-photo-of-spider-man-on-the-set-of-the-spider-man-reboot-in-l-a/). This re-opened the “mechanical vs. organic” web-shooter debate for the first time in nine years. In additional news, shots of Dennis Leary as Capt. George Stacy have also popped on line (http://www.superherohype.com/news/articles/113785-first-look-at-leary-on-the-spider-man-set).
Super Hero Hype also has an official press release from the much beleaguered “SPIDER-MAN: TURN OUT THE DARK” musical that it’s “official” opening has been pushed back for at least the fourth or hundreth time – this time to March 15th (http://www.superherohype.com/news/articles/113743-spider-man-turn-off-the-dark-postponed-again). The musical has been selling tickets for “preview performances”, i.e. rehearsals on steroids, since December – likely to recoup some of the $65 million that has been invested into the musical (which is $20-$35 million shy of what Sony desires to spend on their latest film). Despite the accidents and terrible reviews, the “preview performances” have sold well – likely due to the cursed allure of the program. This delay is to “to allow for more time to fine-tune aspects of the show, including the new ending” – i.e. “this show is rubbish and we want to get it to decent before our official premiere, but we’ll merrily take your money until then anyway, we just don’t want the acts to start counting until March.” No one has died performing it, yet.
– The pictures galore continue for “CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER”! Super Hero Hype has posted two high resolution pictures of Chris Evans in the suit, as well as another shot of Chris Hemsworth looking angry as the titular “THOR” (http://www.superherohype.com/news/articles/113883-hi-res-captain-america-and-thor-photos). The suit Cap wears in the film seems to be heavily inspired by his uniform from the Ultimates series, which was known from the concept art. The helmet at least gets around issues with wings and wears with the mask, and the shield looks quite cool. Sebastian Stan (who plays James “Bucky” Barnes) talks to MTV about the role (http://splashpage.mtv.com/2011/01/12/sebastian-stan-captain-america-casting-bucky-barnes/). He mentions how he and Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) in the film grow up together and have a “Band Of Brothers” type relationship with each other in battle and off of it. Once Steve becomes Captain America, the two are always trying to “one-up” each other, “since now Steve is the leader”. Images of the Red Skull Hallowe’en costume have hit the web, which has some trying to imagine what it will look like as Hugo Weaving (http://www.superherohype.com/news/articles/113900-red-skull-revealed-in-halloween-costume-form). On the hammer side of things, Anthony Hopkins (who plays Odin in “THOR”) spoke to Collider about it, stating that he didn’t read any comics and basically got used to playing a god while wearing a 20-30 pound costume on “a huge set” (http://collider.com/anthony-hopkins-interview-thor-360/69823/). Hopkins stated Shakespeare as an inspiration for his performance, which is natural for a classically trained actor.
– As if that wasn’t enough “news about pictures”, Fox has released their official cast picture for “X-MEN: FIRST CLASS” (http://www.comicbookresources.com/prev_img.php?disp=img&pid=1295382585); or rather, they released it earlier in the day and then asked Comic Book Resources to take their image down (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=30396). However, this Examiner has managed to save it, and it is in the slideshow. From left to right, it features Michael Fassbender as Erik “Magneto” Lensherr, Rose Byrne as Dr. Moira MacTaggert, January Jones as Emma “The White Queen” Frost, Jason Flemyng as Azazel, Nicholas Hoult as Hank “The Beast” McCoy, Lucas Till as Alex “Havok” Summers, Zoe Kravitz as Angel Salvadore, Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique and James McAvoy as Charles “Professor X” Xavier. It is being directed by Matthew Vaughan (“KICK-ASS”) and produced by Bryan Singer (director of the first two X-Men films). It is set in the 1960’s and is another prequel to 2000’s “X-MEN”. Not pictured is Edi Gathegi, who plays Darwin, who gave an interview to Access Hollywood (http://www.accesshollywood.com/dish-of-salt-at-2011-stuff-you-must-lounge-edi-gathegi-gets-pumped-for-x-men-first-class_video_1270116). This is shaping up to be a very strange movie that has all but thrown most of the comic lore away to play in the universe Bryan Singer created. One imagines that Havok and Angel Salvadore are there so that a Summers and an “Angel” are with the founding class. Azazel is Nightcrawler’s dad, circa Chuck Austen comics, and they probably want fans to remember “X-MEN 2” more than the third one. This is the X-Men film that Fox had to produce to keep the full license, and it is starting to look like it. Elsewhere, the next Wolverine film, “THE WOLVERINE”, has not begun filming yet and may or may not be in 3D (http://splashpage.mtv.com/2011/01/17/will-darren-aronofsky-shoot-the-wolverine-in-3-d/). Some may want to see Hugh Jackman without a shirt in 3D, but not this Examiner.
– Apparently, the “ANT-MAN” movie is starting to inch forward again, according to the 24 Frames blog of the L.A. Times (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/movies/2011/01/ant-man-edgar-wright-cornish-marvel.html). Edgar Wright, who directed “SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD” and is writing “THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN: SECRET OF THE UNICORN” has restarted work on his script for the Ant-Man film for the first time in two years. Wright was originally approached by Marvel to helm a script about the size-altering Avenger since 2006, and Wright recently met with Kevin Feige, who is the head of Marvel Studios’ production, about the film. Because “ANT-MAN” isn’t considered a “summer tent pole” franchise like Iron Man or Thor are, there is more leeway to be “more offbeat”. Also working on the script is Joe Cornish, who is working with Wright on Tintin. This would seem to put to rest the idea that Ant-Man would appear in “THE AVENGERS” in 2012 beyond a name given in a throwaway line of dialogue. While the Wasp has often been attached to Ant-Man (in the comics she started out as his crime fighting partner and founded the Avengers with him), her status is still unknown. In the past Wright has described his intentions for the film as not being an outright comedy, but having humorous elements. In a boost for bug-themed heroes, “THE GREEN HORNET” topped the box office in it’s debut weekend with $40 million earned. While it seems odd to introduce the Avengers without Hank Pym, in the comic books he did have a career as a quirky crime-fighter who fought amazingly banal costumed criminals (with Egghead being the only one who stuck around) both solo and alongside the Wasp before their Avengers tenure. Some have criticized Marvel Studios’ films as becoming too corporate and connected, so at the very least “ANT-MAN” is a stab at something original. If it ever materializes after hovering around for five years now, is anyone’s guess. If it bombs, Marvel Studios will likely wish they decided to let a whim of 2006 go and have included him in “THE AVENGERS”. At any rate, a film that features a character who has not sold a comic on his own in over 40 years is quite “offbeat” as it is.
– In actual comic news, Marvel will be relaunching THOR in April as MIGHTY THOR, with a fresh number one. Writer Matt Fraction will continue on the book, and artist Oliver Coipel returns for regular art on the title (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=30376). He worked with J. Michael Straczynski when he relaunched the title in 2007, but was often unable to be timely on monthly chores. One shouldn’t expect sales to spike more than one or two months. Comic Book Resources also has exclusive Mark Bagley artwork for the “Death Of Spider-Man” story in ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN that is coming (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=30378). April will also be a big month for writer Kieron Gillen; he will relaunch JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=30375) as well as take over solo writing chores on UNCANNY X-MEN (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=30381).
Last Week’s Marvel News: http://glowbass.com/comic-books-in-new-york/marvel-news-for-1-11-11-new-eic-more-movies-skaar-goes-savage-and-more
This Week’s DC News: http://glowbass.com/comic-books-in-new-york/dc-comics-news-for-1-17-11-bat-gal-casting-all-star-superman-wonder-woman
This Week’s Indie News: http://glowbass.com/comic-books-in-new-york/indie-comic-news-for-1-17-11-archie-goes-more-digital-judge-dredd-spawn