Trashwire friend Brad Faye created One Nation: Out of Darkness to break the comic book hero mold. Brad wrote this guest piece for Trashwire to give us a glimpse behind the scenes at the making of this original, unique series, and to explain why a comic with a Muslim heroine was so important. Continue reading
When I first heard My Chemical Romance‘s debut album I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love I heard stories of star crossed lovers, fighting to survive, running from a punk rock, horror collage of pain, anguish, tragedy, and vampires. I could close my eyes and see the moving pictures as they burned and embedded their imagery onto my heart and soul forever. Leaving an impact on my style, my life, my thoughts, and my own art.
As My Chemical Romance continued to tour, shoot videos, and record albums, it was easy to see that this was a band that would forever be changing not only musically, but stylistically as well. Unafraid to trudge forward in a constant evolution of themselves as musicians. It was as though they had a scattered, schizophrenic of a mad scientist behind their look and productions. As varied as each chapter of their journey was, there remained a strong constant. That Gerard Way was far beyond a simplistic lyricist, he was a storyteller. Within the shuffle of each different theme he sang about, there was always a core message within that was about facing reality, no matter how scary or daunting it may appear, to be brave, to heroically fight the good fight, even if it meant certain doom. That was what I had needed at the beginning of my post-high-school life, and it was also an affirming reminder to continue on every time I wanted to give up.
As I read the first issue of The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys I saw that same message coming through the pages of the comic book, the message of never giving up. Killjoys takes place in a dystopian future that feels like a welcomed collision of the world of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, smashing into David Bowie’s Diamond Dog album—you’re damn right there’s going to be sparks, darling! The story line picks up several years after the death of the original killjoys, with the girl that they died saving fending for herself. The story is fast paced, and has multiple layers. From the poignant view point of its main character, to the self obsessed and crazy vigilantes, as well as the underlying political and world views, the Killjoys comic book appears to be a rambunctious thrill ride with a message. The timing of it coincides perfectly with the recent news of how the NSA has access to every text we’ve ever sent, each email, any phone call we’ve made, all out there for them to view, just simply aftermath ashes of the previous passing of the Patriotic Act several years ago. Big brother is alive and well, not to mention the obvious corporate corruption that has and seemingly always will exist. Thus, making the fictional world of the killjoys seemingly all too real and familiar. With multiple aspects that perfectly add additional elements to the characters, the theme, and the underlying tone.
Splashed across the pages, the artwork of Becky Cloonan creates multiple dimensions that allow the reader to not just glance at a comic as they turn pages, but to feel completely immersed within it. Her artistry for Killjoys is a brilliant compromise of their colorful, futuristic world, while also feeling like a familiar canvas of early 90’s titles such as Superman, Batman, and the X-Men. She is not only an extremely talented artist, but what makes her incredibly unique in my eyes is her ability to be so incredibly diverse in her projects. Her previous work in Wolves was definitely moving, but resided in a realm that was fittingly dreary, dark, and several touches more true to life. Where her artwork in Killjoys is visually stunning, with futuristic colors popping off the pages in a world that is seemingly nearly anime, with an almost throwback vintage touch.
“This morning, before the mask hides your eyes and last nights blood dries, before the bodies at the roadside rise, send your thoughts to the sky in hopes that their memories weren’t taken along with their lives.”
Another line of poetic salvation from within Killjoys which could have just as easily have been song lyrics from an MCR song. Gerard and co-writer Shaun Simon seemingly have the innate ability to seamlessly interject Gerard’s lyrical magic within elements of the comic, without distracting but rather uplifting the characters and their world to another level entirely. The timing of this comic book series couldn’t be more perfect. It has a message that is fitting for both the younger generation coming into this new post 9/11 world of fear and corruption, as they wonder how they carve their own niche and hopefully find a way to salvage the mess they’ve been left. It also relays a reminder to never give up, for those of us on the outskirts of society, the outcasts and renegades from the previous generation who could easily become apathetic, become part of the system, finding a comfort in the old adage that ignorance is bliss. But we won’t. Because Killjoys never die!
“Dreams. Visions. Suicide Missions. Anniversaries are lies if we forget why the confetti flies.”
Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy has the best qualities of comic book adaptations. After a shaky cinematic history, Gotham’s Dark Knight finally gets the respect he deserves with Nolan’s three films: Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and the final installment, The Dark Knight Rises. Fans are given a fitting farewell in this final film, which ties up loose ends and provides a natural conclusion for our winged hero.
The Dark Knight Rises finds Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) as an eccentric recluse at his sprawling mansion. No one has seen him in years and he’s become an outcast from high society. His only contact with the outside world comes via Alfred (Michael Caine), who has grown concerned with Bruce’s mental state.
Bruce emerges from his self-imposed exile when he encounters Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) who slips into his house disguised as a maid and makes off with a set of his mother’s pearls and a very valuable copy of his fingerprints. But why would someone want Bruce Wayne’s finger prints? Possibly for an elaborate scheme involving stock trading, weapons technology and the complete breakdown of Gotham civilization.
This is where we meet our villain, Bane (Tom Hardy), the meanest respirator-wearing bad guy this side of the Death Star. Bane stands for chaos, for torture, for suffering, for all the things that Batman fought against. It is this evil leader who spurs Bruce into dawning the cape once again and setting out to save the city with the help of Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) and a righteous, dedicated cadet named John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt).
They learn that the target is Wayne Enterprises’ new energy project, which happens to involve a nuclear reactor with enough power to level the city, should it fall into the wrong hands. Thankfully, Bruce has Fox (Morgan Freeman) and Miranda (Marion Cotillard) to help him keep the project under control, but there’s no stopping the disastrous chain of events set in motion in the first few minutes of the film.
I’ll avoid any spoilers, but suffice to say that fans of the series will be delighted to see the twists and turns, back stories, flashbacks and appearances from past villains like Cillian Murphy and Liam Neeson that pay off the cinematic greatness established in the previous two films. Understandably, there is no pay off for the Joker, but we can’t help but long for a quick clip, a deleted scene, even a photograph of the late great Heath Ledger in the iconic role.
Legends like Caine, Oldman and Freeman turn out stellar performances in every scene and Hathaway, Gordon-Levitt and Cotillard fire on all cylinders as well. Bale brings us the morose loneliness of Bruce Wayne without going emo and gives us a hero that kicks serious ass, even with that exaggerated, growly voice.
Nolan’s trilogy proves that a superhero adaptation can be treated as a serious film, not just a fun explosion fest. He’s made Batman the respectable cinematic superhero, the one that film students and comic book fans can both appreciate. I pity whatever studio tries to license the franchise in the future because it would be pretty damn hard for any Batman film to compare to one of Nolan’s masterpieces.
Back in 2004, I wrote a Trashwire review of Spider-Man 2 under the pen name Dicky Cockerson At the time, Spider-Man 2 was the best Marvel movie to date, surpassing X2. Although Christopher Nolan‘s Batman trilogy is easily the best comic book adaptation in general, but when it came to Marvel movies, the Spider-Man movies were the best of the lot. Now director Marc Webb and stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone bring us a new version of the comic book hero in IMAX 3D with some incredible POV shots and performances from the leads. The Amazing Spider-Man succeeds in washing out the horrible taste of Spider-Man 3, leaving fans hopeful that future installments can do what Sam Raimi‘s first two films did for the Spidey saga. Continue reading
No matter if you have attended San Diego Comic-Con or not, the impact of this mega convention has probably affected your life. Author Rob Salkowitz explains how so much of mainstream entertainment has seen the light of day thanks to the fans in attendance at the San Diego Comic-Con. Continue reading
What do you get when you combine Hollywood’s most profitable superheroes in one film? You get action, effects, humor and fun. In other words, you get The Avengers.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, or movies based on comic books are so not your thing, The Avengers are a team of heroes from various comic books who have been brought together by S.H.I.E.L.D., a secret military law enforcement agency, on a mission to save the world.
Perhaps the most overused word when describing fans is “passionate”, but that is the best way to describe all those who attend the behemoth convention that is Comic-Con.
Morgan Spurlock has taken on the task of telling the story of Comic-Con 2010 in the documentary Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope–not an easy feat due to the plethora of characters that attend this convention. Comic-Con is a unique experience for everyone who attends, but Spurlock chooses to zero in on a few specific characters: The Geek, The Designer, The Soldier, The Survivor, The Collector and The Lovers. The film takes these characters from Comic-Con prep time in their hometowns to Comic-Con go time on the convention floor and anyone who has attended can find a piece of their experience in these characters. Continue reading
It’s not every day we get to be excited for a new comic book movie like Green Lantern. No, we only get that excitement once every couple of months when Hollywood decides to churn out a new CGI-filled comic book adaptation. With a cast of Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, and Peter Sarsgaard with Martin Campbell (Casino Royale, Edge of Darkness) at the helm, the film had fans excited. However, somewhere along the line, something went wrong with Green Lantern. Continue reading
When I first saw the 2010 remake of Clash of the Titans, I was sure it was a comedy. The ridiculous accents, the over-the-top action, the beards, all of it felt intentionally bad. Unfortunately, it seems like the filmmakers didn’t realize what a bad movie they had made. Thor is an entirely different story, an action-packed comic book movie that doesn’t make the critical error of taking itself too seriously. Continue reading
When you think of a comic book hero, the first name that pops into your head probably isn’t Seth Rogen. In fact, many things about The Green Hornet aren’t exactly conventional. The script was penned by Rogen and pal Evan Goldberg, who also wrote Superbad, and directed by Michel Gondry of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind fame. This unconventional team is exactly what makes this film feel new and different from the Iron Man explosion fests of the world. Continue reading