Archive for the Superman Category

Superman Week 2013: William Kotzwinkle’s Superman III novelization (1983)

Posted in books, movies, pop culture, Superman with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2013 by Paxton

Superman Week
It’s Day 3 of Superman Week.  I convinced CT over at Nerd Lunch and Robert over at To The Escape Hatch to join along.  So leap in a single bound over to those wonderful blogs and see what Superman content they are offering up this week.

For Superman Week in 2006 (“celebrating” Superman Returns), I reviewed all of the Christopher Reeve Superman movies. So, for the release of this new Superman movie, I thought I’d go back and read the novelizations to two of those same movies. There weren’t novelizations of the first two Reeve Superman movies most likely due to a clause in screenwriter Mario Puzo’s contract that forbade anyone other than him from writing the novelizations. But for whatever reason, Puzo never got around to writing the books.  So Warner Books only released novelizations for the second two movies.  I looked forward to reading these novelizations because I love the two Superman sequels in a retarded sort of way and I wanted to see if there was any more awesomely insane weirdness in the books.

So, today, let’s take a look at the novelization to Superman III.

Written by William Kotzwinkle, the guy who also wrote the ET novelization.  The overall structure of the movie story is intact in the novelization.  The biggest difference with the book is that Kotzwinkle adds a sh*t ton of internal dialogue by nearly every character, but mostly Superman/Clark and Gus Gorman (Richard Pryor).  Many of the internal monologues are weird and in the case of Superman/Clark, completely against character.  A lot of Clark’s internalized conversations are him saying how he could fly someone he doesn’t like to the moon and leave them there.  You know, stuff like, “If only you knew I was Superman…” or “If I could, I would <fill in the blank with some super powered vengeance>”.  I’m fairly certain these are supposed to setup the evil Superman later in the book, but I wasn’t buying it.  It was against everything you think about Clark and Superman.

And as for Gus Gorman.  Ugh.  I didn’t really like Pryor’s character in the movie.  Pryor did good with what he was given, but the character was dumb.  This guy who can’t hold a steady job discovers that he’s some idiot savant when it comes to “computers”.  What?  And it’s even worse in the book.  It’s made more clear in the novel that Gus literally has no idea what he’s doing or how he’s doing it.  It’s like all of his computer skills are some sort of super power he can only barely control.  Pryor makes the character somewhat likeable, but you don’t have that luxury in the novel.  And it’s painfully clear that Pryor ad-libbed many of his lines in the movie because in the book, the dialogue for Gus might be some of the worst written crap I’ve ever read.  Filled with weird late 70s-early 80s colloquialisms that make no sense.  Pryor must have agreed because in the movie, he gets the same information across but in a better way.

As for the villains, the characters of Ross and Vera Webster and Lorelei aren’t much better in this novel than they were in the movie.  Their back stories are fleshed out a little.  We get that Vera is fiercely protective of her brother and craves his approval in everything she does.  There are even a few flashbacks to their childhood.  Lorelei, is still mostly one dimensional.  A poor man’s Miss Tessmacher.  She’s pretty and the book expands a bit more on the fact that Lorelei is actually smarter than everyone thinks she is.  But it’s honestly to no further end.

Unfortunately, there’s no extra story to the evil Superman stuff.  I was hoping we’d get more scenes, but we really don’t.  Although, the book does say that Superman’s suit turns fully black and his eyes glow green.  THAT is pretty awesome and I wish the movie would have taken it the whole way.

evil_superman_superfriends
I’m Superman. BITCHES.

The book’s climax is essentially the same.  Not really much to add.  No further explanation about how Gus came up with the Super Computer idea.  It’s essentially taken from drawings on napkins to fully realized in the cave.  Who developed the AI software the computer runs on?  Gus?  He acts like he’d never seen the computer before when he walks into the cave after riding the donkey down the mountain.  Don’t you think he would have supervised the entire construction?  When the computer shoots the “correct” Kryptonite ray at Supes, how does the computer synthesize the .052% of unknown in the chemical makeup?  It’s UNKNOWN to humans.  Stuff like this needed a better explanation.

I was very disappointed with this book.  I love movie novelizations and it’s rare that I don’t actually enjoy one.  Especially if I like the movie.  I didn’t like this and I can’t recommend it.

If you want a peak into the Superman III movie that could have been, take a glance at this unused Ilya Salkind story treatment.  Prepare for appearances by Supergirl, Brainiac and Mr Mxzyptlk.  It’s weird, but I think it could have been spectacular.

Superman Week 2013: Nerd Lunch Episode 90: Superman retrospective

Posted in comic books, movies, podcast, pop culture, Superman with tags , , , , on June 18, 2013 by Paxton

Superman Week

Welcome to Episode 90 of the Nerd Lunch Podcast.  Since this week is Superman Week, CT and I recruit Michael May and Thom Holbrook to take the place of a missing Jeeg and join us for a lively discussion about Superman during his 75th anniversary.

Superman 75 years

We talk about our first exposure to the Man of Steel, we talk about our favorite incarnations and we even cast a dream list of Superman actors. So leap iTunes in a single bound and join us for the discussion.

Download this episode from iTunes or listen to it on Feedburner.

Or listen to it online right here.

Superman Week 2013: The Superman the Movie magazine (1979)

Posted in comic books, movies, Superman with tags , , , , , , , on June 17, 2013 by Paxton

Superman Week

So the new Superman movie, Man of Steel, made it’s theatrical debut on Friday.  To celebrate, I thought it would be fun to do another Superman Week.  I convinced CT over at Nerd Lunch and Robert over at To The Escape Hatch to join along.  So leap in a single bound over to those wonderful blogs and see what Superman content they are offering up this week.

As for me, today I’m going to start off this year’s Superman Week with a look at the special souvenir magazine DC released for Superman the Movie.

This particular magazine was released by DC in tabloid size, so the thing is gi-normous.  It’s too big for my scanner, in fact.  So I had to take some pics with my camera and I’ll just have to show you those. Click any of the images to see them BIGGER on Flickr.

Superman the Movie magazine cover Supes Movie Mag inside cover

These are the front and inside covers of the magazine. Nice, glossy pages. I especially like the photo montage on the inside cover with the movie-stylized “S” in the middle.  It helps that there’s an awesome pic of the bikini-clad Valerie Perrine in the montage.

Jor-El and Kal-El

Here’s a nice pic of Marlon Brando as Jor-El. What this magazine does well is to provide information from the movie and then provide information from the comic to compare it to. It even includes artwork from the comics.  This particular section is talking about Krypton and comparing the different versions from the movie and the comic books.

Kryptonian judges

In the Krypton section we get some more info on the three Kryptonian Judges who sentence Zod to the Phantom Zone. We also see a pic of a deleted scene involving the three judges dispatching a Kryptonian “executioner” to stop Jor-El from launching the rocket with his son (bottom of page).  Here’s a closer look at that oddly dressed “executioner”.

Kryptonian Executioner

Just before filming began on the movie, DC Comics had a contest called The Great Superman Movie Contest. DC asked kids to spell out words by cutting out letters from their comics (yes, they were encouraging kids to DESTROY THEIR COMICS…it was the 70s). Two winners got a cameo in the movie. The ad for the contest appeared in DC comics in 1977. This is what one of the ads looked like.

Great Superman Movie Contest

Below is a page in the movie magazine that shows pictures of Christopher Reeve and the then-president of DC Comics sorting through contest entries trying to pick the winners. The eventual winners are shown in the bottom picture looking at an issue of Superman.  The two boys would cameo in the Smallville football scene with the teenage Clark Kent.

Great Superman Movie Contest

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Nerd Lunch Episode 52: Strategic Plan for the future of DC Comics’ movie franchises

Posted in Batman, comic books, movies, podcast, Superman, The Flash with tags , , , , , , , on September 12, 2012 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

This week on the podcast we are joined by William Bruce West, a fellow pop culture blogger.  Our discussion? We finally talk about DC Comics and the current situation they are in with their movies.

DC/Warner Bros movies
(Via The Playlist)

We talk about what they’ve done right and what they’ve done wrong. We talk about why we think nearly every one of DC’s major comic character movies suck (besides Batman). We discuss weaknesses and opportunities. We discuss what we want to see out of them moving forward. Essentially we’ve come up with a strategic plan for Warner Bros/DC for moving forward with movie adaptations their comic book franchises. I think we pretty much figured it out.

See how by downloading this episode from iTunes or on Feedburner.

Or just listen to the show from within your browser by clicking here.

8 Comic covers right before/after a famous first appearance

Posted in Batman, comic books, pop culture, Superman, The Flash with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2012 by Paxton

Cavalcade Comics

First appearances of famous comic book heroes/villains are highly sought after in the comic book world.  Who wouldn’t love an Action Comics #1 or a Detective Comics #27?  But what about Action Comics #2?  Or Detective Comics #26?   Are anyone seeking these titles out?

To me, it’s fascinating to look at very famous comic titles before or after they’ve debuted a very famous character.  They may not look like even the same title.  It’s weird to see an issue of Detective Comics with Slam Bradley or the Crimson Avenger on the front and not Batman.  You feel like you’re in the Fringe universe.  Let’s check out some of these fun comic covers and you can see how strange and foreign they look to you.

Action Comics #1Action Comics #2
Action Comics #2Action Comics is probably one of the most iconic titles of all time. Who doesn’t know that Superman debuted in issue #1 of Action Comics (left) in 1938? Well, interestingly enough, Action Comics was originally meant to be an anthology adventure comic with several other adventure characters. So even though Action Comics is now strictly a Superman title, back then, Supes was just one of the featured characters. Therefore, issue #2 (right) didn’t feature Superman on the cover at all. Issue #3 didn’t feature Superman either.  As a matter of fact, Superman wouldn’t make another Action Comics cover appearance until issue #7 (SIX MONTHS later).

Detective Comics #26Detective Comics #27Detective Comics #28
Detective Comics #26  and #28 – Detective Comics is as intimately associated with Batman as Action Comics is with Superman.  However, Batman didn’t debut until issue #27 (middle), so there were 26 issues of Detective without Batman on the cover or in the book.  As you can see, in the issues before (#26, left) and after (#28, right) Batman you get standard covers of police officers and gangsters that you would normally appear on crime comics of this time.  While Batman would return to the cover for issue #29, he would be absent again for issue #30.

All-Star Comics #2All-Star Comics #3All-Star Comics #8
All-Star Comics #3 and #8All-Star Comics is a very famous Golden Age title. It features the first appearance of The Justice Society of America in issue #3 (middle) which is the first team-up of super-heroes into a single team in history. In issue #2 (left), you can see they still feature the heroes on the cover, but not collected together as one team as designated by issue #3’s giant round table with the team name embossed on the top.  All-Star Comics #8 (right) is an interesting issue also.  You wouldn’t know it by the cover, but that issue is the first appearance of Wonder Woman in an 8 page insert that was used to test the interest of Wonder Woman as a hero.  Wonder Woman would join the Justice Society in issue #11…as their secretary (but she would make the cover!). She would prove popular enough to headline her own book, Sensation Comics, a year later.

Showcase #3Showcase #4Showcase #5
Showcase #3 and #5 – The debut of The Flash in Showcase #4 (middle) was one of the defining moments of the Silver Age. Showcase was a tryout book by DC to determine who would get their own series. As you can see, the issue before The Flash debuted (#4, middle) featured a story about deep sea divers called The Frogmen (#3, left). And even though The Flash was a huge hit, he wouldn’t appear in Showcase #5 which featured Manhunters (#5, right). The Flash would reappear on the cover for Showcase #8. The Hal Jordan Green Lantern would debut in Showcase #22.

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