The ancient nerd-forum topic of which actors should play our favorite heroes seems to be re-energized now that Christopher Nolan’ s Batman series has wrapped up.
His producer credit on Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, and the Nightwing/Robin/Batman Jr tease of The Dark Knight Rises, and the success of the laboriously hyped Avengers movie has convinced fanboys that a Justice League movie could finally happen.
Let me tell you: I have many thoughts on this subject.
Spoiler Warning: I think they should make an Alex Ross style old-man Superman movie and my casting selections are down below this wall of text arguing in favor of it.
In my moderately-informed opinion, the easiest way to distinguish DC Comics (redundant!) and Marvel Comics from each other is similar to the way Bernardo Bertolucci once qualified Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. He said you love Buster when you are younger, and you grow to prefer Charlie when you are older. (This came from an interview in Premiere magazine I read when he was releasing The Dreamers. I cannot find the interview online.)
I doubt I will ever love Charlie Chaplin nearly as much as I love Buster Keaton, but there’s an extremely apt bit of logic defending Berno Berto: Buster’s career was cut short, sold-out by his wife, and drowned in booze. Chaplin survived to make an older man’s movies, the 3-reelers of political merit. Modern Times and The Great Dictator are pictures that have no comparison in the oeuvre of Buster Keaton.
So I will steal Bertolucci’s frame: Marvel Comics are for young boys (Keatonesque) and DC Comics are for the boys who’ve grown up (Chaplinesque). Marvel’s stories focus on teenagers struggling with their powers as an analogue to puberty, and in so doing Peter Parker is cast as Buster Keaton, who simply does not have the opportunity to have stories to compare with A Death in the Family, The Killing Joke, and Crisis on Infinite Earths. Peter’s interminably young. Bruce is only young for a moment in time and then he is interminably not young.
See if you agree with my logic.
sidebar: it’s difficult to find a single image that defines the origin of Marvel characters. Peter Parker stands out as the only easily-illustrated origin.
Since I cannot find images, I’ll just break it down for you Marvel-style. Peter Parker was a high school student when he had his run-in with radioactivity. The X-mutation takes hold during puberty. Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, and Bruce Banner are characters that were full grown men before the incident that spawned their heroic careers. Thor is a god (boring).
The events that shaped Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne happened to them when they were very young and entirely defenseless.
Clark and Bruce have built their life around a response to something that happened before they could do anything, they’ve lived singular lives, much like the gods and aliens that fill out the Justice Society*. It almost doesn’t matter when they were born or when they are active. (In the Marvel universe, Thor and Wolverine fit this mold; one because he’s a god, the other because he’s a serial amnesiac.)
In short, the Marvel character arc can be summarized as “adapting to change” whereas the DC character arc can be summarized as “building to a purpose.” Too simplistic? Maybe.
The problem Marvel has with longevity is that the nuanced characters lose their narrative drive once they have adapted to the change. Bruce Wayne can brood for decades about the murder of his parents, but you expect more out of Peter Parker. Please, let me know if you disagree.
I cite Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men: the story belongs to Kitty Pryde, the rest were just given things to keep them busy. I love that series, but I do not want to keep seeing books about Wolverine and Beast fighting super-duper-aliens and mind-control.
Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, and Aquaman don’t change. And that allows them to apply their talents/ideologies to many different eras. Marvel characters do change and that makes them 1) better characters and 2) worse products.
Even though I greatly prefer the nuanced characters of the Marvel universe, I’m less inclined to read redundant Marvel stories. DC has mastered redundancy as a business model.
All of this is to say: I don’t care about young Bruce, I don’t care about young Clark. They are personifications of values, not human characters. It makes them timeless and perhaps a little boring.
The world culture is now so self-aware, their simplistic values and old-world codes of honor don’t fit with the young man’s struggle to carve out his niche in his own generation. I’d like to see Batman and Superman cast as the older generation. Still tough, still brilliant, but with the wisdom of a collective consciousness, something that can only be earned together over time and after long reflection.
Let the Dog Mic forum commence. Here are my picks for casting with the actors’ current ages.
In the inimitable words (and caps) of Alan Moore: THE BATMAN IS BIG AND GRIM AND OLDER THAN WE ARE, BECAUSE AS I REMEMBER THE BATMAN HE’S ALWAYS BEEN BIGGER AND OLDER THAN I AM AND I’LL FIGHT ANY MAN THAT SAYS DIFFERENT.
*Arrow and Lantern and Flash were also full grown men when they became superheroes but they are the most vague characters in the DC universe. That is to say, there are four (4) Green Lanterns (plus an entire intergalactic GL Corps), there have been three (3) major Flashes, and I honestly cannot figure out where they hell Green Arrow came from or why he does what he does. One thing that stands out is that I never think of any of them as young men.
Aaron Diaz of Dresden Codak decided to create another of his famous reboots.
Here’s the premise:
I wanted to make an X-Men reboot that plays to the strength of the concepts, namely growing up as a teenager, dealing with those who are different and how to deal with those who hate you. The primary change in my setting is that the mutations have a clear sci-fi foundation rather than just being random superpowers. Mutants being “the next stage in human evolution” was biologically dubious in the 60s, and now it’s just corny. Additionally, I think the X-Men premise only really makes sense in a setting without other superheroes. With that in mind, here’s my pitch…
Bleeding Cool News just posted the possible new logo for DC Comics/Entertainment.
They state that it’s just a black and white image that’s been submitted for trademark, so the color possibilities are numerous, but it’s quite a departure. There’s a part of me that likes the idea, but it’s going to take a long time to get used to. It almost looks like it’s more of an attempt to rebrand the company without starting from square one as most rebrandings do.
Now I’m starting to wonder how they’ll do their logo for their film division. I like this:
It’s a bit too much like Marvel’s, but I liked it.
I came across this quick breakdown of sales figures for December 2011 for the comics industry on Tumblr, began to write some thoughts and decided to share them.
Marvel Comics has come out on top in terms of sales last month, knocking DC Comics from its three-month streak as the leading publisher. This new report comes from the monthly sales estimates published by Diamond Comic Distributors that gives us the scoop on how Marvel accomplished the maneuver. According to Diamond, Marvel held a 34.43% dollar share and 39.05% market share while DC Comics held a 33.74% dollar share and a 37.72% market share.
Despite the new title earned by Marvel for the month of December, DC still managed to hold eight spots out of ten for the month’s best-selling issues, including Justice League #4 and several other #4 issues from DC’s ‘New 52′ relaunch while Marvel only held two spots in the top ten (Avengers: X-Sanction #1 and Defenders #1). It’s still tricky to see how these numbers are playing out given that DC is publishing around 70 titles a month while Marvel continues to publish well over 100 each month. Taking these numbers into account along with the fact that Marvel double-ships several different titles each month on average, it can be said that Marvel tends to flood the market in order to get a stronger foothold. Regardless of the numbers on quantities, there’s no denying that fans are clearly more impressed by DC’s offering given the top 10 books in the sales chart.
I’m a bit fed up with Marvel’s practices as a company. The numerous “incentives” they push to retailers by giving a rare sketch cover for defacing DC titles, having a handful of “universe changing big events” every year, rebooting a series a few times in the past 5 years with a new #1 each time – or simply renumbering for a new storyline – to lure collectors, and rehashing stories decade after decade. I’m sure they’ve got some decent writers on their payroll, but they sure as hell aren’t putting them to good use. How many times have the Avengers and X-Men fought, Wolverine has enough trouble being in 100 books a month.
Their films have done well, but I don’t know how well they’ll hold up after Avengers. They have sequels for the stand-alone characters in the works, but Iron Man 2 was more of a lead-in for the Avengers and suffered as an Iron Man film. It will be interesting to see what happens with the X-Men franchise and Amazing Spider-Man has promise, but they’ve already rebooted both of them. Are they still kicking around ideas for the Fantastic Four?
And now they plan to publish novels of their biggest stories?* I’ve seen novelizations of story lines before in bookstores, but I’ve never had the desire to actually read one. I tend to just roll my eyes.
DC is also starting to piss me off with their new price for Batman and Detective Comics. I think it was less than a year ago DC started pushing their “holding the line at $2.99″ gimmick, and it looks like every popular title will be at least $3.99 this year. They had announced a few books, Action Comics and Justice League, would be $3.99 at the launch of the new 52, but then decrease to $2.99 after a few issues. That didn’t happen. DC’s excuse is that the books are longer, 40 pages as opposed to 32, but they’re padding the books with extras and not story. Look at the back of a JL book, character designs were in the first three. Action Comics #4 had a story to fill in the gap that occurred during the story they were telling. Why was that even necessary? If you need a supplementary story to fill in a gap of your story, rewrite the damn thing.
If the extra pages are dedicated to story as they claim, great! I just expect it will be little more than a chance for them to cram in a few more ads. I definitely don’t want to pay more for character designs and more space for letters to the editor. I’m sure that’s popular for some readers, but increasing the price 25% (didn’t check my math) for that seems ridiculous.
*If you haven’t read Gutters, you should look through them, especially if you’re a comics fan. It’s often topical, so if you don’t get a reference there is usually a blurb written by the author below to help you narrow down your Google search.
So, here’s Zimmer talking about what he intended and intends with the chanting.
The chant seems to simply be a part of the score.
And Zimmer seems to know just how, well, batty, the way he’s gathering recordings is.
And Bane in this movie does not seem to be a Luchador in any way, so there’s something.