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The LATEST NEWS 'Archives' - Updated: September 06, 2007
Here you will find any OLD "latest news" items from the front page!

Johnson Cast as SCI FI's NEW Flash Gordon
April 11, 2007
"Smallville" alum Eric Johnson has landed the title role in SCI FI Channel's upcoming series "Flash Gordon."

The 22-hour series, a contemporary take on the popular comic strip franchise, is slated for an August premiere. It will feature Johnson as space traveler Flash Gordon embarking on all-new adventures.

Peter Hume wrote the first two episodes, which will be directed by Rick Rosenthal (Smallville). Production is to begin May 1 in Vancouver.

Casting is under way for the other roles, including Flash Gordon's fellow space travelers Dale Arden and Dr. Hans Zarkov.

The "Flash Gordon" comic strip was created in 1934 by Alex Raymond and is being distributed internationally by King Features.


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Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation:

'A Christmas Story' director dies in crash.
April 05, 2007

Source: LA Times
Tuesday was usually family night for film director Bob Clark — best known for "A Christmas Story" and the "Porky's" movies — and his grown sons, Ariel and Michael.

Ariel, 22, who had been studying music composition at Santa Monica College and was a part-time card dealer at a casino, would typically join his father and brother at the condo they rented in Pacific Palisades. They were night owls, said Lyne Leavy, who headed Clark's production company, Film Classic Productions.

In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, Bob, 67, and Ariel headed out; it's unclear whether they were going to get something to eat or driving to Ariel's Santa Monica apartment.

They had just driven a few blocks and were heading south on Pacific Coast Highway near the Bel-Air Bay Club at about 2:20 a.m. when a GMC Yukon swerved across the lane, striking their Infiniti Q-30 sedan head-on. Father and son were pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the sport utility vehicle, Hector Valazquez-Nava, 24, of Los Angeles and passenger Lydia Mora, 29, of Azusa were taken to UCLA Medical Center and treated for minor injuries. Valazquez-Nava was booked on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, operating a motor vehicle without a driver's license and gross vehicular manslaughter.

About 8 a.m., a coroner showed up at Edgewater Towers to inform Michael, the older of the two sons by a few years, of the deaths of his father and brother.

Michael was asleep at the apartment, said Leo Dodier, the complex's manager, but left a short time later with the coroner.

Dodier had been up since 5:30 a.m. — awakened, he says, by the strange quiet created by the closure of PCH. The thoroughfare would remain blocked for eight hours.

"He was a nice guy, good to everybody, a quiet guy," Dodier said of Bob Clark. The producer-director had lived at the Edgewater complex since he relocated to Pacific Palisades from New England after his divorce. Starting out in a one-bedroom unit, he moved into a two-bedroom, second-floor condominium a few years later to make room for his sons, Dodier said. He had rented the larger unit for more than a decade.

"He was a gentleman, one of the nicest people I knew," said his New York business manager, Stuart Ditsky. "He always kept his word. He would never hurt anybody or put in anything in his movies to embarrass anyone."

Clark produced, directed and co-wrote "A Christmas Story," which was released in 1983; more than two decades later, it remains a holiday favorite, shown on television and racking up big DVD sales.

Set in the 1940s and adapted from humorist Jean Shepherd's novel "In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash," the film starred Peter Billingsley as Ralphie, a young boy determined to get a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas despite everyone's fears that he'd put his eye out. In 1997, TNT showed the film for 24 hours straight — a first for the cable channel. On the film's 20th anniversary in 2003, a two-disc commemorative DVD was issued.

In a 1997 interview with The Times, Clark said the movie struck a chord with audiences because it deals with a "special time and special feeling. Shepherd's material had the truth and heart in it."

Clark's prolific movie and TV directing career spanned four decades. In addition to producing and directing the cult classic "Porky's" and its first sequel, he also directed "Turk 182" with Timothy Hutton, Robert Urich and Robert Culp; "Rhinestone" with Dolly Parton and Sylvester Stallone; "Loose Cannons," a Gene Hackman-Dan Aykroyd cop comedy; "From the Hip" and "Baby Geniuses."

The "Porky's" franchise earned an estimated $150 million domestically after taking years to get off the ground. The films were based on Clark's experiences during the '50s with five high school buddies in Florida. In a 1985 interview with The Times, co-writer Roger Swaybill talked about how Clark dictated the outline for the movie into a cassette recorder while sick.

"I was weeping with laughter," Swaybill said. "I became convinced that I was sharing in the birth of a major moment in movie history. It was the funniest film story I had ever heard."

Clark also made darker, more brooding pictures. His seminal horror film, "Black Christmas," was recently reissued on DVD. Though hardly the first slasher film, some fans credit it with influencing other horror films.

"Whether you are a fan of the genre or not, we never would have had films like 'Friday the 13th' without 'Black Christmas,' " said Paula Haifley, who in December saw Clark introduce a screening at the New Beverly. "He was funny and friendly, had true respect for the horror genre and its fans, and seeing him was an experience I will never forget. He will be sorely missed by his fans."

Clark was scheduled to sign a letter of intent tonight to begin production of "There Goes the Neighborhood," one of three movie projects he was ready to begin, Leavy said.

Ariel Clark, who also went by Ariel Hanrath-Clark, was an avid musician, juggler, gymnast and card dealer, Dodier said. While studying music at Santa Monica College, he came to classes for weeks with his leg in a cast after breaking it while turning cartwheels on the Santa Monica Pier, music professor David Goodman said.

After finishing the college's applied music program last year, Ariel was assembling a portfolio to continue his studies elsewhere and was intent on composing scores for films and video games, Goodman said. A few of his compositions had been performed by the college's jazz ensemble.

Ariel was blessed with creativity, and he was upbeat and open to criticism, Goodman said, adding that he had no doubt Ariel would have succeeded. "He was an incredible kid — with incredible raw talent."


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Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation:

No Wonder Woman film any day soon!
March 06, 2007

Sci Fi Wire caught up with Joel Silver at WonderCon and he revealed the status of the Wonder Woman movie. Short version: don’t hold your breath.

Producer Silver told SCI FI Wire that the Wonder Woman project had a long way to go. “We’re not there yet,” Silver said in an interview. “I mean, look, … for a while these Marvel Comics [movies] have been kicking the DC Comics [movies’] ass. You know? I mean all these characters that just keep coming out. And, look, they revived Batman. They’re making a new Batman now. It should be great. They’re making a new Superman, and they’re going to do Justice League, all the characters, which I think is a cool idea. And we’re going to get Wonder Woman to work.”

As for how the project will move forward without (Josh) Whedon? “We’ll make it work,” Silver said. “You know, it’s going to [work]. … We just couldn’t figure it out, but we’ll get there.” But for now, Silver said he’s not actively looking for a new writer or director. “No, not yet. We’re just … talking about it, and we’ll get back to it soon.”


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Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation:

The Spirit Panel at NY Comic Con '07
Feb. 27, 2007
At the 2nd Annual New York Comic Con, producers Michael E. Uslan and F.J. DeSanto were joined by Denis Kitchen, former publisher of Kitchen Sink Press, to talk about Frank Miller's upcoming movie based on legendary artist Will Eisner's The Spirit, a character created in 1940. Miller will write and direct the independently-financed feature being produced by Uslan, best known for his work on the Batman and Constantine films, along with Odd Lot Productions.

Frank Miller couldn't attend for reasons that would be addressed in an E-mail read by DeSanto early in the panel:

"Sometimes life really sucks," it began. "I slipped on a patch of black ice on a Manhattan sidewalk, smashed my left hip to bits and have spent the last bunch of weeks undergoing medical procedures and losing out on all these chances to tell everybody how much fun I'm having writing 'Will Eisner's The Spirit.' Don't go expecting a nostalgic tongue-in-cheek romp here. Remember, remember how scary Eisner got whenever he chose to. Remember how he broke your heart with the story of San Serif, so expect some hair-pin turns, some dead end back alley madness, the wet kind. Get set, we're on our way to some dark places."

Uslan told the audience how they ended up getting Frank Miller to helm this ambitious project after they reconnected at Will Eisner's memorial service in New York mere weeks after Miller's Sin City was released. Uslan told Miller how he'd been trying to make comic books into movies and how impressed he was by how Miller made a movie into a comic book and how he could see The Spirit being done using the same technology as Sin City. Being such a fan of Eisner and his character, Miller was initially taken aback by Uslan's offer to have him write and direct the film, but after thinking about it for some time, he realized he couldn't have anyone else do it. The interview book Eisner/Miller also convinced Uslan that The Spirit would be safe in Frank's hands.

Uslan spent some time with the late Eisner before his death to try to understand what he had in mind for a film based on the character, but it's really going to be Frank Miller's job to realize that vision. "Thank God I had an opportunity over those years to spend a lot of time with Will to ask him questions, to get him involved, so that we know what he had in mind, we know what he was thinking about this, what his preference were or weren't."

They promised that we'd be seeing the femme fatales that are so beloved in Eisner's series and that The Spirit would get into a lot of trouble with them, while the love triangle with Ellen Dolan and San Serif would be included as part of the plot. The movie will also make it clear why The Spirit's Commissioner Dolan is so different from Batman's Commissioner Gordon, though the controversial Ebony White character won't be in the film. Uslan said, "There are villains and femme fatales sprinkled throughout that will delight you and will surprise you the way Frank is dealing with them." They recommended The Best of the Spirit and some of The Spirit Archives (there's 22 of them) published by DC Comics as a good place to start for anyone wanting to read up on the character before seeing the movie.


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Star Trek XI Coming Christmas Day 2008
Feb. 27, 2007
After months of speculation on the internet, it has been confirmed by The Hollywood Reporter that J.J. Abrams, the creator of the hit ABC dramas "Lost" and "Alias," will indeed be directing the first movie in Paramount Pictures' relaunch of Gene Rodenberry's Star Trek movie franchise.

"Star Trek," one of the most popular and successful franchises in the history of movies and television, returns to the big screen under the creative vision of J.J. Abrams, the force behind "Lost," "Alias" and Mission: Impossible III for Paramount Pictures.

The 11th installment of the series will actually be a prequel to the original television series and the first movie, as it chronicles the first meeting of a young James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock at Starfleet Academy and their first space mission.

The team behind the film will include Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci (Mission: Impossible III) who wrote the screenplay and will executive produce with Bryan Burk. J.J. Abrams and "Lost" co-creator Damon Lindelof will produce. The film will begin shooting this fall for a Christmas Day 2008 release.

One of the most popular film and television franchises of all time, "Star Trek" has encompassed 726 total episodes for television in six different series, beginning with the original 1966-1969 series created by Gene Roddenberry. The 10 "Star Trek" films have grossed in excess of $1 billion at the worldwide box office. The original characters have been named among the 50 greatest TV characters of all time and the Enterprise has lent its name to two proposed spacecrafts.

"If there's something I'm dying to see, it's the brilliance and optimism of Roddenberry's world brought back to the big screen," said Abrams. "Alex and Bob wrote an amazing script that embraces and respects Trek canon, but charts its own course. Our goal is to make a picture for everyone -- life-long fans and the uninitiated. Needless to say, I am honored and excited to be part of this next chapter of Star Trek."

Brad Grey, chairman and CEO, Paramount Pictures, said, "We could not be more thrilled to be back in business with J.J. Abrams. The revival of the 'Star Trek' franchise is an important part of Paramount's turnaround."


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Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation:

WB Eyeing Justice League Movie?
Feb, 24 2007

Warner Bros. Pictures is looking to make a feature based on super team the Justice League of America, hiring writing duo Kiernan and Michele Mulroney to write the script, reports Variety. It's the first major action the studio has taken on the project.

The feature film is bound to include some combination of DC's most iconic superheroes, although the studio wouldn't confirm which ones they might be. It's unlikely that the studio and DC Comics, a division of Warner, would opt to feature second-tier characters.

Since its inception in 1960, JLA has featured almost every major hero in the DC Comics universe, although the core team has largely remained the same: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter.

The heroes typically band together to fight alien menaces or groups of supervillains.

"The Justice League of America has been a perennial favorite for generations of fans, and we believe their appeal to
film audiences will be as strong and diverse as the characters themselves," Warner president of production Jeff Robinov said in announcing the hiring of the Mulroneys.

The trade says that in taking on the ambitious project, Warner faces several conundrums.

Now that the Batman and Superman film franchises have been revived, does the studio go after Christian Bale (Batman Begins) and Brandon Routh (Superman Returns) to star in a Justice League pic? The studio is also trying hard to bring Wonder Woman to the big screen.

To a large degree, casting will depend upon the story arc for the JLA feature and at what point in the superheroes' lives the plot takes place.


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Joss Whedon Off Wonder Woman!
Feb. 2, 2007

Joss Whedon has announced on his official Blog that he will no longer be writing and directing the Wonder Woman movie at Warner Bros. Pictures.:

SATIN TIGHTS NO LONGER. Joss will not be fighting for our rights after all.

You (hopefully) heard it here first: I'm no longer slated to make Wonder Woman. What? But how? My chest... so tight! Okay, stay calm and I'll explain as best I can. It's pretty complicated, so bear with me. I had a take on the film that, well, nobody liked. Hey, not that complicated.

Let me stress first that everybody at the studio and Silver Pictures were cool and professional. We just saw different movies, and at the price range this kind of movie hangs in, that's never gonna work. Non-sympatico. It happens all the time. I don't think any of us expected it to this time, but it did. Everybody knows how long I was taking, what a struggle that script was, and though I felt good about what I was coming up with, it was never gonna be a simple slam-dunk. I like to think it rolled around the rim a little bit, but others may have differing views.

The worst thing that can happen in this scenario is that the studio just keeps hammering out changes and the writer falls into a horrible limbo of development. These guys had the clarity and grace to skip that part. So I'm a free man.

Well, sorta. There is that "Goners" movie I can finally finish polishing, and plenty of other things in the hopper I've wanted to pursue. I'm as relieved as I am disappointed, and both of those things lead to drink, so that's a plus. Truly, you may be hearing some interesting things brewing in the coming months. But all potential jets therein will be visible.

But most importantly, I never have to answer THAT question again!!!! And you don't have to link to every rumor site! Finally and forever: I never had an actress picked out, or even a consistant front-runner. I didn't have time to waste on casting when I was so busy air-balling on the script. (No! Rim! There was rim!) That's the greatest relief of all. I can do interviews again!

Thanks for your time. You are the people who make the world go 'round. Or, no, science does that.

This announcement comes on the heels of yesterday's news that Warner Bros. has picked up a script from script from newcomers Matthew Jennison and Brent Strickland.


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Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation:

A New Wonder Woman at WB?
Feb. 1, 2007

Warner Bros. Pictures and Silver Pictures are quietly in the process of buying a Wonder Woman spec script from newcomers Matthew Jennison and Brent Strickland, says The Hollywood Reporter.

The studio and producer Joel Silver have been developing a big-screen version of the DC Comics superhero, with "
Buffy the Vampire Slayer" creator Joss Whedon writing the script and attached to direct.

The trade says the purchase is a pre-emptive measure aimed at taking the script off the market to protect itself against the possibility that any similarities between the scripts could be fodder for future legal action.

It is understood that the Jennison-Strickland script is set against the backdrop of World War II, while Whedon's script is set in the present day.

Silver has no interest in making a period Wonder Woman, however. But as the spec script made the rounds, it landed at Silver Pictures, and executives there were impressed by Jennison and Strickland's writing.


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Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation:

Disney to Take on John Carter of Mars?
Jan. 16, 2007
Source: reports that Walt Disney Pictures is in talks with the estate of Edgar Rice Burroughs to buy the film rights for the 11 volume "John Carter of Mars" series of books.

Two years ago, Paramount Pictures hired Jon Favreau to direct an adaptation. After that, the estate briefly negotiated with Fox and Walden Media to make the movie there, but that deal fell through as well, adds the site.

All of the previous crew members, including Favreau, are no longer on board.


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New Flash Gordon Gets the Green Light
Jan. 12, 2007
Source: SCI FI Channel

SCI FI Channel has greenlit production on "Flash Gordon," based on the popular comic strip franchise, it was announced today at the Television Critic's Association tour. Production on the 22 one-hour episodes begins in Canada in early 2007. The series, produced by Reunion Pictures, is slated to debut on SCI FI in July of '07, with a broadcast syndication window to follow.

Under an agreement with property owner King Features Syndicate, the new series is being produced by RHI's Robert Halmi, Sr. and Robert Halmi, Jr., who previously produced
SCI FI's popular miniseries event "Legend of Earthsea."

Ming, Dale Arden, and Dr. Hans Zarkov are among the many beloved characters returning to television in this contemporary retelling of the intergalactic exploits of "
Flash Gordon." Stellar adventures and heroic battles mark this inventive new take on the perennial science fiction classic. The "Flash Gordon" comic strip was created in 1934 by legendary comic-strip artist Alex Raymond and is still distributed internationally today by King Features Syndicate.


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Indiana Jones 4 Coming May 2008!
Dec. 30, 2006
Source: The Associated Press, Hunter, Strmchsr
George Lucas said Friday that filming of the long-awaited Indiana Jones 4 will begin next year with Harrison Ford set to star again. Lucas said he and Steven Spielberg recently finalized the script for the film.

"It's going to be fantastic. It's going to be the best one yet," the 62-year-old filmmaker said during a break from preparing for his duties as grand marshal of Monday's Rose Parade.

Exact film locations have not been decided yet, but Lucas said part of the movie will be shot in Los Angeles.

The fourth chapter of the "Indiana Jones" saga, which will hit theaters in May 2008, has been in development for over a decade with several screenwriters taking a crack at the script, but it only recently gained momentum.

Lucas kept mum about the plot, but said that the latest action flick will be a "character piece" that will include "very interesting mysteries."

"I think it's going to be really cool," Lucas said.

At the inaugural Rome Film Festival in October, the 64-year-old Ford said he was excited to team up with Lucas and Spielberg again for the fourth "Indiana Jones" installment. Ford said he was "fit to continue" to play the title role despite his age.

Ford played Indiana Jones in 1981's
Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1984's Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and 1989's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.


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Cartoon Pioneer Joe Barbera 1911 - 2006
Dec. 19, 2006

LOS ANGELES - Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna were hired within a month of each other in 1937 by the MGM cartoon factory. They soon hit on the idea of a cat named Tom and a mouse named Jerry.

"When we started, people said, `Cat and mouse? That's old stuff,'" Barbera recalled in a 1993 Associated Press interview. Citing characters such as Felix the Cat and Mickey Mouse, he added, "They said it had been done by everybody."

"But I felt that in any country you wouldn't need dialogue to understand the plot. All you needed was a cat and mouse, and everybody knew what was going to happen."

In the decades since, Hanna-Barbera entertained generations of children, filling movie and TV screens with animated series such as "Tom and Jerry," "The Flintstones," "Yogi Bear," "Huckleberry Hound and Friends," "Top Cat," "Scooby-Doo," "Johnny Quest," "The Jetsons" and "Animal Follies."

Barbera died Monday of natural causes at his home with his wife, Sheila, at his side, Warner Bros. spokesman Gary Miereanu said. He was 95. His longtime collaborator, Hanna, died in 2001.

"Joe's contributions to both the animation and television industries are without parallel — he has been personally responsible for entertaining countless millions of viewers across the globe," said friend, colleague and Warner animation President Sander Schwartz.

The "Tom and Jerry" cartoons won seven

Academy Awards, more than any other series with the same characters. Hanna-Barbera received eight Emmy Awards, including the Governors Award of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. 

Jerry's dance with Gene Kelly in "Anchors Aweigh" has become a screen classic and Fred Flintstone's "yabba dabba doo" and Yogi's "smarter than the average bear" became part of the language.

Their strengths melded perfectly, critic Leonard Maltin wrote in his book "Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons." Barbera brought the comic gags and skilled drawing, while Hanna brought warmth and a keen sense of timing.

"This writing-directing team may hold a record for producing consistently superior cartoons using the same characters year after year — without a break or change in routine," Maltin wrote.

Hanna once said he was never a good artist but his partner could "capture mood and expression in a quick sketch better than anyone I've ever known."

The two first teamed cat and mouse in the short "Puss Gets the Boot." It earned an Oscar nomination, and MGM let the pair keep experimenting until the full-fledged Tom and Jerry characters eventually were born.

After MGM folded its animation department in the mid-1950s, Hanna and Barbera were forced to go into business for themselves. With television's sharply lower budgets, their new cartoons put more stress on verbal wit rather than the detailed — and expensive — action featured in theatrical cartoons.

Like "The Simpsons" three decades later, "The Flintstones" found success in prime-time TV by not limiting its reach to children. The program, a parody of "The Honeymooners," was among the 20 most popular shows on television during the 1960-61 season. "The Jetsons," which debuted in 1962, offered a futuristic mirror image of the Flintstones.

"It was a family comedy with everyday situations and problems that we window-dressed with gimmicks and inventions," Barbera once said. "Our stories were such a contrast to many of the animated series that are straight destruction and blasting away for a solid half-hour."

The show ran just one season on network TV but was often rerun, and the characters were revived in the 1980s in a syndicated show. Barbera said he liked the freedom syndication gave the producers, with none of the meddling from network executives.

The influence of Hanna-Barbera was felt for decades. In 2002 and again in 2004, characters from the cartoon series "Scooby-Doo" were brought to the big screen in films that combined live actors and animation.

Neither Hanna, born in 1910, nor Barbera, born in 1911, set out to be cartoonists. Hanna, who had studied engineering and journalism, originally went into animation because he needed a job.

Barbera, who grew up in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, originally went into banking. Soon, however, he turned his doodles into magazine cartoons and then into a job as an animator.

In addition to his wife, Barbera is survived by three children from a previous marriage, Jayne, Neal and Lynn.


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Guillermo del Toro to Direct Tarzan
Dec. 15, 2006
Warner Bros. Pictures and producer Jerry Weintraub are developing a new take on the Edgar Rice Burroughs-created Tarzan. Variety says the studio is negotiating with Guillermo del Toro to direct.

John Collee, who wrote
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World and most recently scripted the WB animated hit Happy Feet, is in talks to write the screenplay.

Del Toro, who grew up reading Spanish-language translations of those books, feels that the classic themes are still compelling, and that there is new ground to cover in the Tarzan mythology by turning back to the original Burroughs prose.

"I'd love to create a new version that is still a family movie, but as edgy as I can make it," Del Toro said. "There are strong themes of survival of a defenseless child left behind in the most hostile environment."

"John will be writing it alone, as I'll be in production on 'Hellboy 2' and pursuing writing projects of my own," he added. "He's got a great sense of adventure and the wilderness."


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Green Lantern creator dead at 91
Dec. 12, 2006

MIAMI, Florida (AP) -- Martin Nodell, the creator of Green Lantern, the comic book superhero who uses his magical ring to help him fight crime, has died. He was 91.

Nodell died at a nursing home in Muskego, Wisconsin, on Saturday of natural causes, his son Spencer Nodell told The Associated Press on Tuesday. He previously lived in West Palm Beach.

Nodell was looking for a new idea for a comic book in 1940 when he was waiting for a New York subway and saw a train operator waving a lantern displaying a green light, said Maggie Thompson, senior editor of Comics Buyer's Guide.

Nodell imagined a young engineer, Alan Scott, a train crash survivor who discovers in the debris an ancient lantern forged from a green meteor. Scott constructs a ring from the lamp that gives him super powers, and becomes a crime fighter.

He brought his drawings and story lines to All-American Publications, which later became a part of National Periodical Publications, the company that was to become DC Comics, Thompson said. (DC Comics is a unit of Time Warner, as is CNN.)

The first Green Lantern appearance came in July 1940, an eight-page story in a comic book also featuring other characters. The character then got his own series, and Nodell drew it until 1947 under the name Mart Dellon.

After its cancellation in 1949, the series was reborn in 1959 with a revised story line, and it has been revived several times.

Meanwhile, Nodell left the comics field for an advertising career. In the 1960s, he was on a design team that helped develop the Pillsbury Doughboy.

In later years, Nodell traveled the comic book convention circuit with his wife, Caroline, who died in 2004.

"There were myriad of fans who would come up to my dad and would say 'Green Lantern got me to read' or 'Green Lantern got me to do something in my life,' " Spencer Nodell said.

Nodell was born in Philadelphia and studied at art schools in Chicago and New York. Besides Spencer Nodell, survivors include another son, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.


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Columbia & Raimi Team on The Shadow
Dec. 11, 2006

Columbia Pictures has acquired the screen rights to The Shadow, the legendary 1930s pulp hero, for an adaptation to be produced by Sam Raimi (the "Spider-Man" movies) and Josh Donen through their Buckaroo Entertainment. Michael Uslan is also producing via his Comic Book Movies, Llc/Branded Entertainment.

Columbia has set Siavash Farahani to write the screenplay, says The Hollywood Reporter.

The Shadow debuted in 1931 on a CBS radio show which aimed to boost the magazine circulation of sponsor Street & Smith. The character was actually the moniker for the announcer, and listeners began demanding stories based on the name.

Walter B. Gibson created the character, writing the adventures of a crime-fighter who skulked in shadows wearing a hat and cape, and who had the power to cloud men's minds.

The Shadow became one of the greatest pulp heroes of the time, and the radio series, which featured a young Orson Welles, spawned the catchphrase "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!"

The character's most recent incarnation was a big-budget 1994 feature from Universal starring Alec Baldwin and directed by Russell Mulcahy.

"I've been a passionate Shadow fan ever since I was a kid and have long dreamed of bringing this character to the screen," Raimi said. He is not attached to direct at this time.


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The Thing Remake Coming to Theaters
Nov. 17, 2006

Strike Entertainment and Universal Pictures will remake John Carpenter's
The Thing, reports Variety.

The script will be written by "Battlestar Galactica" executive producer Ronald D. Moore. The 1982 original dealt with a shape-shifting creature from outer space that terrorizes researchers at an Antarctic facility.

Strike partners Marc Abraham and Eric Newman will produce and the company will co-finance the remake, to which Universal owned the rights. David Foster, who produced the original film, will executive produce.

Carpenter's film continued the storyline of the Howard Hawks-directed
The Thing From Another World. That 1951 film starred James Arness as an alien monster that wiped out workers at an Army radar station.

Carpenter's film opened with a team arriving to find that encampment has been wiped out. The alien moved from the body of one team member to another, so it was never quite clear who the villain was.

The producers said they consider the new film to be more "a companion piece" to the Carpenter film than a note-for-note remake.


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Casino Royale Sets New UK 007 Record
Nov. 17, 2006

Casino Royale shook up the U.K. box office during its first day of release on Thursday, earning more than any other film in the James Bond franchise, reports Reuters.

The 21st 007 installment, which marks the debut of Daniel Craig, sold 1.7 million pounds ($3.2 million) worth of tickets, a 54 percent increase over comparable sales for the previous Bond film and first-day record-holder, 2002's
Die Another Day.

In all, two-thirds of all movie tickets sold in Britain were for
Casino Royale


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The Three Stooges to Return to the Big Screen?
Oct. 12, 2006

First Look Studios has picked up the film rights to The Three Stooges, but bringing Larry, Moe and Curly to the bigscreen will be no laughing matter, reports Variety.

In development for years, the project was most recently set up at Warner Bros. Pictures, with the Farrelly brothers writing the script and attached to direct. The studio, however, let the option lapse.

First Look struck the deal with rights holder C3 Entertainment, founded in 1959 by Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Jerome "Curly" Howard, creators of the Stooge characters.

First Look, working with C3 Entertainment, said it intends to stay true to the flavor of the original Stooges, who created their own brand of slapstick.

C3 Entertainment president-CEO Earl Benjamin said he loves the contemporized screenplay the Farrelly brothers penned with Mike Ceronne for Warners featuring the Moe, Larry and Curly characters.

"Various people have had various ideas, but we want to keep the traditional wild-and-crazy aspect," Benjamin said.


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Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation:

Indiana Jones 4 and JP4 Updates
Oct. 05, 2005

Variety talked to "Star Wars" creator George Lucas, who says that Lucasfilm is getting out of the movie business. "We don't want to make movies. We're about to get into television. As far as Lucasfilm is concerned, we've moved away from the feature film thing, because it's too expensive and it's too risky. I think the secret to the future is quantity. Because that's where it's going to end up."

Having said that, Lucasfilm's exit from feature films is not instant or absolute. Indiana Jones 4 is still in development. "Steve (Spielberg) and I are still working away, trying to come up with something we're happy with. Hopefully in a short time we will come to an agreement. Or something," Lucas said.

He is also working on a film about the Tuskegee airmen of World War II called
Red Tails. "I've been working on that for about 15 years," he said, adding he's also been working on "Indy 4" for 15 years.

And Lucas Animation does plan to start making feature films -- eventually. "Right now we're doing television, which looks great. I'm very very happy with it," he said of his animation division. "And out of doing the animation, we're getting the skill set and the people and putting the studio in place so we can do a feature. But it's probably going to be another year before we have the people and the systems in place to do a feature film."

Lucas calls himself "semi-retired" but reiterated his plans to direct, "small movies, esoteric in nature," after his other projects are launched. He expects to serve as executive producer on the two features and the TV shows, including the live-action "Star Wars" series.

In related news, the trade also reported that Joe Johnston will return to direct Jurassic Park 4, written by
The Departed screenwriter William Monahan. Johnston helmed the third installment of the franchise.


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Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation:

Want to see a clip from Donner's Superman 2?
Sept. 26, 2006

Well here you go! CLICK HERE to see Lois toss herself out a window betting it all that Clark Kent is Superman.

Looking at this scene which was originally shot by Donner during the shoot for Superman 1 & 2 back in 1977, photos of this scene have been seen but this clip has never been seen before. I'm guessing there is some new FX footage here for this NEW edit... either way it's an interesting look at the Superman 2 that could have been and the Superman 2 that we will finally get to see!

Donner quit Superman 2 after troubles arose with the Salkinds. And Richard Lester was brought in to finish S2 with considerable changes.


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Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation:

No Croc Hunter for Russell Crowe!
Sept. 26, 2006

ou might be able to credit the tabloid press for getting this one wrong, but a story has been circulating recently that actor Russell Crowe wants to star in a biopic about his late friend Steve Irwin AKA The Crocodile Hunter, who died tragically at the tail of a stingray last month.

It's not even remotely true, according to Crowe, who took a break from shooting Ridley Scott's crime-drama American Gangster to talk to about his upcoming collaboration with Scott, A Good Year, based on the novel by Peter Mayle. Not only that but even the thought that he'd even be thinking of a movie about his late friend, who he just held a memorial tribute for in their native Australia, really bothers the actor.

"There's no truth to that whatsoever," Crowe said adamantly. "That's one of those appalling pieces of sh*t that come out of the press. While my friend's body is still warm, I'm being accused of doing commerce over his grave, and it absolutely disgusts me."

"Should there be a movie about Steve? For sure," Crowe went on about his good friend, "What an incredible and unique life he led. His childhood growing up with his mum and dad in a reptile park, but his ambitions turning that simple reptile park into the greatest zoo in Australia, and from my individual perspective, the place that really cares about the animals. What people really don't understand about Steven is Steven was, first and foremost, a conservationist, probably the most individually active conservationist in the world. What he stood for was far more than being the funny guy on TV. Serious people at serious universities realized who he really was."


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Happy Birthday BATMAN!
Sept. 19, 2006

Happy birthday Adam West - TV's Batman turns 78 today!


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Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation:

Dozier Heir sues over 1960s 'Batman' series
Aug. 18, 2006
Here is just one more reason why we may never see the 1960's BATMAN TV series featuring Adam West come to DVD anytime soon!

A New Mexico woman is suing 20th Century Fox Film Corporation alleging she was defrauded out of $4.4 million she was entitled to receive for the popular 1960s "Batman" television series.

Deborah Dozier Potter, whose father William Dozier was one of the producers of the show, filed the lawsuit Wednesday in Superior Court that alleges fraud, concealment and breach of contract.

She is an heir to her father's estate and holds a portion of the assets of Greenway Productions Inc. which produced the series four decades ago that Fox distributed, according to the lawsuit.

Both companies, Greenway and Fox, signed a contract in the 1960s, the lawsuit said. Another contract was also signed between Fox and ABC, the station which televised the show. In March 2005, Potter came across the agreement between Fox and ABC and discovered she was entitled to 26 percent of the net profits from that agreement as well.

"I wish it could have been avoided," Potter said from her home in Santa Fe. "Nobody likes litigation."

Fox does not comment on pending litigation, said Chris Alexander, vice president of 20th Century Fox Television.


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Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation:

Batman Sequel gets a title & Villain!
Aug. 01, 2006

s a follow up to last year's blockbuster Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan is set to direct Warner Bros. Pictures' The Dark Knight, written by Jonathan Nolan, based on a story by Christopher Nolan and David Goyer. The film will be produced by Emma Thomas, Charles Roven and Christopher Nolan. Additionally, Christian Bale will resume his role as Bruce Wayne and Academy Award nominee Heath Ledger has been cast as The Joker. The announcements were made today by Jeff Robinov, President of Production, Warner Bros. Pictures.

Christopher Nolan revamped the Batman franchise in 2005 with the immensely successful Batman Begins, starring Christian Bale in the title role, which chronicled the early years of the superhero.

Bale was most recently seen in the ensemble cast of Terrence Malick's "The New World." His other credits include "Little Women," "Portrait of a Lady," "Metroland," "American Psycho," "Laurel Canyon" and Steven Spielberg's "Empire of the Sun," which was his first starring role.

Ledger most recently earned Oscar Golden Globe, BAFTA and SAG Award nominations and won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Ennis Del Mar in the award-winning drama "Brokeback Mountain."

"Chris' unique vision is what made 'Batman Begins' such an outstanding film and we could not imagine anyone else at the helm of 'The Dark Knight,'" said Robinov. "We also can't wait to see two such formidable actors as Christian and Heath face off with each other as Batman and The Joker."

"I'm excited to continue the story we started with 'Batman Begins,'" added Nolan. "Our challenge in casting The Joker was to find an actor who is not just extraordinarily talented but fearless. Watching Heath Ledger's interpretation of this iconic character taking on Christian Bale's Batman is going to be incredible."

Production is set to begin on The Dark Knight in early 2007.


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Frank Miller to Helm The Spirit
July, 23, 2006

Comic book artist Frank Miller will adapt and direct The Spirit, based on comic legend Will Eisner's classic strip, for Odd Lot Entertainment and Batfilm Productions, reports Variety.

Miller made his helming debut co-directing Sin City -- adapted from his graphic novel -- with Robert Rodriguez.

The Spirit, which debuted in 1940, tells the story of a masked detective who is believed to be dead. Using a mausoleum as his home base, Eisner's character fights crime in the dark shadows of Central City, using cunning and ingenious forms of punishment.

DC Comics has reprinted much of the comic series -- Eisner's best-known work -- in hardcover form.

Odd Lot bought rights to The Spirit from Eisner, who passed away last year, in 2004. The producers are Del Prete, Pritzker, and Batfilm's Michael Uslan (Batman Begins).

"I intend to be extremely faithful to the heart and soul of the material, but it won't be nostalgic. It will be much scarier than people expect," said Miller.

Miller said he's putting together a treatment that consists in large part of panels from the "Spirit" strip. Shooting is expected to start in late spring.

Hours before The Spirit movie panel at Comic-Con in San Diego, Frank Miller talked to about his plans for the movie, based on the early Will Eisner hero, which he'll start working on after finishing Sin City 2 with Robert Rodriguez.

"I'll take some of the lessons I learned from Robert Rodriguez and that's to use the comics as storyboards and doing my best to be as faithful as possible," Miller told us. "Now, the tone I have in mind will probably surprise a lot of readers, because they're used to the kindler, gentler Spirit from after Will got drafted and his assistants took over. This is going to be a scarier take on it, much more like the earlier stories."

Considering The Spirit's long publishing history, we wondered whether Miller had any idea which stories he might use for the movie. "There's a couple," he replied. "I want to use several of the femme fatales and right now, I'm putting together how they're all going to mix up together."

He will be using a similar green screen technique used by Robert Rodriguez to make the movie in terms of presenting Will Eisner's very distinctive looking world, and he even said that he's going to try to blend The Spirit title into the cityscape just like what could be seen on Eisner's title pages.

"I'm not going to beat you over the head with the logo, but it'll be just the same way that Robert was able to capture the feel of Sin City, I think capturing the more romantic look of Eisner's city will be a lot of fun."

And as far as when they'll start on Sin City 2? "It all depends on when they're finished with 'Grind House,' but I'm still on deck." He's still hoping that Angelina Jolie will play the role of Eva in the sequel.


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Superman Returns Earns $84.3M in Five Days
July 03, 2006


Superman Returns has reached $84.3 million domestically in its first five days:

After grossing over $32 million on Wednesday and Thursday, Warner Bros' Superman Returns was able to top the weekend with approximately $52.1 million in over 4,000 theatres, an average of $12,829 per theatres. Its total of $84.3 million in five days exceeded that of Batman Begins and Peter Jackson's King Kong in their first five days, but it's pretty disappointing compared to the $200 million plus price tag it cost to tell the Man of Steel's latest adventure. It will hope to build on any word-of-mouth in the next few days before Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest takes over next weekend.


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Superman Returns - The review!
June 29, 2006

The Crimson Collector had the chance to catch a screening of the anticipated film SUPERMAN RETURNS.  After nearly 15 years of various directors, actors and many many scripts, Superman has finally returned to the silver-screen in a big way!

When X-Men director Bryan Singer signed on to direct the film, I was confidant that the film was in good hands... and Singer delivers on all his promises!  It was a daunting task to be sure, Christopher Reeve's image is firmly inscribed in all our minds as "Superman" and rather than doing a Batman Begins and doing a re-boot Singer and screen writers Michael Dougherty & Dan Harris choose to make their film a loose continuation of the Donner/Reeves films, in fact this film could be considered Superman 3... the continuity of Superman 3 & Superman: The Quest for Pease are completely ignored - and for good reason.  It's not unlike George Lucas going back and trying to do his Star Wars prequels... a tough challenge.  Where Lucas failed, Singer triumphs.

*Note: Some SPOILERS ahead - If you don't want to know stop reading now!

The new film opens with very familiar opening credits setting up that Superman played by Brandon Routh, has been away from planet Earth for five years and in his absence the world has learned to live without him even Lois Lane has moved on, she is engaged to Perry White's nephew Richard and she has a five year old child, Jason.  Seems astronomers had found what they thought were the remains of Krypton and Superman must venture out to see for himself, to search for where he came from and ultimately why is he here... He apparently left the planet without even saying goodbye. This is a plot device that raises it's head a few times once he does return, his relationship with Lois, played by a very young looking Kate Bosworth is very strained at first but she comes to terms with his disappearance and return as well as her love of big-blue as the film develops!  Lex Luthor on the other has through a loop-hole in the judicial system is once again out of prison, seems Superman while exploring the dead Krypton missed a few court dates. Prison has made Lex this time around a much darker character taking his first day of freedom to swindle a rich old lady, played by former Lois Lane Noel Neil out of her entire fortune. Luthor is played to the hilt by Kevin Spacey as one part Gene Hackman one part demented evil genius still hell bent on the ultimate 'beach front property' and the film's major threat! 

Superman makes a spectacular return early in the film when the new space shuttle fails to detach from it's 777 jet plane during it's inaugural launch endangering the lives of all the reporters aboard including intrepid reporter Lois Lane. The plane rescue alone is a brilliant showcase for Superman's talents, he's faster than a speeding bullet and certainly more powerful than a locomotive. His powers here are on vivid display. The special effects are amazing, if the original Superman made us believe a man could fly, this new film really makes us believe a man can fly!  The world witnesses the triumphant return of Superman and he is met with world-wide applause, it is truly a spectacular moment that gave me goose-bumps. It also helps the film that composer John Ottman uses the classic John Williams score to great effect, simply hearing the Superman theme again makes the long wait for Superman's return to the movies all worth while.

The film plays out with some very familiar beats, paying homage to the Donner film(s), the plot here has Luthor invading the abandoned Fortress of Solitude learning Krypton's secrets from Jor-El again played by Marlon Brando and stealing the Kryptonian crystals.  How does Luthor know where the fortress is?, Well if we remember back to Superman 2, Luthor tracks Superman there and with the help of the three Phantom Zone criminals confronts Superman. Younger folks who have never seen the first two Donner films may be a bit confused by a couple of the plot points with 'returns' so if you are not up on your Superman movie trivia, you may want to watch the DVD of Supes2 just to refresh your memory.

The film when it was announced almost two years ago with the signing of Singer had it's doubters. Could they over-come all the previous attempts at trying to bring the Man of Steel back? Could they get past the whole 'death of superman' storyline that seemed to plague all the other production attempts, could it get past the Tim Burton black-suited spider-fighting no-powers Superman?  could it overcome Christopher Reeve? The answer is YES!  Singer and CO have thrown out all the luggage and went back to the source, not the comics but the Donner films.  Once the first image of newcomer Brandon Routh hit the net, fans were in an uproar. Complaining about the look of the suit, it's too dark the 'S' too small, his shorts are too shorty-short, it's not the Reeve's suit... blah blah blah.  I've been following and reviewing the latest superhero films thru my other site for years, and have come to the conclusion you can't judge an entire film based on ONE image. And the first picture of Routh in the suit only got the fans in a lather, but I had confidence in Singer and cautioned everyone to wait till we saw him moving and in action.  The film in the end sets all those fears to rest, Superman looks like Superman in this film with a 2006 make-over and it works. The costume is a bit darker and the 'S' is smaller and now 3-D, I personally had no problem with the updating, in fact I would have done many of the changes myself if I were to redesign the costume for today's modern audiences!

On the down side, the film is however a bit flawed. The filmmakers are betting that you are up on your Superman history, particularly your Superman film history. The new film uses elements from the first two Donner films as a loose reference. The flaw in this is that many movie-goers today may have not have seen those films or if they did who would remember very specific plot points. And while using certain elements for those earlier films the filmmakers also completely ignore others in the end making the film a bit frustrating for those like myself who do know ALL the lore of the Donner films histories. Singer's love of Superman seems to come from the films rather than the comics.  Warner's after many years of trying to get Superman back on the screen bought Singer's pitch to bring back the man of steel I'm guessing based on the tie to the successful Donner films.

In the end the film overall is a spectacular re-introduction for the fans of SUPERMAN. It's a rather long film running coming in about 2 1/2 hours, but it moves very quick and as long as you don't drink a super-big-gulp during the film it flies by a super speed!  I will admit to more than a few goose-bumps and a few near teary-eyed moments during the course of the film!  So if you haven't seen SUPERMAN RETURNS yet, what are you waiting for? Head right out and see it today!

Chris Mason


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Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation:

The Adventures of CAPTAIN SPECTRE!
April 15, 2005

Hey serial fans have you ever heard of Captain Spectre?  Me neither until today. Head over to artist Tom Floyd's as soon as possible for an original ongoing serial tale inspired by the likes of Commando Cody & Captain Midnight!

Here's what our pal Gary Hughes at RocketMania has to say about Captain Spectre and the Lightning Legion!

Nebraska-based artist Tom Floyd has developed a mysterious, masked pulp hero known as Captain Spectre. Influenced by Rocket Man, Captain Midnight and the more recent Rocketeer, Floyd's jet-propelled crusader scoures the skies in search of crooks, sharpsters and n'er do wells.  

Follow the intrepid Captain's web comic exploits at Captain Spectre and the Lightning Legion!



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Superman's "S" to be Everywhere this Week
June 24, 2006
Source: Warner Bros. Pictures

Warner Bros. Pictures has released the following announcement saying that you can expect the Superman "S" in many places this week:

The countdown to the Wednesday, June 28, opening of the Warner Bros. Pictures' release "Superman Returns" is underway. After almost a 20-year absence from the big screen, the return of the Man of Steel is being heralded from coast to coast and on land, sea and air.

Look! Up in the sky! Superman's iconic S-Shield -- accompanied by a countdown to the day when "Superman Returns" hits movie theatres nationwide -- will be projected on popular landmarks around the country. The S-Shield will appear at such recognizable sites as Niagara Falls; the Time Warner Center in New York City, where it will be clearly visible from Central Park and other parts of Manhattan; the Queen Mary in Southern California's Long Beach Harbor; the new Fantasy Tower of the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas; Chicago's Sears Tower; and the giant Mall of America in Minneapolis. The S-Shield will also be seen in a variety of prominent locations in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Dallas, Denver, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Kansas City.

As befits the Super Hero who can leap tall buildings in a single bound, elite groups of skydivers will leap from airplanes in carefully synchronized jumps above major cities across the U.S. to celebrate the impending release of "Superman Returns." Look! Up in the sky! as skydivers simultaneously take to the air above Boston, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Phoenix and San Francisco on June 26th. In select cities, the skydiving teams will come together to form a human S-Shield as they float down to earth. In other cities, the skydivers will, together, be carrying huge S-Shield banners, which will be clearly visible from the ground.

We invite the press in each market to cover the orchestrated skydives and landmark countdowns. Please contact your Warner Bros. Pictures publicity representative for exact locations, times and other details.

For moviegoers nationwide, "S" marks the opening of "Superman Returns"...coming Wednesday, June 28, to theatres and IMAX everywhere.


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Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation:

ALEX TOTH 1928-2006
June 01, 2006

Source: The Comics Reporter
Alex Toth, one of the handful of people who could seriously enter into Greatest Comic Book Artist of All-Time discussions and a a giant of 20th Century cartoon design, has passed away on May 28th at age 77.

Like many young cartoonists, Alex Toth received his first professional gig from Steve Douglas at Famous Funnies. He would eventually work for DC, Marvel, Standard, Dell, Whitman, Western, and Warren, an elite publishers list that might double if you counted books about Toth or reprint collections. His best-known comics achievements are probably 1) an accomplished, dynamic run on Zorro, 2) creating the well-traveled throwback romantic adventure feature "Bravo For Adventure," and 3) a brief but exceedingly lovely stint on the crime comic Torpedo. He was also a well-regarded animation designer, creating model sheets for characters ranging from Space Ghost to various DC mainstays as they appeared on TV under the title Super Friends.

Above any artist ever to work in comics, Alex Toth enjoyed a career that cannot be properly summarized via a credits list. Toth is better remembered for an approach to work -- perfectly spotted blacks, supple line work that can create an entire visual world in fewer marks on the page than anyone would ever believe, and a visually sophisticated approach to storytelling that relied as much on shadow and hints and continuity across panels as it did on any effect borrowed from film. It was a way of making art he developed and refined and pulled apart to put back together for the entirety of his adult life. Toth's art was routinely idiosyncratic and exquisite to the point that he could seize your attention on the silliest of projects: superhero pin-ups, scale models of robots, doodles on a postcard, licensed tie-ins for an audience that would probably accept anything that even pretended towards fealty to the look of the object being sold.

People will say he was a great craftsman, and they'll be right, but what Toth did was a little further along than that. Toth reached that scary point where it felt dangerous to look at some of his best work; you ran the risk of being pierced by a force that practically shimmered on the page, that inhabited every image, like a master chef's dessert so rich it made your eyes water in protest, or a singer's voice so pitch-perfect it made you want to leave the concert hall, if only to catch your breath. His handwriting exuded an element of purity in cartooning that could outclass other artists' fully-rendered sequential art. Toth's black and white work in particular displayed an almost transcendent understanding of drawn art as a visual story component. When we as readers come to a greater understanding of the effect that great art has on the reading of comics, Toth's reputation is likely to grow even larger than it is today.

Alex Toth was known as something of an irascible guy. I know little about that personally -- when I worked at The Comics Journal we occasionally listened to a tape of Toth made during a cut-short interview because he was so brutal, straightforward and funny -- but I do know that he was never rewarded by his chosen medium in two of the most basic ways that matter: opportunity and reward. He earned far more of a right than he spent in terms of speaking back to comics, whether it was criticism of art that fell short or a more personal confrontation. The sad thing about Toth as opposed to other square pegs in round holes in comics history is that Toth's work surely indicates he was present to the possibilities in more mainstream genres than perhaps any great comics artist ever. He wasn't "out there" -- his work influenced the mainstream of comics history at the major houses, and inspired artists who generally went on to become workhorses as opposed to arthouse favorites. That he still didn't quite fit into the industry in a way befitting his skill and passion is one of those unknowable things in comics history. Hopefully, Toth will continue to live on in a variety of ways and in a variety of publishing platforms in a way that does justice to his life in art.

Visit the official ALEX TOTH website HERE.


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Superman Returns Opening Two Days Earlier
May 30, 2006 reports that we'll get to see Superman Returns two days earlier! has learned that Warner Bros. Pictures will release Superman Returns two days earlier on June 28, a Wednesday. It gives the Bryan Singer-directed comic book adaptation two more days to collect box office before Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest opens on July 7.
(Superman Returns was scheduled to open June 30th)

If you haven't seen the slew of SUPERMAN RETURNS trailers and TV spots head over to at the link above to see them!


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Blade Runner Final Cut is Coming
May 27, 2006
Source: Variety
Warner Home Video has disentangled the rights issues for Blade Runner to pave the way for a September reissue of the re-mastered "Director's Cut" version, followed by a theatrical release of a version promised to be truly Ridley Scott's final cut.

Variety says that Warner's rights to Blade Runner lapsed a year ago, but the studio has since negotiated a long-term license. The film, now considered a sci-fi classic, has had a troubled history from the start: When Scott ran over-budget, completion bond guarantors took control of it and made substantial changes before its 1982 theatrical release, adding a voiceover and happy ending. That version was replaced by the much better-received director's cut in 1992, but Scott has long been unhappy with it, complaining that he was rushed and unable to give it proper attention.

The helmer started working on the final cut version in 2000, but that project was shelved by Warner soon after, apparently because the studio couldn't come to terms with Jerry Perenchio over rights issues.

The trade adds that the restored "Director's Cut" will debut on home video in September, and remain on sale for four months only, after which time it will be placed on moratorium.

"Blade Runner: Final Cut" will arrive in 2007 for a limited 25th anniversary theatrical run, followed by a special edition DVD with the three previous versions offered as alternate viewing: Besides the original theatrical version and director's cut, the expanded international theatrical cut will be included. The set will also contain additional bonus materials.


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Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation:

Ultimate Fleischer Superman DVD Collection
May 19, 2006

For those who have been disappointed with previous releases of the landmark Fleisher SUPERMAN cartoons, then the following good news that comes from the Superman Homepage will make you happy:

The Superman Homepage is pleased to join VCI Entertainment in announcing the DVD release of "Superman: The Ultimate Max Fleischer Cartoon Collection".

The Superman Homepage worked closely with VCI Entertainment to ensure this collection of the 17 fabulous Superman cartoons from Fleischer Studios was the best and most thorough collection released to date.

All 17 cartoons can be found on this special collectors DVD. Each episode has been digitally restored and is brimming with action and special effects. Each cartoon is beautifully drawn and colored, and brought to life with realistic movement.

Fleischer Studios produced seventeen Superman cartoons and were shown to audiences between 1941 and 1943. It was typical for movie theatres to show at least one short cartoon before the feature film, which has since been replaced with straight advertising. This was the original venue for the Superman cartoons, though they have appeared on television since then. Superman's original medium was, of course, comic books, and his second venue was a radio program that began in 1940. Superman's first moving picture appearance, animated or live action, was in this series of cartoons. Their importance in making Superman publicly renown can not be understated. With only the comic books Superman would have been popular with children in America, but the radio and cartoon serials made the character so well known that he was soon recognized by all of North America, and then the entire world. Thanks in part to these cartoons his fame would snowball to create his lasting success and international stardom.

The Superman cartoons have been fully restored to their original glory by VCI. The DVD also has some special features including a VCI exclusive recorded phone interview with the voice of Lois Lane herself... Joan Alexander. VCI, together with the Superman Homepage, has also put together a special bonus extra called BEHIND THE CAPE. The extra will take you thru each episode, giving you an episode synopsis, credits, and fun facts of each cartoon. Also included on this DVD are bios and a special insert booklet "The Super Guide to the Fleischer Superman Cartoons".

VCI is one of the nation's oldest independent home video companies and has a library of over 3000 titles. Since VCI's first DVD release in 1999, its DVD library has grown to over 400 titles strong. The VCI library includes feature films, documentaries, short subjects, special interest and TV series. VCI's goal is to become a leading supplier of archival quality Hollywood Classics.

Superman: The Ultimate Max Fleischer Cartoon Collection
Voice Cast: Bud Collier, Joan Alexander - The 17 original animated Max Fleischer studios cartoons, based on the comic book character, Superman, released by Paramount Pictures were shown monthly at movie theaters from September 9th 1941 to July 30th 1943. Each cartoon is brimming with action and special effects, beautifully drawn and colored, braced with fabulous background paintings and brought to life with realistic movement.
DVD Bonus & Features: Booklet - The Super Guide to the Fleischer Superman Cartoons, Behind the Cape: A Synopsis of each cartoon with fun facts, Bonus Cartoon - Snafuperman (a wartime parody of the Fleischer cartoons), Bios, Bonus Superman trailer for the Superman serials (1948) starring Kirk Alyn, Digitally Re-stored. Product Specs: DVD-9, Dolby Digital, NTSC/All Region, English Language.
Format: Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Studio: VCI Video
DVD Release Date: May 30, 2006
Run Time: 150 minutes


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Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation:

Original Unaltered STAR WARS Trilogy on DVD!
May 15, 2006
Source: Lucasfilm

Earlier this month Lucasfilm announced that this September fans can look forward to the long-awaited DVD release of the original theatrical incarnations of the classic "Star Wars" trilogy!

In response to overwhelming demand, Lucasfilm Ltd. and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will release attractively priced individual two-disc releases of "Star Wars," "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi." Each release includes the 2004 digitally remastered version of the movie, as well as the original theatrical edition of the film. That means you'll be able to enjoy "Star Wars" as it first appeared in 1977, "Empire" in 1980, and "Jedi" in 1983.

See the title crawl to "Star Wars" before it was known as "Episode IV"; see the pioneering, if dated, motion control model work on the attack on the Death Star; groove to Lapti Nek or the Ewok Celebration song like you did when you were a kid; and yes, see Han Solo shoot first.

This release will only be available for a limited time: from September 12th to December 31st. The international release will follow on or about the same day. Each original theatrical version will feature Dolby 2.0 Surround sound, close-captioning, and subtitles in English, French and Spanish for their U.S. release. International sound and subtitling vary by territory.

"Over the years, a truly countless number of fans have told us that they would love to see and own the original version that they remember experiencing in theaters," said Jim Ward, President of LucasArts and Senior Vice President of Lucasfilm Ltd. "We returned to the Lucasfilm Archives to search exhaustively for source material that could be presented on DVD. This is something that we're very excited to be able to give to fans in response to their continuing enthusiasm for Star Wars. Topping it off with a new interactive adventure makes September 12 a red-letter day for Star Wars fans."

Lucas recently told MTV:
Lucas says he's curious to see what the reception will be for the upcoming limited-edition DVD release of the three original "Star Wars" films  "It's just the original versions, as they were," Lucas said. "We didn't do anything to it at all. But we're not sure how many people want that."

You might say quite a few, considering how many fans were angered by the digitized, expanded updates of episodes IV, V and VI. Lucas claims he's not re-releasing the originals to appease fans, but rather to bate them. "Now we'll find out whether they really wanted the original or whether they wanted the improved versions," he said. "It'll all come out in the end."

And no doubt shortly after this release, Lucasfilm will certainly look to tap your wallet even further with a complete collection of the entire six-film saga in one pretty package!

While we're at it... HAN SHOT FIRST!


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Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation:

Wolfgang Petersen on Batman vs. Superman
May 01, 2006
Superhero Hype! caught up with Poseidon director Wolfgang Petersen who says he is still interested in bringing Batman vs. Superman (aka "World's Finest") to the big screen.

"I still think that the Superman/Batman clash, putting them together in one film, would be absolutely fantastic," said Petersen. "I hope it still will happen because they are so different as we know. The dark Batman and the sort of goody goody Superman. It's so nice to play with both and see how the dynamic between the two also including fighting between the two how that would work."

Petersen added he's always interested in pursuing this idea and hopes it will work out.


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Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation:

Star Trek Kills John Carter? - UPDATED!
May 01, 2006
When it was announced last month, that Paramount Pictures was breathing new life into its "Star Trek" film franchise and would have Mission: Impossible III helmer and Lost/Alias creator J.J. Abrams to produce and direct the 11th "Trek" feature, Trekkies the world over were happy!

But fans of the adventures of Edgar Rice Burroughs' JOHN CARTER will be sad to know that as a result of the 11th Star Trek film is would seem Paramount has pulled the plug on Carter, possibly for good this time.

UPDATED from Jon Favreau's web-blog:
Unfortunately, due to the 2008 Paramount production of Star Trek, it looks like Carter is not going to happen in the near future. I assure you that the script and artwork were very well received, but they've got a lot of "similar" stuff in the pipeline at the studio. I am trying to help position the film to get made and remain committed to seeing it through. That said, it's not going to happen this year.

Posted by Jon Favreau on Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Lost and Alias creator said of Star Trek 11 that "We've made a pact not to discuss any specifics." Abrams is a big fan of the Original Series, however, so don't be surprised if his film does take place around the era of Kirk and Co. "Those characters are so spectacular. I just think that... you know, they could live again."

A John Carter film has been in the works for many years, and the likes of Robert (Sin City) Rodriguez and Jon (Zathura)
Favreau have been connected with bring the hero to the screen.  In fact CC reported the below quote from Favreau this January:

The movie (John Carter of Mars) is still in the development stages, but has the potential to be enormous. “The way it stands is that we have artists working on research, we’re working on a script and we should know by the spring whether we’re going ahead or if the project goes back on the woodpile…It’s pretty big. Theoretically it could spin out into a fully fledged franchise, which is, I think, what the holy grail is for the movie studios now.”

And now it seems like John Carter has indeed hit the 'woodpile' as Favreau has moved on to  the Marvel Comics big-screen adaptation of IRON MAN -Jon Favreau will direct the film and develop the script with the writing team of Arthur Marcum and Matt Holloway (Convoy). Favreau's directing credits include "Elf" and "Zathura: A Space Adventure."


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New Superman Returns Image
April 26, 2006
Source: TIME

TIME magazine's summer preview includes this new photo of Brandon Routh as Superman flying in Superman Returns. The Bryan Singer-directed movie hits theaters, IMAX and IMAX 3D on June 30th.


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See the Monarch of the Moon - TRAILER
April 21, 2006

OK, when I first heard about this project I was excited. I love serials, and I love serial homage. This thing is looking more like a fan film. Not that I have anything against fan films, I love them, in fact at my other site I've encouraged and talked at great length about fan films. However Monarch of the Moon is looking more & more like a silly spoof rather than a homage.

If you would like to check out the official trailer for Monarch of the Moon follow the link to the official site.

Monarch of the Moon is described as follows:

This is the battle to end all battles - pulse-pounding World War II action and intergalactic intrigue! Defending freedom and democracy is the incredible Yellow Jacket, Army fighter pilot turned winged superhero, now leading America's charge against Evil! He must battle the deliciously deadly Dragon Fly and her Japbots, outsmart an infamous Nazi Scientist and destroy the demonic Doomsday Ray! Then Yellow Jacket and his team make a startling discovery - and must launch themselves into space where they confront the power-mad Monarch of the Moon! From Dark Horse Entertainment, this feature is an outrageous, special effects-loaded spoof of '40s and '50s serial films.

Follow the link above to see the trailer...


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Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation:

J.J. Abrams to Direct 11th Star Trek!
April 21, 2006
Source: Variety
Paramount Pictures is breathing life into its "Star Trek" franchise by setting Mission: Impossible III helmer J.J. Abrams to produce and direct the 11th "Trek" feature, aiming for a 2008 release.

Variety says that Damon Lindelof and Bryan Burk, Abrams' producing team from Lost, also will produce the yet-to-be-titled feature.

The project, to be written by Abrams and "M:i:III" screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, will center on the early days of seminal "Trek" characters James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock, including their first meeting at Starfleet Academy and first outer space mission.

Created by Gene Roddenberry, "Star Trek" has been Hollywood's most durable performer other than James Bond, spawning 10 features that have grossed more than $1 billion and 726 TV episodes from six series.

Abrams also created Alias, which ABC is wrapping up in May.


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Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation:

Are We Ready for Sgt. Rock?
April 19, 2006

John Cox has been hired to write Sgt. Rock, an adaptation of DC Comics' World War II adventure series being produced by Joel Silver for Warner Bros. Pictures, says The Hollywood Reporter.

Sgt. Frank Rock was the leader of his infantry unit, Easy Company. He first appeared in a 1959 issue of "Our Army at War." In 1977, with the character's steadily rising popularity, the comic was renamed "Sgt. Rock" and ran until 1988.

The property has long been in development at Warners, with such writers as Brian Helgeland, John Milius, David Peoples, Jeffrey Boam and Steven De Souza having tackled the adaptation.


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Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation:

Peter Segal to Direct SHAZAM!
April 13, 2006

Peter Segal ("The Longest Yard," "50 First Dates") has come aboard to direct Shazam! -- an adaptation of a DC Comics' comic book series featuring Captain Marvel -- for New Line Cinema. The Hollywood Reporter says Segal also will produce along with Michael Ewing via their Callahan Filmworks.

The comic series focused on young Billy Batson, who becomes the superhero known as Captain Marvel when he utters the magic word "Shazam!" The name is an acronym for six gods and heroes of the ancient world as well as their attributes: the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles and the speed of Mercury.

Writers on the long-gestating project include William Goldman and Bryan Goluboff.

Here's a bit of what Shazam! producer Michael Uslan told about the project last August.

SHH!: Is it true that you're also involved with a "Shazam!" movie? It's kind of a departure since you've set up this template for dark and serious comic book movies, and then you have Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family, who are bright and colorful and nice.

Uslan: Well, you gotta take a look at the marketplace. I don't like to follow. I like to be called crazy and insane and ahead of time. I've heard it so much over my career that I kind of like it. So by going in a bit of a different direction, I think is great to be at the forefront of that. With "Shazam!" we've got something very special in the works, and we're handling it with kid gloves and developing the script very, very slowly and making sure it's nailed. I think we're going to have some real exciting announcements later this year about that.

Lets hope that now that a director has been signed, that SHAZAM finally gets off the ground!
The Crimson Collector will be watching this one very closely, as Captain Marvel was the favorite of CC founder Tom Mason!


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Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation:

Superman Documentary Flies
April 12, 2006

Superman Returns director Bryan Singer told SCI FI Wire that he decided to produce a feature-length documentary about the Man of Steel while researching the character's past. Excited by what he found, Singer decided to produce Look Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman.

"It was a very elaborate process," Singer said in an interview. "It's comprised of 50 or more interviews. It involved going to archives, researching and tracking down and optioning footage that people have never seen before of early incarnations of Superman."

Look Up in the Sky explores Superman's beginnings in comic books and his early presence in movies, ranging from Max Fleischer cartoon shorts (screened before feature films in movie theaters in the 1940s) to 1951's Superman and the Mole-Men, starring George Reeves, which inspired the first Superman TV series. There's also coverage of the Superman movie revival that began in the 1970s, TV's Lois and Clark and Smallville and footage from Superman Returns.

"I partnered with Kevin Burns to produce this documentary for Warner Brothers," Singer said. "Kevin is an old friend and has produced Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy, Cleopatra: The Film That Changed Hollywood, Marilyn Monroe: The Final Days and a number of other amazing films and documentaries. I thought it would be a nice thing to have on the air before the movie comes out as a way of getting people in the mood for Superman."

Singer said that he hopes to strike a deal for the documentary to be aired on TV sometime in June, and there's a chance for a limited theatrical release. Look Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman is currently slated for a June 20 release on DVD.


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Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation:

Smallville, Big Stakes - The Superboy Lawsuit!
April 7, 2006

WOW this is really interesting news... seems the fate of Smallville lies in the hands of Superman's creators!

By Joal Ryan Fri Apr 7, 2:43 PM ET

In the comics, Superboy died Wednesday. In the courts, a nearly 60-year battle over the superhero remains very much alive.

At stake: The future of Smallville. At least.

A judge has left for a jury to decide whether the WB's show about Clark Kent's bucolic hometown infringes on the Superboy copyright held by the heirs of Superman cocreator Jerry Siegel.

If the Siegel camp is ultimately victorious, Time Warner, the WB's corporate parents, might have to seek license approval from the family before producing new episodes of the series, which is expected to make the jump next fall to the new network, the CW. A win also could affect the afterlife of shows already in the can. The stage for this sticky situation was set when U.S. District Court Judge Ronald S.W. Lew ruled last month that Siegel's widow, Joanne Siegel, and daughter, Laura Siegel Larson, recaptured the Superboy character's copyright in November 2004.

In another blow to Time Warner, the Mar. 23 summary judgment, which was first reported Wednesday by Variety, rejected a motion by the conglomerate that essentially argued Smallville isn't about Superboy, and, thus, doesn't trespass on the Siegels' copyrighted material.

"I believe it's impossible to honestly trace the history of Smallville without accounting for its derivation from Superboy," intellectual property attorney Marc Toberoff, who represents the Siegels, said Wednesday. A call seeking comment from Time Warner, which can appeal the summary judgment, was not returned Thursday. In his ruling, Lew didn't hand the Smallville deed to the Siegels, but he wrote that he could find that "the main character in Smallville is in fact Superboy."

According to the WB, the main character of Smallville is Clark Kent. According to comic-book lore, Clark Kent is the mild-mannered secret identity of Superman. And he is the mild-mannered secret identity of Superman's teen-aged self, Superboy. The difference is Time Warner owns Superman; the Siegels, per the court, own Superboy. "The fight [is] about Superboy because it couldn't be about Superman," said Barry Freiman, a contributing editor to the fan site Superman Homepage.

And to understand the fight is to understand the history of comic books because, as artist Neal Adams said, "There is no more classic example of this--Superman is the first comic book superhero."  In 1938, Detective Comics, a predecessor of Warners-owned DC Comics, published the first issue of Action Comics featuring the first adventure of Superman, a man-sized alien of super strength as dreamed up in high school by buddies Siegel and Joe Shuster. For their creation, Siegel and Shuster were paid $130, or $10 a page. Months later, in November 1938, Siegel pitched the publisher a new hero: Superboy.

"No character had been done as a teenager," said Adams, who lobbied on behalf of Siegel and Shuster in the 1970s. "It was a totally new idea then--and now. Who's going to do Captain America as a boy? Who's going to do Sub-Mariner as a boy?" Different or no, the publisher passed.

But Superboy was an idea that would fly. The character debuted in the January/February 1945 issue of DC's More Fun Comics. At the time, Siegel wasn't in a position to pick up a copy at the corner drugstore--he serving overseas in the Army. When Siegel returned from World War II, his Superman/Superboy battles began. In 1947, Siegel and Shuster sued National Comics Publications, then the name of DC's parent company. The judge "split the baby in half," as comic historian and writer Mark Evanier put it, finding that Superman was the property of National, and that Superboy was the property of Siegel, the character's sole creator.

"While you and I may not look at Superboy as a whole other character," Freiman said, "he really is a separate character in terms of ownership." Siegel and Shuster settled with National for $94,000, per a retelling of the case in Lew's ruling--the partners got the money; National got both Superman and Superboy.

In 1973, Siegel and Shuster sued again, trying, but failing, to get back the Superman copyright. By then, the duo had seen Superman spawn radio shows, movie serials, animated serials, a live-action TV series and a Broadway show, It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman!  
Adams, who first met the pair in the 1960s, once heard Shuster rave about the star-studded premiere of It's a Bird... When Adams asked Shuster what he thought of the show, Shuster replied, "Oh, I couldn't afford to go..."

Eventually, Adams helped secure credits, and even a pension for Siegel and Shuster. Adams said he went to Warners, which by the 1970s had gobbled up DC, and explained the situation: "It's Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster--they created the biggest icon in the world, bigger than Sherlock Holmes...And all you have to do is pay them [what you would for] a decent secretary."  In the end, Siegel and Shuster didn't get rich, but they "got taken care of," Adams said. Where once Siegel had placed a "curse" on Superman: The Movie, it became his and Shuster's pleasure, Adams said, to see their names associated with the 1978 film. (To this day, the WB notes in its Smallville media materials that Siegel and Shuster are the creators of Superman; the residents of Smallville, however, are said to be "based on DC Comics characters.")

If Siegel made peace with Superman, Superboy remained a sore subject, according to Adams--the manner in which National launched the character while Siegel was away at war "kinda got stuck in his craw." Siegel died in 1996, at age 81; Shuster, in 1992, at age 78. In 2002, Siegel's widow and daughter put Time Warner on two-years' notice that they intended to terminate the 1948 Superboy copyright agreement. Per Lew's ruling, a 1976 law giving authors and their heirs the right to recapture copyrights of works sold before 1978 gave the family the in.

In 2004, the Siegels sued Time Warner, alleging Smallville infringed on that copyright with every episode produced after the family exerted its copyright control. As it stands now, the disputed episodes entail most of season four and all of the current fifth season. (Presumably, Superboy, a 1988-92 syndicated series, would be in the clear.) Time Warner's subsidiaries--DC Comics, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television and Warner Communications--were named as codefendants.

Smallville, which has eschewed the cape, but kept on such familiar Superman/Superboy associates as Lex Luthor, Lana Lang and Jonathan and Martha Kent, debuted on the WB in 2001.  That the Superboy battle is still being waged six decades after the first Siegel-Shuster lawsuit is "pretty amazing," Freiman said. That doesn't mean, however, that he's surprised. "They're [the Siegels] fighting almost harder than Joe and Jerry fought," Freiman said. "Joe and Jerry were almost beaten down."

Evanier said he was only surprised that the current Siegel dispute had gotten this far. A jury trial could be in the offing by the end of the year, although no date has been set.  "This thing could get much bigger," Evanier said. "[And] it'll get bigger and bigger until the people at Time Warner make the Siegels a nice settlement."  Freiman wondered whether the Superboy copyright issue would come into play "anytime you have a young Clark Kent--which isn't just Smallville. [It could] affect anytime you have a Clark Kent flashback."  

With Superboy being killed in the latest issue of the comic miniseries Infinite Crisis, on the stands Wednesday, Evanier said he wouldn't be surprised if the death had something to do with the ongoing legal battle--"a fortuitous way to build up and transfer heat to another property." Then again, he wouldn't be surprised if Superboy--an all-new, DNA-generated spawn of Superman and Lex Luthor known as Conner Kent--was killed simply for the bottom line.

"In comics these days," Evanier said, "you kill off characters as a sales gimmick."
Presumably, it's only the war over Superboy that won't die.


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Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation:

First Look at Monarch of the Moon - Serial
March 29, 2006

Superhero Hype! has an exclusive first look at three images from Monarch of the Moon, which made its world premiere at the New York Comic-Con. Directed by Richard Lowry, the film will be released by Dark Horse Indie, the new independent label from Dark Horse Entertainment/Dark Horse Comics.

Dark Horse Indie is also behind "Driftwood," directed by Tim Sullivan ("2001 Maniacs," "Detroit Rock City"), and "Splinter," directed by Mike Olmos and co-starring his father Edward James Olmos.

Monarch of the Moon is described as follows:

This is the battle to end all battles - pulse-pounding World War II action and intergalactic intrigue! Defending freedom and democracy is the incredible Yellow Jacket, Army fighter pilot turned winged superhero, now leading America's charge against Evil! He must battle the deliciously deadly Dragon Fly and her Japbots, outsmart an infamous Nazi Scientist and destroy the demonic Doomsday Ray! Then Yellow Jacket and his team make a startling discovery - and must launch themselves into space where they confront the power-mad Monarch of the Moon! From Dark Horse Entertainment, this feature is an outrageous, special effects-loaded spoof of '40s and '50s serial films.

Follow the link above to see more images...


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Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation:

Lucy Liu Talks Charlie Chan
March 23, 2006


Although many still remember actress Lucy Liu fondly from the FOX drama Ally McBeal, her movie career has been highlighted by the two "Charlie's Angels" movies. For the last few years, she's been working on developing a movie based on a very different Charlie--Charlie Chan--with the intention of playing the character herself as the granddaughter of the original. When spoke to Ms. Liu about her upcoming crime drama, Lucky Number Slevin with Josh Hartnett, of course we had to ask how that was going.

"It's been five years, and it's been progressing slowly," she told us before joking, "By the time I do it, I may be like the grandfather in Charlie Chan. I'll be like 88 years old and I'll have 17 grandchildren."

We asked her how the project came about and whether she was a fan of the original Charlie Chan. "Actually, they came to me," Liu responded, "I had very little knowledge of Charlie Chan, because I didn't even know it was on television. I just thought it was a movie. It was actually a series that was on television, and I started reading about it and realized that it was based on this real person, Chong Apana, this detective in Hawaii, and he was a complete badass. First of all, he didn't look anything like the Charlie Chan they represented, and he actually was Asian. Secondly, he was incredibly sinewy. At the time, there was a lot of opium trading, which is obviously illegal, and he was the only person who was allowed to carry a whip on the force, like a real whip. He retired and a year later, he died. This is somebody whose entire life is his work, but he was just like a badass! But he was represented differently, like he spoke with fortune cookie like language, and was very affable and friendly, and it was just a very different way of doing it. I like having the idea of the history behind it and also knowing where it went. Because for the entertainment, I think they felt that it had to be represented in a certain way."

So will we be hearing about Lucy Liu getting lessons on how to use a whip in the near future? "I don't know what's going to happen with the whip," she laughed. "Believe me, I'm pushing it, but I don't know if they think it's a good idea because it may be too much like Raiders."

It still doesn't have a director or screenwriter, but it's something she's putting a lot of time into. "We've had a couple drafts of it, so we'll see how it turns out," she said, "It's kind of cool being a part of it, because you can bring in your creative thoughts and think about what you want to do. You get to just have more say in your characters, and it's kind of nice because you feel like you're part of the group."


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Del Toro is The Wolf Man
Mar. 15, 2006
Universal Pictures will scare up a new version of its horror classic The Wolf Man, with Benicio Del Toro (Sin City) playing the title role, reports Variety.

Se7en screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker has begun writing the script. Scott Stuber, Rick Yorn, Mary Parent and Del Toro will produce.

Like the 1941 original that starred Lon Chaney Jr., the new film will be set in Victorian England. Del Toro will play a man who returns from America to his ancestral homeland, gets bitten by a werewolf and begins a hairy moonlight existence.

Walker spent several months working on some frightening new twists to a familiar tale, adding several characters and plot points that take advantage of cutting-edge visual effects technology.

Walker will turn in his first draft by the spring, and the producers and studio are optimistic that The Wolf Man will shoot early in 2007, after Del Toro completes Guerrilla, the Che Guevara film being directed by Steven Soderbergh.

The expectation is that The Wolf Man will be a summer 2008 tentpole.


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Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation:

Producer Frank Marshall talks JP4 & Indy4
Mar. 9, 2006

Recently Indiana Jones producer Frank Marshall talked to the press about two high-profile franchises... and they both will likely make the increasingly common jump from trilogy to four-part series. The bad news is that he faces fan inquiries about them every day.

" 'Jurassic Park 4' is coming to life," he proudly reported. "There's a script, we're getting a director and we're going to get going probably toward the end of this year." Referring to the director of "Park 3," Marshall added that "Joe Johnston could be back. We want to get the script right before we go forward, which is exactly what's [happening with what] your next question is going to be about, 'Indy 4.' "

OK then, Frank: What is going on with the next Indiana Jones movie? "We're getting the script right, we're working on it. It's not one of those things that's on the back burner." Grinning, Marshall added that he might try to get both films made by simply combining them. "Indiana Jones goes to the island," he said. "Indy versus the raptors. Get him with that whip." ...


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Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation:

Dana Reeve Passes Away at Age 44
Mar. 7, 2006

The Associated Press reports the sad news that "Superman" star Christopher Reeve's widow, Dana, has now passed away as well:

Dana Reeve, who won worldwide admiration for her devotion to her "Superman" husband, Christopher Reeve, through his decade of near-total paralysis, has died of lung cancer at the age of 44.

Reeve, a singer-actress who gave up some of her own career to be one of the nation's best-known caregivers, died late Monday at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Medical Center, said Kathy Lewis, president of the Christopher Reeve Foundation.

Reeve had succeeded her husband as chair of the foundation, which funded research into spinal-cord paralysis cures. She announced in August that, while she wasn't a smoker, she had been diagnosed with lung cancer.

Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation:

You can read more on Dana's life here.


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Gunsmoke Star Dennis Weaver Dies
Feb. 27, 2006
The Associated Press reports that Dennis Weaver, the slow-witted deputy Chester Goode in the TV classic western Gunsmoke and the New Mexico deputy solving New York crime in McCloud, has died. The actor was 81.

Weaver died of complications from cancer Friday at his home in Ridgway, in southwestern Colorado, his publicist Julian Myers said.

Weaver was a struggling actor in Hollywood in 1955, earning $60 a week delivering flowers when he was offered $300 a week for a role in a new CBS television series, Gunsmoke. By the end of his nine years with "Gunsmoke," he was earning $9,000 a week.

You can read more about Weaver's life and career here.

*They always seem to go in 3's - Knotts, McGavin and now Weaver!


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Spy Smasher gets Animated
Feb. 25, 2006

Tonight while watching an episode of Cartoon Network's JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED, I was treated to a nice surprise. The episode titled Patriot Act features an opening scene in glorious black & white and sepia tones, looking a lot like an old Republic serial, music and all... The flashback scene features a German mad-scientist type about to inject an unwitting soldier with a serum that will transform him into an uber-soldier for Hitler's army... when all of the sudden a caped hero bursts in on the fun... it's SPY SMASHER!  For a second my jaw went slack... this can't be... man how cool is this I thought. The staging was right out of an old Republic serial, very retro 1940's with a semi cliffhanger and all - it was great!  I thought of my Pop the Crimson Collector and how he would have loved it!

At any rate if you haven't seen the Justice League Unlimited on Cartoon Network, you may want to set your Tivo and try and catch it on one of it's re-runs, it's worth it!

*I'll dig around and see if I can't find any screen-caps form the episode - above is one I grabbed off the TV screen!


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Don Knotts and Darren McGavin Pass Away
Feb. 25, 2006
Today brings sad news of the deaths of both Don Knotts and Darren McGavin. The actors were 81 and 83, respectively. The Associated Press reports:

Knotts, who kept generations of TV audiences laughing as bumbling Deputy Barney Fife on "The Andy Griffith Show" and would-be swinger landlord Ralph Furley on "Three's Company," has died. He was 81.

Knotts died Friday night of pulmonary and respiratory complications at a Los Angeles hospital, said Paul Ward, a spokesman for the cable network TV Land, which airs his two signature shows.

You can read more about Knotts's life and career at the link above. Also, Darren McGavin's official website announced the actor's death:

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Darren McGavin at approximately 7:10 A.M. Pacific time today, Saturday 25, 2006. Darren was just three months short of his 84th birthday. While we suspect none of us can imagine a world without the beloved, feisty little red-head, it is time to reflect, give thanks for his life and hold in reverence his memory. Darren is gone, but in many respects he will always be with us: as Carl Kolchak, fighting authority and battling monsters; the grumpy Old Man sending curses over Lake Michigan; as David Ross, the outsider, Grey Holden, captain of the Enterprise, the irascible detective Mike Hammer or any number of memorable guest star appearances, most notably as Joe Bascome on GUNSMOKE and as the washed-up old actor from "Distant Signals."


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WB Planning Batman & Superman Sequels
Feb. 23, 2006
Source: Variety

Warner Bros. Pictures is already planning the next installments to Batman Begins and Superman Returns, with respective helmers Christopher Nolan and Bryan Singer in line to return, reports Variety.

While neither director's deal is closed, the studio has hired Jonathan Nolan -- Christopher's brother -- to write the screenplay for the untitled "Batman" project. The studio has options on "Begins" star Christian Bale and "Returns" star Brandon Routh.

Next installment in the Caped Crusader franchise is further along in the process since "Begins" was released last summer; Singer's "Returns," now in post-production, doesn't get released until June 30. "Batman" and "Superman" sequels could make their debut in 2008 and 2009, respectively.

Legendary Pictures, which put up half the financing for both "Begins" and "Returns," is expected to board the sequels and split the budgets 50/50 with Warner Bros. In return, Legendary would split all profits, also 50/50.

One idea being tossed about is for Singer to direct a "Superman" sequel soon after he finishes with Warner's remake of sci-fi thriller Logan's Run, which he's also expected to direct.

The trade says Logan's Run is tentatively scheduled to begin shooting this fall in Vancouver. If Singer did pact to direct the "Superman" sequel, that film could be shot in Vancouver as well.

Singer is also set to direct The Mayor of Castro Street, which is in development at Warner Bros.

"Begins" co-writers David Goyer and Christopher Nolan wrote a treatment for the sequel.


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Akira Ifukube, 1914 - 2006
Feb. 11, 2006

Godzilla series composer Akira Ifukube dies at 91
(Kyodo) Music composer Akira Ifukube, who is most famous for his work on the movie "Godzilla," died of multiple organ failure Wednesday night at a hospital in Tokyo, his family said.  
Ifukube was born in Kushiro, Hokkaido. A graduate of Hokkaido University, Ifukube self-taught composing and created music for major movies since the 1950s, including "Gembaku no ko" (Children of Hiroshima) in 1952 and "Godzilla" in 1954. He went on to score a number of the Godzilla sequels as well as see his famous theme reused time and time again by other composers.

His theme of "Godzilla," which expressed the horrors of the monstrous creature, has widely influenced foreign movies. Ifukube's portfolio of work also include the 1956 "Biruma no Tategoto" (The Harp of Burma) and the "Daimajin" series from 1966.

The composer of "Nihon Kyoshikyoku" (Japanese Rhapsody), which is considered a masterpiece, Ifukube served as the president of the Tokyo College of Music between 1976 and 1987.

Ifukube was awarded a Person of Cultural Merit, one of Japan's highest honors, in 2003.


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Reeves Bio-Pic Looking for New Title
Jan. 30, 2006

Source: FilmForce & LatinoReview
IGN FilmForce have been able to confirm that Focus Features' forthcoming biopic of Superman star George Reeves is undergoing a title change. Initially called Truth, Justice & the American Way, the Allen Coulter-directed project starring Ben Affleck as Reeves is now looking for a new title.

According to reliable sources, Warner Bros., the studio behind the Superman movies, was threatening to sue Focus if they didn't stop using the Man of Steel's motto.

No word yet on what the final title will be but IGN has learned that the film's post-production is speeding along. The film is said to be locked and musical scoring is set to begin next week. It will be released later this year.

Ben Affleck will play George Reeves, the doomed 50s' star of TV's Superman. Diane Lane will portray Toni Mannix, a studio executive's wife who may or may not have been romantically involved with the actor. The film co-stars Adrien Brody as a detective investigating the actor's death. The film details the investigation into Reeves' mysterious 1959 death in Hollywood, as well as the actor's complex relationship with the iconic role that propelled him to stardom.


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Harrison Ford on Indiana Jones 4
Jan. 28, 2006

Anticipation is mounting for the next "Indiana Jones," but for every year that passes there is some concern that Harrison Ford may not be able to play the role physically.

The 63-year-old actor is frank about his age and doesn't hesitate to point out that he's as physically fit as ever.

"I can't tell you anything about 'Indiana Jones,' but I think you've just seen a film in which I perform physically to an extent [that will be] sufficient for 'Indiana Jones,'" he told

Ford is referring to a specific scene in his latest thriller, Firewall, in which he and villain Paul Bettany get into a knock-down, nasty brawl where Ford is thrown through glass and tumbles over a balcony, just for starters.

No word yet on when a final script will be approved for Indiana Jones 4, but Ford is committed to making the movie.

"The audience is there," he said, and, "Everybody involved is anxious to make the film again."


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Toy Story 3 Cancelled!
Jan. 27, 2006
Source: Animated News, DJW
With Disney's acquisition of Pixar, (read the whole story here) Pixar President Ed Catmull was named President of the new Pixar and Disney animation studios and Pixar Executive Vice President John Lasseter is the new Chief Creative Office of the animation studios, as well as Principal Creative Advisor at Walt Disney Imagineering.

According to a poster at Animation Nation, Catmull and Lasseter "announced to Feature Animation employees [Tuesday] that the 'Toy Story 3' production will end effectively [Tuesday]. They said that sequels should only be made if there is a really great story that demands it, and should be the domain of those who created the original film."

An Associated Press article from Tuesday about the acquisition confirms the news:

One immediate sign of Lasseter's influence is that plans for Disney to make the long rumored sequel "Toy Story 3" on its own have been scrapped. If the film is made, it will be done by Lasseter and the other creators of the original film, the companies said.

Bradley Raymond was announced as the director of Toy Story 3, which was scheduled to open in 2008. In the film, Buzz Lightyear would have been recalled to Taiwan after a series of malfunctions. Learning of a product-wide recall, all the toys in Andy's room, under Woody's leadership, were to head to Taiwan to save Buzz from doom.

Editor's note: Personally this couldn't be better news. Toy Story was 100% a Pixar creation, Disney did nothing more than release it and reaped the rewards... To have the team at Disney's 'Circle-7' animation working on on a Toy Story film (and TS4) would have been a disaster. I do feel sorry for the gang at Circle-7, they set that studio up for the sole purpose of doing CGI Pixar styled films when it looked like the Disney/Pixar deal was coming to and end.

It's interesting to note that the Circle-7 studio is the same studio ABC-TV that my Pop, Tom Mason aka: The Crimson Collector spent nearly 40 years at working, and the same studio where Space Patrol was shot!


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More Star Trek in Stewart's Future?
Jan. 24, 2006

STAR TREK THE NEXT GENERATION star Patrick Stewart has just been interviewed on ITV's THIS MORNING show in a prelude to the UK premiere of his new show ELEVENTH HOUR.

He was again questioned about the rumours of a new TNG film. He was tight lipped but did say there was "great interest" in getting the TNG cast together again as well as including characters from the other series.

Stewart reveals, "It has been raised. Apparently there's interest in bringing THE NEXT GENERATION cast together with actors from different STAR STAR TREK series."

Then they asked him if this meant Captain James T. Kirk would return, and he replied that he hoped so because
William Shatner was a good friend. "I would love that. I'm very fond of William Shatner." he said.

Stewart also talked about X-MEN 3, he said, "I think X-MEN 3 might be the best of the trilogy. It's very emotional and exciting.'


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SCI FI To Air: Who Wants to be a Superhero?
Jan. 17, 2006

*(editor's note) I was involved with this show in one of it's incarnations as a "superhero consultant" when it was at MTV - I have no idea the current status of the project or if any of my suggestions for it will turn up... Time will tell. Until then enjoy this bit of superhero news! - cm

SCI FI Channel has recruited legendary superhero comic creator Stan Lee and Bruce Nash to embark on a nationwide search for the first-ever, true-life superhero in Who Wants to be a Superhero?

SCI FI Channel, teamed with Bruce Nash's Nash Entertainment ("Meet My Folks," "For Love or Money," "Who Wants to Marry My Dad?") and legendary comic book creator Stan Lee ("Spider-Man," "Hulk," "The Fantastic Four," "X-Men"), will produce a six-episode, one-hour weekly competition reality series that will challenge a lucky few to create their very own superhero and reward the winner with the best reality competition prize yet: immortality! All you'll need is an original idea, a killer costume and some real superhero mojo. The winner of this six-week competition will walk away with their superhero immortalized in a new comic book created by Stan Lee himself!

In nationwide open casting calls, potential heroes will arrive in costume to prove their mettle, revealing the true nature of their superhuman abilities and invoking the noble credos by which they live. From these thousands of hopefuls, Stan Lee will choose 11 lucky finalists to move into a secret lair and compete for the opportunity to become a real-life Superhero!

Finalists will leave their former lives behind and live as their brainchild heroes 24/7, all under Stan Lee's watchful eye. Each week, our aspiring heroes will be challenged with competitions designed to test their true superhero abilities. It's not all just leaping tall buildings in a single bound, a true Superhero will be tested for courage, integrity, self-sacrifice, compassion and resourcefulness. In the end, only one aspiring Superhero will have the strength and nobility to open the gates to comic book immortality.


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Commando Cody selling Hi-Speed Internet Service
Jan, 03 2006

CC pal Gary Hughes at spotted this one.

Tuesday evening, December 27th; a night like any other, I suppose. Suddenly, without warning, my wife bolted into the computer room and announced that she had just seen a Net Zero high speed internet TV commercial featuring, you guessed it, Commando Cody! The brief spot ran on A&E and included the classic "knob adjustment" close-up as well as some flying dummy and rocket footage. Hot off the Rocketmania presses, here are a few video captures from that classic TV spot. There is also another featuring footage from Beast from 20,000 Fathoms! Keep your eyes peeled and man the Tivo!

Follow the link above to see a few screen caps of Cody in action!


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Jon Favreau Talks John Carter Of Mars
Jan. 03, 2006 recently spoke to Zathura director and one time Swingers star, Jon Favreau, about his upcoming projects and got the full story on his proposed move into grown up action territory, John Carter of Mars.

"It was written by Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan) close to a hundred years ago," says Favreau for the unitiated. "It’s actually been a bit of a creative well spring than influenced
Star Wars a great deal and Superman can kind of be traced back to it. Basically any science fiction goes back to the grandfather, which is John Carter. It’s about a civil war veteran – a cavalry captain – who finds himself transported to Mars and finds himself in the nexus of all these warring tribes on this dying planet with diminishing resources...He also finds himself with what I guess you would call super powers. At the time it was written we didn’t understand anything about going to planets with lower gravity and so the way it was expressed was that he had superhuman strength and leaping abilities. So he’s the guy who finds himself at the end of a war that was pretty meaningless, basically, and wasteful on Earth and ends up showing up on this planet as a super warrior who can actually make a difference. So it’s a bit of a fantasy in that respect."

Star Wars meets Superman and goes to war. Now that's exciting. The project has been on various Hollywood drawing boards for years, "since an animated version was proposed around the time of Snow White" according to Favreau. "This thing has gone through dozens of incarnations and because of how expansive it is and the fact that there’s only one human character and most of the other characters are fifteen feet tall green martians there has never been the technology available to bring it to the screen. But now with the technology that exists (Favreau sites Peter Jackson’s King Kong as the film that proves it can be done) I’m pretty confident that we come up with something really cool."

The movie is still in the development stages, but has the potential to be enormous. “The way it stands is that we have artists working on research, we’re working on a script and we should know by the spring whether we’re going ahead or if the project goes back on the woodpile…It’s pretty big. Theoretically it could spin out into a fully fledged franchise, which is, I think, what the holy grail is for the movie studios now.”


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The Commander's Last Flight
Nov. 8, 2005

Here is the latest update on Space Patrol's ED Kemmer from Jean-Noel Bassior.

Hi Cadets,

Ed Kemmer wanted his ashes scattered from a plane, so a few weeks ago,
his younger son Todd set out to do this with a friend who's a pilot.
Todd loved planes as a kid, but as he grew older, he didn't care for
them much and after takeoff, he felt scared - especially since this was
a small plane. Then, he says, for some reason, a sense of calm came
over him and he wasn't scared at all. In fact, at one point, much to his
surprise, he felt a strange kind of confidence, took the controls, and
actually flew the plane.

I believe that Ed was happiest when he was flying. Thinking back, I
remember that one of his favorite stories was about how he was the
first cadet in his class to solo during his Air Corps flight training in San Antonio.

His ashes were scattered over Fire Island in Long Island Sound.

Follow the link below to get your copy of Jean-Noel Bassior's book,
Space Patrol: Missions of Daring in the Name of Early Television

Order Batman Begins DVD


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Holy inferno, Batman: Wayne Manor burns
Oct. 06, 2005

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Stately Wayne Manor is no longer.

A Wednesday night fire gutted a Tudor style mansion that served as the home of Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, in the 1960's Batman television series, said Lisa Derderian, a spokeswoman for the Pasadena Fire Department. It was being remodeled by the owners, she said.

"It was a fully engulfed inferno, for lack of a better term," Derderian said. TV footage showed flames leaping high into the night sky.

Sixty to 70 firefighters worked hard to prevent embers from igniting brush behind the home, which is in the city's Arroyo district, Derderian said. A police helicopter hovered above the site to search for flare-ups, she said.

"There's a very large brush area behind that residence," Derderian said. "It had the potential to turn into a very volatile event if any wind conditions were prevalent."

Fire crews from Pasadena, Burbank, Glendale and the city and county of Los Angeles were on scene, she said.

The home on South San Rafael Avenue was 16,000 square feet and sat on 5 acres of land, according to an article this week in the Los Angeles Times.

The home also was used for filming other TV shows and films including Dead Again (1991), which starred Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh, according to the Pasadena city website.

Several years ago, the house was the showcase for the city's annual upscale home tour, Derderian said.


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Batman 1943 Serial Collection Coming
Aug. 08, 2005

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced that the studio will release THE BATMAN: The 1943 Serial Collection DVD on October 18 at a price of $29.95.
Cover artwork at right!

The series starred Lewis Wilson as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Douglas Croft as Richard 'Dick' Grayson/Robin, J. Carrol Naish as Dr. Tito Daka and Shirley Patterson as Linda Page.

No word on which version of the serial is being released.
Goodtimes Home Video released the serials on VHS back in the early 1990's with the narration by Gary Owens overdub back in 1966 when the series was re-released as an 'Evening With Batman & Robin'. Original narration was by Knox Manning.


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Batman Begins Opens to $15.1 Million & the CC review!
June 16, 2005 

Box Office Mojo reports that Warner Bros. Pictures' Batman Begins earned $15.1 million in North America on Wednesday, its first day in theaters. The film opened in 3,718 theaters and averaged $4,073 per location. The top Wednesday opener of all time is Spider-Man 2, which collected $40.4 million from 4,152 theaters on June 30, 2004.

Okay, now for CC's review of BATMAN BEGINS.

I've been following this film from it's earliest incarnations with my other site, starting all the way back to an outright sequel to the Burton/Schumacher films, the Year One & Dark Knight Returns ideas even to the aborted Bruce Wayne TV series that eventually inspired Smallville. Director Christopher Nolan & screenwriter David Goyer have crafted a new beginning for BATMAN, making us forget all about the previous films. This film is not so much of a 'prequel' to those films as it is a complete restart. You can forget the nipples on the bat-suit!

The film opens with a series of flashbacks of the young Bruce and his parents, their deaths and his self imposed exile from Gorham. Christian Bale nails the Batman & Bruce Wayne personas perfectly.  Bale is not a house-hold name, but will soon see his star status rise for sure after Batman Begins rakes in the bucks. Bale pumped up to a rough and tumble 220 lbs of 6.2 muscle. The previous Bat-men never quite filled the physical bill, the suit WAS the muscle. For the audience of Batman Begins knowing that the actor under the rubber suit is buff and physically capable helps to sell the whole character. I never once bought that Michael Keaton at 5.9 and 175 lbs could toss the Joker around with one hand. Bale could be wearing the old fashioned wool serial suit and still sell Batman. The rest of the cast in the film fill out their rolls perfectly: Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Ken Watanabe, Katie Holmes, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson, Rutger Hauer are all superbly cast.

The look & feel of the film is unlike any of the previous films. Burton’s revisionists art deco designs and the Schumacher flashy disco-deco look are all gone, Nolan and company have given Gotham City a real world feel. The film shot mostly in Chicago, shows a gritty festering city on the verge of decay and collapse. And Batman himself is a dark and brutal image, thugs are not handled with kid gloves and wise-cracks, they are literally tossed into the shadows screaming in terror at the sight of “the Bat-Man”.  Bale in full bat-gear is like a cat at times, perched atop building ledges and lurking in the rainy shadows.

I was skeptical at first before seeing the film that this being an origin story of the caped crusader that there wouldn’t be much Batman in it… Batman doesn’t show up till about 45 mins into the film, and you don’t miss him in those first 40 mins. Instead you are witnessing the birth of Batman, even thou he’s not on screen he’s there, hiding under Bruce Wayne’s skin.

I must admit to being a tad disappointed to hear that they were going with the rubber suit again as they had in the previous films. The producers before production even began had made the claim this is an all new take on Batman, so when it was announced he would again be wearing rubber, I was bummed!  But the suit in this film makes perfect sense, as does the batmobile, the utility belt the gauntlets the ears on the cowl… all of it is explained and makes sense without bogging down the film in great detail in the where’s and whys. In the previous films all the gadgets just sort of appear with little to no explanation... who made them or where they came from, in Begins, it all makes sense.

There were more than a few moments in the film where I literally cheered, that finally they got it right, I was seeing BATMAN the way he should be. Granted there are certain liberties taken with the mythos of the Dark Knight, and much like organic web-shooters in Spider-Man the changes are forgivable.  I don’t want to spoil anything but the ending of the film gives us all a great glimpse as to what we can expect from the eventual sequel.

To wrap things up, with all the celluloid Bat-men over the years dating back to the 40’s serials, there has yet to be a real BATMAN put on film that could do the comics justice. The animated series of the early 90's was as close as you could get... and granted Adam West is in a class all his own. But now I can truly say without a doubt that I have now seen a BATMAN movie!  Not only was this a great Batman movie, but it is a great movie period!

Cheers to Nolan and Warner Bros. for delivering the goods. Those who were more than a little disappointed with Star Wars: Episode 3 will certainly get their popcorn money worth with Batman Begins. Now if Bryan Singer can pull together his SUPERMAN, WB will be a superhero force to be reckoned with!


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