If Fox is going in this direction anyway…

If you are a normal mortal, and not possessed of the ability to read minds (specifically, my mind), you will likely have not the slightest clue what the above means. So let me clue you in.Amazing-Spider-Man-2-Gustav-Fiers-Easter-Egg

You may be aware of the somewhat mixed reception that the recent Spider-Man films have been getting. The first got a tentative ‘good but not great’ thumbs up from most, the second has provoked reactions from ‘well, I liked this part, but the rest was…’ to ‘SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS!’ I’m a little ambivalent about them myself, but there is one thing that has piqued my interest, and that few people seem to have noticed (or, if they have, do not seem to appreciate the impact of).

In both movies, a mysterious man has made an appearance, a man who sticks to the shadows and appears to be either working for or acquainted with both of the films’ major villains. In the second, he is identified in the credits as “Gustav Fiers (the Gentleman)”.

As per usual, a good chunk of the Internet immediately jumped to a variety of wrong conclusions based on misinterpretations of the man’s name (‘He’s Daredevil villain Mr. Fear!’ is onegentlemn1 I’ve come across) or simple ignorance of who the heck this guy is. I’ll tell you who he is. Gustav Fiers, AKA The Gentleman, is the main villain in Adam-Troy Castro’s trilogy of ‘Sinister Six’ novels – he is the one who brings the titular group together again, essentially hiring them to carry out his sinister plans. Since the second movie seems to be intimating that at least some of the signature Six members (Dr. Octopus, for one) may well make appearances – also, there is apparently a Sinister Six film in the works, although it remains to be seen how that will pan out – it seems to be a fair bet that he will do something similar in future films.

I’m not going to play the speculation game here, though. Either he’ll bring the Six together or he won’t – we’ll just have to wait and see. However, Fiers’ appearance is significant in and of itself in a whole other way – to the best of my knowledge, it is the first time any superhero novel has been adapted in any way, whether fully or partially, to film.

This could have far-reaching implications. While they’ve never gotten the press that other spin-offs have, superhero literature has been around for a while, and has just as much potential for epic awesomeness as its comic book counterparts. Marvel did a lot of ‘em – there were quite a few X-Men and Spider-Man entries, an Iron Man or two, at least one Hulk novel, plus Daredevil, Captain America, the Silver Surfer, the Fantastic Four, and probably others I’m not aware of. It wasn’t just Marvel, either – DC’s Further Adventures of Batman/the Joker short story collections are excellent stuff (some of these count among my favorite Batman stories ever, in or out of comics), and both Superman and Wonder Woman got similar treatments – and perhaps others as well; I’m not sure.

For the moment, though, let’s concentrate on 20th Century Fox. They own the Spider-Man and X-Men flicks, and they’re the ones who have introduced Fiers – and, as such, are the only ones who seem to be aware of this particular untapped well. So, if Fox is going in this direction anyway (aha! The title!), what else could they do with the literary material available to them? What other books might they turn to for inspiration – and, possibly, outright adaptation?

Well, I do have a few suggestions… Continue reading

10 Batman Animated Series villains that need to be in comics

Well, folks, I finally did it. After years of picking up scraps here and there through cultural osmosis, I have finally managed to catch up on Batman: the Animated Series. Yes sir, all four24-1 seasons and 114 episodes, counting the five crossovers with Superman: the Animated Series, which I have also seen – and it was good, too!

Most of you are probably already well familiar with B:tAS, given that it’s one of the most talked-about and beloved nerd series of all time. It’s not just a great cartoon, it’s also one of the most influential spin-offs of all time, with any number of original characters and character interpretations making their way back into the comics. Harley Quinn, the new version of Mr. Freeze, Lock-Up, Roxy Rocket, Renee Montoya – there’s lots of ‘em.

What struck me, though, was not how many characters had made it out, but how many hadn’t. To the series’ credit, it never leaned too heavily on Batman’s already-established rogues gallery, instead coming up with brand new (or functionally new, as with Freeze) antagonists whenever it seemed appropriate – and you know what? Most of them are really good. Sure, a number did make it back to comics, but there’s also a surprisingly long list of foes that haven’t, and in my opinion really should have by now, because they’re cool.

So why waste time talking about them, let’s shoot out our Bat-Ropes and soar into the night. Ladies and gentlemen, my Top Ten B:tAS Villains That Should Make It Into Comics! Continue reading

Deneb does The Flash

UnknownThe history of live-action superhero adaptations has been largely dominated by movies – and small wonder; the accurate portrayal of such spectacular adventures can prove expensive stuff. Ever since George Reeves first made his appearance as Superman, however, it’s been a rare period when some such super-show isn’t knocking around the small screen. From recognized classics like Batman and Wonder Woman to farcical flops like Captain Nice, the genre has a long and varied history, and has been showing new life lately with shows like Smallville and the currently-running Arrow.

Inevitably though, some such shows do fall through the cracks, and that is where we come in, boys and girls. The spectrum ranges from duds with few defenders to genuine lost gems, ones that probably should be better known, but somehow aren’t. Ah, the sweet, sweet smell of cult.

One such show was The Flash, a victim of shuffling time-slots that lasted a single season, from 1990 to 1991. It’s since become one of those shows where either you’ve heard of it or you haven’t – and if you haven’t, you really haven’t. It’s pretty well-regarded amongst the former, though, and obscurity, my friends, is our bread and butter. And since there’s another Flash show that debuted not too long ago – well, what better reason to check out this older version first? Continue reading

Top Ten Best and Worst Burton Bat-Moments

batsignalbatman_1989So I’ve talked an awful lot about Batman in these articles of mine, haven’t I? Yeah, sure have. And I’ve also had a lot to say about Batman movies, pro, con and otherwise.

Now, like most people, I have strong opinions about these films – all of them. And there are ones I like more than others – considerably more, in some cases. It’s worth remembering, though, that even the worst of them do have good moments, and even the best have bad ones. It puts things in perspective, you might say, because we fans really are an awfully opinionated bunch. We hand out ‘Best EVER’ and ‘Worst EVER’ buttons at the drop of a hat, whereas in reality that’s an awfully hard label to place. It would be more fruitful, perhaps, to take a look at what each film – or set of films – so far have gotten both right and wrong.

So with that in mind, I’ve decided to break the Batman movies down by director – Burton, Schumacher and Nolan – and make a list of what are, to my mind, the films’ ten best moments, and their ten worst. Three articles, twenty entries each. (I could, of course, make it two articles, since technically the Burton and Schumacher films are part of a single series, but really, the two directors’ styles have little to nothing to do with each other, and there’s almost no carry-over between their respective works. So I’m just going to treat them as separate duologies.)

Let us start, going in order, with the Burton films, ones near and dear to my heart – but not so near and dear that I can’t find a few juicy bits to gripe over. Ladies and gentlemen, bats and batesses, I give you my Top Ten Best and Worst Burton Bat-Moments! Continue reading

Deneb does Batman Returns

“It’s the horrible hideous penguin-man!”batman-returns-movie-poster-1992-1020194388

The Scoop: 1992 PG-13, directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton, Michael Gough, Danny DeVito, Christopher Walken and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Tagline: The Bat. The Cat. The Penguin.

Summary Capsule: Our boy Bats faces off against a latex-clad kitty-cat lady and a sewer-dwelling freak. (No, not a Ninja Turtle. Although that would be awesome.) Continue reading

WEGAF Reviews: Supermouse – Daze of Yore

A little variety here, as we move from our usual territory of straightforward superheroics into that of funny animals – and superheroics. Enjoy!

On a different note, I must regretfully inform you that this will be the last episode of WEGAF Reviews for a while, as a host of pestiferous computer problems have forced me to abandon production until I get them fixed. I’ve posted a Vlog on my YouTube channel explaining the situation in a bit more detail, if any of you are interested.

In the meantime, I have some of my more usual fare waiting in the wings, which I shall post in the weeks to come. I hope you have been enjoying the show so far, and my apologies for the interruption – I’ll get it up and running again as soon as I can.