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January 17, 2014

Comics Light Up Screens Big and Small


Both in movies and on television, comic-inspired entertainment keeps on dominating. WALKING DEAD, of course, is at the top of the ratings heap, and ARROW and AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. are doing well. Here’s a list of some more films and TV showing how Hollywood is looking to comics for new ideas.



This year's big movies:


300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE (March 7) --- More hot Greek action! Which will be skimpier: the storytelling or the costuming?


CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (April 4) --- Following the excellent original movie, we get this sequel, based on a classic comic storyline and promising so much action and adventure. Expect amazing things.


THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 (May 2) --- It’s not too soon for the second installment of this relaunch of the wallcrawler’s movie dynasty. We’ll learn more (hopefully) about Peter Parker’s roots while he fights Electro, the Rhino, and other villains.


X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (May 23) --- Can Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) prevent an apocalyptic future from coming to pass by traveling back in time? The mind reels at all the mutant possibilities. This is based on a classic Chris Claremont/John Byrne story that changed pretty much everything for the Children of the Atom.


GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (August 1) --- They aren’t the most famous comic team, but they will definitely deliver an action flick worth fighting over when they take over the screen this summer. It’ll be a ton of fun from the far reaches of space.


TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (August 8) --- Megan Fox, Will Arnett, and Whoopi Goldberg are just a few of the stars who will pop up in this new movie based on the ’80s comic stars.


SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR (August 22) --- The SIN CITY sequel is filmed in the similar cinematic style that made the original so compelling to watch. Bruce Willis returns and brings along Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Brolin, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, and even Lady Gaga.

Next year's movies:


ANT-MAN will get a major motion picture debut, starring Paul Rudd (as Scott Lang) and Michael Douglas (as Henry Pym). Pym was the original, 1960s-era Ant-Man, while Lang is his modern-day successor. A team-up between the two will result.

THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON reassembles the heroes to take on the sentient robot known as Ultron. Will we get a preview of this flick in ANT-MAN (which we should, if the movies stay relatively true to their comic book storylines)? Let’s hope so.

SUPERMAN and BATMAN will fight crime together in the sequel to MAN OF STEEL. At this point, however, the movie looks more like a JUSTICE LEAGUE film than a SUPERMAN sequel, with castings for Wonder Woman and the Martian Manhunter, among others, taking place. (By the way, the team known as JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK is said to be getting its own cinematic take, courtesy of Guillermo Del Toro. Don’t hold your breath for it next year, but do look for it to feature John Constantine, Swamp Thing, Deadman, and Etrigan the Demon, among others.)

DOCTOR STRANGE will dazzle us with his supreme sorcery, hopefully in 2015 but possibly later. Rumor has it the title character will be played by Jon Hamm (MAD MEN).


Upcoming television:


CONSTANTINE just got greenlit at NBC for a pilot. No casting yet for this supernatural story about an ordinary guy whose initials just happen to be JC…and who has an otherworldly penchant for conning his way through almost any jam.

FLASH had a test run on ARROW in 2013 and will become a new series starring Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, forensic scientist by day, scarlet speedster by night.

GOTHAM will feature a 12-year-old Bruce Wayne growing up in the dirtiest, most corrupt city in America, along with plenty of famous Batman villains and supporting characters, like Commissioner Gordon, Catwoman, the Riddler, the Joker, and more.

Robert Kirkman and the execs at AMC are working on a spinoff of THE WALKING DEAD that would be set in the same zombie-filled world but star all-new characters. The show is still in development, so not much news to report at this point.