Saturday, April 19, 2014

Golden Age Gold: Captain America, Nedor and Earth 2

I have three topics I want to cover today, and as it so happens, they sort of cover recent news events pertaining to superheroes originally created during the Golden Age.

Cap vs Bats?

Reporter Mark Hughes on Forbes has an interesting article about the financial success of Captain America:2 and how that will impact the upcoming (2016) movie showdown between Captain America 3 and Superman vs Batman when both movies are scheduled to release on the same day. The author makes the case that invariably that one of the studios will end up moving their movie to a different day.

I've heard several fans say that a same day showing would not be a big deal and both films would do equally well because people would just go see both (a proposition I would say is logistically problematic for most people as there are only so many days in a weekend. The very reason we have the term "Movie Night" is because people usually reserve one night out of the weekend to go see movies.

While it is possible some people might go see two movies in a weekend, I think it's a stretch to think everyone will. Also, there are only a set number of RPX/IMAX movie theaters. Those screens will have to make a choice between one of the films. With CA:2 doing so well financially and CA: 3 rolling off of Avengers 2, I suspect Captain America 3 will be the more appealing choice (especially if CA 3 includes other heroes in it as Winter Soldier did.)

Nadir or Nedor?

I saw that Warren Ellis is going to be writing a series revamping the Super Powers Project line of comics for Dynamite Entertainment.

For those of you not familiar with the Super Powers Project, it's a series by Dynamite where they've taken many of the more popular Nedor/Standard Public Domain Superheroes and brought them into the modern age. The series has its fans, though I know from previous posts on the comics, that there are quite a number of Golden Age fans who dislike the more modern take on the characters.

I suspect Ellis' revamp will not be to their tastes either. I say that because a lot of Public Domain fans see the characters as "theirs" and no matter what another writer does with the Golden Age Daredevil or The Black Terror, it's not how THEY would do it.

As for me, I'll be interested to see what he does. About half the time I really like Ellis work. This might be a case where I like it. Then again, we might see a more phoned in junk like his Avengers: Endless War.

For those of you new to this blog who are interested in some of the original golden age comics featuring these characters, here's two samples of America's Best Comics to download in rar and zip format. (If you need a reader for this format, click here.)

America's Best Comics1.rar

America's Best Comics

A Weekly Earth 2 Comic

This Summer promises to be a big one for DC with 3 Weekly comics running at the same time. The first one has already started (Batman: Eternal) with Future's End coming out next. The latest one announced appears to be one featuring the new Earth 2 characters.
I haven't been a fan of the Earth 2 series even though I had high hopes for it when it started (as it was originally helmed by James Robinson, whose work I usually like.) Still, the weekly format is one that really appeals to me as the stories can avoid the usual month long refridgerator moment that plagues a lot of monthly super hero comics.

I sort of wish that instead of this sort of bunch of off brand DC superheroes that comprises the current Earth 2, that we were instead getting a genuine weekly featuring the original All Star Society in a real period piece by someone like Darwyn Cooke.

...but that's probably me just dreaming. I don't know that current comic fandom would embrace such a series.

- Jim


MattComix said...

In that Byrne panel, swap out Cap for Superman and you would have exactly where I want those two characters to be by at least the first 45 minutes of the MOS sequel.

But Snyder keeps bringing up Dark Knight Returns so I'm starting to fear that whatever enthusiasm the previous film might have evoked for me is all for naught.

Though if Superman could be shown bringing hope to a world weary Batman that would be interesting but I wonder if bat-fans would go for it or feel like it made him less "badass" somehow.

cash_gorman said...

Didn't see Snyder's first take. While I've read and heard favorable reviews, I can still tell it's not my cup of tea.

As far as Ellis on the Project Superpowers... He's a popular writer and Dynamite has lately been getting better at getting actual writers for their books and artists that can continue past the first issue. However, Ellis hasn't really written anything that interested me. I know his name, but it's mostly on projects that didn't interest me in the least to even leaf through.

An interesting aside. The Nedor characters are not totally public domain, the first several issues of various comics from the company were registered and renewed, just that no one seems to know who actually currently owns them, if anyone. That makes them Orphan Works. Something I recently found out in my Library Science class, Orphan Works are not to be treated as Public Domain. Violating copyrights of an Orphan Work does carry a fine, I guess paid to the LoC in lieu of a copyright owner. An argument could be made that since 90% of the appearances of the Fighting Yank and Black Terror and others are PD, they might as well be as long as you don't actually reprint or directly reference their origin stories.

Jim Shelley said...

@Matt - I think SvB will end like that but the majority of the movie will be like you say - a sort of Batman vs Superman fight.
Which really isn't that bad (from a let's make a huge blockbuster movie stance) Consider this - we in comics have seen that fight several times right? But how many people outside of comics have ever seen it? Has it EVER been portrayed in a medium that reached a million viewers? I know the DCU Animated Direct to DVD showed it, but those don't/won't have the reach a major tentpole movie will have.

Jim Shelley said...

@cash_gorman - I'm going to go out on a very small limb and say MoS is not for you. :)

That's interesting about Orphan Works! I would like to know more about that subject (if your class covered more.) Like how exactly does the LoC extract fines for such things? I've posted some Orphan works on my site before, but how would they ever find them?

Trey said...

I haven't read any of the New Earth 2 stuff, but I heard Robinson's run on it was pretty good.

Unknown said...

The frustrating thing about MoS was I pretty much had to be militant about not seeing it. It seemed everyone thought I would really want to see it and tried dragging me to it. Saw Iron Man 3 instead which I really enjoyed despite its flaws.

re: Orphan Works... it doesn't really go into detail but that damages can be up to $150,000. It's something to keep an eye on as Google's attempts at strong-arming their way past copyrights in scanning every book made and another initiative that was trying to make orphan works digitally available was being sued into being shut down, this is something that we're going to hear more about.

Jim Shelley said...

@Trey - is that Earth 2 recommendation from your brother? Because in that case, I would consider revisiting the series.

Jim Shelley said...

@cash_gorman - That's funny about MoS. I have to wonder who was it that was recommend you go see the movie? Family or co-workers? Do you often wear superhero insignia t-shirts or something that might mark you as a comics fan?

Like you, I enjoyed IM3. A lot of people were upset with the reveal about the Mandarin, but since I knew he wasn't going to be the ring-bearing Asian overlord we all loved from the comics, I had zero investment in the character. When the reveal came, I actually liked it. I also liked the patter between Stark and the kid, but I think that put some people off as well.

L. Johnson said...

Your idea of having DC give us the Golden Age JSA is a wonderful idea...especially if it would be drawn by Darwyn Cooke. I've pitched that idea at them and other fans but no one seems very interested.
Man, I would think that would be an exceptional book and that every issue would be a treasure.
Why can't they do books WE want.?? Especially a JSA book like that.

Comic book life is not fair. I always beg them to hire me so I could get books like that on the stands.

L. Johnson said...

As far as Warren Ellis writing a series revamping the Super Powers Project line of comics for Dynamite Entertainment... from a fan perspective it sounds promising. Except if Ellis is too dark with the characters. DE has disappointed me so many times on the interior art and poor story-telling.... they've taken the Thrill out of their books for me.
Alex Ross does such wonderful covers ...but the interior art and stories have disappointed time and time again. I'm almost "off" DE for good. Paying $3.00 for a great cover isn't quite worth it.


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