Across The Universe 3 – Simmering Summer Excitement

On the middle Wednesday of every month, regular Biff Bam Pop! contributor, JP Fallavollita, shares his musings on comic books, comic book art, comic book collecting and the overall comic book universe. That gives him a lot to talk about but don’t hold it against him if he speaks with a DC Comics slant. That’s just how he rolls (with the capes and the masks).

For a comic book fan, the summer – specifically the month of July – is an exciting time to be alive.

No, it’s not only because of a certain birthday that lies in the middle of the month (although that’s a big reason for jubilance). And no, it’s not only because of the requisite comic book-inspired films that get released at the movie theatre everywhere (although Jonah Hex, poor reviews and all, is still a draw for my time and money).

No. The excitement in the summer stems from something much less tangible. For me, the exhilaration comes from pending announcements. And the San Diego Comic Con, the con of all cons, the con where all great comic book-related announcements are made, runs from July 22–25.

It’s during this upcoming weekend that the two largest comic book companies, DC Comics and Marvel Comics, as well as a host of smaller (yet still sizable) companies let the world know of their publishing plans for the coming year(s).

Yeah, the print publishing plans are interesting and all but it’s the celluloid strategies that really interest me: what do DC (Warner Bros.) and Marvel (Disney – which I still can’t get used to saying) have on the slate for 2011, 2012 and beyond?

And here’s where I get to the crux of the matter, where writers and friends of Biff Bam Pop! discuss these truly exciting matters ad nauseum: the speculation of what we have to look forward to watching (and reading) in the months to come.

Now, I’m not so ingrained in the comic book or film industry. I don’t have insider info nor have I heard whispered rumours first hand – whatever that might mean. I’m the audience, much like you, I suspect. Sure, I’ve got double digit long boxes of comics stored away, with bagged comics both alphabetized and numerically ordered and sure, I’ve got a few hundred DVD’s on the shelf (also all alphabetized) and yeah, I read various industry columns and websites searching for kernels of comic book spoilers. Maybe that gives me a leg up, a greater sense than the common man of what comic book character might become a movie sometime soon. Well, that and the fact that I read them. A lot of them.

But here’s a caveat: I’m a DC fan. I only pay ancillary attention to what the ‘Marv is up to. So here’s what I’m going to do. If the San Diego Comic Con is the place to hear big comic book news, then here’s a rundown, drawn from my own reading and runaway imagination, of what I think and what I hope we’re going to hear next weekend in terms of movie and television announcements.

So take it for what it is. In about ten day’s time, we’ll know how right or wrong I really am in my prognostications.

In Television:

Gotham Central
Smallville just got renewed for another year – but you know it’s on its last legs. What better television show idea is there than the one that combines police procedural drama, super heroes and villains, all set in Batman’s world? The monthly series of the same name ran for 40 acclaimed issues. Basically, it tells the story of the regular cops in Gotham City who have to deal with all the wackiness that surrounds a crime fighting vigilante dressed as a bat. Batman, in fact, is barely in the series. He’s only brought in from time to time. This is a cop story first and foremost – and the extraordinary measures they need to take in a city inhabited by villains like The Joker and Mr. Freeze. I’d be glued to my set each week – and so would you.

Deadman

Ah, Deadman – the circus trapeze artist shot dead in mid-act, resurrected as a ghost by the Indian God Rama Kushna, able to inhabit the bodies on the living in order to solve his own murder. Think The Fugitive but with supernatural elements. An X-Files, on-the-run- murder mystery series. Life and death, America and abroad, Deadman travels the world (and worlds) seeking answers – not only to this most personal of crimes, but to dispel enemy agents who will stop at nothing to thwart him. Geoff Johns, DC’s uber comic book writer hinted recently that a Deadman series might be in the works. As one of my most beloved characters, I’d love to see him on television regularly.

Fables
Fables is DC’s mature imprint, Vertigo Comics, tent-pole monthly series. The award winning title took over for Sandman in that regard and has been running consistently for nearly 100 issues now amid a number of spin-offs – including a novel! A movie or television series has been rumoured for years and with AMC taking a chance on something like The Walking Dead, there’s no reason why Fables, which tells the story of characters like Snow White, The Big Bad Wolf and Little Boy Blue as they interact with our real world as well as fantastical adversaries, couldn’t be a long-running weekly program. Like its title, Fables would be absolutely magical viewing.

In Cartoon:

Batman: Year One
OK. This is a bit of cheat because it’s already been announced. DC and the animation arm of Warner Brothers will be producing this series based on every comic book fan’s favourite Batman series, written by Frank Miller and illustrated by David Mazzucchelli. It’s the tale of Jim Gordon’s first few months in Gotham City and Bruce Wayne’s first attempts at fighting crime, discovering his modus operendi. I’d be hoping for some storyboards if not a sneak peak. Way cool stuff.

Crisis On Infinite Earths
Probably a wet dream but there has been scuttlebutt from fans that they’d love to see the 12-issue series from 1985 reproduced into a cartoon. It showcases all of the earths (and I do mean multiple earths!) favourite heroes and villains banded together against a common enemy that threatens to unravel reality itself. With the recent straight to DVD cartoon production of Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, which could be seen as a sort of introduction to the “multiple earths” idea, a Crisis On Infinite Earths announcement may not be that far away.

In Film:

Green Lantern
Well, it’s nearly finished filming, but everyone – and I do mean EVERYONE – is waiting on a teaser trailer. Nothing’s been announced, but it’s got to be coming. Will we see Ryan Reynolds in black and green tights? I’d be happy just seeing a green ring light up, with the title of the movie as its holographic construct. I believe that the weather forecast for next weekend is calling for a Bright Day indeed!

Superman
Mired in bureaucracy and a recent Bryan Singer film most deem a failure, (which I actually enjoyed but still wished Superman would have punched something – punched anything), most are betting we’ll hear about the characters next film getting fast tracked into theatres by 2012. The latest word is that Jonathan Nolan, brother of Christopher Nolan may very well make his directing debut – from his own script. Interesting times, indeed, for the Man of Steel.

Wonder Woman

It’s no coincidence that the Wonder Woman monthly comic book series just reverted back to its original publishing issue number of 600 a couple of weeks ago and that the character made headlines in all the major news outlets with a drastic costume change. Nope. If you’re a comic book reader, you know there’s no such thing as coincidence with these characters. Not in comics and not in multimedia businesses like Warner Brothers. Personally, I hated the costume change but I can’t wait to hear some movie news about the Amazon Princess.

Suicide Squad
The character of government agent Amanda Waller, as played by Angela Bassett, makes an appearance in the new Green Lantern flick. Readers of GL know that she really has nothing to do with the Emerald Knight. So why is she in the film? That, my friends, is called a “crossover”. Waller is instrumental in forming the rogue Suicide Squad, a secret government group made up of super-powered villains who do Washington’s dirty work. It could very well be a great ensemble piece, destined for sequels. I’d love to see characters like Deadshot and Captain Boomerang make a silver screen appearance. And who know? Some of these guys, with a debut here, could find themselves in other upcoming films. The Flash, anyone?

So there you have it. Some of the announcements I’m looking forward to hearing. If you’re a Marvel fan, you’re probably waiting on Avengers related news and if you’re lucky, maybe you’ll hear something about Dr. Strange, too. (Something I’d personally, love to see as well.)

Regardless of what side of the fence you fall on, the summer, especially right now, is an electrifying time to be a comic book fan. And like I mentioned earlier, a recent birthday – and all the comic-related gifts one receives –is more just grist for the mill. Enthusiasm can barely be contained!

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