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Batman

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Birth of Diana.

“Worth1000 hosts a variety of photo-editing and illustrative contests. One of their contest series, Superhero ModRen, challenges users to incorporate superheroes into fine art pieces. It’s fun to see the contrast of modern characters we know and love placed in classic painting styles and poses.”

Superheroes added to classic art — click through for many more.

Batfleck Begins.

With production gearing up, Zack Snyder tweets out our first look at Ben Affleck as Batman, and it’s heavy on the Frank Miller. (Close-up below.) I wasn’t sold at all on Man of Steel, and I expect this second installment will be completely overstuffed. Still, that’s an impressive rendering of the Dark Knight, and no mistake.

Arkham Aquarium.

“Criminals are a superstitious cowardly lot. I must be a creature. I must be a creature of the night…I shall become a shark.” Iconic Batman villains reconceived as cartoon sharks, by artist Jeff Victor. Mr. Freeze’s goldfish is a nice touch.

Be the Batman.


This still ain’t no place for no hero: The Scarecrow threatens Gotham, and Bruce Wayne gets a spiffy new Batmobile, as Rocksteady Games announces Arkham Knight, the fourth and final installment in the excellent Arkham series, now enhanced with XBox-One-level graphics. There goes another fifty hours.

The Luthor Network.

“What’s great about Lex is that he exists beyond the confines of the stereotypical nefarious villain. He’s a complicated and sophisticated character whose intellect, wealth and prominence position him as one of the few mortals able to challenge the incredible might of Superman. Having Jesse in the role allows us to explore that interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and unexpected directions.”

In a surprising twist, Zack Snyder announces Jesse Eisenberg as Batman v. Superman‘s Lex Luthor (and, in more conventional casting, Jeremy Irons as Alfred.) Hrm. Well, I like the outside-the-box risk taken here, provided Eisenberg isn’t just reprising his role from The Social Network. (Image above via AICN talkbacker JayEskimo.)

Waiting for Gadot.

Israeli actress Gal Gadot is cast as Wonder Woman for Zach Snyder’s Man of Steel follow-up (which people have been calling Batman v. Superman, but now seems to be Batman v. Superman v. Wonder Woman v. Lex Luthor v. Doomsday or somesuch.) “Variety adds you can probably expect ‘several members of the Justice League’ to make appearances in the film.”

This seems like a role that Jaimie Alexander was born to play, but I’ll reserve judgment until I’ve seen more of Gadot — She was apparently in Knight and Day but I have no memory of her.

The Dahk Knight.

So…Ben Affleck. He’s not who I would’ve cast, and it’s hard to see how an Affleck Batman would be any different from his portrayal of Daredevil. But he isn’t the worst choice in the world, I suppose. Affleck’s a decent enough actor most of the time, and, in any case, the poorly written, too 9/11y by half Man of Steel was so flawed that his presence can only help at this point. (It’s too bad Affleck isn’t directing.) Besides, I doubt any iteration of Batman, Affleck or otherwise, would cotton to Supes bringing MoS-level destruction to Gotham City, unless there were cookies involved. (Animated gif via here.)

Age of Fandom.


Among the two biggest reveals at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con: Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel 2 will feature a Bat-Man (although not Christian Bale) and Thanos, teased at the end of the first film, is apparently stepping aside for the time being for Joss Whedon’s Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, based on a Brian Michael Bendis run happening this year.

All well and good, I suppose, and more indication that comic fandom is now completely mainstream. Still, while I have high hopes for the amiable weirdness currently surrounding James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy, it sure feels like Hollywood is churning out a lot of mediocre, uninspired, and by-the-numbers product this year.

Maybe I’m just getting old, and I suppose Shane Black’s Iron Man 3 was decent enough fun, but I found both Star Trek: Into Darkness and Man of Steel loud, dumb, and disappointing, to the point where I haven’t felt all that inclined to pony up for World War Z and Pacific Rim, which looks like more of the same: smash-mouth visuals struggling to overcome dismal writing, and 9/11y spectacle used for fake-gravitas.

Hopefully Elysium will give this summer an Inception-like jolt. As it is, we’re halfway through 2013 and the only must-see film I’ve caught is Before Midnight.

This Charming Man of Steel.

Recent immigrants, tyrants and serial killers have all had their turn. Now Brazilian artist Butcher Billy — the same fellow who did the Legion of Doom onesreconfigures the Justice League as post-punk/new-wave icons. Click through for Robert Smith, Siouxsie Sue, Johnny Rotten, and Billy Idol.

The Axes of Evil.

“This series is an experiment where a dictator, a psycho, a murderer (sometimes they are the whole package) or even a suspicious figure from real life is mashed with a comics bad guy – strangely related some way or the other with his counterpart.” Brazilian artist Butcher Billy’s Legion of Doom, by way of Normative.

Almost There…


Deh-shay, deh-shay bah-sah-rah, bah-sah-rah

A Black Sunday for the Rogues.


So it looks like Selina Kyle has also taken note of Bruce Wayne’s 1%-ness…The second trailer for Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises is now online.

Also, if you hunt and peck online, you can occasionally find a bad dub of the six-minute prologue on line as well. (This wasn’t it.) I caught it at the Smithsonian last week and my thoughts were basically: 1) Ooh, Carcetti! 2) Wait, what did Bane just say? (You get used to it) and 3) Hmm, this is more Bond than Batman…but let’s see where Nolan goes with it.

Gotham’s Long Winter.


Perhaps surprisingly for some people, our story picks up quite a bit later, eight years after The Dark Knight. So he’s an older Bruce Wayne; he’s not in a great state.” As Tom Hardy’s Bane graces the cover of Empire, Chris Nolan reveals an eight-year-time jump in The Dark Knight Rises. Guess it takes time to rebuild Wayne Manor and make a new batcave (and, for that matter, train a ward?) That also means, if Begins was Year One and TDK was The Killing Joke, this could well borrow from The Dark Knight Returns.

In very related news, a possible description of the first six minutes has leaked. Very spoilerish if true, and it might be: Given that this prologue is hitting theaters in a month (before MI: Ghost Protocol), it seems around the time that this might leak. And it accords with the teaser, explains that time jump, and includes Bane’s most famous moment…Gonna have to update those medical records. (Last link via LMG.)

We’re the 99% (except Bruce Wayne).


Although, let’s be honest: Rorschach is more like the original Tea Partier, no? Anyway, it’s not just Calvin. By way of Mary Sue, comic book characters weigh in on Occupy Wall Street. Speaking for the 1%: Lex Luthor, Uncle Scrooge, Victor Von Doom, and, my evening alter-ego these days, Bruce Wayne…but he’s cool.

Showdown in Gotham.


Resolved: Chris Nolan is a sloppy action director. For the prosecution: film critic Jim Emerson, who dissects the second-act car chase in The Dark Knight to explain his reasoning. For the defense: Torque director Joseph Kahn, who similarly dissects Emerson’s essay: “This is old film school thought. It’s not even oversimplification, it’s wrong. It stems from the technological origin of silent filmmaking.

All in all, an interesting debate. In terms of the macro-arguments about film, I find myself leaning toward Kahn: After hundred years of film-going, I think audiences are savvier about the basic syntax than Emerson suggests. But I also agree with Emerson that Nolan is not a particularly impressive action director,and that his action sequences do feel choppy and confusing at times. This is great for something like Batman Begins, when Bats is trying to sow confusion, but otherwise not as satisfying as, say, the truck chase in Raiders.

I Said Cut, You Hack.


Anyone who knows me knows I would never read a comic book. And I would especially never read anything created by Kevin Smith.” — Tim Burton. “Which, to me, explains f**king Batman.” — Kevin Smith. Also by way of a friend, the 30 harshest filmmaker-on-filmmaker insults in history. Some of these are questionable (who cares what Vincent Gallo thinks?), but there are a few gems here and there. “I HATE that guy! Next question.” — David Cronenberg on M. Night Shyamalan. (Director Bowie via here.)

No Cat…


Presumably to get ahead of all the spoilers leaking out of Pittsburgh, Team Nolan release the first official still of Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle in The Dark Knight Returns. What, no cowl? Hathaway says don’t worry: “It’s Chris Nolan. [E]ven the picture that he released of me, that’s not everything. That’s like a tenth of what the catsuit is.

The Bat Will Break.


Flitting alongside Harry Potter 7.2 this past weekend — review forthcoming, once I emerge from the backlog — was the Bane-centric first teaser for Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, with Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Morgan Freeman. (Screencaps are here.)

As I said when the poster dropped, it’s hard to imagine this one topping TDK, and I could do without all the “every journey comes to an end” marketing pablum here. Still, the moment with Bats in trouble and backpedaling suggests Nolan may be maximizing Bane’s potential here.

Raining Cats and Rocks.


In advance of the teaser purportedly dropping this weekend with the final installment of Hogwarts, the first poster for Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knights Returns is released. The villains are less iconic in this one (although those of you who want a Riddler fix should head on over to Arkham City), so the publicity people will have their hands full matching some of the Joker fun they had last time ’round. But so far, so good.

You are Entering a World of Bane.


On the first day of shooting for The Dark Knight Rises (still a terrible name, by the way), the ingenious promotional games that accompanied TDK have started up again at the official site with some very Lazarus Pit-ish chanting. And, just like the Joker before him, Tom Hardy’s Bane has been revealed, pixel by Tweeted pixel. Well, ok then…not much you can really do for Bane, besides hit the gym. It’ll be more interesting to see where they’ve gone with Ms Kyle.

A Costume, A Kent, and a Carrie?


Another update for DC’s Big Three: Adrianne Palicki is now filming in the full Wonder Woman garb for David E. Kelly’s new TV reboot. (The costume looks better than their first attempt.) Kevin Costner now appears to be officially in Zack Snyder’s Superman as Pa Kent. (One presumes he didn’t see Sucker Punch before closing the deal.) And, while confirming Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Alberto Falcone, Variety says Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises is looking to cast Juno Temple as “a street-smart Gotham girl.” Is that code for Robin?

This Ain’t No Place for No Hero.


Have you ever considered that all this is your fault? Your presence creates these animals.” Following up on their Hugo Strange teaser of last December, WBGames releases the gameplay trailer for Batman: Arkham City, and it looks like the Joker and Harley Quinn are back for another go-round (along with Two-Face, Catwoman, and the aforementioned doctor.)

My non-Cata gaming time has most recently been spent playing through the scary-impressive Dead Space 2, but this and Portal 2 are on my drop-everything list. Can’t wait. (And FWIW, that catchy song above is “Short Change Hero” by The Heavy.)

Clark, Diana, and Bruce.

In the land of Detective Comics, Zack Snyder’s Superman (a.k.a. Henry Cavill) gets a foster mom in Diane Lane — word is she joins Kevin Costner as Pa Kent. David E. Kelley’s Wonder Woman (a.k.a. Adrienne Palicki) gets a nemesis in Elizabeth Hurley. And Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises gets a possible plot revealed by Devin Faraci. Major story spoilers if true. (It sounds very plausible to me.)

Bruce Gets Incepted.

Gotham in Limbo? Take it for what it’s worth, but rumors abound that Inception alums Joseph Gordon-Levitt (long rumored as Joker 2.0) and Marion Cotillard have both joined Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises (which already includes Tom Hardy and Michael Caine), as Alberto Falcone and Talia Al-Ghul respectively. In movie terms, that would mean the son of Tom Wilkinson and the daughter of Liam Neeson from the first film, but I’m only familiar with the latter character.

Beauty and the Beast.


I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Anne Hathaway, who will be a fantastic addition to our ensemble as we complete our story…I am [also] delighted to be working with Tom again and excited to watch him bring to life our new interpretation of one of Batman’s most formidable enemies.

So, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises (still a bad name) has announced its villains: Anne Hathaway as Catwoman and Tom Hardy as Bane. (Not Hugo Strange, as it turns out — wires must’ve gotten crossed somewhere with Arkham City.)

Hathaway and Hardy…that’s not bad. I still might’ve preferred Marion Cotillard or Olivia Wilde for Selina Kyle, but I’ll give Hathaway the benefit of the doubt. And, while I’m not much excited about Bane as a villain, I’ll concede that I haven’t read the definitive take on the character (which is, apparently, Knightfall), and that he might actually be less of a one-note, musclebound oaf than he’s seemed in Batman and Robin and other venues.

Silent Knight.

Cheer up, Bruce, it’s Christmas! Happy holidays to you and yours, from Berk, Bats, and GitM.

Hammer and Prongs.


Metallica roadie or Norse God of Thunder? Chris “Papa Kirk” Hemsworth finds himself stuck inside of Midgard with the Asgard blues again in the teaser for Kenneth Branagh’s Thor, also with Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Ray Stevenson, Clark Gregg, Kat Dennings, Colm Feore, Rene Russo, Jaimie Alexander, Stellan Skarsgard, and Idris Elba. Hmmm. Like the forthcoming Green Lantern over on the DC side, this looks rather cheesy…but maybe Loki will be fun.

Meanwhile, a more promising upcoming comic creation announces its main villain — one who’s also potentially featured in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises — in this impressive trailer for Batman: Arkham City, due out next fall. Looks great, and Arkham Asylum is both very fun and a totally immersive Batman experience. But, while I get that they’re riffing on Call of Duty: Black Ops here (and take that, Sam Fisher), I’m already way over the recent trend towards interrogation scenes in my gaming.

Cackling into the Night.

“‘The idea is to use these fragments of cut scenes and use CGI to have The Joker appear one last time,’ a source explained. ‘Chris wants some continuity between movies and for the franchise to pay tribute to Heath and his portrayal of the Joker.‘”

Take for what it worth, but a New Zealand paper is reporting that Chris Nolan will give Heath Ledger’s Joker one final bow at some point in The Dark Knight Rises. “‘It would only be a fleeting moment in the movie and would only be included with the full consent of Heath’s family,’ the source added.” Perhaps an after-the-final-credits flourish? Update: Or not. “‘That’s all wrong,’ said the writer-director.

Riddles and Rivets, Kiwis and Cats.

‘We’ll use many of the same characters as we have all along, and we’ll be introducing some new ones,’ Nolan said cryptically.” Lots of big doings on the fanboy front recently: First up, the next Batman movie has a (lousy) title: The Dark Knight Rises, and Chris Nolan has announced the Riddler will not be the villain. (He earlier wrote off Mr. Freeze.) So whomever Tom Hardy turns out to be, it’s not Edward Nigma. (My current guess is he’s Killer Croc, with a yet-to-be-cast Catwoman as the main villain.)

Riddles may not feature in Gotham, but they will soon be spun in deepest Wellington: In happy news, New Zealand will be returning as Middle Earth for the upcoming Hobbit films. “‘Making the two movies here will not only safeguard work for thousands of New Zealanders, but will also allow us to follow the success of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy in once again promoting New Zealand on the world stage,’ [Prime Minister!] Key said.

Those are the two big upcoming guns. But, also on the docket, James Cameron officials signs up for two more Avatars for 2014 and 2015. Well…ok. I can think of other worlds I’d rather see him tackle than Pandora again.

And, with Black Swan opening very soon, Darren Aronofsky announces his next project (after, um, Wolverine 2), will be called Machine Man. “Machine Man, not to be confused with the Marvel Comics character, concerns a tech engineer who, tired of going through life average and unnoticed, replaces parts of his body with titanium upgrades of his own design. He then discovers that he isn’t the only one with plans for his new body.

Tales of the Big Three.


While work has been kicking my ass like Doomsday on a tear through Metropolis, some big doings for the Big Three on the comic-to-film front. To wit:

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