Monday, June 16, 2008

News - 06/16/08...

The Hulk Smashes The Happening

The Box Office Report has been updated with studio estimates for the weekend. Be sure to check back on Monday for final figures based on actual box office.

In the second major battle of the month of June, Marvel Studios' second production
The Incredible Hulk (Universal) starring Edward Norton won the weekend over M. Night Shyamalan's 8th film, the apocalyptic horror film The Happening (20th Century Fox) with Mark Wahlberg. The relaunch of the Marvel Comics superhero opened with an estimated $54.5 million in 3,500 theaters after an opening day of $21 million, which is somewhat lower than the $62 million opening of Ang Lee's previous movie back in 2003. Based on the estimates, The Incredible Hulk is on par with other Marvel-based movies The X-Men in 2000 ($54.5 million) and Fantastic Four in 2005 ($56.06 million), but with a production budget of $150 million, it has a ways to go before it might considered a worthwhile endeavor to relaunch the character.

M. Night Shymalan's latest is far from the box office disaster some expected with a respectable $30.5 million opening in less than 3,000 theaters, averaging over $10k per site, with a three-day opening weekend on par with
Unbreakable in 2000, but not quite as previous as Night's following movies, Signs and The Village, both which opened over $50 million. Still, with a rumored production budget at just $60 million, Shyamalan's latest will be seen as a success by distributor 20th Century Fox if it can hold up business over the next few weeks.

Dropping 43 % but holding up 2nd place against Shyamalan's movie, the animated anthropomorphic comedy
Kung Fu Panda (DreamWorks Animation) brought in $34.4 million in its second weekend, adding to its 10-day box office gross of $118 million. Its main competition last weekend, Adam Sandler's You Don't Mess with the Zohan (Sony) took a sharper 57% hit to drop to 4th place with an estimated $16.4 million and its own day total of $68.8 million. It should eventually make back its $90 million budget, although it's having weaker legs than many of Sandler's previous movies, and it will have to face two new comedies on Friday.

In fifth place, Paramount's
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull continues to do decently, adding another $13.5 million this weekend to its one-month total of $275 million since opening over Memorial Day weekend.

New Line's spiritual swansong
Sex and the City (New Line) lost another 52% of its business but added another $10.2 million to its gross of $120 million, while dropping two places to sixth.

Marvel Studios' other big summer movie
Iron Man (Paramount) added another $5.1 million to its own take as it edges ever closer to $300 million, which it should surpass in the next week.

Kids WB's "The Batman" wins 2 Daytime Emmy Awards

The cartoon series "The Batman" won two Daytime Emmy Awards -- both in the field of sound -- at a black-tie gala Friday night in New York City.

Aired on Kids WB, the series won for Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing and Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing. Both categories are open to live-action as well as animated programs.

The 35th Annual Creative Arts and Entertainment Daytime Emmy Awards were presented at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center in the Time-Warner's Columbus Circle complex.

"Curious George" (PBS) was named Outstanding Children's Animated Program, while the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Special Class Animated Program went to Nick Jr.'s "The Backyardigans."

Veteran actress and singer Eartha Kitt was named Outstanding Performer In An Animated Program for her role as Yzma in
"Disney's The Emperor's New School." Kitt had been nominated last year for a Daytime Emmy for her same role.

Jeff Gordon, of the PBS series
"Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks," was honored for Outstanding Directing In An Animated Program.

"FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman Theme Song," from the partly animated PBS series, was named Outstanding Original Song - Children's and Animation.

For Outstanding Writing In Animation: there were two Daytime Emmy winners:
"Peep and the Big Wide World" (Discovery Kids) and "WordGirl" (PBS).

The Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction And Composition was given for
"The Wonder Pets!", an animated series on Nick Jr.

"Between the Lions," which combines animation and live action on PBS, won for Outstanding Writing In A Children's Series.

Daytime Emmys for Individual Achievement in Animation were presented to Sandra Equihua, character designer for
"El Tigre" (Nickelodeon); Bob Boyle, production designer for "Wow! Wow! Wubbzy" (Nickelodeon); and Peter Ferk, storyboard artist for "Growing Up Creepy" (Discovery Kids).

Presenters included Christopher Lloyd, voice of The Hacker on Nelvana's PBS series "Cyberchase"; Candi Milo, voice of Dexter from Cartoon Network's "Dexter's Laboratory" and "Astro Boy" from Sony Pictures Television; and Danica Lee, voice of "Ming-Ming Duckling" on Nickelodeon.

Emmy Awards in additional categories, primarily for performances and programs, will be awarded at the 35th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards, telecast live on ABC from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood from 8 to 10 p.m. ET/PT Friday, June 20.

Panda’s 2D opening scene

The traditionally animated opening scene of Kung Fu Panda is available for your viewing pleasure on MSN Movies. This scene is one of the two in Panda which employs traditional animation, with more 2-D character animation being featured in the end credits. The opening sequence was created by James Baxter’s studio, also responsible for the animation in Disney’s Enchanted.

Actors’ strike to affect The Simpsons?

While the repercussions of the writers’ strike on the animation industry were relatively limited since animation is handled by a different guild, an actors’ strike would be a totally different story; no acting or publicity would be allowed for the duration of the strike meaning no new recording sessions for shows like The Simpsons, the TAG Blog reminds us.

More Pixar and Wall•E goodies

Upcoming Pixar notes that
Marketplace posted a great interview, also available as an audio podcast, with author David Price about Pixar’s transformation from failing computer company to Hollywood darling. A new Wall•E featurette entitled A Space Journey In Sound can also be viewed at Rotten Tomatoes, and Variety explains why merchandise for the movie is expected to sell much better than Ratatouille’s. Coming Soon! offers another great interview with writer/director Andrew Stanton. And last but not least, the Disney Blog reveals that preview screenings of Wall•E will begin this week so expect the first reviews to leak any day now.

Edward Norton vs. The Incredible Hulk!

Edward Norton made a special appearance during last Thursday night's "Jimmy Kimmel Live: Game Night" primetime special. See how Norton reacts when parking lot security guard Guillermo tries to steal his lime-light as "The Incredible Hulk"!

Alternate Dark Knight Trailer, Gotham Tonight Clip!

An alternate trailer for
The Dark Knight and the 8-minute viral Gotham Cable News program "Gotham Tonight with Mike Engel (played by Anthony Michael Hall)" have started airing on Comcast On Demand, but you can watch them right here!

Event News

Bandai Entertainment Inc. and Kadokawa Pictures USA announced today that the first 50 people at the June 13, 7pm showing of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time at the ImaginAsian Center Los Angeles and the 6pm showing at the ImaginAsian Theater in New York will receive a free theatrical sized poster of the film.

The ImaginAsian Center Los Angeles is located at 251 South Main Street Los Angeles, California 90012.

The ImaginAsian Theater New York is located at 239 East 59th
Street, New York, NY, 10022.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (also known as TokiKake) was directed by Mamoru Hosoda with
original character designs by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
(Evangelion) and features animation from Studio Madhouse. A continuation of the novel The Little Girl Who Conquered Time by Tsutsui Yasutaka, the film centers on a high school girl, Makoto, who gains the power to go backward in time after a near-death accident at a train crossing.

Bandai Entertainment and
American Cosplay will be promoting Lucky Star and Gurren Lagann at Anime Expo 2008 in Los Angeles (July 3 6, 2008; Los Angeles Convention Center) with a performance of the LUCKY STAR Cheerleading Squad, featuring members of American Cosplay Paradise (ACP) and Gurren Lagann cosplay at Bandai Entertainment's booth.

AnimeExpo 2008 and
Intermixi Japan Tours announced a contest where one holder of a premium ticket holder at the convention's Jyukai Concert will win a trip to Japan from Intermixi Japan Tours.

Winners will be able to
choose from the following seasonal tours (as available):

• Kame Hame Kansai Tour
• Neo Tokyo Tour
• Tokyo Game Show Tour

To mark the release of Bang Zoom! Entertainment's
ADVENTURES IN VOICE ACTING -Volume One DVD, the localization studio will be offering one hour anume dubbing classes at Anime Expo.

The workshops will be held throughout all four days of the convention with limited spaces
available for attendees. Convention attendees can pre-register and obtain more information at Bang Zoom! Entertainment's Exhibit Hall booth (#811) at this year's Anime Expo 2008.

The Adventures in Voice Acting DVD, featuring Tom Kenny (Sponge Bob Squarepants), Michelle Rodriguez (Lost), Lance Henricksen (Aliens), Wendee Lee, Steve Blum amoung other actors, will be available for purchase at Bang Zoom's convention booth.

Toei Digital On Demand

Toei has begun offering their anime work, starting with Slam Dunk and Fist of the North Star through the Direct2Drive service.

Upcoming in Japan

As reported Friday, an enhanced
"Ghost in the Shell 2.0" version of the original movie with new digital effects will screen in Japanese theatres starting July 12. Yoshiko Sakakibara will record new dialog as the puppet masters, and the film will feature a new mix of Kenji Kawai's soundtrack.

Comparison images can be seen

Media is collection here

A third Bleach movie is scheduled for Japanese release this December

Katsu-Aki, the creator of
Futari H aka Manga Sutra will start a new manga called Doku×Koi or "PoisonxLove" in Super Jump.

Karin/Chibi Vampire's Yuna Kagesaki will begin new manga series
Hekikai no AiON in Monthly Dragon Age.

Anime on DVD reports Full Metal Panic: The Second Raid, including all thirteen episodes plus the OVA and the lengthy Hong Kong location reports, will be getting a Japanese Blu-ray release on 09/20/2008

Sadao Abe has
joined the cast for Takashi Miike’s live-action adaptation of the 1970’s cartoon series Yatterman.

A trailer for kaiju film ”Guilala’s Counterattack: The Touyaku Summit One-Shot Crisis

The trailer for the live action
Detroit Metal City

Worth Checking Out

Gia's summer anime preview

Patrick Macias on what
Toei was doing in 1978. Also, sibling pieces on Harajuku Kiddyland and Yamato Crew Member Kit

Matt Alt previews some reactions to his upcoming
Yokai Attach! The Japanese Monster Survival Guide. The writer/translator also details his run-in with Kazuo Umezu

Episode 68 of Right Stuf's
Anime Today podcast features an interview with AnimEigo founder and C.E.O. Robert Woodhead.

talks to Adrian Tomine about Yoshihiro Tatsumi gekiga work and Drawn and Quartly's release of that work.

In this new, two-segment interview,
Woodhead discusses AnimEigo’s upcoming release of Yawaraa fashionable judo girl, the anime adaptation of Naoki Urasawa’s manga. Additionally, he talks about how AnimEigo got its start, its affinity for releasing series with high episode counts (such as Urusei Yatsura), and their “patron/pre-order” approach to releasing anime. Finally, he shares his recommendations from AnimEigo’s anime and live-action catalogs, including their recent releases of Wakeful Nights and the Palme D’Or winning film The Ballad of Narayama.

On Publishers Weekly, Anne Ishii talks
medical manga

Deb Aoki at talks
Eisner nominated manga

GhibliWorld has images of the cast of Miyazki's upcoming

AKon 08 AMV contest winners

An interesting
Serial Experiments Lain essay/rant

Gurren Lagann staff interview from the Fanime convention

An odd image of the roles performed by voice actor 
Minoru Shiraishi

A defense of
OEL Manga

An argument
against emphasizing early manga creators such as Osamu Tezuka and Haggio Moto in acedemic discussion

Demystifying Motion Capture

Shinto Lucky Star

Ikki Tossen PSP Fighter

A sample of Megumi Hayashibara returning
to Slayer's for the new series' theme and ending

On the other extreme, bad English dubbing

English subtitle Evangelion 1.0 on DVD as well as Takeshi Miike's Crows 0 manga adaptation

Does The Fabled ROBOTECH Movie Have A Writer??

A "good source" for the folks over at CHUD says that Lawrence Kasdan has been drafted for scripting duties on the Tobey Maguire-led
ROBOTECH live action movie adaptation. You can read their report HERE.

Fascinating choice, if correct.

Geeks will remember Kasdan as a scripter on
THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (with Leigh Brackett), RETURN OF THE JEDI (with Unca George), and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (from a story by Lucas & Philip Kaufman); he's also written/directed a raft of titles including SILVERADO, GRAND CANYON, WYATT EARP, and the awkward adaptation of Stephen King's DREAMCATCHER. He's recently been associated with the long-brewing remake of CLASH OF THE TITANS as well.

ROBOTECH is about the development of giant fighting machines (mecha) that are back engineered from alien technology found here on Earth; said tech is subsequently used to fend of extraterrestrial invasions (this is an extremely simplified description). The long-lived franchise has previously been realized via numerous animated installments that looked like this:

Exclusive: HB II's Ron Perlman, Doug Jones & Luke Goss

Sometimes, things get away from us and that was certainly the case with this series of interviews Superhero Hype! did with the three primary male cast of Guillermo del Toro's upcoming Hellboy II: The Golden Army at this year's New York Comic-Con almost two months ago. During a special red carpet set up before their presentation, we talked with Ron Perlman, Hellboy himself, and Doug Jones, who portrays Abe Sapien and a variety of characters and creatures in the film.

This was our second chance to chat with Luke Goss after speaking to him on-set--you can read that interview here--as well as with Jones, but it was this writer's very first chance to meet and talk to Ron Perlman after having been a fan for many years.

Perlman of course played
Hellboy in Guillermo del Toro's previous movie, but he also had a key role in Blade II and del Toro's early film Cronos, way back in 1993! He and the other two guys had a lot of great things to say about Guillermo and the new movie.

Superhero Hype!: You've been working with Guillermo for a long time and he's done amazing things for your career giving you roles in his movies like "Blade II" and "Hellboy."

Ron Perlman: This is all true.

SHH!: Can you talk about your relationship with him, how you first met and how it's evolved?

Perlman: It's something I don't want to overstate because it's a gift from God. I mean, I regard this as some otherworldly, amazing stroke of good fortune, and if I talk about it too much or belabor it too much, I feel like I'm in danger of making it go away. The minute we met, we knew that however many movies we did or didn't do together, we dug each other, and without the benefit of bloodlines, we were going to be like brothers. Whether we are working together or not, there's this wonderful friendship that's the dearest part of the whole thing to me. If you can believe there's something more dear than getting to play Hellboy in two movies.

SHH!: When you used to be on "Beauty and the Beast," you used to be in make-up every day. How does it feel having to do another movie where you have to go through that whole process every day.

Perlman: Well, I'm not nearly as young or eager or ambitious as I was when I was doing all those other heavy-duty make-up roles decades ago, so now, the only way I can get my ya-yas up to go through that process, it has to be a character with the gravitas of Hellboy and for a filmmaker like Guillermo. Otherwise, I just can't do it anymore. I'm too tired, I'm too cranky, I'm too curmudgeony.

SHH!: Most people who see this movie will presumably have seen the first movie, but some people won't have. What would you like them to leave this movie with as far as Hellboy's character arc?

Perlman: Well, first and foremost, I just hope they have the time of their life watching the movie, because whatever else it is, it's meant to entertain and meant to have somebody be someplace for two hours and not think about the rest of the sh*t that we live in, of which sometimes there's even too much to process. But you get so much more in any Guillermo del Toro movie and I could stand here for two hours just addressing the other levels that are being harkened too along the way. Mostly, I'd like people to say, "Man, I really, really liked the first movie but the second one rocks!" That's what I like.

SHH!: Do you know what you're doing next? I saw "The Last Winter" which was great. Are you going to do more independent films?

Perlman: I have a couple things more I'm working with Larry Fessenden on. I did a movie where I acted with him, a movie he produced about graverobbers called "I Sell the Dead," and we got a couple other things we're developing together. I'm doing a movie called "Bunraku" in a few weeks with Demi Moore, Josh Hartnett and Woody Harrelson, very cool script.. post-apocalyptic…

SHH!: Is that set in Japan?

There are Japanese elements to the film but we're shooting it in Eastern Europe.

Few people will dispute that Doug Jones is one of the nicest, warmest and most gracious people working in the business and he also continues a long-running association with del Toro with Hellboy II, in which he plays Abe Sapien, the Angel of Death and other creatures. It was great talking to him about the experience of making the sequel, but also on finally getting out of the creature make-up and embrace his own face. It was also great to talk to him in a more relaxed environment… if you can believe that a red carpet at New York Comic-Con might be more relaxed than a movie set.

SHH!: Last time I saw you, you were all dressed up and hanging from the ceiling.

Doug Jones: You came to the set, of course.

SHH!: Nice to see you dressed a little more normal for these interviews.

Jones: Thank you.

SHH!: How was the experience doing your third movie with Guillermo?

Jones: Well, it was probably the most exhausted, spent, drained, I've ever been after a film shoot and yet the most fulfilling and realized I've ever felt as an actor, so Doug the person was gone but Doug the actor was quite blossomed. He gave me so much to do in this movie. He expanded the role of Ape Sapien so much, and gave me layers to play, and more on-screen buddy time with Hellboy and with Liz Sherman. We had that family relationship feeling moreso, and this love interest that awakens his old adolescent emotional thing in him, so yeah, it was so much more for me to chew on this time and more fulfilling as an actor.

SHH!: Obviously, a lot of people seeing this movie will have seen the first movie, but some won't. What would you like the latter to get out of their first introduction to Abe Sapien?

Jones: What I hope they get out of it is the same thing I hope they get out of all the Hellboy characters, Hellboy himself and Abe Sapien especially, and Liz Sherman, that we're all these freaks of nature. Hopefully, we reflect--as we were written and intended to be written--the human condition or elements of the human condition. We all feel like we're a freak in some way. Everyone on this planet feels like we don't fit in always in every room, and that's okay. We have choices to make along the way. We all have a past and we all have issues and we just happen to wear our issues on our face. We can't go out in public, because we look like freaks, and it's a very visual way of helping an audience work out their own personal issues. That's what I feel like and I hope we can all take that away, that yes, we're all freaks, but that's okay. Everyone's a freak, so as Abe Sapien said in the first "Hellboy" movie, "All us freaks have is each other." So let's stand together and lock arms. Instead of pointing at each other and laughing, let's lock elbows and say, "Let's take on the world, all of us freaks, what do you say?"

SHH!: We've seen you in so many movies wearing crazy make-up and costumes. Are we any closer to seeing you doing some roles just looking like yourself?

Jones: We are indeed. I'm about to do a film called "Legion," being put out by Sony Pictures and Screen Gems, and I will be playing a cameo in that movie, which will be my own face, before I start morphing into something else. It will be like a face moment on film where the geek fanboys will get to say "Ah, that's him!" Then after that, in July for a month, I'm going back to the Midwest to film an indie film called "My Name is Jerry" in which I play the role of Jerry, an average, middle-age, white guy who's going through a mid-life crisis, and waking up in his boring mundane lifeless self, and needing a reason to reinvent himself. This is a great storyline for me, and it's kind of a dream role for me, to take on a human being character, without rubber on my face, and it's a lead role that was written just for me. It wasn't written for a handsome guy with a jawline and pectorals, it was written for skinny, goofy white Doug.

SHH!: Was that a person you knew who wrote this?

It was a film student from years ago that I did his thesis project for, a short film. He graduated, went back to the Midwest, wrote a feature film script just for me, and now we're about three years later and he finally got financing through my university, Ball State University, so between Ball State University and independent financers, we're making this happen. The script has been through many rewrites and it's actually something that brought a tear to my eye, and it's such a great story and a wonderful character for me to really chew on. That's going to be a lot of Dougie Jones face time.

SHH!: That's great that we'll finally see your face on camera.

Well, over the years, I've guest-starred on lots of TV shows and done small things like in "Mystery Men" I was Pencilhead. I basically had a hat on, that was it. My face has shown up. I've done like over 100 commercials now, so I've been out there, but in things that are more forgettable. My more memorable stuff happens to be with rubber on my face… unfortunately.

SHH!: What about your working relationship with Guillermo? Do you hope to continue that and do you think he'll always have a place for you in his movies?

Jones: I hope so. I hope that if my dying day is on a set of a Guillermo del Toro movie that will be okay. That's how I want to go… I think.

SHH!: I know that you probably have no further information on the "Silver Surfer" movie, but I talked to Laurence Fishburne who provided your voice. Have you ever met him and how do you feel about maybe having to go back to that thing where you're playing the body of a character, but not the voice?

Jones: Look, Laurence Fishburne is a wonderful actor. I love watching him in anything he does, so I have nothing but good feelings about him, however, no actor wants to see any part of their performance replaced or taken away, and after I had done all of that for the Silver Surfer, to watch the film with another voice coming out of the Silver Surfer that wasn't me, it was jolting, no matter who it was. But it's okay. I'm coping and…

SHH!: It was sort of the same thing with Abe Sapien in the first "Hellboy" movie though, and I'm sure Guillermo and others regretted that now.

Jones: Yeah... whatever they feel is up to them. I just hope that the fans will resonate with all of me in "Hellboy II" like the visual and the vocal performance, I hope I live up to their expectations and their hopes.

Lastly, we have Luke Goss, the newest member to the "Hellboy" mythos but also another returnee to the world of Guillermo del Toro, having played one of the bad guys in "Blade II," back even before the first "Hellboy" movie. Since we just did a fairly extensive interview not too long ago, we didn't have too many new questions but he did talk a little bit about his role in the upcoming video game movie Tekken.

SHH!: Last time we spoke, you were in the middle of shooting. Now you're done presumably. How did it go and was it everything you expected?

Luke Goss:
Yeah, absolutely. I think anybody in this room has an understanding of this movie and what it's about and obviously, Guillermo del Toro, this evolutionary stage of his career has been so wonderful and also thankfully celebrated, by not only us lot, but the other lot. It's a nice time to be a part of his story. Like I said before, when you do a Guillermo del Toro movie, when you read the script, you already know you're going to see that script and more when it's finished. That's exactly what's happened. It's quite spectacular.

SHH!: You're all over the trailer, too, although I'm not sure if anyone here will recognize you.

Goss: What do you think? You think I hate it? I'm very happy. When I saw it, I was like, "It'll be nice to be in it" so when I was in it fairly heavily, I was thinking, "Okay, I'm not going to tell anybody. I'm going to keep my mouth shut so they don't change it."

SHH!: Have you been recognized yet with all that make-up on?

Goss: I don't care about that kind of stuff. What I do care about is that the fans who've seen the trailer so far seem to like the way he looks and the way he moves. That's all I give a sh*t about really. If they're digging it so far, then that's the important thing. Being recognized in the street, I don't care about that…

SHH!: What about here at Comic-Con?

Goss: Maybe they'll have an idea here, but right now, who knows? As long as they like the character, then I'm happy about that.

SHH!: I don't want to spoil anything, but do you think we'll see your character again if there's another "Hellboy" movie?

Goss: I'm the bad guy, so I think the outcome might be relatively obvious, but I can't say.

SHH!: What else do you have coming up?

Goss: I just finished "Tekken," I play Steve Fox in that, and I also did the new Cadillac spot for the Hybrid Escalade.

SHH!: Was all your martial arts training helpful for appearing in "Tekken"?

Goss: Well I play Steve Fox later in his career, so yes, I do fight in it and I did use a couple of the skills, I did, but I wasn't one of the main fighters, but there's kind of a cool fight in the movie, for sure.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army opens on Friday, July 11. Be sure to check out the updated official website!

L.A.'s Nuart Screens Animation Show 4

The Fourth edition of The Animation Show, the hip collection of contemporary shorts curated by Mike Judge makes it Los Angeles debut at the Nuart theater today.(Judge's former partner in crime Mike Hertzfeldt is no longer part of the picture.) Following in the footsteps of the beloved Spike and Mike showcases of yesteryear, this latest anthology includes over 20 shorts, all of which use different styles and methods of animation to serve up their offbeat narratives.

Among this year's many memorable offerings: Bill Plympton's
Guide Dog, PES's Western Spaghetti, Billy Collins' Forgetfulness, Smith and Foulkes' This Way Up, George Schwizwebel's Jeu, Steve Dildarian's Angry Unpaid Hooker, Matthew Walker's Operator and Dave Walker's Psycho Town. To find out where the Show will pop up in your neck of the woods, visit

Fat Albert's Halloween Special a New DVD Treat

Classic Media is bringing to DVD Fat Albert's Halloween Special, which has been a classic and a fan favorite since it first aired on CBS in 1977.

A combination of live action and animation, the classic Filmation series was created and hosted by Bill Cosby and was an Emmy-winning favorite of the 1970s. The DVD release, due out Aug. 26, also features classic regular series episodes
"The Prankster" and "The Jinx" and has a suggested retail price of $12.93.

Happiness Factory, Zune Nab Animation Webbys

The winners of the 2008 Webby Awards have been announced, giving out honors in more than 70 categories for excellence on the Intenenet.

In the best use of animation or motion graphics category, the Webby went to Happiness Factory's
Now Hiring Coke ad created by AKQA. The people's choice winner in this category was Zune, credited to T.A.G. SF/Firstborn.

Nominees included Audi A5 - A Rhythm of Lines, by GT; Electronic Arts Sim City DS, by Hyro Limited; and MTV Puberty, by WDDG.

[adult swim] favorites Tim and Eric, musician David Byrne, TV host Stephen Colbert, artist, producer Lorne Michaels and director Michel Gondry also received Webby Special Achievement Awrads.

The full list of winners, including links to the winning sites, can be found here:

Nick Jr. to Worship Superheroes

With superheroes all the rage at the box office this summer , it's only natural that animators would want to get in on the fun.

Three Nick Jr. shows —
The Backyardigans; Go, Diego, Go!, and The Wonder Pets — will all debut new superhero-themed shows in a special block set to air June 27 from 9 a.m. to noon. Apparently, it's never too early to instill those super-values on preschoolers.

First Look At ‘Iron Man II,’ ‘Thor,’ ‘Captain America,’ And ‘Avengers.’ Well, Sort Of.

Once you’ve got a logo you HAVE to make the film, right? If you’re going to go with that horrible logic then it’s been set in stone, get ready for a whole lotta Marvel films the next three years. Once again I stumbled onto this cool little image at New York’s Licensing Expo (who knew something with such a boring name could yield such interesting things?). I wouldn’t call the below a poster or anything that will resemble a final title treatment for any of the below. Hell, one or two of these films may never even happen. But it’s still fun to look at and ponder the superhero goodness to come, no?

'Justice League' still on WB agenda has an interesting report from the NYC trade show, including a round up of DC Comics/Warner Bros. offerings. Most interesting is the fact that the studio is still, apparently, pushing the
'Justice League' movie!

Warner Bros. will soon begin promoting its tie-in products (toys from master partner Mattel as well as costumes from Rubies and high-end collectibles from NECA) for the newest Batman film, The Dark Knight, which debuts on the big screen next month. Another big focus going forward for the company will be on The Brave and the Bold, a new Batman series set to air on Cartoon Network in November, Kelly Gilmore, senior vice president of global toys and themed entertainment, tells Playthings. The stylized animated series, appropriate for preschoolers, will pair Batman with a different superhero each week. An entire toy line for the series will debut from Mattel in spring 2009.

Other upcoming properties and deals being discussed at the show include
Where the Wild Things Are (October 2009)—for which McFarlane Toys and Sababa will produce both movie and literary-based products; Alexander Doll, Crocodile Creek and Mudpuppy signed on for literary products; and Funko and Fisher-Price for movie products—as well as the upcoming seventh Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The studio is now planning to break the film into two parts, one debuting in 2010 and the other in 2011, Gilmore says. The Hobbit will follow in 2011.

Long-term, live-action
Robotech, Jonny Quest, World of Warcraft, He-Man and Justice League films are also on the agenda for licensing, as well as the CGI Thundercats and a third Batman film from Chris Nolan, Gilmore says.

The Simpsons Movie, Ratatouille and Bee Movie score at the Key Art Awards

The Simpsons Movie was one of the big winners Friday night at the 37th annual Key Art Awards, which honor the best movie posters, trailers and other marketing efforts. The Fox feature film won four awards, including honors for its theatrical cardboard “standees” and its Web site design. Meanwhile Bee Movie won for Best Family Trailer and Best Audiovisual while Ratatouille was awarded Best Family Print and Best Family TV Spot.

No "Marvel Extreme - Wolverine" Animated Project in the Works

UPDATED July 13, 2008: President of Marvel Animation Eric Rollman has confirmed for the Marvel Animation Age that "Marvel Extreme - Wolverine" is simply a licensing line and not the the title of an upcoming animated project. He also stated that the "Hulk Vs." project which has been referred to in the past will be comprised of two short stories: Hulk vs. Thor and Hulk vs. Wolverine, and that more information on the DTV will be released soon.

Original story follows:

A report at from the Licensing International Expo in New York City is stating that
an animated title called Marvel Extreme - Wolverine is in the works at Marvel, alongside the previously announced animation projects such as Hulk: Gamma Corps, Iron Man: Armored Adventures, Planet Hulk, and Marvel Super Hero Squad. There was no other information available at the Expo about Marvel Extreme - Wolverine.

New Scarlett Johansson Poster for The Spirit

Lionsgate has released a new poster for Frank Miller's
The Spirit, this time featuring Scarlett Johansson as Silken Floss. The action-adventure, based on the Will Eisner comic book, stars Gabriel Macht, Samuel L. Jackson, Eva Mendes, Sarah Paulson, Paz Vega, Jaime King, Dan Lauria, Stana Katic, Johnny Simmons and Louis Lombardi. It opens in theaters on Christmas Day.

The Random Spiel: June 16th 2008

- A
"Watchmen" teaser trailer is set to screen in front of copies of "The Dark Knight".

"Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li" Producer Patrick Aiello says that Ken and Ryu will not be appearing in that film.

- James McAvoy has
officially denied reports of him playing Bilbo Baggins in the upcoming "The Hobbit", saying "It's all internet rumoring and nothing else I'm afraid. Sorry".

"Incredible Hulk" producer Gale Anne Hurd has denied comments from Director Louis Letterier that they shot a sequence involving Captain America in the Arctic that was cut from the film.

- Photos
are online of Shia LaBeouf in costume, Michael Bay and Kevin Dunn shooting the "Transformers" sequel at the University of Pennsylvania. Also check out this copy of the Transformers 2 call sheet from this past week's filming.

- A
sneak peek video shows off the new characters in the upcoming "Family Guy" spin-off "The Cleveland Show".

Superman, the septuagenarian original comic book superhero

Two children look at the cover of a comic book showing Superman, distributed by the UN, UNICEF, and DC Comics in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The comic books aim to teach children the danger of land mines. Superman, the original comic book superhero, turns 70 this month, but his strength and invulnerability draws fewer fans in the 21st century world of flawed, postmodern heroes.

Superman, the original comic book superhero, turns 70 this month, but his strength and invulnerability draws fewer fans in the 21st century world of flawed, postmodern heroes.

An indisputable icon of American pop culture, the Man of Steel made his first appearance in the June 1938 issue of
"Action Comics." He is the brainchild of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, residents of the midwestern town of Cleveland, Ohio.

Superman can fly in the sky, but he's not a bird or a plane. He's faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

About 1.9 meters (six feet, three inches) tall and weighing some 102 kilos (225 pounds), Superman has blue eyes, black hair and is a mild-mannered reporter working at the "Daily Planet" newspaper under the alias Clark Kent. He was born on the planet Krypton, exiled to Earth as an infant, and for decades has been fighting for Truth, Justice and the American Way.

"He is a complete fiction, but he is so complete, so ideal, and so well-known around the world -- most Americans will know his origin simply by osmosis by the time they are eight -- that he is a much fuller representation of an American self-view than Uncle Sam or Mickey Mouse," said Bradley Ricca, who produced a documentary titled "Last Son" on the origin of Superman.

"He really is the quintessential modern American symbol," said Ricca, who is a Case Western University professor specializing in American literature and popular culture. "He is an immigrant in an imperfect world" who "battles injustice in any form."

"is the first fictional superhero, with all the characteristics at the same time: the powers, the cape, the secret identity, the colorful costume, the complicated love triangle, and the unmatched sense of justice," Ricca told AFP.

"is the progenitor of the genre and sets the standard for other figures," said Peter Coogan, who holds a doctorate in American Studies from Michigan State University and specializes in superheroes in US history.

"It can be said that all superheroes are imitations of or the children of Superman," playing "a symbolizing function as an embodiment of American mythology," Coogan told AFP.

"Superheroes embody a vision of the use of power unique to America. Superheroes enforce their own visions of right and wrong on others, and they possess overwhelming power, especially in relation to ordinary crooks," said Coogan, who also heads the non-profit Institute for Comics Studies.

In his 2007 master's thesis at Georgia State University, another student of the genre, Aaron Pevey, wrote that Superman lost popularity precisely because he is invulnerable.

"While Superman might have succeeded as a modern hero, he fails as a postmodern one," wrote Pevey. That explains, he believes, why DC Comics has seen a slump in sales of Superman comics over the last few years.

Teenagers prefer darker, troubled, sometimes ambivalent heroes, including such classics as Batman, Spider-Man or Wolverine of
"X-Men" fame.

Superman, born in the years before World War II and a distant heir of Nietzsche's Ãœbermensch, has seen his personality change over time.

While aggressive in the 1940s, by the 1950s the storyline focus was more on Clark Kent's quest for the love of Lois Lane, his colleague and future wife. In the 1960s and 1970s Superman developed a more complex personality, and in 1986, DC Comics hired John Byrne to carry out a character overhaul. The result was a character that was less of a messianic figure and more of a modern-day Hercules.

With sales slumping, DC Comics killed off Superman in a battle with a powerful character named Doomsday in 1993. But Superman, whose various nicknames include
"The Man of Tomorrow," of course come back from the dead.

In a country where the quest for entertainment is a national obsession, it is more likely that Superman will continue facing close encounters with deadly kryptonite than he will be forced into retirement.

"Superman has endured, and will endure, because he is more than just a silly character with his underwear on the outside and a spitcurl," said Ricca. "He is the hope not that we can be rescued, but that we can be good."

5 Marvel Super Hero Movies We Want to See (and 5 We Don't)

Must be a nice time to work at Marvel Studios, wouldn't you say, True Believers? I mean, sure, you might have to occasionally talk your boss out of doing something stupid like not bringing Jon Favreau back for Iron Man 2 or keeping Edward Norton from Hulking out in the lobby after he realizes that you cut out the "Bruce Banner sings karaoke with his rabbi best friend" scene in The Incredible Hulk - someone has to give the Marvel boy some perspective. But, all in all, Marvel has had a nice recent lucky streak when it comes to turning their roster of super heroes into summer-movie tentpoles. Forgetting Iron Man and the Hulk (a certified hit and a new release with halfway decent tracking numbers), Marvel's made a mint off of the Spider-Man and X-Men franchises, and they've more than broken even with some of their lesser releases (Ghost Rider, the Fantastic Four movies, Blade, etc). In other words, unless the Hulk tanks hardcore and the cast of the Avengers is arrested for treason, expect lots and lots of Marvel super hero-based films to hit your local movie theatre in the very near future.

However, just because Marvel now has the cache to turn even their most obscure characters into the stars of $60-100 million dollar, FX-heavy action epics, it doesn't mean they necessarily should. Not every super hero is destined to hang upside down in New York and make out with Kristen Dunst and, as such, Marvel needs to look really, really hard at their upcoming development slate and decide whether or not a
Magneto movie is actually a good idea (we're leaning towards "No").

So, as a service to Marvel Studios and the hordes of Marvel Zombies everywhere, (and with the release of
The Incredible Hulk), we here at The Deadbolt have assembled a list of five Marvel super hero movies we definitely, no questions asked, want to see in active development and five that we think should be banished to the Negative Zone. A few of our choices are deep in pre-production, others have merely been announced as TBA, and others are just a gleam in our nerdy capes-and-tights-lovin' eyes.


Movie: Captain America
Release Date: May 6, 2011
Talent Attached:
David Self was hired to write a draft in July 2006; Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, debunked a rumor that Matthew McConaughey was being pursued to play the Captain, yet lately a new rumor has sprung up that Marvel is interested in both Leonardo DiCaprio or Brad Pitt to play the star-spangled Avenger.

WHY DO WE WANT TO SEE IT?: Because, without a doubt, this might be the hardest Marvel character to adapt for film. Yes, Captain America has decades of history, an impressive rogues gallery, and some fantastic storylines aching for a film version, but he also has the potential to look almost criminally silly - in his less-subtle-than-Uncle-Sam's red, white, and blue costume with the big white "A" in the center of his head - especially in the hands of the wrong filmmaker. The Captain is one of Marvel's most A-list heroes, but he comes with SO much baggage since, by his very design, he's a symbol of American nationalism. That might help a Cap film break the bank in Salt Lake City, but don't expect the London, Paris, or Baghdad premieres to be very well attended. This movie is going to NEED an amazing filmmaker to bring it to life, and if they find the right director, it'll be brilliant.

Aside from the fact that Cap is a much more challenging character to adapt than, say,
Ghost Rider, we also desperately want to see a Captain America movie because Kevin Feige confirmed that the film would be a period piece set in World War II. Maybe it's just all the Call of Duty that we've been playing recently or the fact that we're still miffed that we'll never get a Rocketeer sequel, but the idea of super heroes and Army grunts throwing down against Nazi supermen in a Captain America film makes our pulses race with nerd euphoria. Plus the Cap movie is allegedly one big set-up for an all-out Avengers movie, so there's definitely a lot to be excited about, regardless of whether or not you're proud to be an American.

Movie: Ant-Man
Release Date: TBA
Talent Attached:
Director/co-writer of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, Edgar Wright, is attached to direct and is co-writing the script with English comic Joe Cornish

WHY DO WE WANT TO SEE IT?: Two words - Edgar Wright. Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz are two of the best written, best directed, nerd-friendly action comedies of the past twenty years, and Spaced, the BBC sitcom he co-created with Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes, is so hilariously awesome and packed with comic book references that it could make Joss Whedon blush with envy (it FINALLY hits Region 1 DVD in July). So the fact that Marvel has turned over the reins of one of their most famously odd heroes to such a creative genius... it just has so much potential for coolness. In March, Wright told Empire Online, that the movie would star both Hank Pym and Scott Lang (who both took up the Ant-mantle) and that the film is "going to be less overtly comedic than anything else I’ve ever done. It’s more of a full-on action adventure sci-fi film but with a comedic element – in the same spirit of a lot of escapist fare like that. It’s certainly not a super hero spoof or pastiche and it certainly isn’t a sort of Honey I Shrunk the Kids endeavor at all."

And Wright's words make us all kinds of happy. We love that he's trying to make the film a kick-ass adventure film rather than just a comic book movie (perhaps because Ant-Man doesn't really have any "classic" stories to adapt), we love that he knows the character well enough to include both Pym and Lang, and we love that, while the movie won't be a Shrunk-the-Kids riff, it will get into the cool sci-fi elements of Ant-Man's shrinking powers, which should give the film a totally unique visual palette - which will be a welcome change from all the gritty downtown skyscraper backdrops that every other super hero flick has beaten into our retinas. All that, and Ant-Man is one of the original Avengers, so, hopefully, since Marvel is jonesing to team up all of their big movie heroes soon, that will help the producers fast-track
Ant-Man and get us a new Edgar Wright movie sooner than later.

Movie: Runaways
Release Date: TBA
Talent Attached:
It was announced in May 2008 that series creator Brian K. Vaughn would be writing the Runaways adaptation with Kevin Feige producing.

WHY DO WE WANT TO SEE IT?: Have you read the comic? It's amazing. Funny, action-packed, and heart-breaking - all in the perfect balance. It's not surprisingly that the series came from the mind of Brian K. Vaughn (who co-created the series with artist Adrian Alphona), since, aside from being on the writing staff of ABC's Lost, Vaughn has authored some of the hands-down best comic books in recent memory, including Y the Last Man and Ex Machina. And the premise is a killer - a group of teenagers realize that their parents are, in fact, super-villains, running a crime syndicate in Los Angeles, so the angsty avengers use their newly discovered "abilities" to team up to bring down their naughty mothers and fathers and try to right some of the wrongs that their families have been responsible for. Forget Doc Ock or Venom. When mom and dad are your arch-enemies, that makes for some mind-blowing drama. And Vaughn's characterizations are so dead-on and engaging that you'll immediately find yourself loving Molly, Gertie, and all the rest, completely giving into the concept and not even blinking about the genetically-engineered dinosaur on the team (too hard to explain now).

Aside from the fantastically cool premise, one of our favorite things about Runaways is that it only takes place within the Marvel Universe tangentially. Don't get us wrong, they are Marvel super heroes, but Wolverine doesn't show up every issue and Doctor Doom and Mole Man aren't the kid's parents. Runaways just dips its toe into the larger Marvel 'verse, which gives it access to all of the good stuff with none of the bad (continuity problems, crossovers, clones, etc). So, with such a universally accessible premise (kids vs. the legacy of their parents) and the fact that the series isn't mired down with continuity - Runaways has a great chance to be a big crossover hit... if it's done right, that is. (Admit it, teen super heroes could turn into Gamma-Irradiated
Gossip Girl way, WAY too easily.)

Movie: Doctor Strange
Release Date: TBA
Talent Attached:
In February 2008, Guillermo Del Toro told Empire Online that he was considering directing a Dr. Strange movie and had approached Neil Gaiman to write it. Of course, thanks to the Hobbit movies, that probably wouldn't happen now until 2027

WHY DO WE WANT TO SEE IT?: Because, in the age of Criss Angel and Celeb-Cadabra, we really, really need a Sorcerer Supreme to show up and kick a little magical ass. Doctor Strange is one of the coolest/most perpetually misused characters in Marvel's entire publishing line. Stephen Strange was an expert surgeon until a car accident robbed him of the use of his hands. Searching the ends of the Earth for a cure to his condition, Strange meets a guru named The Ancient One, who takes Strange on as a student of the mystical arts. Learning of the vast number of otherworldly threats to humanity, Strange takes his new magical knowledge back to his tricked-out Sanctum Sanctorum pad in Greenwich Village and fights a variety of fiendishly magical foes like Baron Mordo, Dormammu, and David Blaine (OK, we made that last one up). Strange is a great character - he's like the lone sheriff in Marvel's wild west world of magic - but a lot of comic writers have always written him as this stiff stage magician who shows up at the last minute and saves the day with an overly convenient save-all spell. (Fortunately, more recent writers like the aforementioned Brian K. Vaughn and Brian Michael Bendis have done a terrific job at turning the good Doctor into a multidimensional character.)

Doctor Strange just has a lot of qualities that would make for a bad-ass movie. Del Toro called Strange "an interesting character because you can definitely make him more in the pulpy occult detective/magician mould and formula than was done in the Weird Tales, for example...the idea of a character that really dabbles in the occult in a way that’s not X-Filey, where the supernatural is taken for granted." Doesn't that sound awesome? DAMN YOU, Hobbit, for keeping us from a Doctor Strange movie! Hopefully, Marvel will keep Neil Gaiman on as the screenwriter and realize the potential of a new super hero franchise that has nothing to do with mutants or spandex, but rather pits one man against the unstoppable hordes of the demon dimensions. It's part Harry Potter, part High Noon, part X-Files... how can that not outgross Ghost Rider?

Movie: Damage Control
Release Date: TBA
Talent Attached: Honestly, this movie will probably never be made.

WHY DO WE WANT TO SEE IT?: Because at least 70% of you are now scratching your heads, thinking, "What the hell is Damage Control?" For those who don't know, Damage Control is one of Marvel's funniest concepts that has never, ever gotten it's due. Kicked off back in 1989, DC (whoops, bad initials for a Marvel book) follows those poor bastards who have to clean up after super heroes and villains after they decide to throw down in the middle of a crowded city street. They're a larger-than-life construction company that, after years of having to rebuild New York again and again, have found themselves intimately (and often hilariously) entwined with the personal affairs of Marvel's wide fraternity of superpowered good and bad guys. Damage Control's co-creator Dwayne McDuffie described the concept as something akin to a sitcom taking place in the Marvel Universe - you can read his original pitch for the series right here.

So, why do we want a
Damage Control movie? First, we adored the original Damage Control series (which, admittedly, were never huge hits, though the company did show up during Marvel's recent Civil War event), and there is so much potential in the concept. The insurance adjuster scenes in The Incredibles were funny enough, but the idea of exploring how exactly you rebuild the Empire State Building after it was attacked by Doombots has so much comedy potential, it's scary (think of the contractors on the Death Star scene in Clerks). Plus, now that Marvel is working to interconnect their films with SHIELD and all of those other Easter eggs in Iron Man and Hulk, the DC concept could really work into that infrastructure easily. Fine, it's obscure and it probably won't happen, but a Damage Control movie could have a lot of fun taking the piss out of the traditional super hero movie and in a much more intelligent way than lame-ass spoofs like Superhero Movie and X-Men: Last Stand (that was supposed to be a comedy, right?).

5 Marvel Super Hero Movies We Want to See (and 5 We Don't)


Movie: Namor the Sub-Mariner

Namor is a big gun in the Marvel Universe, but in Hollywood, he's just the poor nerd's Aquaman. Watching a dude in a Speedo command fish and fight Mermen just sounds like a lame way to spend two hours, and we're not even convinced that the technology is there to make a Namor movie yet. Unless James Cameron really did figure out how to make Vinnie Chase believable as Aquaman during a lunch break on the Entourage set, how the hell do you film actors interacting underwater without it looking... um... what's the word... stupid?

Also - tiny wings on ankles - 'nuff said.

Movie: Fantastic Four 3

: Did you see Fantastic Four 1 and 2? Oh, you did? Then we don't need to explain any further.

Movie: Hawkeye

: Here's the thing - we love Hawkeye as a comic book character, but unless he's pre-established as a badass Jack Sparrow-ish rogue in an Avengers movie, there is no reason why anyone, except the nerdiest nerds, would go see a Hawkeye movie. We're not trying to pick on ol' Clint Barton, but Hawkeye was listed as one of the ten properties that Marvel Studios was actively developing when they first obtaining their independent funding back in 2005. But, like we said, unless he has an amazing supporting turn in The Avengers, let's not tempt fate by making a super hero movie about a dude in purple tights fighting crime with a bow and arrow, OK?

Movie: Young X-Men

: Mostly because X-Men 3 left such a bad taste in our mouths. But it doesn't help that Josh Schwartz, creator of Gossip Girl, is writing the screenplay for this teen-focused continuation of the floundering Fox X-Men franchise. Fine, we had friends that dug The OC and everything, but the idea of a young team of mutants, text-messaging each other "OMFG" while they fight teenage Magneto, just turns our stomachs.

Movie: Deadpool

: This is probably going to piss off some fanboys, but we've never really liked Marvel's "Merc with the Mouth". He's the poor man's Lobo and he's a stupid relic of the Rob Liefield era of bad comics you wish you could forget. (For those who don't know, Liefield is the Steven Seagal of comic book creators who, for some reason we have yet to figure out how or why, was really popular for a few years in the 1990s.) Ryan Reynolds, who has long petitioned for the role of the unkillable, amoral assassin, is playing Deadpool in a cameo in Hugh Jackman's stand-alone Wolverine movie. Let's all hope that the 'Pool just shows up in flashback set during the nineties (Logan battles the boom) and that's where he remains.

Ten Movie Superheroes Who Could Take on The Hulk

It is well known that the Incredible Hulk is the strongest superhero out there. But could he win a fight with anyone? It’s been contemplated in the comics for years, with the Hulk going up against some of the most powerful superheroes.

But let’s talk movies. Would Brandon Routh’s Superman stand a chance against the green giant? What about Christian Bale’s Batman? Here who we think might actually stand a chance against the
Incredible Hulk from the new film.

Flame on!

10. Marv from Sin City

He’s not really a superhero, but he’s probably the only regular human who would be stubborn enough to give it a try. Sure, he would lose in the end, but he’d put up a hell of a fight.

9. Hellboy from the Hellboy series

Like Marv from
Sin City, Hellboy would probably end up losing, but he’d get some good licks in. Plus, he’s got the whole devil-as-his-father thing going on, so Hellboy might be able to go the distance.

8. Rogue from the X-Men series

You can’t exactly call the Hulk a mutant, but if Rogue would be able to steal his powers, it would leave Bruce Banner alone and almost naked with a new She-Hulk to deal with.

7. Batman from Batman Begins and The Dark Knight

First, let me say that we’re talking about Christian Bale’s Batman here. Sure, Michael Keaton could have a go, but the Val Kilmer or George Clooney versions would get completely trounced. But the “good” Batman, being the world’s greatest detective, would be able to figure out a way to beat the Hulk… we would think.

6. The Fantastic Four from The Fantastic Four series

They’ve gone head to head with the Hulk in the comics as well as in the various animated series. Everyone always wants to see a face-off between the big green guy and the Thing, but it would take all four of them to even think about beating the Hulk.

5. Superman from Superman and Superman II

Like our Batman entry, we have the caveat that it would be Christopher Reeves’
Superman that could stand a chance. The Brandon Routh version was too much of a perv and a bit of a pansy.

4. Dr. Manhattan from The Watchmen

Here’s where the real contenders start. Dr. Manhattan is able to manipulate matter on an atomic level. That would give him the winning edge over the Hulk’s brute strength.

3. The Silver Surfer from Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

It’s the board that would help this guy. Not only could he physically move through the Hulk’s punches, he would be able to tow the green giant into space and drop him into Galactus’s gullet. After all, if the planet eater could destroy entire worlds, we think he’d be able to destroy the Hulk.

2. Jean Gray from the X-Men series

If her powers from
X-Men: The Last Stand are any indication, we think Jean Gray would be a shoe-in to beat the Hulk. After all, wouldn’t she just be able to make him disintegrate like she did to Professor Xavier?

1. Syndrome from The Incredibles

Here’s a ringer that not everyone would have thought of, but the villain from the Pixar classic (voiced by Jason Lee) was able to completely immobilize Mr. Incredible with his zero-point energy. Who’s to say he couldn’t do the same to the Hulk and just left him drift off into space.


The Waffler from Mystery Men

If you remember the audition scene from
Mystery Men, then you remember a little-known comedian at the time named Dane Cook giving his all as the Waffler. It’s not that we think the Waffler would stand a chance. We’d just love to watch Dane Cook be squished like a rotten grape by Bruce Banner’s alter ego.

Anne Thompson on the Hulk "Feud"

For the past few months, there's been a lot of talk about actor Edward Norton's issues with Marvel Studios over the final edit of
The Incredible Hulk and a lot of speculation about what that might mean for Norton's future with the franchise, especially since he wasn't credited for his part in rewriting the movie, something that's been heavily-publicized since Norton signed on for the movie over a year ago.

With the movie now playing in theaters, Variety's resident industry expert Anne Thompson has posted a comprehensive analysis of the situation with links to some of the previous stories, as well as new information about how Norton was convinced by Marvel Studios to play Bruce Banner, why he may not have received a writing credit on the film and why he has not done very much publicity for the movie.

You can read her new blog post

Sita, Plympton’s Angels win at Annecy

Nina Paley’s feminist musical
Sita Sings the Blues and Bill Plympton’s blackly comic redemption tale Idiots & Angels pulled off a triumphant double at the 32nd Annecy International Animated Film Festival, winning best picture and a Special Mention respectively. Read the full list of winners here.

Sony responds to Sit Down walkout

responded Friday to the walkout by the writers for Sony Pictures TV’s upcoming animated series for Fox Sit Down, Shut Up. The writers, who are members of the WGA, left the show Thursday, claiming that they were misled by Sony TV that they would be covered by the WGA, while the studio had made arrangements with another union, IATSE. The conflict highlights the ongoing tension between the two unions over jurisdiction in primetime animated series. The writers on all other animated Fox series, produced by 20th Century Fox TV, are represented by the WGA. Sony TV is producing Sit Down through its animation division Adelaide Prods. “The producer, Adelaide Prods., has been a signatory to the IATSE bargaining agreement for at least 10 years, and has been producing animated programming under that agreement,” Sony said in a statement. “All of the deals made with the writers were specifically negotiated with their agents specifying that this program would be covered by the IATSE bargaining agreement.” Other industry sources also confirmed that the writers and the their reps had been informed early in the process that the show will be covered by IATSE, not WGA. The labor dispute comes three months after the end of the WGA strike, during which the guild eventually dropped its attempt to win first-time jurisdiction guarantees over animation and reality TV. “Giving up animation and reality was a heartbreaking issue for me personally,” WGAW president Patric Verrone, himself an animation writer, said at the guild’s end-of-strike press conference. The walkout threatens to push back the production start for Sit Down, which is slated to launch as part of Fox’s Sunday lineup in midseason.

Seann William Scott talks about Planet 51

Actor Seann William Scott revealed more details on the animated comedy Planet 51 in a recent interview with SCI FI Wire. “One of the first scenes is, like, you see everyone watching this movie, and it pulls back to reveal that they’re aliens. And so humans are aliens to them. And Dwayne Johnson’s character lands on the planet, and everyone’s like, ‘Oh, my gosh! I told you!’ The script [by Shrek writer Joe Stillman] is amazing. It’s really funny, and it’s right up SCIFI.COM’s alley, because it starts off on some other planet, and there’s all these aliens.” Scott plays a variation on the UFO geek. “I play this guy who’s a total conspiracy theorist and a comic-book geek,” he said. “He’s all, ‘I told you! I told you they’re real!’ And so [Johnson is] the ‘alien,’ and we’re trying to protect him.” The $60 million animated sci-fi comedy from Spain’s Ilion Animation Studios will be distributed by New Line parent company Warner Bros. in the U.S. on July 24, 2009. The voice cast also includes Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jessica Biel, and Justin Long.

Pixar vs. DreamWorks

‘Renn Brown’ posted an interesting mini-essay on
his blog over at CHUD about what he thinks the main difference is between the two animation giants.

The Influence of Ralph Bakshi

The latest issue of Arthur Magazine has an article by illustrator Arik Roper who recounts his personal memories of discovering the animation of Ralph Bakshi during his teenage years. Despite the personal nature of the piece, there are some incisive thoughts on Bakshi’s work, like this discussion of Coonskin:

“I had read that it was considered offensive, so I was expecting shock value, but Coonskin was more than shock, it was from some dark place that I hadn’t visited before. It was relentlessly raw and visceral, the violence was staggering, and presented in the goriest of detail. I had some understanding of the laborious task of creating an animated film, and was amazed that anyone had put this much time and effort into making something so willfully disturbing. Where did this movie come from, who was it for? I didn’t quite get it at the time. I wasn’t really sure if the racism was being parodied or promoted, although the fact that no race, religion or sexual orientation was left unscathed was a clue that this was some form of harsh social satire. But there was much more to the movie than shock value…”

I’ve scanned the two-page article
here. Click on it for a readable version. Or just order the entire issue (#29) at


Hulk to be a villain in Avengers movie?

I had a look at the animated “Ultimate Avengers” movie a couple of nights back – if only to brush up on my Superhero knowledge – and noticed that they had The Incredible Hulk as sort of a villain, or adversary to the superhero team (which consisted of Iron Man, Thor, Giant Man, Nick Fury; and so on), in parts of it. Which makes sense, I guess… the guy does find it hard to switch the anger button on-and-off, and whoever’s in his way, is essentially going to ‘get it’. Bruce Banner may be an out-and-out good guy, but The Hulk can swing either way – he’s like an out-of-control wrestler (in fact he was at one time, right?) who’s hell-bent on destroying anything and everything in his path. If that thing in his way happens to be Captain America’s head… so be it.

Louis Letterier, director of
“The Incredible Hulk”, tells the MTV Movies Blog that he’d like to see a similar storyline play out in the forthcoming live-action “Avengers” movie.

“I would love to see [the Hulk become the villain that fights the Avengers] because I think the best villains are always the ones whose agenda you understand,” he enthused. “They’re not synthetic to us in a way; they’re not these one dimensional bad guys.”

Meantime, Jon Favreau, director of
“Iron Man”, says if he is contracted to direct that film’s sequel, you can count on the big green guy making a cameo appearance.

Pink Christmas song director Bob Grabeau dies, 79

Vocalist Bob Grabeau, a song director for the 1978 DePatie-Freleng Enterprises TV special
"A Pink Christmas," died June 8 at the Motion Picture Home in Calabasas, California. He was 79.

Grabeau died due to complications from Alzheimer's disease.

Starring the Pink Panther,
"A Pink Christmas" -- adapted from the O. Henry story "The Cop & The Anthem" -- garnered two separate Emmy nominations: the first for lyricist Johnny Bradford and composer Doug Goodwin for main title song, the second for lyricist-composer Doug Goodwin for songs.

Grabeau sang "Bella Notte" on a 1962 Disneyland album of songs from the 1955 Disney feature film
"Lady and the Tramp."

A onetime lead vocalist with the Jan Garber Orchestra, he was born Robert F. Grabot in Pittsburg, California, to Jennie and Anthony Grabot on November 14, 1928.

In elementary school, he met his future wife Marjorie (Margie). They married on April 16, 1950 and moved to Hollywood.

Very early in life, Grabeau found his gift of voice. At 15, he had a radio show in San Francisco with ABC affiliate KGO. His career blossomed, and he signed with Capital Records, soon traveling as the lead vocalist with the Jan Garber Orchestra.

In his years as a vocalist, he toured with many bands and performed for movies, television and commercials.

Highlights included recording the Time Life Swing Era series for Capital Records; recording for Gold Star Studios; and touring and conducting vocal workshops throughout the United States, the Caribbean and Australia.

Grabeau recorded for many of the great composers and conductors of his time, including Nelson Riddle, Henry Mancini, Paul Francis Webster and Dmitri Tiompkin.

He is survived by wife Marjorie; children Jennifer (Arturo), Robert (Mary Claire) and Kenneth (Phyllis); and grandchildren Anthony, Jennifer, Matthew, Alan, Mallory and Daniel.

There will be a private interment at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills. Catholic services will be performed.

Friends are invited to celebrate Grabeau's life at 2 p.m. July 19 at the Louis B. Mayer Auditorium at the Motion Picture Home in Calabasas. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Robert Grabeau's name to the Motion Picture Hospital in Calabasas or the Alzheimer Association.

Astro To Have U.S. Accent

British actor Freddie Highmore told SCI FI Wire that he will be using an American accent when he voices the title character in the upcoming animated Astro Boy movie, based on the Japanese manga.

"I'm pretty excited about it--it's pretty big over there in Japan," Highmore said to SCI FI Wire in a telephone interview from London over the weekend. "I think it's their version of Mickey Mouse, and this is their big showing to the world."

Highmore, 16, was hired to voice the animated character by British director David Bowers, who previously wrote and directed
Flushed Away. Highmore may be known for his English accent in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Finding Neverland, but he voiced two slightly different American accents as twin brothers in The Spiderwick Chronicles, which comes out on DVD June 24.

"I was very proud of trying to give them slightly different voices," he said of the twins he portrayed. He and the girl who played his sister (Irish actress Sarah Bolger) worked with a voice coach to make their American accents believable in Spiderwick. He plans to do the same thing in Astro Boy, based on the Japanese manga by Osamu Tezuka.

No stranger to animation, Highmore previously voiced the role of the CG character Pantalaimon in
The Golden Compass and an animated version of his title character in Arthur and the Invisibles.

Astro Boy is currently in preproduction. Highmore said that he was fascinated by the interest in the movie since he landed the role. "There are stores and all kinds of things centered around him," he said. "He's really big in parts of the world."

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