Mamo #368: Wonder Con


Comic Con 2014! We talk about the Wonder Woman reveal, and what it means to live in a world where “big news” status can be conferred upon “the Wonder Woman reveal.”

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Robert Reineke

I kind of agree with your take on Comiccon, there just wasn’t news. Then again, there are two sides to SDCC, what takes place in the convention hall for the attendees and what gets to the outside world. In that sense, I think everybody played it safe just playing for the safe applause, with the exception of Mad Max which used it as a launch point for posters and a trailer. If there’s a “winner” to SDCC, it’s Mad Max.

Also, you guys really haven’t heard that The Rock is attached to Shazam? I don’t see anything really preventing them from filming in Spring 2015, which is still 9 months away, and having a film ready for Summer 2016.

I also think we should give Scarlett Johansson a lot of credit for really making smart career choices. You probably have to go back to Sherlock Holmes 2 for the last time RDJ opened a film to Lucy type numbers in a non-Marvel film, and none of the rest of the Marvel core has managed that. I think that’s a story that people are going to miss fawning over SDCC.

Matthew Fabb

News that I found interesting from San Diego Comic Con:
– Evil Dead tv series, staring Bruce Campbell & written by Sam Raimi
– New King Kong movie ‘Skull Island’ in 2016 coming from Legendary
– Legendary confirms they are investing in Pacific Rim by showing off a Oculus Rift experience despite that there is no new content. They say they just want to keep the brand in people’s mind for the eventual animated series and sequel.
– Firefly cast is reuniting for an online game
– Lucy Lawless is joining Agents of SHIELD and they are adding Mockingbird (she was Hawkeye’s ex-boy-friend in the comic… I wonder if they will play that up). They didn’t confirm but I’m guessing that’s who Lawless is playing.
– Anthony & Joe Russo, plus Joe Johnston are directing several episodes of Agent Carter
– Game of Thrones announced the new cast members
– Robert Kirkman new movie AIR staring Norman Reedus, Michael Hogan and Djimon Hounsou came out with a trailer. It had been announced earlier this year, but I hadn’t heard of it. It doesn’t seem to be based on a Kirkman comic, but seems to be just his own original script
– Marvel confirmed that Vision is in Avengers giving a bit of a glimpse of what he will look like
– Gareth Edwards is coming back to direct Godzilla with Rodan, Mothra and King Ghidorah

Really non big news but I find exciting is that Dave McKean’s follow-up movie to Mirrormask is done and should be coming out in a few months. It’s called Luna and he filmed it 7 years ago, but has taken this long in post-production because of how long it’s taken him to do the special effects himself (plus possible finance issues). I loved Mirrormask and I’m curious what Dave McKean has done on his own, both writing, directing and then taking too long doing his own special effects.

As green lighting the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel, there has been previews, all sorts of focus groups and critics have seen it and the very early reception seems to be incredibly high. 25 reviews on RottenTomatoes has it at 100%. So it’s not like Marvel is green lighting with no one having seen it and that the content doesn’t matter. They have a movie that they think is really good and will knock it out of the park and are confident in it as well as the marketing that they can make a sequel.

Also one of Mike Mignola’s (creator of Hellboy) very first comics was the Rocket Raccoon comic from Marvel in 1985. It was apparently a very goofy over the top comic that was well received at the time, but the character still remained just a joke and I don’t think went anywhere beyond that. Either way, I mention it because Matt Price might have seen it because when Mike Mignola’s career is brought up, Rocket Raccoon is mentioned as where Mignola began.

Matthew Fabb

…and a follow up to my own post, it was just recently announced that Dave McKean’s new movie Luna is opening at TIFF! I was likely to pick up some tickets for TIFF for Midnight Madness, but this I *HAVE* hunt down tickets for! 🙂

Matthew Fabb

I think the Matt’s are being a bit over cynical about San Diego Comic Con. Yes, fans are used to help market the latest property, but I do think most fans realize that and don’t care because they are having so much fun in the process. Becoming a big mecha of everything that is geeky and surrounding yourself with 150,000 other geeks to the point that you take over the whole downtown core of the city (that is only just over 1 million) is a lot of fun. I don’t care about seeing trailers early and still avoid them (I’ve seen nothing of Guardians beyond some footage of them in the line-up). Still it’s fun seeing props up close, seeing your favorite directors and writers talk about movies and tv. Plus since I do like comics, going into the smaller rooms with very little line-ups to hear the latest creators talk, show off artwork and scripts.

I mean you could get cynical and say the same thing about TIFF. That everyone is just widgets in the machine for indie films looking for distribution and bigger films trying to get Oscar buzz. That seeing the James Bond Exhibit at TIFF is just using you to further promote a long going brand. All of this has very much business side to it, where fans are in some way being “used”. However, if fans are having fun, being entertained and enjoying themselves, then perhaps both sides can get something out of it.


I think the comic book/film industry deserves a large dose of skepticism. Comic book films feel like cut and paste action movies that bank on an established IP. I just cannot get excited about phase 1, 2, and 3 of business plan. I’ll draw a distinction between what Disney is doing and what Rodriguez is doing.

Rodriguez liked Miller’s Sin City, so much so that he gave Miller a co-director credit. There is passion behind the project. Now you may not like some of the sexism in Sin City, but its very obviously a passion project. There is are engaged directors and a prolusion to the clips I’ve seen. Ghost World is another example of a comic book adaption done with some care.

90% of comic movies are now safe bets, like zombies. I think comic book fans deserve more than phase 1, 2, and 3 of some franchised business plan. But we live in a world where Disney has paid big money for Marvel. Sony has paid big money for Spiderman. Fox has paid big money Xmen. WB owns DC. So consequently expect a slow steady diet of mediocrity. Super hero movies are going to get run into the ground. Its a matter when not if.


I think you nailed it, Voncaster. Hollywood has always been a machine, but now the machine is basically formulating movies from scripts that are basically MAD LIBS, just fill in the blanks with whatever superhero’s origin, powers, friends, and foes, etc. It’s mind-numbing – and it’s no surprise that moviegoers fall for it, but it’s surprising how many critics praise these bland, soulless movies. I can’t think of the last superhero movie that had any soul whatsoever. The Dark Knight? Hellboy II? Who knows…

Rick Vance

The whole process gets even more weird now in 2014 when that culture has taken over popular entertainment in its entirety.

Heavy doses of criticism and skepticism are all the more important now.

Matthew Fabb

I wasn’t talking about the comic book genre & the movie industry, rather I was talking about the event San Diego Comic Con. As I’m a fan of the event, having gone just the one time a few years ago and strangely enough this year I helped out on one of the promotional events for the tv show Sleepy Hollow work on a virtual reality experience using the Oculus Rift.

Matthew Price said something along the lines that fans were just widgets and that they were all being manipulated and no one is there for themselves. Matt Brown disagreed a bit but said something along the lines that fans’ enthusiasm was just rocket fuel for a pissing contest between studios.

As mentioned, under that perspective the same thing could be said about TIFF or even exhibits at the Lightbox as movie festivals are used for PR to find a distributor or launch Oscar buzz. That everyone at TIFF was just widgets for studios to reach their own end.

Or the other way, is to recognize the business aspect and still see how these things can be a lot of fun to fans. Having attended San Diego Comic Con, I think it’s impossible not to realize how desperate movie studios are to pitch their entertainment property to you and how they hope that you will pass it along to your friends on social media. Everywhere you go, people are throwing free swag at you, giving you free posters, free screenings of movies and tv shows, free coffee, free drinks, free pizza this year (via PizzaHut & Teenage Mutant Turtles) all so that you will just remember their movie/tv show/web series/musical/comic book/novel etc.

Another comparison, is that you could say something like DisneyWorld is incredibly manipulative place, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a fun and magical place as well.

Also I would add that movies like Sin City and Ghost World are important to San Diego Comic Con as the movies by DC & Marvel. Sin City was actually in Hall H, where the same number of people saw it’s presentation as the DC and Marvel panel. Others have done the math and more people attend panels at San Diego Comic Con for actual comic books, than all the movie panels. They are all so much smaller, with fewer lines, but they are numerous and spread out across the con.

As for comic book movies being run into the ground, that’s a different discussion, although I think in some cases they already have been. That doesn’t mean that good comic book movies can’t be made.

Of course, I’m the guy who’s most looking forward to this year is Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and the barely heard of Luna from Dave McKean (not a comic book, but from a guy known best for his comic art).


Yeah I didn’t mean to muddle the mixture. Bringing in the state of comic book films into a comic con discussion.

But there were two events at Comic Con that made me shake my head. 1) Discussion of the Ant Man movie at comic con. Who cares? Ant man is b-grade avenger and z-grade comic book character. People cannot be excited by Ant Man? Right? 2) The teaser “trailer” for the Warcraft Movie. 11 seconds of a logo? Why would news sites even cover this? I know Warcraft is a game first, and a comic second. Its part of geek culture though.

I guess my frustration is with fans (and fanboy media) who keep getting fed mediocre entertainment, and act like its gold. I don’t need every piece of entertainment to be intellectually stimulating and profound. I like my mindless action movies as much as the next person. But the current state of comic book movies, with a few exceptions, feels bland and tired to me. When an Ant Man and Captain America 3 are being made its time to give super heroes a rest.

Matthew Fabb

Obviously San Diego Comic Con and the comic book genre of movies are closely connected. It’s just with several replies about skepticism and the comic book movies seemed to be arguing a point that I wasn’t trying to make.

As for Ant-man, I thought it would have made a fun & quirky Edgar Wright movie. I don’t quite care about it when it’s a straight up action movie. That said, I didn’t care about the Guardians of the Galaxy (although I was a fan of James Gunn) and that provided to be an incredibly entertaining movie. Perhaps Marvel Studios can surprise again with Ant-Man?

I’m not a fan of Warcraft, but looking it up quickly it sounds like they had a full teaser trailer at San Diego Comic Con, but didn’t want to release it publicly yet so all that was put out was 11 seconds of logo. Not entirely sure why that was shared around… maybe some of the hardcore fans are still interested in that? Marvel in previous years have released just a black poster with logos an general release date.

As for comic superhero movies in general, I enjoyed both Captain America 2 and X-men: Days of Future Past, meanwhile Guardians of the Galaxy was just absolutely awesome and so very fun. However, on the flip side I still haven’t gotten around to seeing Amazing Spider-Man 2 because I found the first one so lackluster. I don’t know if I will get around to seeing the Superman vs Batman movie while in theatre, as I disliked Man of Steel and Zack Snyder’s take. So some adaptations I’m enjoying, but others not so much. That said, to each their own, I’m sure plenty of other people might feel the opposite way or like yourself find the whole thing incredibly bland.


I’d feel better hashing this out more in person (tuesday?) but I find your and other attempts to 1to1 compare the roles on a comic to that of a film incredibly flawed and a big part of the lasting problem.

First it is often that the delineation of writing and art is rarely 50/50 and there are often a bunch of back and forth and collaboration within this roles.

Secondly and the reason why the artist on a given project always matters more to me is that if you were to actually do the movie to comic comparrison the writer would write the script and yes the art is the production design however the art is also cinematography and direction and pacing and flow and mood and atmosphere and gesture. All are locked in by the art regardless of how much was scripted direction.

It bugs me in the entire mainstream comic industry and the marketting / promotion of Sandman is just one piece of a much larger issue.

Matthew Price

There’s fuzzy delineation in all collaborative arts – but I follow directors for films and writers for comics. An artist on a book would have to be actively screwing things up, basically drawing panels where I couldn’t tell what was happening for it to stop me reading it if I liked the story. And Sandman belongs to Gaiman 100%. And I’m not coming to another meet up, so you’re on your own.

Matthew Fabb

I’m a big fan of both Dave McKean and Neil Gaiman, who made their mark with Sandman. I absolutely love their work.

However, Neil Gaiman I will pick up just about anything he does, no matter what artist he is teamed up with. Some artist might be lacking, but I likely will still enjoy it because of Neil Gaiman’s writing.

While I absolutely love Dave McKean’s artwork, some of the writers he has worked with haven’t been that great. I’ll certainly pick up any of Dave McKean’s artbooks (like the just announced Dream states, collecting his covers for the comic The Dreaming) but I pay close attention to who he’s paired up with and might even read up reviews before picking up his latest work.

It’s a mix of a good artist and writer that makes a good comic (like say Saga by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples) but for me a good writer will make or break whether I want to read or re-read later a comic.

James McNally

Thanks so much, guys, for your continuing support and ridiculous praise. It means a lot!