Tuesday, January 30, 2007

**sigh** If Only I Had A Time-Machine

**sigh** If only I had a time machine.

At the end of 2000 and beginning of 2001 the comic book company Marvel's stock was hitting below $1.00 per share.

This was after the acclaimed release of the first X-Men movie.

I remember the late '70's early '80's live action Spider-Man and Captain America shows. This was when I thought Beast-Master was the most awesome movie I had ever seen, and yet I knew these shows were lacking. Spidey would crouch down with palm up, thumb out and middle 2 fingers clutched to his palm. The scene cut to the group of bad-guys standing all in a bunch, then a net would drop on 'em! When Spidey climbed the wall, you could see the rope pulling him up as he waved his arms and legs incongruously with the rate he was "climbing".
I saw the Cormen Fantastic Four ash-can bootleg.

So naturally, I thought: "C'mon, just keep doing what you're doing and stick to the print media. You want to branch out? Fine! Release some novels." 'Cause you know I was going to watch the movies no matter how bad I thought they would be. Any super-hero movie or TV show I have to watch! Call it a compulsion. Remember: I watched the hokey FF movie.

But they plowed ahead (they never listen to me) and for good reason: They're master story-teller's. Some of your favorite movies, in fact, may be comic-book creations and you might not know it, such as the Road to Perdition. Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying they're all winners, but the hits definitely out-weigh the flops! In fact I would love to see a great writer and artist to storyboard, team up to redo the flops just to show that it can be done better. Just to say to the mainstream audiences that turn their noses up at comic book movies "Hey! This is what we do!"

Now other comics are making it to the big-screen too, but Marvel is leading the way with their sequels. Just look at what they've got coming: Spider-Man 3, FF 2 Rise of the Silver Surfer (honestly, I thought the first one was a little flat, so this surprises me) not to mention the success they had with the Blade and X-Men series. Also coming is Ghost Rider; and Iron Man, Luke Cage, Deathlok, Gargoyle, Magneto, Namor, Wolverine, Punisher 2, The Incredible Hulk (2008), Ant-Man (2009), Captain America (2009), Nick Fury (2010), Thor (2010), The Avengers (2011), Black Panther, Hawkeye, Shang-Chi, Cloak and Dagger, Power Pack and Iron Fist are all pre-production or otherwise in development stages. And did I mention Marvel's cutting out the middle-man and filming most of these movies themselves at Marvel Studios?

Movie technology has finally caught up to keep pace with the most creative of writers and directors, so with the right combination, there's nothing that can't be done!

Oh, and just in case you're interested, Marvel stock is now over $25 per share! **sigh** I wish I had a time machine.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Iron Man Movie - Slated for May 2, 2008

Iron Man is a 2008 superhero film based on the fictional Marvel Comics character Iron Man. The film is directed by Jon Favreau and stars Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. Also signed are Terrence Howard as Jim Rhodes, and Gwyneth Paltrow as "Pepper" Potts. The film is slated for a May 2, 2008 release.


Since the movie is still in pre-production, this is what has been said thus-far: Tony Stark develops the three stages of the Iron Man armor, starting with "clunky, low-tech... diving bell armor" that he is forced to build in Afghanistan. Stark eventually updates the armor to a flying suit with the red and gold scheme and finally attains a "weapons platform" stage with the armor. Stark faces the villain The Mandarin.

Visit the Official Movie Site. Nothing there yet, but you can register for updates to be e-mailed to you.

The Transformers Movie - Premieres July 4, 2007

Transformers is a 2007 live action science fiction film based on the Transformers franchise and toy line. The film is directed by Michael Bay with Steven Spielberg acting as the executive producer. This adaptation is the Transformers' first feature film since the animated The Transformers: The Movie in 1986, and also sees the return of Peter Cullen as the voice of Autobot leader Optimus Prime, over 20 years since the original cartoon. The film has had intense Internet speculation, and has a release date for July 4, 2007.


Following a battle on Cybertron, events move to the Arctic Circle during the 1800s where Captain Archibald Witwicky is shown chipping away at a massive sheet of ice, only to break through it and fall into the abyss, landing on a robotic hand partially buried in the ice. He finds the eyes of Megatron staring back at him. Megatron burns a map showing the location of the mysterious Allspark into Witwicky's eyeglasses, which are handed down to his descendant, Sam (Shia LaBeouf), in the present day. When Witwicky buys his first car from dealer Bobby Bolivia (Bernie Mac), it happens to be the Autobot Bumblebee, and Witwicky comes under the protection of the Autobots as the Decepticons come looking for the map.

Elsewhere, Decepticons Blackout and Scorponok attack a United States Air Force base in Qatar in the present day. The Allspark has also been referred to as both the Energon Cube and the Energon Crystal; the earliest description credited it as "responsible for Transformer life on Earth." The Allspark is based upon the Creation Matrix of the original Transformers comics.


  • Peter Cullen as the voice of Optimus Prime: Leader of the Autobots.
  • Shia LaBeouf as Sam "Spike" Witwicky
  • Megan Fox as Mikaela
  • Jon Voight as Secretary of State Keller
  • Josh Duhamel as Lennox: Captain of a Special Ops team in Qatar.
  • Tyrese Gibson as Epps: A combat controller.
  • John Turturro as Simmons: Head of Sector 7, a secret government group.
  • Kevin Dunn as "Sparkplug" Witwicky: Sam's father.
  • Julie White as Mrs. Witwicky
  • Rachael Taylor as Maggie
  • Bernie Mac as Bobby Bolivia
  • Travis Van Winkle as Trent
  • Anthony Anderson as Glen
Sequels are already in the works, as Shia LaBeouf has already signed for 2.

Visit the Official Movie Site

"In the Translation to the Different Media, Stuff Gets Changed" or A Khan by Any Other Name


I was driving from Greensboro the other weekend, a nice 2 hour drive and it was a bit late. Late enough that I decided to put some “Old Time Radio” (OTR) tapes in to listen to, thinking that listening to a story as opposed to music might help keep me awake. I chose the Shadow, you know the back story, that he’s in reality wealthy young man about town Lamont Cranston who learned from his travels in Tibet the power to cloud men’s minds and solved mysteries with his companion Margo Lane. However, I’m also currently reading some Shadow pulps being reprinted, and the Shadow there is completely different. Lamont Cranston is just a disguise he sometimes wears as the real Cranston is frequently out of country. Margo Lane has yet to make an appearance in the pulps but I understand later that she does. Instead, he has a whole host of agents. Nor is the Shadow given to talking much or even being as chummy as he sounds on the radio. He skulks in shadows, no hidden power to cloud men’s minds (though he does possess some ability as a hypnotist), and he uses guns. A lot. Whereas on this particular episode I was listening to, he uses a gun for the first time that I can remember and it’s one of those carnival target rifles which he only shoots at the targets. Chiefly, the big difference boils down to the fact that in the pulps, the Shadow comes across as the real identity, all the rest is a sham and subservient to that, whereas on the radio, the Shadow is an identity that Lamont Cranston adopts as an invisible force that criminals fear.

Now, the discrepancies are easy to trace. Originally, the Shadow was neither of these guys. The first one appeared in 1929 in a Street & Smith pulp FAME AND FORTUNE as one of several stories (a reprint of this pulp was just recently done). He has the haunting laugh that the later pulp and radio show would play up as well as haunting eyes. He was around for the one story.

Then came a radio show where a mysterious announcer called the Shadow would introduce a mystery as well as admonishing his viewers to read more of the stories in the magazine. However, viewers remembered the Shadow more than they did the real title to the magazine and when Street & Smith heard people were asking for the Shadow magazine, they wisely realized they should create one.

Enter Walt Gibson, who would create many of the elements associated with the pulp hero.

The radio show eventually morphed as well, the Shadow becoming not an announcer but the protagonist. However, a 30 minute radio show doesn’t give you much space to develop a plot and many characters. This is something that was talked about in regards to a Sherlock Holmes tv series from decades back. Once you have Holmes, Watson, Lestrade and one or two other policemen, time and budget constraints don’t leave much room for much else, making it hard to have a mystery with many suspects. Well, OTR has the same problem. Especially since the characters must all have easily identifiable voices. So, things get streamlined a bit as well as watered down some for the larger audiences. So, gone is the idea that the Shadow is only impersonating Cranston and he becomes a much more likeable if somewhat generic in personality. No one wants to explain that every week, his character needs to be summed up in two sentences. Trying to get the idea across that he can disguise himself as anyone and sneaks around quietly, not enough time and doesn’t work well with the medium. Thus, invisibility becomes his power.

Then the Shadow would head to another medium, the comics. The comics would be an odd mingling of the two, as he visually, looked like he did in the pulps and some of the stories may have even been adapted from there. However, he also had his invisible power, banking on most of the young readers would probably be more familiar to the radio show. Plus, comics weren’t especially verbose and were done traditionally in bright colors. And Gibson was just good enough of a writer to make you read about the Shadow blending in with shadows, able to hide practically in plain sight (apparently, everywhere was badly lit in Gibson’s world). It’s hard to get that across in comics, so the invisibility is a good shorthand that adapts well to the strengths of the medium.

The movie serial with Victor Jory (a man born to play the Shadow) went almost the other route. In it, he’s more of the Lamont Cranston persona of the OTR shows, an amiable scientist/sleuth who puts on the cloak and that and spooky laugh and voice to fight crime. However, his Shadow is a bit more akin to the pulps’. He has no powers of invisibility, he must skulk around (but not at the almost supernatural levels of the pulps) and adopt disguises and such. If he has a super power, it’s surviving explosions as most of the cliff-hangers are him in a building or room that blows up and collapses and the following week is him getting up and shaking off the dust of the debris. Interestingly, the villain on the other hand has the power of invisibility but only in a limited area, I guess highlighting why their hero isn’t invisible, it makes it too tough to film, especially on a budget. And serials are a visual and visceral medium made up of fist fights and death traps and such, and people want to SEE their hero in all this, something hard to do with the constraints at the time.

And the Alec Baldwin movie pretty much followed that lead. The Shiwan Khan elements came out of the pulp, but the rest is mostly from the radio shows. Technology has progressed some and there’s more of a budget, so they are able to make the hero “cloud men’s minds” and turn invisible. Of course, they could have also filmed it so that he was just really good at blending in the shadows as well if they so chose.

A little bit earlier, Denny O’Neil and pulp fan and artist Kaluta would launch a Shadow comic at DC. This character harkened back to the pulps, working behind the scenes through agents and then descending from shadows to mete out deadly justice.

There is more of course, such as the Archie publisher’s version that had him as a green clad superhero, but I think it’s enough to get to something that I started mulling over, listening to the show and comparing it to the pulps and what with the movies out that are based on favorite books and comicbook characters.

In the translation to the different media, stuff gets changed.

It’s that simple. Some of it’s by necessity. When I re-read FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING in anticipation for the movie, I realized that Jackson was going to have to change things. Otherwise he had a boring movie as most of the characters don’t do anything at all other than walk, interspersed with some scenes of absolute terror. A lot of stuff is just told to them. The big climactic fight at the end of the movie? It actually occurs at the beginning of the second book. Likewise, I understood why there is no scouring of the Shire in the last movie. It’s important thematically to the book, but for the movie, it’s overkill, just plain exhausting.

Ditto for comic characters. Look at the X-men movies. Most people interested in the comics aren’t going to be interested in going to see Cyclops, Beast, Marvel Girl, Angel and Iceman as teenagers. They are going to want the recent X-men. So bits and pieces of different eras are chosen, some dependent on film-making concerns. Meanwhile, they cannot do the origin story of Spider-man and have him be married. What they can do is go ahead and work Mary Jane as a character into the story since everyone younger than 15 knows who she is and Gwen Stacy is just a footnote to them. Is it historically accurate? Nope, but the movie isn’t trying to reproduce 40 years of history in 2 hours but to make a movie that stands up as a complete narrative on its own.

I’m not defending all of the choices in these cases. Some I think were bad ones and some I think are improvements. I give a little more leeway to something like Spider-man, The Shadow or Batman Begins in that they are not translating a specific story but the spirit of the character. After so many years of stories, some contradictory, some good and bad, stuff has to be jettisoned. It’s a different medium with different requirements.

Likewise, even Lord of the Rings will get some allowances in just the simple fact there is stuff you can film and stuff you cannot but that you can get away with writing. I don’t recall whether it was Rod Serling or Alfred Hitchcock in talking about Ray Bradbury in an anthology said they loved his short-stories and always wanted to film them but that what really made his stuff good also made it impossible to film. It was the way he wrote scenes, the language. And then you just factor in that books contain so much more information and are meant to be consumed over a longer period of time that a movie must throw out some stuff and beef up other things like dialogue and setting. It may be why short-stories tend to work better, you are not only able to keep more in, but you can make additions for the expanded storytelling.

It puts me in mind of Orson Scott Card’s novelization for The Abyss. One of the things he was allowed to do was to take advantage of the print medium. Thus, instead of having to conform just to what was on the screen, the first 3 chapters are dedicated to each of the chief 3 characters, their histories and motivations that would lead them all to where they were at the beginning of the movie. The written word allows you to get more intimate with characters, able to get into their heads in a way that’s hard to do in film without feeling artificial or slowing down the pace of the movie.

The one good thing about the time we are living in is that the technology isn’t that much of a hindrance anymore. It’s why we can get good superhero movies now, that they can do on screen stuff that can equal some of the best that comic artists could come up with and in some cases out do it because there’s real sound and real movement and a real immediacy. When doing the Shadow, you can make a choice of which version or which elements you want to keep for the movie. Might be hampered by your budget but not by the technology.

Doesn’t mean that there aren’t limitations. Comics can have thought balloons, we can see all the different thoughts of all of the characters, something hard to do with movies even with voice-overs. And through captions, there can be layering to the stories, almost with two different stories being told at the same time. And, when you’re talking ongoing comics, you can do one off personal stories devoted just to Alfred, or other interesting side quiet smaller stories and ongoing subplots that don’t play out well in the movie context (but might in an ongoing television series, to just illustrate two seemingly identical media but with different strengths and weaknesses).

But that’s me. I’m looking forward to the next superhero movies. Bring them on.


Agents of Atlas
: For the most part an enjoyable mini-series, but the final issue was disappointing. 1) Dull and anti-climactic. The big battle of the comic is in the opening pages and it's pretty much completely resolved by the powerful yet boring love-power of Venus. One of the things I liked about revealing that she wasn't really the uber-powerful Roman goddess of Love was that we'd see more to her powers and her using them in different ways as well as some idea of some limitations to them so that not every fight could be so easily resolved by her simply making everyone love her. The rest of the comic, long expositional dialogue of the "villains" explaining the plot to the clueless heroes.

2) The immasculation of the Yellow Claw. OK, I can understand changing his name to the Golden Claw (though that color too was often used to describe Asian villains and characters, one of the Shadow novels with Shiwan Khan is titled THE GOLDEN MASTER). But, here his role is completely changed, instead of being on par with the likes of Fu Manchu and a world conquering villain along the lines of Doom and Kang, he's more just the misunderstood but loving uncle. And he's de-uniqued in the process, tied to Genghis Khan as the comic makes a point of noting that the other two big Asian badguys are. Not to mention, Master Plan? Marvel already has a Master Khan, so it's just making him more similar instead of standing out. So, now half of all of Marvel's Asian characters are from the family tree? What's next, all the patriotic heroes descended from one particular Rogers family during the Revolutionary War? And then after all of that he's just killed off? WTF? More importantly, the move does to the Yellow Klaw what the changes from Marvel Boy to the Uranian did, in the changes, we lose a big sense of the larger than life, high adventure and fun the characters could be and instead became quite a bit duller and mundane.

3) Woo and party join up with the bad guys? Does no one remember all the Shield agents that were killed at the beginning of this? Not to mention all the other people that the Yellow Claw has kidnapped, brainwashed and killed over the years? And yet somehow, everything is ok as long as Woo is willing to become the next Khan under the service of the dragon? And no one blinks an eye, no one actually remembers all of the murders done by these guys in their bid to rule the world? What's next, Steve Rogers assuming leadership of a Supremist movement? And we lose Woo as an Asian American (one of the great things about the original stories, an Asian-American Federal agent vs. an Asian Communist villain) as he embraces a rogue culture of his racial identity over the ideals and culture of the country he long embraced.

I enjoyed most of this mini and loved the art. But, obviously, this ending felt really weak to me even while it tied everything up in a too neat bow (c'mon, even Derek is tied to the Khan Dynasty? Puh-leeze, that carried it a bit too far imho). I liked the idea of Mr. Lao being an ancient dragon. After everything else, surprised they didn't tie him to Fing Fang Foom. Maybe if the issue had been double-sized.

Ultimately, it's passive, devoid of actual conflict. It puts me in mind of a classics class I took in college, and the difference between The Odyssey and the Aeneid. The latter's hero is almost completely passive as a character compared to Odysseus. Both are playthings of the gods for the most part, but Odysseus and the story is active, he fights against the inevitable. Aeneas on the other hand blindly accepts his destiny, he has a good thing with Dido but when the gods say it's time to move on, he does so. A good philosophy in real life but it makes for boring storytelling.

A superhero comic thrives on conflict, and this final issue doesn't have it. The one hint of physical conflict is resolved by the all powerful yet passive powers of Venus. We don't have the heroes uncovering the secrets of Atlas, preventing the plans of Mr. Lao and/or the Yellow Claw and wresting control of Atlas from him/them. We could have that and then still reveal to the readers that was the plan of Mr. Lao all along. No, the issue almost completely passive storytelling and this is supposed to be the big climax. We have the bad guys explaining their plans, how they have been control all along and the destinies of the heroes, and the heroes blindly accept it all. At this point we should have some kind of internal moral conflict yet not a single one (the demi-goddess, the perpetually irate monster-man, the independently minded atlantean, the longtime federal man, highly capable secret agent) balks or voices resentment but willingly goes along with their proposed destiny. After all of their history of fighting the Yellow Claw, risking their lives defending the free world against him and his men, they just turn their backs on all of that and accept him as a benefactor? And isn't this pretty much the exact same relationship between Shang Chi and Fu Manchu? Only there, they have mined it for conflict and here all of the conflict is taken out. Not just the action, but even the internal, moral and personality conflicts that should arise from making such a decision. Even Derek betrays no emotion or moral conflict as he basically commits treason. Frankly, it just doesn't come across as being credible reactions on the part of the people involved and their histories with each other. They stop being individual characters or even interesting protagonists and suddenly become passive pawns.

Birds of Prey: It happened. After following the book for a long time and even constantly lifting it up as a good book, I had to drop it. Not only did it bring in the Manhunter, a character I now loathe, but also TWO needless legacy characters, both female characters taking over previously male identities: Judomaster and Spy Smasher.

5 or 6 years ago by itself and it would have only been a minor annoyance. But in the context of the present times where it seems to be largely the point of books like Freedom Fighters & the JSA and half of the OYL books, I'm just tired of it. It doesn't interest me or excite me in the least anymore.

Besides, the idea of a legacy character is that it somehow honors the previous character. However, when every character has a legacy, when the originals in increasingly throwaway scenes of stories that they play no other part in have to be killed off or incapacitated in order to have those legacies, I no longer get the sense of any kind of honoring nor specialness of the original or the successor. It's become too common, too been there - done that and too cannabalistic to have any real meaning. Nowadays, I'd find it more interesting to see the original and find out how he still is active and what he's been up to all these years. To me, the original is almost always by default the more interesting character. And I don't get the point of a new Judomaster at all, how is a female version of the character any more interesting by default of the original who was a largely unexplored character to begin with? What could you possibly do with a female Judomaster that couldn’t have been done with either the original character or just a new character? The name itself prevents taking the character too far into any kind of new direction.

'Course, I have to admit, I'm probably about the only person who isn't drawn to Birds because of the characters. At least not the main characters in the book. I like Black Canary and Babs well enough, and ditto on the Huntress a later edition, but they aren't what attracted me to the book originally.

Nope, I originally got the book because besides the artwork of Jackson Guice who I had vowed a long time ago to support his work barring other considerations (such as pairing with Mark Waid, a writer I have trouble supporting writing a bad pastiche based largely on one of my favorite characters, Sherlock Holmes), but besides that, I heard the series had Blue Beetle Ted Kord as a supporting character. Well, Kord was written out of the series shortly after, but the writing and art stayed pretty much top notch and Gail Simone took it even to higher heights with good art all along the way. I do hold Dixon partly to blame for the lack of respect that Kord got later as he's the one that introduced the heart condition and helped cement his second rate character status as he was always just not quite good enough, in this case to even score a romance with Babs making him come in second pretty much to a former teen side-kick instead of recognizing in his own way he should really be equal to Batman (being the premiere non-powered hero from his own Earth). But, I do give kudos to Gail for remembering him after his death in the book, playing up a bit what a big loss it is to the DCU to lose this character, in a book he wasn't in all that long.

But, it may be because of the fact that I don't feel any strong ties to the existing characters I do find it easier to take a break from the series as it brings in things that I do actively dislike.

That said, I am enjoying The Atom and Aquaman books. But it doesn't really change things as I wish they'd have found ways to do the new books and give us the classic heroes as well instead of one being MIA and the other possibly changed almost beyond recognition.. It's the beauty of "Flash of Two Worlds" that it managed to make both new and old characters viable without harming the integrity of either one.

City of Heroes - This Game is Freakin' Awesome!

Fully customize your hero's look and powers from their origin (source of powers: mutation, science, magic, etc.) archetype (healer, tank, blaster, scrapper, etc) to their primary and secondary power sets. Lavish detail in a 3D world with different zones with different looks and textures. Various game play options intertwined: do timed or "kill all" missions solo or with a group, roam the city "hunting" for miscreants to arrest, or safe guard missions to prevent crimes from occurring. This game is so awesome! Check out this review.

For the price of one membership you can play COH, or its evil twin City of Villains (for those more interested in causing the mayhem, kidnapping, robbing banks, etc.)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Fantastic Four - Rise of the Silver Surfer - June 15, 2007

Tim Story returns to direct Rise of the Silver Surfer with Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis, Chris Evans, Ioan Gruffudd, Julian McMahon and Kerry Washington reprising their roles. Doug Jones (Pan's Labyrinth) and Beau Garrett appear in the sequel as the Silver Surfer and Frankie Raye, respectively. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer has a target release date of June 15, 2007.


Reed and Sue are married early in the film. The film's remaining story will center on the appearance of the Silver Surfer on Earth, as well as the return of Doctor Doom. The Silver Surfer does befriend Sue.

The teaser trailer shows the wedding of Reed and Sue interrupted by the arrival of Silver Surfer on Earth. Johnny Storm pursues the Surfer, but eventually is grabbed and pulled into the vacuum of orbital space, from where he is dropped back to Earth (presumably unconscious).

The traditional connection between the Surfer and Galactus seen in the early Fantastic Four comics has not been confirmed, but Tom Rothman, Chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment, has confirmed that Galactus will also appear in the film. Rothman also stated directly in an interview that "fans will not be disappointed".

Tim Story has confirmed that Doctor Doom, seen defeated and frozen in his metal form at the end of the first film, will make a dramatic return in this movie and "he will be back in full DOOM, not like we had him in the first film." Actor Ioan Gruffudd has confirmed that Julian McMahon will be back for the sequel. Doctor Doom will have three different designs during the course of the film. The film follows on from the first in real time, with Doctor Doom having spent two years trapped in a casket. Doom desires to take the Silver Surfer's powers.

Visit the Official Movie Site here.

Spider-Man 3 Premiere's May 4, 2007

Peter Parker basks in the spotlight with his public success as his superhero alter ego, Spider-Man. He plans to propose to Mary Jane Watson. When the police tell Parker and his aunt that new evidence shows Sandman as being responsible for killing Uncle Ben, Parker goes after the alleged perpetrator personally. As Spider-Man, he battles Sandman and his former friend Harry Osborn. During this time, astronaut John Jameson brings an "alien life force" back to Earth with him. The force forms a symbiotic relationship with Peter's costume, influencing his behavior for the worse. As a result, Spider-Man has to fight the villain within, until he finally tears the symbiote from his body. After parting from Spider-Man, the symbiote finds a new host in Eddie Brock Junior, and the resulting merger creates Venom.

Visit the Official Movie Site and the Official Blog for Spider-Man 3 wallpaper, pics, clips, and more.


  • Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker / Spider-Man: A photographer for the Daily Bugle who leads a double life as the superhero Spider-Man, protecting New York City from crime.
  • Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson: Peter Parker's love interest and a Broadway actress.
  • James Franco as Harry Osborn / New Goblin: The son of Norman Osborn and Peter Parker's former best friend who believes that Spider-Man murdered his father. After learning Peter Parker is Spider-Man, Harry becomes the New Goblin to battle his former friend directly.
  • Topher Grace as Eddie Brock, Jr. / Venom: A photographer at the Daily Bugle. He grows increasingly embittered toward Peter Parker, who beats Brock to photography gigs and has attracted the attention of Brock's girl, Gwen Stacy.
  • Thomas Haden Church as Flint Marko / Sandman: A small-time thug who has a wife and daughter. An accident gives him the ability to change his body into malleable sand, transforming him into Sandman. He is now believed to be the person responsible for Uncle Ben's death.
  • Bryce Dallas Howard as Gwen Stacy: Daughter of a police captain, George Stacy, and a science student of Dr. Curt Connors. She competes with Mary Jane Watson for the love of Peter Parker, her lab partner, despite Eddie Brock, Jr's feelings for her.
  • Rosemary Harris as May Parker: The aunt of Peter Parker and the widow of Ben Parker, Peter's uncle. Peter has not told her of his vigilante role in protecting New York City as Spider-Man.
  • Dylan Baker as Dr. Curt Connors: A college professor under whom Peter Parker studied and with whom he has maintained a good friendship.
  • J. K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson: The aggressive chief of the Daily Bugle. He carries a personal vendetta against Spider-Man, whom he considers a criminal.
  • Daniel Gillies as John Jameson: The son of J. Jonah Jameson and an astronaut who was left at the wedding altar by Mary Jane Watson. He brings back the symbiote with him to Earth from outer space.
  • James Cromwell as Captain George Stacy: A police captain and father of Gwen Stacy. He shares the news with Peter and May Parker that new evidence indicates that Flint Marko killed Uncle Ben.
  • Elizabeth Banks as Betty Brant: The secretary to J. Jonah Jameson at the Daily Bugle.
  • Cliff Robertson as Benjamin "Ben" Parker: The husband to May Parker and uncle of Peter Parker. Killed by a criminal with the primary suspect originally being the carjacker. Spider-Man lives by Ben's words: "With great power comes great responsibility." The police find new evidence that indicates that Flint Marko, not the carjacker, had killed Uncle Ben.
  • Tim DeZarn as Philip Watson: The abusive father of Mary Jane Watson.
  • Michael Papajohn as Carjacker: The criminal who was thought to have killed Peter Parker's Uncle Ben in the first film, though new evidence suggests someone else murdered Ben Parker.
  • Willem Dafoe as Norman Obsorn: The deceased father of Harry Osborn who appears to his son in hallucinations.
  • Stan Lee has a cameo in Spider-Man 3, as he did in the previous Spider-Man films. Unlike his previous Spider-Man cameos, he has dialogue with Peter Parker in his cameo for this film. Lee has referred to it as his "best cameo" in an interview.
  • Bruce Campbell, who has had cameo roles as a wrestling ring announcer in Spider-Man and as a rude usher in Spider-Man 2, returns in Spider-Man 3 with a new cameo.
  • Sam Raimi has a cameo in Spider-Man 3 as a Navy admiral.

Ghost Rider Premier's Feb 16, 2007

"Superstar motorcycle stunt rider Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) strikes a deal with the vile Mephistopheles for the most precious of commodities, his immortal soul. Now Johnny Blaze is forever destined to ride night after night as the host to the most powerful supernatural entity known as the Ghost Rider."

Visit the Official Movie Site and the Official Blog

Pan's Labyrinth - A Must See Movie for Mike Mignola Fans!

This film is set in post-Civil War northern Spain, in 1944. A young girl, Ofelia (Ivana Baquero), moves with her pregnant mother Carmen (Ariadna Gil), and her stepfather Captain Vidal (Sergi López), into a new home in the countryside. Vidal and his small army have been sent to the remote area to rid it of a small Republican militia.

Ofelia, who often immerses herself in ancient stories and fairy tales, finds an immense and ancient labyrinth near her new home. There, she meets a faun (Doug Jones) who reveals that she is the long-lost daughter of the King of the Underworld, and that to regain entry to her kingdom she must carry out three tasks. The faun gives her a storybook, which will tell her the details of the tasks.

For the remainder of the film, Ofelia accesses a strange and dangerous world of fairies and extraordinary creatures such as the terrifying Pale Man (also played by Doug Jones), while trying to cope with her abusive stepfather.

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This movie is a beautifully haunting blend of poetry and fantasy. It is visual prose, and a must see!