From The Creator of "Family Guy" And The Director of The Hayden Planetarium. No, Really.

Fox Television gave Seth MacFarlane a big leeway for “whatever he wanted to do” in exchange for keeping ratings-juggernaut “Family Guy” on the air. He decided to spend that clout on two passion projects. One wasn’t too surprising: A new version of “The Flintstones,” which is still pending. The other? “COSMOS,” a 13-part science documentary – a sequel to the legendary Carl Sagan series of the same name – hosted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

Yes. The creator of “Family Guy” is going to run a science documentary on a major network because he can. And now there’s a trailer:

What IS Going On With Captain America’s "New" Uniform?

I’m on the record with not being in love with what we were being told was Captain America’s new threads for “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” It’s not a bad-looking getup in and of itself, mind you, it’s just… yeah, it’s the lack of red and white in there. That matters, not just aesthetically – he’s Captain America, not the Blue-Denim Power Ranger. And it’s especially unfortunate, since the original concept-art for the movie was showing off a really good-looking fusion of the WWII and Avengers-era costumes.

But now there’s some SDCC snaps from ComicBookMovie (sourced from another site that’s now down) that make me think maybe there’s more to this…

So, here’s the thing: For awhile now, people have been assuming that the all-blue outfit is some kind of “stealth suit” or something specifically tied to S.H.I.E.L.D; given that there’s a S.H.I.E.L.D-logo patch on the shoulders. Speaking of shields, it now looks like the new outfit comes with it’s own version of Cap’s shield, which replaces the red rings with light-blue (cyan?) ones. Maybe blue is “stealthy?” But take another look:

That’s an official display from Marvel/Disney’s display for the film at SDCC. Why is he standing with The Howling Commandos (you can tell it’s them, because that’s Dum-Dum Dugan’s bowler hat) from the first movie? Is it just gag for the display (apparently it rotates around into an identical version but with Cap in his WWII era uniform and pre-vibranium shield)? It’s probable that the film will use flashbacks to WWII to help remind us all who [REDACTED] was, is the blue outfit something from that period used to help us keep past/present scenes straight (or vice-versa?) I will say that the S.H.I.E.L.D. patch looks old-timey: Brown and gold, with a WWII-style right of stars. Will we be seeing the founding of S.H.I.E.LD?

One particular guess I keep seeing floated around is that since this and “Thor 2” are supposed to be the (thematically) “darker” movies this cycle (the “Empire Strikes Back” rule that mid-trilogy entries are dark and end on bleak notes,) this one will be about Cap getting all disillusioned about present-day political/military/spycraft business – i.e. he starts out working with S.H.I.E.L.D. or the Government in official capacity but eventually braces against it (maybe they lied to him about [REDACTED]?) and goes off on his own, and the blue get-up is for his “working for The Man” phase?

Maybe we’ll find out more when Marvel/Disney’s official panel stuff hits later tonight.

(UPDATED!) WB Sets "Superman/Batman" or 2015, "Flash" and "Justice League" to Follow

UPDATE I: Zack Snyder takes the stage at SDCC, officially announces Batman joining “Man of Steel” sequel. Says will be “informed” by “Dark Knight Returns” but NOT an adaptation. Bat/Shield-fusion logo shown a’la the Batman/Superman comic, Bat-symbol is NOT the one from the previous Nolan-trilogy.

ORIGINAL POST: Actual news is starting to hit from ComicCon (Legendary supposedly just now surprised everyone who showed up for the “Godzilla” trailer with a teaser for Duncan Jones’ “World of Warcraft” movie); and now we’ve evidently got the first actual word from Warner Bros. about how they plan to handle their DC line going into the future. This is the panel I’d most want to have seen had I been there, because the business/politics of it are intriguing: Warners was expecting to roll into San Diego as conqueror’s post-“Man of Steel,” which they’d presumed would be a “Dark Knight”-level Summer-crushing juggernaut. Instead, their position is closer to “Well… we made a shitload of money but not as much as we were expecting to, the reviews were pretty bad and it’s biggest presence in the dialogue right now is as a punchline about inappropriately-grim adaptations.”

Given that, I’d say it’s a surprise but not a BIG surprise that Warner Bros. seems to be going right back to the eternally-reliable Batman-brand rather than given “Man of Steel” it’s own solo sequel: The report is that the film’s follow-up will instead be “Superman Meets Batman” (not the final title, obviously – though I can’t imagine they’ll actually CALL it “World’s Finest”) in 2015, with Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder returning to executive produce and direct (wouldn’t be my first choices, but okay – we all have our bad days) and David Goyer once again writing (ugh.) The current plan is for “The Flash” to follow in 2016 and “Justice League” in 2017.

Hm. Somebody’s missing – and it ain’t The Martian Manhunter.

It seems kind of inconceivable that “League” will happen without at least one female character (worth noting: Marvel’s continuity-experiment put War Machine and Black Widow in front of audiences before getting to Thor or even Captain America); and apparently WB is still trying to get Wonder Woman onto The CW as “Amazon” (an “Arrow” companion-piece with a teenaged Diana in an American high-school. Really.) A lot of people are still thinking the “empty pod” cutaway in “Man of Steel” was supposed to be a tease for Supergirl – confirmed, at least in-part, by a tie-in comic – so maybe her? One of the bigger recent Batman/Superman comic arcs (it also got an animated movie) intro’d a new-ish version of her (basically Golden/Silver-age Kara, but “for today”) so maybe she’ll get the spot? Dunno. Right now, the only “safe bet” I can imagine is that if they bother with a Green Lantern at all it’ll be John Stewart, and if not him Cyborg will get the “We Need At Least One Black Guy” call.

Still not mentioned: Whether or not they’ve picked a Batman yet, and if they’re shooting for 2015 they kinda need to do that pretty soon. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they were still trying to get Christian Bale back (maybe that’s Nolan’s role here, since everyone was expecting him to bail at this point.)

"Kick-Ass 2" STILL Looks Promising

For a minute there, it looked like the positive buzz on “Kick-Ass 2” – a sequel I’m still kind of amazed we got, given that the original was considered another ComicCon-Hit/Mainstream-Bomb scenario until the long-term numbers came back – was going to be eclipsed by Jim Carrey’s latest public spectacle (Ugh. Maybe someone should’ve stopped him back when he asked us to.) But this extended trailer just hit from SDCC, and I remain optimistic.

The boxoffice “problem” with the first film is that it really was a “naughty kid” film – an R-rated movie that, if we’re being honest, is largely “for” an audience that was too young to (legally) buy tickets for it. But there’s a huge fanbase for this that discovered it on DVD and cable, so maybe this one will hit bigger. My only concern is that Mark Millar’s comic sequel was actually pretty awful, but a movie can correct that (see: Most movies based on Mark Millar comics.)

Giggity Giggity Doh!

Dust off both of your “best” jokes about which series has overstayed it’s welcome by longer. EW is reporting that The Simpsons and The Griffins will (finally?) meet in a 2014 crossover episode (of “Family Guy”) titled “Simpsons Guy.” …eh, y’know what? I’m a sucker for a crossover. It’ll be like “Cartoon Wars” – except official, andnot sanctimoniously self-righteous.

Thus far the details are scarce (as expected, it sounds like there’ll be concurrent Peter/Homer, Marge/Lois, Bart/Stewie, Lisa/Mega storylines,) but since it’s technically a “Family Guy” episode one imagines there’ll be a lot of glib commentary about Springfield being perpetually stuck in an early-90s vision of early-60s TV sitcoms, and I’ll be dissapointed if there isn’t a “whoa, that’s not cool…”/uncomfortable-silence bit involving Homer strangling Bart… though even better would be seeing McFarlane (via Brian) trade some oldschool lounge-lizard schtick with similarly unstuck-in-time Krusty. I’ll settle for Brian getting hammered at Moe’s, though.

First "GODZILLA" Teaser Poster

Okay, I’m starting to get excited. Not TOO excited, mainly because the director is still Gareth Edwards and I really, really, really, REALLY HATED his previous giant-monster movie.

If I can just throw one tiny, futile sliver of advice/request to the filmmakers (or, rather the marketers) on this one: Just fucking show him already. We already did this “show the tail, show the foot, oooooh what does he look like??” thing on the previous movie, and look how that turned out. Besides, the whole point of doing “Godzilla” is that Godzilla is an ICON. Everyone knows what Godzilla looks like – even people who’ve never actually watched a Godzilla movie. The “hype” shouldn’t be about “what does he look like??”, it should be about how good you made him look.

Film is due out just under a year from now, apparently some kind of bigger reveal is due at some point during SDCC.



I can now confirm that I will be appearing at COMICAZI in Somerville Massachusetts (407 Highland Ave Somerville MA 02144, I believe Davis Square is the closest MBTA stop) to sell and autograph copies of my book “Super Mario Bros. 3 – Brick By Brick” (also still available online in print and ebook formats exclusively through from 11am to 2pm ET on Saturday July 27th.

I will also, of course, happily sign any copies that were purchased previously or really anything else you were to bring up (within reason.) The books themselves will cost $8.00 US, supplies are limited. 
This will be the first time the book has been available for in-person sales and/or signing since SGC. I’m working on a few other (local) events for similar setups, but this will be the first – plus, Comicazi is a great local business and deserves the attention. Hope to see some of you there!

"The Fifth Estate"

Every Movie Awards Season needs at least one “controversial” current-events film that receives reams of breathless coverage in the political media but that ultimately not even most “engaged” audiences actually bother to go see – regardless of whether or not it’s any good.

This year’s entry looks to be “The Fifth Estate” (trailer below), with Benedict Cumberbatch as WikiLeaks mouthpiece Julian Assange. Directed by Bill Condon, the film looks to be making a game effort toward balancing an apparent sympathy for WikiLeaks’ actions (or at least philosophy) and an acknowledgement that Assange is a pretty sketchy individual. For the record, Assange (currently in and Ecuadorian embassy ducking extradition for sexual-assault charges) has called the film’s script “a serious propaganda attack” and “a lie built upon a lie.”