Friday, July 11, 2008

My Problem with Movies Adapted from Comics

We are glutting ourselves on men and women in tights.

There was an age when the world cringed at the sight of a movie featuring characters and stories gleaned from the pages of graphic novels. Remember "Steel" starring Shaq? Yeah, movies based on comics can totally suck if the studio tries hard enough.

Nowadays we have high profile projects such as "Iron Man" and "The Dark Knight" that are very buzz worthy endeavors. But movie studios wrongly believe any character born out of the world of primary colors can generate a huge return on their investment. I suspect there are scripts floating around with Forbush Man as the central character.

We are heading toward a crunch where movies based on comics get big, bloated and not worth the digital effects poured into them. There is talk now that the Hulk movie franchise may not continue even though its latest installment made a respectable share of loot at the box office.

In the end it comes down to the numbers. Movies heavy on special effects can be huge draws and are often the top ticket sellers each year. But the success of "Iron Man" will not be shared by all heroes. Lame scripts, poor direction and just bad concepts from the studios are part of the problem. The reality is, not every comic title is worth an adaption.

Hulk does not belong in his own movie. The character is difficult to sell to the general audience. While Bruce Banner is a victim of science gone wrong, he is his own greatest enemy. It's a gripping story concept, but a challenge to market an audience looking for a hero to save the day or speak to some higher moral cause. Hulk break stuff like overactive child. Bad men in uniforms shoot Hulk with big guns. Hulk rip arms off men in uniforms (or at least he should).

My guess is the only way we will see the Hulk on screen again is in the forthcoming Avengers movie. The original comic in the 1960s that introduced the Avengers featured the Hulk on yet another misguided rampage that the team of heroes had to stop. The motif of other heroes trying to calm to Hulk down is repeated constantly. Whatever Bruce Banner's problems are, it's hard to keep standing in his corner as a movie audience.

So here is my prediction: After "The Dark Knight" has its moment in the sun, things will get frigid with this genre of movies. There are few tent poles left to support the weight of expectations in this market. We will see an "Iron Man" sequel, some Avengers movies and several more obscure titles that only fanboys are feverish over. But this genre is going to go the way of such sci-fi franchises as Star Wars and Star Trek. They will wear out their welcome and fade into nostalgic memory.

Time for a Fresh Read

I have rewritten chapters 1 thru 10 of my manuscript "Riding Ten Thunders" again. I have a friend copy editing the material but I am also looking for readers to critique how the story plays out.

Before you start volunteering to read it, there are some caveats.

This is not a "children's story" though it is told by a young protagonist.

This is a story told in the fantasy genre, but don't start looking for elves or gruff dwarves.

For a taste of an early version of the opening chapters, check out this link to Reflection's Edge where the original short story got published.

IF you are of open mind and want to give the rest of the story a look, hit me up.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Losing it All

"Poor" Michael Vick, the disgraced former Atlanta Falcons quarterback, has gone broke while in prison. He filed for bankruptcy protection from his prison cell owing as much as $50 million to his creditors.

It takes a special type of moron to torpedo the career and life he once had. Vick gets no sympathy from me. He let himself think like a ghetto hood rat from the block when he was already rich and set for life. WTF?

If he wanted to be enterprising, he should have invested in a legitimate business such as a retail franchise or lent his name to a sports bar. But no, he had to think like a dumb -----, as Uncle Ruckus from The Boondocks might say.

I have made my share of mistakes, pissed away a variety of opportunities in life. But none of that compares to this nitwit Vick. He can't even reinvent himself after his prison term is done.

Once he gets out, he doesn't have a career to go back to. Vick might try to get a job as backup QB for a desperate team like the St. Louis Rams or head north to play in the Canadian Football League. But I doubt public opinion will change while he has any playing days left in him.

If he can't play football and generate money through product endorsements, Vick is going to STAY broke after prison. Way to go playing to a stereotype, Vick. It's not even worth merchandising his likeness anymore.

I may not be perfect, but I am glad I am not a flaming turd like Michael Vick.

Flame and Bone

When I was made from fire
Poured into the tender vessel of caution
That keeps my smoke from rising
Quickly did I discover that apart from crisp drizzles or falling snow
The world chilled my touched
Walking the narrow cornered gap between girders and cut stone
One learns to tuck his shoulders in or risk
Jostling a neighbor passing by rapt with want
For a clear path without the distraction
Of another man's boiling eyes
The tip of a finger
That oldest of all weapons
Grown deadlier and pristine in its invention
Gathers a mote of a cinder on its bare flesh
And turns pondering how best to scratch the impious itch
Prying open the tender seam
Where the oil of thought dews
Offering a new wick to ignite
Squirming alive as a salamander of mischief
That yearns for a taste of air it is so ready to devour
The steam of breath betrays me
Before the glint of orange spreads
In popping bright waves
Eroding the fibers feeding it
Leaving naught but ash
As my shell of quietude falls away