Showing posts with label Watchmen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Watchmen. Show all posts

Thursday, February 04, 2010

OT: Matt Fraction interview

Techland kindly sent me notice that it has an interview with Matt Fraction up, whose always been a nice guy whenever I run into him, so read it and buy his comics.

Although I liked Watchman better than he did:

PH: Did you think Watchmen sucked?
MF: I did, but I thought The Dark Knight sucked too, save from the Joker bits. I loved the first half, I was little tired in the second half, and in the third half I wanted to leave... Avatar is the first movie I've seen where it made me feel like I needed to up my game. In terms of what comics could do, Avatar was the first film that touched anything close to what comics can do.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My thoughts on Watchmen

So I finally saw the Watchmen movie last night. For years, I've been saying that 1.) this is not a comic book to recommend to a beginning reader of comics and 2.) I don't know who'd they'd expect to see this movie because you really have to care about superheroes.

I stand by those statements.

I also enjoyed the movie, but I've been reading comic books for over thirty years.

I liked it fine for what it was - a lavish, yet slavish, adaptation of a comic book of limited interest to a broader public.

Snyder's second comic book adaptation followed the path of 300, his first - he used the comic book as a storyboard and made a visually-stunning movie. Watchmen is lush and lovely and just ooozes thoughtful caring. And I appreciated that. And about 1/3 of the readers of this blog probably will as well.

But if you didn't grow up on superhero comic books (movies don't count), this probably isn't the movie for you.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Zadzooks on Halo videogame

Not comics for the most part, but you can view this as animation - "Zadzooks: Halo Wars review: Microsoft Game Studios latest a fans' epic," Joseph Szadkowski, Washington Times Wednesday, March 11, 2009.

"Bennett's Best for the week of March 1," By Greg Bennett, Zadzooks Blog March 09 2009 recommends a couple of Marvel titles.

"Zadzooks: Watchmen movie versus comic books," BY JOE SZADKOWSKI, Zadzooks Blog March 13 2009.

Washington Times reporters Sonny Bunch and Joseph Szadkowski compare Zack Snyder's Watchmen movie to the Watchmen comic book series by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Zadzooks, superheroes and Watchmen at Washington Times

On superheroes is "EDGE: Saving the world ain't what it used to be," Peter Suderman, Washington Times Friday, March 6, 2009.

Zadzooks is still on toys - "Zadzooks: More from toy fair; Legions of action figures on parade," Joseph Szadkowski, Washington Times Thursday, March 5, 2009.

But his blog has a piece by someone who doesn't know anything about Watchmen or comics - "Remembering Watchmen," By Heidi Haynes, Washington Times Zadzooks Blog March 04 2009.

And finally, here's the paper's review - "MOVIES: 'Watchmen' leap into action," Sonny Bunch, Washington Times Thursday, March 5, 2009.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Watchmen: Portraits book review

Enos, Clay. Watchmen: Portraits. London: Titan Books, 2009.
192 pages, $50.00 (hc)
ISBN-10: 1848560699, ISBN-13: 978-1848560697

Portraits is the oddest of the three books that Titan published as companions to the movie, but it also has the highest production values and is physically the largest of the three. Clay Enos was the official still photographer, but also decided to shoot sets of portraits of both the actors in costume and the people working on the film. He shot in black and white, and used harsh lighting and a white backdrop, so every pore and hair can be seen. This gives the images a curious effect as though Richard Avedon decided to photograph superheroes. This is added to by the juxtapositions of the crew members and actors – “2nd Assistant Camera” is followed by “1940s Store Owner” who is followed in turn by “Captain Axis” all in hyper-detailed photographs. In his foreword Snyder says, “Not only do these pages immortalize individual cast and crewmembers, but they also celebrate in particular the exceptional work of our talented costume, hair and make-up departments. But beyond even that, the photos of the actors in costume capture something more. What at first glance simply might appear to be an extra dressed up as a general for a day, reveals on closer study the decades of a career spent in uniform.” Snyder’s point is somewhat undermined by the lack of identification of everyone, including him, by name. They are only identified by position. However, Enos decided to follow his muse, and a book and traveling photograph exhibit have resulted. I am not sure who this book will appeal to, but I appreciate the fact that Enos thought outside of the job he was hired for to create it.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Watchmen: The Art of the Film book review

Aperlo, Peter. Watchmen: The Art of the Film. London: Titan Books, 2009.
256 pages, $40 (hc).
ISBN-10: 1848560680, ISBN-13: 978-1848560680

Unsurprisingly, The Art of the Film complements and somewhat overlaps The Film Companion. It focuses more on the film’s design and special effects. Of special interest to comic book readers is concept art by Adam Hughes, David Finch and John Cassaday, prop art by James Jean and new art by Dave Gibbons and colorist John Higgins including three pages drawn as a new alternative ending to the comic book, and thus the movie.

The only word to describe this movie, and this resulting book is ‘lush.’ An ad for The Veidt Method (Page 13) quotes comic books’ one-time ubiquitous Charles Atlas self-improvement ads. Dozens of prop newspapers hang in a hallway, with decades spanned in their headlines, waiting for approval to use in the movie. Production manager Alex McDowell explained part of the rationale for such detail, “This film is interesting because environments really have to represent the characters iconically, because you are in this very complex, fluid time stream back and forth. You need something to ground you when you cut back to something that’s 1970 or ’77 or ’85.” (p.28-29) The small black & white television shown in the original Nite Owl’s apartment on p. 39 is actually the same model that this reviewer had in his bedroom as a teenager.

The Introduction chapter gives the basic rationale behind the design and look of the movie. Concept Art has the initial redesigns of characters, the storyboards and the new ending by Gibbons and Snyder. Several pages focus on James Jean’s painting of Silk Spectre I’s World War II propaganda poster. Jean painted her in both Norman Rockwell and Vargas’ styles. Production Art focuses more on how a scene is actually laid out and what it will look like – an example is the cemetery for the Comedian’s funeral which is shown as a painting and a set of elevation drawings. This leads naturally into the Sets chapter, which again shows design artwork and stills from the finished movie; here a good example is Dr. Manhattan’s apartment or Adrian Veidt’s office.

Props drills down into more detailed pieces especially, and unsurprisingly, weapons although it also includes the newspapers seen waiting for approval in the Introduction, Rorschach’s diary, Watchmen action figures from Veidt’s office (sculpted for the film by Neville Page, but the viewer can now own a set as a result of the movie, as reality and fiction intertwine). Moore and Gibbon’s original story had a secondary story running through it – a knock-off of an EC pirate horror comic called The Black Freighter. Interleaving that into the movie would have been impossible, so Snyder created an animated direct-to-video version which went on sale before The Watchmen opened. A few pages show artwork from the ‘comic book’ and the resulting animation.

The Owlship, a flying version of Batman’s Batmobile, gets a chapter to itself, as do Costumes. Both are filled with production artwork and the final results. The book ends with a look at the multiple poster campaigns designed for the movie. Like The Film Companion, this book is well-done and should appeal to those interested in more information than the movie alone could provide.

Watchmen movie reviews and other bits UPDATED

Gene George Gustines says the NY Times is starting a best-seller list (online only) for graphic novels.

And the City Paper recommends John Malloy's show in Maryland - "Sunday, March 8, at Art Whino," By Mike Riggs, Washington City Paper March 6, 2009: 37.

Now, Watchmen reviews from local papers:

"Men (and Women) in Tights: Watchmen is a slog; Ballerina is a poignant spectacle," By Tricia Olszewski, Washington City Paper March 6, 2009.

"Watching the Watchmen: Movie Review," By Michael O'Connell, Springfield Connection / Connection Newspapers Thursday, March 5, 2009.

"Blight 'Watchmen': Graphic Novel's Edge Is Dulled in Adaptation," By Philip Kennicott, Washington Post Staff Writer, Thursday, March 5, 2009; C01.

Slate intern Katie Rolnick sent me these next two links - thanks Katie!

"The wizard of "Watchmen": Alan Moore talks about his career, his favorite characters and his bad influence on the comics world,"
By Andrew Firestone, Salon Mar. 05, 2009.

"Alan Moore's environmental monster: The genius behind "Watchmen" redefined both the audience and the narrative possibilities of comic books with his newly reissued "Saga of the Swamp Thing."" By Andrew O'Hehir, Salon Mar. 04, 2009.

and finally I was interviewed at Arlington's Lost Dog Cafe for this article - "Real World in Four Colors: Movie, comic book fans find a world of entertainment in graphic novels," By Michael O'Connell, Springfield Connection / Connection Newspapers Thursday, March 05, 2009. I stand by my conclusions.

Ok, not quite finally - the Onion had 3 comics pieces today:

The movie review - "Watchmen" which got a B from Keith Phipps, Onion March 5, 2009.

A Rorschach interview - "Jackie Earle Haley," by Tasha Robinson, Onion March 5, 2009.

In the physical paper, this is 5 - "In the wake of Watchmen: 24 more graphic novels we'd like to see made into movies," by Chris Mincher, Genevieve Koski, Leonard Pierce, Noel Murray, Steven Hyden, Tasha Robinson, and Zack Handlen, Onion March 2, 2009.

And a podcast - "A.V. Talk: Watchmen" directly here.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Watchmen: The Film Companion book review

Aperlo, Peter. Watchmen: The Official Film Companion. London: Titan Books.
176 pages, $19.95 (pb), $29.95 (hc)
ISBN-10: 1848560672 (pb), ISBN-13: 978-1848560673 (pb), ISBN-10: 1848561598 (hc), ISBN-13: 978-1848561595.

Watchmen, a movie that I thought would never be made due to its absolute need for familiarity with comic book superhero tropes, is generating merchandising and spinoffs just like the original comic books did over two decades ago. The movie audiences’ familiarity with DC Comics characters such as Superman and Batman apparently carried over to acceptance of the Watchmen characters which Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons had based on Charlton Comics’ superhero knockoffs of the DC heroes.

Titan Books has put out some handsome volumes on the making of the movie. To long-time American readers, Titan was best known for repackaging DC and Marvel comics for the British market, frequently collecting material like Neal Adams’ Batman in black and white. More recently, they have been the source for reprints of British works including comic strips like the excellent James Bond series. Now, as it publishes high quality books about the making of movies based on comics, the company has moved into a market held by Chronicle Books and Hyperion. This business decision was probably partly motivated by the success of books such as “The Art of (Our New Animated Movie)” which now accompany every new animation release.

The Official Film Companion is a lovely book. It is largely a photography book with a small amount of text, as these books tend to be. The printing is of excellent quality, and is far higher than earlier books of this type such as those that came out for the first Batman series. The book is divided into seven chapters: Pre-Production, World of Watchmen, The Characters, Production, Post-Production, Making Manhattan and Conclusion.

Pre-Production features some interesting artwork by other comic book artists, but is mostly devoted to background material such as set and prop designs. World of the Watchmen demonstrates the inherent difficulty of a book like this – the ‘history’ of the Watchmen’s world is written straightly and shown in photographs. Then director Zach Snyder is quoted. “What does [being a superhero] do to you?” Snyder asks … “Does it make you crazy? Does it make you a recluse? Does it make you lose touch with humanity?” (p. 38). The book then continues on describing the formation of the Minuteman team in the 1940s. The Characters, a chapter describing each one in some detail, has the same problem differentiating between the character’s reality and the actor’s reality. The next three chapters examine how the movie was actually made, especially the special effects. The chapter on Dr. Manhattan has many pictures of the motion-capture suit, and decisively settles the issue of how much of Billy Crudup’s anatomy is actually shown on the screen: none, except for his face.

Overall, this is a very well-produced, typical example of this type of book. If you are interested in knowing more about the film, or if you like looking at cool photos of props or special effects, you’ll find something of interest in the book.

Soon to come - reviews of The Art of the Film and Portraits.

Thanks to Katharine Carroll of Titan Books for providing review copies. A revised copy of this review will run in the Fall 2009 International Journal of Comic Art.

Watchmen in today's Express

The paper version has a Watchmen story from Angela Dawson and a Wonder Woman animation story from the LA Times Hero Complex blog, but their online version has an article by a new reader of the graphic novel - "Graphic, Not Novel: Who Reads the 'Watchmen'?" Stephen M. Deusner, Express at 9:30 AM on March 4, 2009.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Examiner's USA Weekend magazine on Watchmen

The Washington Examiner's USA Weekend Sunday magazine is on Watchmen. That's the free paper that's delivered to some homes in the area. They commissioned Dave Gibbons to make them a new poster too, as seen on the right. I just walked around my neighborhood in the snow picking up copies for the libraries I supply. The poster's interesting - Gibbons used features of the actors so it's a curious blend of the graphic novel and the movie.

FYE in Georgetown has some Watchmen giveaway material too, I'm told.

Friday, February 20, 2009

OT: MTV on Watchman movie, 2/21/09

OK, I'm getting caught up in the hype. I've got 3 books from Titan on the movie that I'll try to get reviews up for this weekend too. They're lovely.

Spoilers Premieres Saturday, February 21 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT

On February 21, at 8:00 p.m. ET, MTV will air the second episode of "Spoilers," a quarterly movie special that will deliver first looks at the year's biggest upcoming flicks, including behind-the-scenes action and exclusive scenes.

Taped in front of a live audience, the second episode will spotlight "Watchmen," and will feature appearances from the entire cast of the eagerly anticipated superhero flick.

Hundreds of die-hard movie fanswill attend MTV News' screening of the film, with the stars walking the blood-red carpet to chat in front of our cameras.

In addition to "Watchmen," the episode will also give viewers exclusive access to scenes from such upcoming blockbusters as "Star Trek," "Land of the Lost," "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" and more.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Comics and movies

As longtime readers of this know, I have a running list of movies and tv adapted from comics that I publish as a book annually (theoretically at least, as I'm still doing the index to 2008's edition).

A couple of things to note this morning:

My buddy Bart Beaty's new book got an excellent review. The book is David Cronenberg's A History of Violence, By Bart Beaty, University of Toronto Press, 138 pages, $16.95. The review is "Good director, bon directeur," BY PIERS HANDLING, Toronto Globe and Mail Update January 8, 2009. Handling says, among other things, "Beaty does a superb job dissecting, interpreting and unpacking all the key moments of the film, revealing the tools a filmmaker, working at the height of his powers, brings to his canvas."

And then there's the Watchmen movie - "Studios Try to Settle ‘Watchmen’ Dispute," By MICHAEL CIEPLY, New York Times January 10, 2009. Cieply writes, "Mr. Karasik, joined by lawyers for Warner, had asked a court clerk on Friday if the judge would conduct a hearing in chambers, because they planned to discuss what he called “settlement issues.” The clerk conferred with Judge Feess, then returned to say that the judge would insist on a session open to the public." Hahahahaha! Good for the judge.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Spirit movie reviews, and some other movie bits

People aren't liking it much.

'The Spirit': Enough Ham To Lay a Great Big Egg
By Carina Chocano
Special to The Washington Post
Thursday, December 25, 2008; C05

Returned From the Dead, Ducking Villains and Vixens
New York Times December 25, 2008

Movie review: Don't waste money on 'The Spirit'
Peter Hartlaub, Chronicle Pop Culture Critic
Thursday, December 25, 2008
This article appeared on page E - 8 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Except for the Kansas City Star.

‘The Spirit’ review: A dazzling visual style | 3 stars
Special to The Kansas City Star December 24 2008

And the Times reported this morning that Watchmen's legal woes continue.

Judge Says Fox Owns Rights to a Warner Movie
New York Times December 25, 2008

While the latest Batman movie isn't coming to China.

WB shrouds 'Dark Knight' from Chinese audiences
Associated Press Thu Dec 25, 2008

Can you tell I'm working on the 2008 edition of Film & TV Adaptations of Comics? It should be available in mid-January. Would anyone like to see an expanded bibliography section in the next edition for 2009, one that gives you a lot of citations per film, rather than just one or two key ones? Work on the published edition of the Comics Research Bibliography website should be advanced enough to let me do that, but it'll add dozens of pages and cost more.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My local Borders is pushing Watchmen

Sorry for the crappy quality of these cellphone photos. I just got it and don't quite know what I'm doing. I think you can tell that the Borders at Baileys Crossroads, VA is making a major push on Watchmen though. They've also recently separated the 'graphic novels' from the manga.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Dave Gibbons on Comic Riffs

Like everyone else who wasn't busy interviewing Art Spiegelman on his book tour, Comic Riffs interviewed Dave Gibbons on his book tour - Betancourt, David. 2008. The Interview: "Watchmen's" Dave Gibbons. Washington Post Comic Riffs blog (November 20).

Unfortunately for all of you, I believe I bought Big Planet's last copy of Watching the Watchmen yesterday.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

NY Times on Watchmen movie rights confusion again

I'm slow in getting the papers read this morning, but here's one article - "Battle Over ‘Watchmen’ Surrounds a Producer," By MICHAEL CIEPLY, New York Times September 20, 2008.

I must say I have no real interest in this movie, especially since the comic has apparently been used to make something close to a one-to-one adaptation. When I was younger, strict adaptations were appealing (and my young daughter has issues with the liberties taken with the Harry Potter movies), but the older I get, the more I feel that one should do something different.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Dustin Harbin on Watchmen and beyond

I met Dustin at HeroesCon this year, and liked him immensely. Here's a link to something he's written - "Okay, I've Read Watchmen. What's Next?" By Dustin Harbin,
Newsarama 2008-08-28.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Give me that ol' time Bat-religion, and other news

R. Kikuo Johnson's illustrated today's New York Times magazine story on President Bush. Rutu Modan's comic story is continuing too, although it hasn't really captured my imagination.

"Must-See Sermons: Va. Pastor Culls Lessons From Silver Screen to Pull In Larger Audience," By Ben Hubbard, Washington Post Staff Writer, Sunday, August 31, 2008; C01 is about a minister who's preached dressed as both the Batman and the Joker during sermons.

Also, the last completely new For Better or For Worse strip appeared in the Sunday Post comics section. Ms. Johnston extrapolates what happens to the characters in the future, much as the last Harry Potter book did.

In the "Lord, what fools these mortals be" column we find "Studio War Involving ‘Watchmen’ Heats Up," By MICHAEL CIEPLY, New York Times August 30, 2008.

This piece explained a James Gillray cartoon, which can be incomprehensible at a remove of 200 years - "Be an Old Master, for 10 Guineas," By J. D. BIERSDORFER, New York Times August 31, 2008

In the Sunday Examiner's inserts - "Why I love Superman: A best-selling novelist on why he adores the Man of Steel," By Brad Meltzer, USA Weekend August 29 2008.