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  1. #76

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    Going back to some of the first super-heroes in comics, there was an implicit understanding that the readers were a mixed bag. There was always humour to be found, for those that looked for it. It was probably Captain Marvel's ability to appeal to different sensibilities--kids took everything seriously, adults saw how funny this all was--which accounts for his huge success. Even then this wasn't new, since comic strips had done the same sort of thing for a long time (Li'l Abner being a good example).

    While all those zany Batman stories in the 50s and early 60s were played straight, it was understood that college age readers and parents would be reading these books, in addition to the main audience of kids, and where the kids saw Batman as a serious character, the older readers understood the silly aspects of the stories.

    Even when you get Silver Age characters that are supposed to be more serious--like The Flash or Spider-Man--the writers are clearly throwing in a lot of things that their older readers can laugh at. It confuses me that today's readers miss this. They take John Broome and Stan Lee too seriously--and when something silly happens in a story, they assume this is a flaw in the writing. No comic book writer took super-heroes absolutely seriously, because they all understood that the premise was inherently ridiculous. There's no contradiction in providing great entertainment and adventure through absurd characters.

    The producers of the Batman TV show understood this facet of comic book characters and saw that as their hook. They foregrounded the silliness--which is what makes it camp--but just like Captain Marvel, they played everything straight. Which is what makes it even funnier (but a difficult balancing act--I think as the show went on they overplayed their hand). In point of fact, by this time Julius Schwartz was trying to downplay some of the absurd elements (no Bat-Mite or extraneous Batman family members, more night time scenes and mystery), so the TV show threw a monkey wrench into the works. The comic book had to play both sides of the fence--because they had to satisfy the different expectations of their readership.

    Still, as a kid picking up Batman comics for the first time because of the TV show, I didn't see a huge difference between the comic and the TV show. There were a lot of little niggling details between comic book, TV show, comic strip, trading cards, and the reprints that appeared in the 80 page Giants. But I could live with those small differences--it was all essentially the same Batman (and no, the origin of Batman was not played up in the 50s and 60s in any medium). Other TV shows and movies have been far less faithful to the original source material. Only the 1970s Wonder Woman, in its pilot episode seemed more faithful in my opinion--but then it was being faithful to the original Sensation Comics no. 1 story, rather than the Wonder Woman comics of the day.

    In the end, because it was a fad and people can turn on fads with great venom, Batmania suffered its own Batarang effect. The boom became a bust. Although I'd argue that comic book publishers across the board benefitted from this renewed interest that the TV show sparked. It didn't just become a fad to buy Batman comics. It became a fad to buy any comics--and comic book symbolism became a part of the pop art culture in the late 60s. It's quite possible that the comic book industry would have been in a much poorer position in the late 1960s, if not for the bounce it got from Batmania. However, Batman became the main victim of the bust--but that itself was not an absolutely bad thing, since it gave Schwartz the opportunity to make further changes to Batman (changes which many embraced--of course, if you loved the old Batman this wasn't the best result). And the brief success of Batmania in the mid-60s gave the Batman movie in 1989 a ready made recognition that fueled its own Batmania success.

  2. #77
    Elder Member Mat001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kalorama View Post
    That may have been a significant issue in the early days of the WB but it's pretty much ceased to be one, certainly not since the WB/UPN merger that created the CW. CW shows routinely average anywhere from less than half to 1/3 of what shows on the other broacast nets get but still manage to get renewed. That can't be a result solely of fewer outlets because the difference in number of affiliates isn't that great.

    And even with the greater affiliate gap in the early days, 8 million people still managed to watch the Smallville pilot, so clearly their programming is accessible to significantly larger numbers of people than what their shows regularly attract.
    In 2001, the WB network had more affiliates than UPN did and had come a ways from where it was four years earlier. The show did well ratings wise, because bottom line, the show had special effects and that costs money. There had to be enough revenue generated from the show, that the network kept it on the air. That's part of the reason certain effects heavy shows don't last long. "The Walking Dead" was renewed for a second season with the caveat of fewer on screen scenes of the zombies. The higher ratings has given us season three and a bigger budget again. "Smallville" was renewed for season eight with the same caveat of lowering the budget which resulted in reduced effects, which made for creative choices in those final three years.

    But regardless of all that, it was still a success. A show lasts as long as it is profitable and has good enough ratings, both of which the show had. Strong DVD sales and significant hits on the CW website, to watch the shows online also contributed to the long term success. Do you know how many shows make it to ten seasons? There's far fewer of that than there are of shows that make it to seven seasons.

    As to the costumes on "Smallville", well, that's a two fold situation. Green Arrow's costume was pretty spot on with the combination of both the late Silver Age look and the "Longbow Hunters" era. Hell, the comics began adapting that costume in 2006 with "One Year Later". Impulse's costume was along those lines since they were having Bart take after Oliver. Cyborg's look was only to save money creating a full bodied makeup look. Aquaman, Zatanna, Stargirl, Hawkman, Doctor Fate and Sandman's outfits were fairly close. Sure, there were hints of being cheap, but the small budget is to blame. The money spent to make Christian Bale and Andrew Garfield look good, is less than what it took to make Michael Shanks and Britt Irvin look like they did.

  3. #78
    Elder Member Free-Man's Avatar
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    Even the costume in the Snyder/Cavill movie is proof of how much WB is embarrassed by the source material: they ditched the trunks and most likely would have ditched the cape as well since capes are at least as "silly", "goofy", "lame" and so on as trunks.
    I'm still not seeing why this is such a deal breaker for some people or the sign that WB hates Superman or whatever the party line on it currently is. I'm hard pressed to think of any superhero property in the last 20-30 years that didn't alter the costume of heroes in some way. Maybe I could get the outrage way back when the first X-Men movie came out before the latest superhero boom, but are people still going to gripe about this?

    I found The Avengers to be thoroughly enjoyable movies and not once did I ever say "Know what would make this better? Hawkeye wearing a purple mask and pirate booties." Ditto for them ditching Cap's buccaneer boots and head wings or Thor not wearing a helmet or Batman not wearing trunks on his costume or whatever the hell else people complain about. I have a feeling the vast majority of the audience doesn't really give a crap.

  4. #79
    Marquis de carabas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mat001 View Post
    Aquaman, Zatanna, Stargirl, Hawkman, Doctor Fate and Sandman's outfits were fairly close. Sure, there were hints of being cheap, but the small budget is to blame. The money spent to make Christian Bale and Andrew Garfield look good, is less than what it took to make Michael Shanks and Britt Irvin look like they did.
    Are you seriously claiming that those cheesy Hawkman and Stargirl outfits costed more than the half dozen or so Batman and Spider-Man suits needed in those films? Not even counting the CGI Spider-and Batmen?
    'The marquis. Well, you know, to be honest, he seems a little bit dodgy to me.'
    'Mm,' she agreed. 'He's a little bit dodgy in the same way that rats are a little bit covered in fur."

  5. #80
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    I think it would be hilarious if someone other than WB made a TV show called Amazon about a Greek Amazonian princess in the modern world. Maybe she could even be named Diana. As long as they don't outright use the costumes, the name "Wonder Woman" or the names of the supporting characters I don't see how the WB could claim this show would be infringing their trademarks. I think it would teach studios a lesson for watering down their comic book characters for TV.

  6. #81
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    I don't know you, just as you don't know me, so I will do the courtesy of not telling you to get stuffed, which I guess you do to show how seriously you take comics. You are merely one of a horde who attack me on a basis of a quote about Batman and superhero films as if I spoke those words yesterday, and not 25 years ago, before the first Tim Burton BATMAN film was released.

    My opinion is not today what it was then -- there have been a good number of terrific comic book movies, including the recent DREDD 3D and a list that includes (but is not limited to) AVENGERS, CAPTAIN AMERICA, KICK-ASS, WATCHMEN and X:MEN: FIRST CLASS. This in part thanks to advances in CGI (25 years ago it was essentially not yet invented) and far more sophisticated costuming.

    It remains true that BATMAN and SUPERMAN and indeed all superheroes have juvenile roots. This is not a bad thing, nor does it mean that a comic book movie has to be juvenile. I am all in favor serious super-hero movies. But BATMAN should be Zorro serious, not SILENCE OF THE LAMBS serious. I am not a fan of the Nolan films, because I think they are self-important, pretentious, and occasionally silly (i.e., Bale using his low, spooky BATMAN voice around Alfred, who obviously knows who he is). But lots of smart people disagree with this assessment, and my problems with those films have not kept me from going to them.

    The people who hate my BATMAN work either do not know the story behind my stint on the title, or don't care. The re-booting -- the new Robin, and the abandonment of continuity -- was not my decision. Anyone who thinks an individual writer on a title like BATMAN is working on his own, to his own devices, doesn't understand the process. The much-revered (including my me) Denny O'Neill commissioned the re-boot and dictated the new format. He also cut and heavily edited scripts in ways I did not approve. Worse, and not Denny's fault, was the choice of a hot young arist who flamed out after one issue. I was then given a succession of artists, at times doing part two of a story without being provided by the editor the artwork for part one, meaning characters were wildly inconsistent in visual depiction. This art was careening and inappropriate, and I had zero contact with these artists. Some of them did not know how to read scripts. Starlin, I believe, was the most frustrating. I wrote a scene in which a police line-up would show a victim a row of identical mimes -- that was the gag, that they were all mimes and looked the same. Starlin drew one big, one small, one tall, and the editor allowed him to get away with that. I quit shortly thereafter.

    Things were different in those days. No e-mail. I rarely heard from Denny (on the phone), and he never criticized my work. He was a fan of other work I'd done, and he just didn't step up to plate and tell me what he didn't like (or what he was planning to change). So there was no collaboration -- not between me and any artist, nor me and the editor. This is why I bailed.

    Some people at DC knew I was good at BATMAN. I was hired to write the BATMAN newspaper strip with Marshall Rogers, and the first story was a Catwoman one that I believe people liked. I was forced by my DICK TRACY bosses to leave the strip -- they threatened to fire me and sue me if I worked for a competition strip. Later Denny -- who I believe respected me and understood that my rocky year or so was not really my fault -- later assigned me an Elseworlds BATMAN called SCAR OF THE BAT. I think most Batman readers would like it. Later Denny included a Penguin story of mine in one of his best of Batman trade paperbacks. I also did a couple of prose Batman stories that I think are pretty good. Not long ago I wrote the American version of Kia Asamiya's CHILD OF DREAMS. I was given complete lee-way to essentially write my own story, which I did. I'm proud of that graphic novel and would point to it as the closest representation of my vision of BATMAN.

    The idea that I started the "meme" (horrible word) that comics are for kids is patently absurd. What the hell do you think ROAD TO PERDITION is? That graphic novel got an incredible amount of good publicity for comics and has played a big role in building the form's respectability to a wider, more mainstream audience. It's on many lists of greatest graphic novels of all time.

    I love BATMAN. The try-out issues I did with Denys Cowan I think hold up well. But my run as regular writer of the monthly book was one of the worst experiences of my career -- decent scripts generally wretchedly drawn and poorly edited. None of what I've said here will deter the haters. But Dick Sprang thought I was a great BATMAN writer, and that means more to me than the opinions of those who choose to berate me on the basis of a 25-year-old quote.
    Last edited by Max Allan Collins; 10-06-2012 at 08:19 PM. Reason: typos and accidential inclusion of first-draft material

  7. #82
    God Of Tokusatsu Guy1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookepuss View Post
    2. Costumes don't really work either. Suppose that Bruce Wayne is having a night on the town. He's walking back from the theater. An attempted rape is occurring in a nearby alley. How long will it take Bruce to suit up? Imagine how long it takes you to get dressed in the morning. Now magnify that times 10 because you have to undress and then armor up. The rapist would be long gone by the time Batman got on the scene..
    Just saying, Bruce is ninja, it's a skill, not a function of his suit. He could easily take out the rapist from behind without anyone seeing him even in plain clothes.
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  8. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Allan Collins View Post
    It remains true that BATMAN and SUPERMAN and indeed all superheroes have juvenile roots. This is not a bad thing, nor does it mean that a comic book movie has to be juvenile. I am all in favor serious super-hero movies. But BATMAN should be Zorro serious, not SILENCE OF THE LAMBS serious.
    How serious has Zorro ever been?

  9. #84
    FRENCH Frank's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enda8011 View Post
    http://stevedoescomics.blogspot.com/...ack-widow.html


    Actually, they started rather later, in imittation of Emma Peel.


    And that is why I was disappointed that Scarlet Johanssen was cast in the role, Widow should be played by the hottest woman on the planet.
    Legato - Frank, Calm Down Your Nerd Rage!

  10. #85
    FRENCH Frank's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Free-Man View Post
    I'm still not seeing why this is such a deal breaker for some people or the sign that WB hates Superman or whatever the party line on it currently is. I'm hard pressed to think of any superhero property in the last 20-30 years that didn't alter the costume of heroes in some way. Maybe I could get the outrage way back when the first X-Men movie came out before the latest superhero boom, but are people still going to gripe about this?

    I found The Avengers to be thoroughly enjoyable movies and not once did I ever say "Know what would make this better? Hawkeye wearing a purple mask and pirate booties." Ditto for them ditching Cap's buccaneer boots and head wings or Thor not wearing a helmet or Batman not wearing trunks on his costume or whatever the hell else people complain about. I have a feeling the vast majority of the audience doesn't really give a crap.
    I actually think it would have been much better if Hawkeye would have had the mask, the purple and the boots. Plus the one-liners but that's just me.

    Then again this guy was more Ultimate Hawkeye than the real deal.
    Legato - Frank, Calm Down Your Nerd Rage!

  11. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Holmes View Post
    How serious has Zorro ever been?
    Not very, which I'm pretty sure was his point.

  12. #87
    Marquis de carabas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Holmes View Post
    How serious has Zorro ever been?
    It kinda varies between "rather very serious" and "not at all". There's dozens of very different versions.
    'The marquis. Well, you know, to be honest, he seems a little bit dodgy to me.'
    'Mm,' she agreed. 'He's a little bit dodgy in the same way that rats are a little bit covered in fur."

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    Quote Originally Posted by carabas View Post
    It kinda varies between "rather very serious" and "not at all". There's dozens of very different versions.
    I would guess Mr. Collins (thank you for posting) meant as in the 1950's Zorro with Guy Williams or The Mask of Zorro (1998), and not Alain Delon's Zorro (check upthread for theme tune lyrics, la la Zorro's back) or Zorro the Gay Blade (1981) or Zorro and Son (1983).

    Anyway, Mr. Collins points out that compromises with costuming have allowed a move away from the Adam West approach.

    http://monsterkidclassichorrorforum..../250473/type/0


    As someone pointed out on Yuku (Count Karnstein) "And you've agreed with me that the Burton Batman films are unfaithful and that the '66 Adam West Batman was faithful to the point of being literal".

    (If you search Count Karnstein's posts on Yuku and Undermountain.org, one will find much additional information.)


    Collins’ comments referred to the then upcoming Batman film. In the 1980′s, Tom Mankiewicz wrote a script for the then upcoming Batman feature film which would would have included Robin. “I want The Batman’s outfit to be truly frightening,” Mankiewicz told Goldberg. “I hope we can do something with his eyes so he has a penetrating and mesmerizing gaze that will give him a Svengali look. Really, when you look at The Batman character, he’s only one step removed from Charles Bronson in DEATH WISH.”

    Yet Mankiewicz's script included Robin (with a thirteen year old Ricky Addison Reed in the role).

    Mankiewicz wanted to bring something closer to the the hard-hitting feel of the original Dragnet to this script. What did Mankiewicz do with Joe Friday in 1987′s Dragnet, which he directed? He made a silly children’s film!

    Huh?

    When does doing Joe Friday as a silly children’s film and doing a kid sidekick in pixie shoes, green underwear, shaved legs and golden cape as only slightly removed from Death Wish sound sensible?
    Last edited by Enda8011; 10-07-2012 at 02:46 AM. Reason: Rick Addison Reed info

  14. #89

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enda8011 View Post
    When does doing Joe Friday as a silly children’s film and doing a kid sidekick in pixie shoes, green underwear, shaved legs and golden cape as only slightly removed from Death Wish sound sensible?
    Why do you keep insisting that Robin shaves his legs? Why should it even matter to your argument? As far as I can tell you're only drawing the conclusion because virtually all comic book artists don't usually attempt to draw the hair on the legs of any comic book character, whether those characters are men, boys, women, or girls.

    When you deliberately obfuscate like this it undermines all the good points you might have made.

  15. #90
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    Very. Check out the original stories by Johnston McCulley, the early Dell comics (pre-Alex Toth), and the terrific '40s film with Tyrone Power, which features a great (and fatal) sword fight between Power and Basil Rathbone. The first Banderas film was fairly serious (the second a juvenile disgrace, though) and even the Disney TV show, despite comic relief in the Disney style, was an exciting adventure series, with the character presented seriously. In the original stories, by the way, Zorro carved bloody Z's into bad guy's flesh with his sword.

    This is the kind of uninformed reaction that makes me shake my head. You do know that Zorro is probably Kane and Finger's primary source, right?
    Last edited by Max Allan Collins; 10-07-2012 at 05:45 AM. Reason: typo corrections

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