03 February 2007

Tidbits: Movies, Retail and Writing Aspirations

ITEM UPDATE: Wonder Woman Spec Script Review

Latino Review's El Mayimbe has a preview/review of the Wonder Woman spec script that seemingly helped get Joss Whedon axed from the movie.

Overall, a very great read. The writers did their homework. As a comic book character origin movie - it is just as good as Batman Begins.

I can see why Silver supposedly took it off the spec market. If I was a betting man, I figure this is the origin story that Warners might stick with. My note to the studio is to not touch the script, leave it intact, get yourself a good director and shoot this script. It is all there on the page.
From what he describes, in the right director's hands with a strong supporting cast, I totally agree. Coupled with the rumor that the movie has now been "fast-tracked" despite having no director attached, it's quite possible that we may be seeing the Amazon demi-goddess hit the silver screen before Superman's next go-round, which could be a very good thing for Warner Brothers if it turns out to be a hit and does so within a year of the Batman sequel.

ITEM: Joss Whedon off Wonder Woman, David Goyer off Flash.

In the next week or two, I need to do a follow-up on my coverage of Superman Returns, and part of it will deal with how its box office performance likely led to both of these decisions. While the Flash will probably never work as a live-action movie, with the right script, it could totally work as a Pixar-style animated movie. Wonder Woman, on the other hand, has some potential, but in light of Superman Returns' relatively disappointing performance, Whedon simply wasn't the right guy for the movie. He's a cult figure with no box office credibility, not unlike Bryan Singer and Sam Raimi were when they first took on X-Men and Spider-Man, but the expectations and the stakes are so much higher now. His reported preference for the bland, relatively unknown Cobie Smulders in the lead role was probably the final nail in his coffin.

It'll be interesting to see which direction they go in now. A low-profile director/high-profile actress, a la Tim Story/Jessica Alba in Fantastic Four, is my gut feeling, though I'd love to see Julie Taymor take a shot at it with a completely unknown actress in the lead, and a solid supporting cast of established character actors behind them.

ITEM: RIOT Comics + Culture to Close

Yeah, it's been brewing for a while now. And, honestly, I couldn't be happier.

Don't get me wrong. I still LOVE comic books (and will continue to buy them by mailorder so I can be a geek in the privacy of my own home), but I'm not sure I was ever in love with selling comic books. There's a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes that I was so blissfully ignorant about, from scheduling problems to freight charges, marketing gimmicks to creator meltdowns, that I'd much prefer to just be a reader again.
Sad, sad news, but at least there's a positive spin to it. I trekked out to visit Riot a couplafew weeks after it opened and thought Jason had the right idea about what a comic book store could aspire to; an open and inviting location with a diverse selection to choose from, a lounge area to relax and read or talk, a gallery space to promote local artists. There's apparently some snarky rejoicing going on behind the scenes as Jason was an outspoken advocate of doing things differently, but the Isotope's James Sime -- another retailer with a vision of how to sell comics better -- offers the best angle on things:

With Riot, Richards did exactly what he set out to do two years ago and if he feels that his mission in comics retail is done then we applaud him for making the decision he has. Because make no mistake he did succeed in his mission, he did it with style and gusto, and his impact on the future of comics retail is undeniable.
Amen!

Here's what I wrote to Jason directly yesterday, since he understandably is blocking comments right now: "Thanks for allowing me (and everyone else) an honest inside look into the process of opening, running and, ultimately, closing a store. It's an oddly sobering yet still inspiring story, and if/when you write a book about it, I'll definitely pick it up. Hell, if my own plans play out right, maybe I'll make you a pitch to publish it! LOL!"

Best wishes to Jason and his family, and hopefully Sime is correct and the industry will learn something from both Riot's existence and ultimate demise.

ITEM: Diversity Dustup Turns Civil, Productive?

The debate over The All-New Atom continued to rage throughout the week across several blogs, but over the last day or so, has started to take a turn towards the positive at One Diverse Comic Book Nation as the focus began to shift from the specifics of Ryan Choi to the broader subject of diversity and how to improve the situation in comics. Perhaps due to her own origins as a comics pundit/satirist, Gail Simone has been a real trooper in the discussion, getting heated and indignant at times but never walking away from the debate, for which she has gained my total respect. As a result, I think, eyes have been opened on all sides and there might actually be some good to come out of it all.

In the midst of it all, she asked what ended up being a perfectly timed question for me: "Who here has written or hopes to write comics someday? Show of hands." It wasn't in the typical, "What do you know? Have you ever written a comic?" defensive mode of a Tom Beland, but rather framed in the more constructive context of "...who is actually thinking of fighting the bear from INSIDE the arena."

On the heels of yesterday's post about poetry and comics, my blogmate, friend and neighbor, Dan asked me last night to collaborate on this great story concept he'd first told me about a while back and I bit. It's been a long time since I've done any creative writing, and this blog is a bit of a double-edged sword. It was originally intended to keep the juices flowing until I had time to commit to my own writing again, but it's become a labor of love that has pretty much prevented that free time from becoming available.

My writing process has always been inspirational, driven by the immediate need to get something out and onto the paper hard drive as quickly as possible and often influenced by depression, frustration and/or alcohol. Much of my poetry came from that place, and after a few years of marriage and being a father, that well had all but dried up. It's the reason journalism was never a full-time option, because the thought of covering stories or people I have no particular interest in has zero appeal.

The opportunity to collaborate with someone else on an interesting story is appealing for a lot of reasons, though, and has become even more so ever since I started following the Grey's Anatomy Writers' Blog (now blogrolled on the left and tracked in the Watchtower). Dan's got a great concept that I already added a couple of wrinkles to when he first told me about it, so I'm really excited about the whole thing.

1 comment:

Loren said...

And that's all I ever want anybody to have - hope. I know it's a fleeting commodity, but I honestly think that there's so much negativity sometimes that we give up hope. That's why I always try to draw people back to the center. But, the whole All-New Atom discussion was a fascinating exercise in trying to balance two sides that got really very heated at times. Thank you, Guy, for helping me steer the conversation away from the personal attacks and going for something more positive. I think it could be a really great discussion and, while, yes, Gail got quite heated at times, I do genuinely feel like she's been listening. It's as you say -- it's hard to be rational when you're in the middle of something, but if you step back for a moment, there's lots of good stuff there.