The iFanboy Letter Column – 05/23/2008

Friday means many things to many people. For some, Friday means it’s the last work day before a well deserved weekend. For others, Friday is the day they run crying from The Void.

At iFanboy, Friday means it’s letter column time.

You write. We answer. Very simple.

As always, if you want to have your e-mail read on the any of our shows or answered here, keep them coming —


I hear a lot of good things about Starman. I’m interested in picking it up, and I’m wondering which trades to pick up. I see there are some new omnibi coming out. Are these the ones to buy or something else.

Eric L.

You heard rightly about Starman. It’s a great epic story from front to back. It doesn’t even seem that way when you start, but by the end, you just get it, and it’s magnificent.

Originally, it was published in 1994, where Jack Knight, the son of Ted Knight, the fin-headed golden age Starman, first appeared in Zero Hour #1. Then Jack’s story of coming to terms with who he is, and what he comes from is explored in 80 issues of the Starman series written by James Robinson (who doesn’t like to face me).

Those 80 issues were reprinted in a series of 10 trades, which are, to my great chagrin, not numbered. It’s funny because, had they been numbered, I would have had the whole set sooner, but as it was, I could never remember which one I’d had last, and which one came next, because even inside the trades, they aren’t necessarily printed in issue order. That is, the stories were all together, but the singles and one shots were sometimes gathered up and collected in a different volume. At no time did this make the trades not worth reading by the way. So you don’t have to do what I did, the trades go as follows:

1. Sins of the Father (collects #0-5)
2. Night and Day (collects #7-10, 12-16)
3. A Wicked Inclination (collects #17, 19-27)
4. Times Past (collects #6, 11, 18, 28, Annual 1, Secret Files)
5. Infernal Devices (collects #29-35, 37,38)
6. To Reach the Stars (collects Annual 2, #39-41, 43, 45)
7. A Starry Knight (collects #47-53)
8. Stars My Destination (collects #55-60)
9. Grand Guignol (collects #61-73)
10. Sons of the Father (collects #75-80)

However, several of these are out of print, and they’re missing issues #36, 42, 44, 46, 54, 74, and the 80-page Giant.

But there is hope on the horizon, in the form of the aforementioned The Starman Omnibus. There are six collections slated for release and the first volume may or may not have been released. I can’t seem to get confirmation on that, but either way, it will no doubt be available soon if it’s not already. The first volume collects 0-16. That’s all gorgeous Tony Harris art, and it is, in my opinion, well worth it. Of course, your mileage may vary.

I’ve said it before, but I would be very surprised if there weren’t some sort of video content on this series forthcoming at some time. However, the great tragedy is that I am the only one of the three iFanboys to read all of Starman, and it’ll take a while for the others to catch up.

I hope you pick it up, and enjoy the hell out of it.

Josh Flanagan


This morning on my local radio station read off an announcement from Marvel. It seems that giddy with their Iron Man success they wanted to announce a new Spider-Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America, Avengers, and an Ant-Man movie. I wanted to know if you guys think Thor and Ant-Man can carry off a film to a wide enough audience? They seem to me to be headed for Elektra status.

Steve M.

I’m not sure how a movie that hasn’t even been put into production can already been categorized as a success or a failure. So much of what makes a film a success is due to the people making the film, not the source material. Edgar Wright is set to direct the Ant-Man film and he’s one of the best comedy directors around, in my opinion.

I think that comic book fans get caught up in the recognition factor and the hierarchy of their characters but the majority of the movie-going public couldn’t care less if Ant-Man is a B-level character. Do you honestly think that all of the people who went to see Iron Man knew who he was or had ever heard of Tony Stark? Or did they see what looked like a kick-ass summer action movie starring a once popular actor in a feel-good Hollywood comeback story? I’m betting it’s the latter.

The fact of the matter is that outside of Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, The X-Men, The Hulk, and Wonder Woman, no comic book character is going to deliver an audience based off of name recognition. And the one thing that links all of the above characters (except for The X-Men) is that they have all appeared in the popular culture in live action productions outside of the comic books.

Everyone else is going to have to rely on making a good movie.

Conor Kilpatrick

I was just wondering if anyone was talking about The Surrogates movie that is in production right now. It’s filming in my city about a mile from my house, and i just drove by the site on my way home and realized I hadn’t read anything about it online yet.

John from Worcester, MA

Everyone is all a buzz about movies these days, huh? Well, John, I agree with you that I haven’t heard many people talking about the movie, but two things about that: 1) I had a conversation about this very movie last week while in LA, and 2) I think people will start talking about the movie very soon. But before I explain both of those, allow me to provide a little background for those who may not be aware of The Surrogates.

The Surrogates was a mini series written by Robert Venditti and drawn by Brett Weldele, published by Top Shelf Comics in 2006 and was optioned for a film, and actually made it through, got greenlit and the film is now in production. The story is a fantastic dystopian future science fiction story, where everyone has a “Surrogate” of themselves — kind of like an android that you can control from the comfort of your own home. Taking the concept of living in a virtual reality combined with real life, people get surrogates that are better looking, more fit and generally better people, while staying jacked in at home and some never go out anymore. Someone out there doesn’t like this trend society has taken is striking against surrogates and their owners, and we watch as the police investigator involved tries to solve the case, while dealing with the continued alienation from others, including his wife, that is running rampant in society. It was really a great concept with some beautiful art by Weldele. It was the kind of book that you sit down and read and when you finished you just look at it and wonder, “Where did this come from?” Definitely check it out if you haven’t read it.

But back to the movie. As I mentioned it was optioned and then green lit and as John mentioned, it is in production currently.  Directed by Jonathan Mostow, whose biggest movie to date was Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and Bruce Willis and Ving Rhames have been cast in leading roles, which instantly moves this movie up in terms of prominence. It’s currently scheduled for a Fall 2009 release, which means that it has a ways to go before we start hearing about it. But as the movie films, I’m sure stills will be “leaked” and as we get through this year’s batch of movies, I’m positive people will be talking about this movie. Now who knows if it gets understood by the movie going audiences and becomes a hit or if it will be a little science fiction film that we all go see and no one else does. But with Bruce Willis in it, it’s bound to get some press.

As I mentioned, this movie came up in conversation with a friend of mine in LA who works in that crazy show business and he knows someone working on the movie and he’s very excited about it. He’s a big fan of the comic and he said they’ve got the vision and the look down and it’s going to be a great adaptation. But, it’s very early in the process, so we’ll have to be patient and see if that’s the case. I hope so, because I loved that book and would love to see a good movie come of it.

Ron Richards


  1. @Steve M-Marvel President Kevin Feige in an interview said that the Thor movie will take place mostly in Asgard so I think Marvel is banking on a Fantasy movie crowd.  Sadly, Antman is on hold until Edgar Wright finishes making the Scott Pilgrim movie (starring Michael Cera) but I think the audience for that would be comedy/hardcore superhero audience.

    I’m really looking forward to James Robinson’s Justice League which has a Starman in it so I might pick up the omnibi to know what he’s about. 

  2. According to the latest DC Direct Channel newsletter, the Staman Omnibus Vol 1 is scheduled to be released on May 28th.

  3. Thanks Gemini, I’ve had it on order since January and my LCS owner is probably tired of me asking when it’s out

  4. I couldn’t agree more with Josh’s recommendation on Starman. There are times where in does seem to slow down (the stories in space) and you just want to get back to the larger story, but it never veers into the "not good" stories. I was able to piece the whole series together with single issues and trades and actually read it all in order, skipping between the two where necessary. I’m glad to see the omnibus collections will include the Times Past stories. Not sure if I’ll reinvest in the series, but it was an amazing read all the way through.

    Surrogates I picked up on a whim when it was first being published and it is some good sci-fi stuff. With Willis and Rhames (Butch and Marcelles Wallace back together again) in it, at least the acting will be interesting. I know I’ll be there on opening weekend.

    Haven’t any of us learned yet – the internet allows – nay, nay, requires – us to judge things annonymously before a panel has been drawn or a scene has been shot. As far as plans go for the movies, I think it would be in Marvel’s benefit to do different ‘generes’ – fantasy with Thor, comedy with Ant-Man (the first six issues of Kirkman’s run would be a hilarious movie), war with Captain America. Each of those generes have their fans outside the comic book reading audience and some of them would probably be likely to come over to the dark side if the movie was good, even if there was a guy in shorty shorts running around.

  5. There’s one other Robinson-written  Starman issue that’s never been collected (not counting the Shade mini):  Girlfrenzy "The Mist".   Without giving away a plot twist from Starman 4, I can’t really elaborate what the issue’s about….but it’s really a Starman issue that takes place in a different (5th week) book to boost sales.  

  6. @GeminiTwin & MastaP – I wouldn’t trust DC’s release date for STARMAN OMNIBUS – it has been on their schedule for over a month and they keep bumping it back a week every week.

  7. @conor – Looks like Midtown has Starman on their shipping list for next week, so I’ve got a good feeling about it this time!

  8. So if Ant-Man has a more comedic slant, based on the choice of directors, one could infer that the hero would be more of the ‘Irredemable’ variety than the Avengers type.  I’m perfectly fine with that.

  9. I wrote a spoiler-free review of The Surrogates here:

    Check it out if you want a little more than Ron provided but still without having the book ruined.