The iFanboy Letter Column – 10/31/2008!

Friday means many things to many people. For some, Friday means you have to spend the next 48 or so hours with your horrible horrible family, begging to go back to the sweet mind numbing sanctum of the corporate office. For others, Friday is the day you pack up an entire suitcase of elicit drugs and cash for a self-destructive bender no one’s seen since the seventies. Whatever it is that makes you happy this Halloween.

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 – contact@ifanboy.com

 


I saw an interesting webpage today and thought of you guys, especially sine you recently did a show on Japanese manga. I haven’t seen anything up on the site about it, and wasn’t sure if you were aware of it yet. Anyway, it’s a Batman manga from the 60s. It looks… interesting. If you want to check it out, the page I saw it on is over at Boing Boing, and you can also order it off of Amazon.com.

Emily D.

It’s funny that you should mention Bat Manga!: The Secret History of Batman in Japan, Emily. My local comic shop got this book in and I flipped through it. Now if you enjoy our shows and this site, you know that the two things I like the least are Manga and Batman. I don’t know why, so don’t ask me or tell me I’m wrong. Manga just doesn’t do it for me (with a few exceptions) and Batman has never appealed to me (I’m a Marvel guy). But something about this book compelled me to pick it up and flip through it, and all I can say is, WOW! This book is a must have, for anyone who is a fan of comics or culture in general.

The book is merely reprints of some of the Batman comics that ran in Japan in the 1960s. You thought the American 1960s Batman comics were campy and weird. These are SO far out there, you won’t believe it. They definitely provide for some amusing reading, as well as general glimpse into the culture temperature of pop culture in Japan in the1960s. So the content in this book is absolute gold, but it’s not just that. The design of this book is simply beautiful. Chip Kidd is the guy behind it, and if you don’t know who Chip Kidd is, I know you know his work. Reading Final Crisis? He did the cover design. You know what I mean, the vertical font on top of the painted art. Chip Kidd does some amazing work with graphic design in the traditional book market. I remember in the 1990s, I picked up a book about Batman: The Animated Series that Chip Kidd did, and the design and layout were half of the enjoyment of the book, and it looks like he’s done it again. It’s a little expensive, lists at around $60.00, but you can get it on Amazon for almost half off. If you’re a Batman fan, you gotta get it. If you’re comics fan, it’s an interesting look in history. But if you’re a design nerd and book fan, then definitely go to the comic shop of book store and check this out.

Ron Richards

 


I’m afraid that I am one of those who stopped buying comics because of price increase, and to date myself, I remember when they were 25 cents. So you can imagine how $3.99 and up feels. Now I read the trades from the library and at Barnes and Noble. My question is… is this cheating or just taking advantage of a broken system. i.e. should I feel guilty?

Bart from Prairie Village, KS 

Are you cheating? No. You’re not. You’re especially not cheating with the library. That is exactly what they’re for. Your taxes go to pay for public libraries, and the more you take out trades and graphic novels, the more they’ll recognize that it’s worth stocking these books, and the more libraries will buy them, and the creators will benefit. So please, go forth to your library and suck it completely dry of its comic book holdings.

What about at Barnes and Noble, you ask? Well, that’s a bit more hazy, but I think if they didn’t want people to read the books, they wouldn’t put those cushy chairs everywhere. Personally, I read the first 4 volumes of Preacher at Borders, because I just didn’t have the money to buy them. I didn’t hide them, and had the staff asked me to buy something or leave, I would have done so, but since it didn’t happen, I went with it. So no, I wouldn’t feel too bad about reading at the bookstore if they’re okay with it.

You know, you bring up a good point. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the economy is in bad shape, and money is likely going to be much tighter. As a result, comics prices are going up. On the one hand, they’ve been $2.99 for a long time. On the other hand, $3.99 just seems ridiculous for a standard comic book. I think $3.50 wouldn’t bother me so much, but a 33% increase seems extreme. Honestly, I don’t know what I’ll do when they’re all $4. That’s significant. I know it’ll probably drive a lot of people to trades, and others to the library.

Still, in these times, I also think it’s important, when you can, to help support the artists you love and help the work they do keep going. If you can afford to buy comics, buy good comics, from people who love making them. If you can’t afford them, then that’s certainly understandable. I just hope you live near a good library.

Josh Flanagan

 


It was a great treat getting these thoughtful and fantastic films (The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Catwoman [just kidding on that last one haha]), but I worry that it’s going to lose its luster.

With comic book movies coming from all corners of the industry, is the market going to get saturated? I’ve watched them all, sadly Catwoman as well (multiple times — I worked at HBO), and I will continue to watch them all, but I just don’t want the studios to ruin a good thing because they are focused on the dollar signs. What do you guys think?

BTW — Third and final Dark Knight film… go all out and stick him in Arkham Asylum with his entire rogues gallery.

Franco

I think that if we ever had to worry about comic book movie market saturation it was going to be this year. Between Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Wanted, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, and The Dark Knight it was quite a summer. Not only that, but before the year is out we should have Punisher: War Zone and The Spirit, and  before it was pushed back to next year (and beyond?) we were going to have Whiteout. It would have been the year of eight comic book movie releases. Now it’s just going to be seven. Which is still a whole lot.

I think there are two factors that are going to stave off comic book movie saturation for right now. The first is that after Watchmen next year (if that ever comes out), there aren’t really any major comic book movies (Whiteout isn’t really a big release, and I think that Scott Pilgrim is probably too quirky to capture the general public’s imagination like Watchmen). It’s going to be another year and a half or two years until we see a lot of comic book movies all bunched up together again like we had this summer. All that time off is just going to make the public hungry for more films.

The other factor is that — now, granted I am saying this before the release of Punisher and The Spirit — for the most part the quality of these films has been very high. It’s hard to have people complain about having too many good movies to watch. Besides Wanted, there were really no Daredevils or Ghost Riders this year, and way more people seemed to like Wanted than those other two.

I think that the comic book movie is here to stay. At least until the studios get dumb and forget that the reason these new crop of films have been so successful is that they have put talented creative people behind them and they start churning them out on the cheap and you get a string of Batman & Robins and the studios lose their shirts. It’s bound to happen, but hopefully not for a while.

As for a third Batman film, The Dark Knight made too much money for it not to happen. I kinda hope they don’t make another one, but there’s no way that Warner Bros. can ignore one billion dollars worldwide. I think that Warners is going to do everything short of taking Christopher Nolan’s family hostage to get him to come back because so much of the success and prestige of the films have been tied to his creative vision. He is, not surprisingly, being very coy. Nolan was recently quoted as saying “I have to ask the question: How many good third movies in a franchise can people name?” Clearly he’s apprehensive about it. And wouldn’t you be? I can’t imagine wanting to jump back into a franchise knowing that no matter what you do, chances are creatively and financially it won’t live up to your previous effort. If he doesn’t come back, they will most likely bring in someone else to direct the third one.

But even if he does come back I would bet we are not going to see another Batman film for at least three years.

Conor Kilpatrick

Comments

  1. We have the Bat-Manga at my work it and it quite funny. ‘Lord Deathman’ might be my new favorite villain. When he gets captured he just dies, then escapes the morgue afterwards; too funny.

    I dont think it’s wrong to read a big Borders or Barnes & Noble at all. Josh said it, if they didnt like it then they wouldnt have a ton of comfy chairs and benches to sit and read. I muse admit it’s mostly where I read my trades right now cause I just dont have the money to buy these trades. It doesnt help the economy is going down the tube either. If comics did raise prices to 3.99 I would be fine, cause I dont buy much issues per week as most guys (ITrinity seem to buy 20 issues per week so that effects those type of customers) But if it went up to 4.99 or 5.99? Well I wouldnt quit reading them, but trade would definitely have to be the way to go.

    I hope it never comes down to that. The Comic Industry is a business and they do care more about money then their fans. But I think the writers and artists would have a big say on prices going up. If prices go up then they will get less work cause most likely issues would slowly die off and that’s where they get most of their success. People would be less inclined to buy 19.99 or more HC’s/TPB’s so then sales for them would go down too. So creators should have a say in prices going up before the industry does it.

  2. There is absolutely nothing wrong with reading a comic at a library, store or any other place where the owner of the book lets you read it.  On the other hand, if you do that, you’re not supporting the comic.  Now, let me be clear.  Readers have absolutely no duty (moral, legal or otherwise) to support any book.  Even if it’s something they really love.  But they just need to be aware that they are, in fact, not supporting it.  It should be a conscious decision. 

  3. @PudgyNinja  I think Josh explained pretty well that taking books out of libraries does, in fact, support the creators and publishers.  Libraries are an excellent potential growth area for the trade market.  I’ve even seen hard-bound titles of single comics (all-ages ones like X-Men First Class) for checkout in the YA section. 

  4. As for comic book movies saturation – too late but not really…if people do not know it was a comic book so what?

    Movies were made based on books in their hundreds and not many people can name even 30.

    Of course if there are too many caped crusaders flying around on the big screen it might hurt the superhero films.

    Now I’ll try to list all the films that came out based on comic books:

    Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Howard The Duck, Swamp Thing, V For Vendetta, League of ExtraOrdinary Gentlemen, Superman Returns, Catwoman, Dardevil, Elektra, American Splendor, TMNT + 2 + 3 + cartoony 4,  Wanted, Ghost World, The Punisher, Ghost Rider, 30 Days of Night, Iron Man, Sin City, Hellboy + 2, Hulk + Hulk, X-Men + 2 + 3, Superman + 2 + 3 + 4, Batman, Batman Forever, Batman Returns, Batman & Robin, Captain America, really old cartoony captain america and I guess several others in the same format, straight to dvd cartoony movies – nowadays, Fantastic Four + 2, Spider-Man + 2 + 3, is Blade a comic? than all that, a direct to video Man Thing..

    I might have left some out of this list. How many do you remember?  Yes some will be about superheroes but there are characters that have become icons like Batman and Superman and they have surpassed the comicbook.

    So maybe if you’ll see the creeper annoying Batman in his latest movie that might ruin it, but this are comic companies – they can reboot and retcon and forget about previous installments.

    There this entire Batman series before this two movies you know…and all those Superman movies…Hulk was rebooted… LOXG was forgotten, some were forgotten also because they are mediocre or crap, some were enjoyable but nothing more.

    I doubt that people say to you: Not another movie based on a book…everytime…

    If people won’t know it’s based on a comic book or the characters are iconic enough that people will reference different places when seeing the adverts, it will probably be okay.  X-Men to me is the 90s cartoon with the whole morph arc. Spider-Man might be to you the comic book and to someone else the 90s cartoon or the 2000 cartoon or the old cartoon etc.

    The genre will probably survive and if things get too much there will be less super hero movies but that’s a good thing in my mind.

  5. Here’s another: From Hell.

  6. And another: 300

  7. Wasn’t 10,000 BC based on a comic? that got bad reviews and was forgotten…

  8. and another: Road to Perdition

  9. Plus Spawn, Steel, A History of Violence and Supergirl

  10. Tank Girl

  11. Did we mention Constantine yet?

  12. A few french films based in the comic Asterix and Obelix, and at least one cartoon movie, and a few Tintin movies I think.

  13. Akira qualifies? And two Heavy Metal movies (the comic magazine).

  14. Persepolis

  15. Fritz the Cat

  16. "will comic book movies die?" = "will sci-fi die?"

    I want Superman in the third Nolan Batman film.

  17. Once we can create worm holes and spaceships for a long stay in space and a good jetpack science fact will overcome science fiction… just wait and see.

    Anyway, a quarter of sci fi works in all form are Asimov’s.

  18. I don’t understand your post.

  19. Garfield – that started as a strip, right? does that count?

  20. Art School Confidential. barely has any to do with the comic, being as the comics only four pages long. but its technically a comic movie.

  21. Dick Tracy

  22. The Crow

  23. Popeye, the mask, the rocketeer and mystery men

  24. *SIGH*  Never any love for Daredevil.  Can we at least all agree that the Director’s Cut is the ‘real’ movie and that it is significantly better then the theatrical release?  It really doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Ghost Rider. 

  25. I bought the DAREDEVIL DIRECTOR’S CUT after everyone said how great it was and I turned it off after ten minutes.  Still haven’t tried to rewatch it.

    So, no I don’t agree.  🙂

  26. what, you don’t know the dewey decimal system?!

    guess there aren’t many Weird Al fans here Josh..

  27. @ Conor – It’s not the second coming, but it’s worth watching to see just how much you can screw a story when the editing’s being done by some corporate entity as opposed to the filmakers.  There is, at least, a fairly cohesive story in the director’s cut.  Free your mind of Affleck-hate and give it a try some night when you’re bored.  🙂 

  28. I actually don’t have any Affleck-hate.  I enjoy him as an actor.

  29. I will try to rewatch it, though.

  30. My work here is done! 

  31. We should somehow have a way to steam the Howard the Duck film or the Corman FF film and have all of us comment on it (ala Heroes or Smallville way). That could be the greatest night of our lives. 🙂

  32. Better yet, nowadays people can add comments that pop up when the video reaches a certain point. Do that with audio and have a fanboy3000 (Mystery Science Theater 3000) and put the best ones on the iFanboy Director’s Cut DVD.

  33. @chlop:

    Yes! YES! Let’s have this happen!!

    (MSTK3 is favorite show ever)

  34. Or when Hollywood comes knocking and iFanboy will ditch the site, they can perform a comedy show about the shenanigans that happen in a comicbook store much like "Are You Being Served?"

  35. Red-Sonja, Barbarella – more comic book movies

    The Return of Swamp Thing, Nick Fury, Generation X, Power Pack was said already?, 1990s Captain America + 1979 Captain America, 1979 Captain America  2, Dr. Strange, 3 Dev Adam, Dennis the Menace, Flash Gordon was said?, Over the Hedge, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and some other:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_based_on_comic_strips

    And serials and 1940s and 1950s movies like Captain Marvel and Batman & Robin etc. and there are international ones:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comic_book_movies 

  36. 30 Days of Night, Ghostworld, and the never to be remembered Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles….any of them.

  37. Hey, the 1989 Ninja Turtles movie was epic win, man!  Epic win!

  38. If I hadn’t been able to read the first few New X-Men trades for free at Borders (actually I read them in the Starbucks within the Borders–and I paid for the coffee), then I wouldn’t’ve gotten back into comics after a ten-year absence. And I was moved enough to buy the New X-Men trades after the fact (though I did buy most of them used). In my opinion the trades themselves are usually too expensive at cover price. At the moment I’m collecting John Byrne’s FF run. The back issues aren’t that expensive, and yet Marvel is charging $25 per "FF Visionaries" trade!

  39. I really liked the first Turtles movie a lot. sure it wasn’t Citizen Kane. but my four year old self loved the hell out of that movie and it holds up rather well, kinda has a Big Trouble in Little China vibe going for it

  40. Reganomics!

  41. I am being a bit harsh on the first one but lets just say I wasn’t 4 when I saw the first one so I wasn’t quite as enthused after I saw it.  There has definitely been greater disappointments in the comic movie genre.  I walked out of the George Clooney Batman.  I just couldn’t take it after about a half hour.

  42. I really enjoyed the first TURTLES movie and I wasn’t 4 when it came out, either.  I was 12.

  43. Yup. Same here.  I was JUST old enough to know that it seemed like the gang attack on April O’Neil at the beginning wasn’t JUST about stealing her purse if you catch my drift. 

    BTW – Still one of my top 10 best movie soundtracks of all time.  😉

  44. It was actaully a pretty close adaptation of that first TMNT mini.

  45. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    The first Turtles movie had a better overall plot than the first Superman or Spider-Man movies, excluding the origin segments.  

  46. I bought the ‘Daredevil’ Director’s Cut at some point but I still haven’t bothered to watch it. 

    I think it would have to get rid of all the Evanescence songs before it became something I enjoyed sitting through.

  47. Also, I actually really like Ben Affleck but I think his best ‘superhero’ role was as George Reeves in ‘Hollywoodland.’  Helluva cool movie.

  48. The Daredevil movie didn’t bother me that much.  He isn’t a mainstream character so I think they were trying to make it more appealing to the general public.  When they do that they are treading on dangerous ground with the comic consumer.  Luckily with the latest batch of movies they have figured out a way to satisfy all.

  49. I think that a good deal of Daredevil’s cast did a good job with their performances, especially Colin Farrell and Jon Faverau.  It was just Affleck and Gardner I had a problem with.  It’s just that Affleck and Gardner was 2/3s of the movie.

     If they ever make another DD film, I say they give it to David Fincher and put Cillian Murphy in as Matt.  Perhaps Faverau could come back as Foggy and be an unofficial 2nd unit director.

  50. @Tork  I’m telling you, it wasn’t the cast, it was the damn Evanescence 🙂

  51. They’re not going to make another Daredevil film, in the same way you’re not going to see Meet Joe Black, Again.

  52. I’m *still* MEETING JOE BLACK!

    (that movie was LONG, and I like long movies)

    I think I read that Marvel Studios wants to get the rights to Daredevil back.  I could be misremembering. Or drunk. Or on a sugar high.

  53. Well, all I know is I would have bet money that they’d never make another Hulk movie after Ang Lee and, well…

    DON’T NOT DENY ME MY HOOOOPE!!!!!

  54. I still can’t believe they were thinking about casting Vin Diesel as Daredevil back in 2000 (or 2001)..

     

     

  55. I read recently that Marvel is considering another Daredevil movie, and from what I have read Jason Statham has expressed interest.  But I did read it on the internet, so take it with a grain of salt.

    And I can’t believe someone actually considered casting Vin Diesel in any movie, let alone Daredevil.  Now I’m thankful they casted Affleck.

  56. And I forgot one thing, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is an awesome movie.

  57. I think Affleck being casted had something to do with Kevin Smith’s meager amount of clout in all things comic book. I didn’t really like that movie at all, but I’m hard to please. Especially since I don’t really like Daredevil.