Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
So, you think all this current excitement over comics-to-film motion pictures is something new? Think again.
Back in the dark ages (1979), you had only two real outlets for this kinda news. STARLOG magazine (expensive at an ungodly $1.95), or the trusty Marvel Comics "Bullpen Bulletins" in each month's new Marvel comics books.
This news came straight from Stan Lee's pen, before he left to pursue the goal of getting more Marvel properties transferred into other media.
Things seemed very exciting in those days of SPIDER-MAN and the INCREDIBLE HULK on the prime time airwaves, earning critical raves. Well, HULK was, anyway.
SO many late-70s TV projects never saw the light of day, such as the SUB-MARINER film, and the HUMAN TORCH pilot (heh)...The reporting on the TORCH TV bit was the first time I ever heard about the use of computers involved in special effects production. "Flames" were to be superimposed over the form of a man, and all that good stuff....This was the real reason the Torch could not be included in the concurrent FANTASTIC FOUR cartoon (which Stan references in his writings), so enter the fabulous and popular Herbie the Robot!
Also never to make the scene then were live-action TV movies of Iron Man, Daredevil, and some mysterious Marvel female of the day . Ms. Marvel? Black Widow? Hmmm..
It's interesting to note that, then, creators and producers of these shows walked on eggshells as per the more outlandish elements of the comics properties. Keep in mind this is the age of only 3 channels, and these shows had HUGE audiences, not niche fans, like today. Producers were careful not to alienate viewers with super-villains, too many displays of super powers, and confusing amounts of supporting cast members, in those days not TOO far removed from the campy BATMAN 1966 TV show heyday... Stan makes note of this in his essay...
Compare this to today, were a SF show tries SO hard to stand out in the cable crowd of shows. "Oh, THAT'S the show with the teen witch who can make herself invisible and has a giant turtle as a mentor, and her best friend is a gay ghost from the Civil War era..."
Today, there are thousands of magazines, internet sources, and such to get this kind of news. You can see, if so inclined, early scripts, set photos, interviews with everyone from the stars to the lighting director, but....it all seems so much less exciting now. Too much info? Too mainstream? Too much?