Friday, 8 July 2011

Hollywood Babble On & On #762: You Have Questions I Have Answers

You gave me questions, now it's the time to give you the answers you crave like the salivating dogs that you are...
Gary T. Burnaska asked...

Do you think that DC with them releasing their books in digital format can at least help sagging comic book sales? Or at least help make them more accessible to the younger tech savvy audience?
It could, but it also couldn't.

How's that for a sophist answer?

I guess I have to go into more detail.

Kids are more tech savvy, where they won't buy a comic off a rack, they might download one from an online store.

But here's the kicker.

Why would they want to do it?

The online world is literally chaos incarnate. It would take a lot of work to cut through all this chaos and get your brand out there in a way that will make kids want to buy the comics.

But if they still have to sift through 7 decades of back-story to understand what the hell is going on, then they are not going to bother. They're looking for entertainment, amusement, and excitement, not some sort of semi-secular-semi-sacred vocation interpreting references made to stories from the 1940s so they can understand the hero's deep sexual dysfunctions because the people making the comic think they are the second coming of Alan Moore.
Gary T. Burnaska asked...

Disney with their ownership of MARVEL. Do you think they could actually become a savior of the comic book industry by making marvel books more age accessible or just make ones based on their shit Disney channel shows?
With a lot of things it depends on their motive for buying Marvel. They could have bought Marvel to make age accessible books that will get kids reading again, but I doubt it.

I suspect that Disney bought Marvel so they could get some of that sweet superhero blockbuster movie & merchandising money that all the other studios were making. They're probably not really interested in the characters, the stories, or keeping the medium alive, just having familiar brand names to slap on movies and merchandise.

As for comic versions of their own shows.... well, comic book adaptations of TV shows tend to have shorter lives than the shows they were based on. Unless you have a perennial science fiction or fantasy adventure franchise like Star Trek that is passed down from one generation to the next you're not going to have much of a shelf life.

Let's also look at the nature of Disney's programming.

Most of their live action shows are kid oriented sitcoms. That alone is a medium that hard to translate on the page without broad cartoon anvil-on-head slapstick. They are also heavily fad based. Kids go completely ape-shit for these shows, then they turn 12 or 13 years old, and they don't want anything to do with them, because they consider them "lame" or for "little kids." They're here for a good time, not a long time, and that's how Disney likes them, lots of cash up front, and then forget them and move onto the next thing the second the cute wears out.
CrisisEraDynamo said...

Do you think an anime or manga-based movie stands a chance in America if its origin is carefully hidden from the audience? The only such movies I heard of are Speed Racer and Dragonball Evolution; neither hid their origin, and both didn't do too well.
While Japanese manga-anime projects have their fans in the West, they have yet to break through to mainstream popularity. I remember being a big fan of Star Blazers when I was a young'un and this TV station from Maine would run them after school.

But there lies the rub, the show I so fondly remember from my childhood was an Americanized version of the Japanese show Space Battleship Yamato, that was heavily re-edited and re-dubbed for Western consumption. That's a process that's been done many times over the years, and creates a conflict of which version gets made into a movie. The purists want the original Japanese story, which is often more convoluted, and load with content that might make Western producers uneasy, but the Western version would have wider appeal. So if you go either way, you end up pissing off a great portion of the potential audience. Because adaptations need the support of the original's core fan base to make a dent with the wider audience. But if the original requires membership in an elite "in-crowd" to understand it, then the wider audience will stay away.

Here's a story to illustrate my point...

A major studio has the American movie rights to the Japanese manga/anime film Akira. Now the original story was about teens in Tokyo, mentally mighty mutants, and motorcycles. What does the studio do, they start tossing around names of 30-40 something white actors to play the Japanese teens. The core fans flipped out, the studio, sensing a public relations backlash backed down, now Akira is back in development purgatory and unlikely to ever come out again.

Then there's the nature of the stories themselves. Western superheroes can hit it big on the big screen because their origins can be summed up and understood very quickly. Superman, last Kryptonian, sent to Earth, where he got super-powers. Boom! Batman, rich kid, saw parents murdered, now kicks ass in a crazy outfit & fights other crazy people. Bam! Spider-Man, loser teen gets bit by mutant spider, gets spider powers. Pow! Iron Man, rich drunk weapons maker makes ultimate weapon and decides to do the fighting himself. Wham! All is said and done.

Western comics need that simple background because they are intended to run for years, if not decades. The fundamentals of their stories are like modern folklore, and are more engrained in the Western zeitgeist. Japanese manga haven't reached that level yet, possibly because of all the really big hair their characters all seem to have.

Of course the comics business seems so intent on putting themselves out of business, so who really knows where this all might go in the end.
Don H asked...
Okay, So who do you think will be the next Star Trek villain? Can they avoid Khan forever? Are they afraid of the comparison or what?
Don H
Forks, WA
(new and improved without vampires!)
First, congrats on your town being vampire free, they're harder to get rid of than roaches.

I won't attempt to read the minds of the people behind the new Star Trek films, but I don't think they'll jump right for Khan just yet. Remember, what made Wrath of Khan so cool was that it was a sequel to an actual episode of the original series. Kirk and Khan had a back-story that most fans knew, and most non-fans could catch onto quickly. The movie was just one big battle of revenge that literally shook the franchise to its foundation.

Plus they had Ricardo Montalban bringing his charisma to the part, which made audiences forget the fact that he and Kirk were never in the same room together, which usually mandatory for these sorts of stories.

If they were to do Khan now, it would be the first meeting between Kirk and Khan, there would be no back-story. They would be meeting for the first time, and they'd have to answer some key questions:

1. Who will play Khan? You can't just give the role to anyone, because they're going to compared to the man who literally made the role leap off the television and onto the big screen.

2. How will you explain the Eugenics War of the 1990s to a 2012+ audience? What was the "future" to the makers of the original series in the 1960s is now the distant misty past to modern moviegoers. Will they say it was a covert operation, fought in the shadows to explain the sketchy records? Will they just forget trying to explain anything, something JJ Abrams is fond of.

3. What will Khan do to make it "big screen" and somehow top Wrath of Khan?

If they can find suitable answers to those questions, they might go for it. If they don't, then it might be better to have all new villains for this all new universe.
Fuloydo asked...

Who was the best Star Trek Captain?

April (I'm assuming you mean Archer)

Secondary question...Who was the best first officer? Spock doesn't count. Old school Trekkie here. Nobody beats Spock. :)
Real geek theme with the questions today.

Hmmm... it's a noodle scratcher. You know what, I won't say who is the best, because everyone has their favorite, but I will say who was the most overrated and who were the most underrated...

Overrated: Capt. Katherine Janeway of Voyager. Too priggishly moralistic, and judgmental, and after the first season or so the show sort of gave up the whole "struggling to survive" theme and became just another exploration show.

Underrated: Capt. Benjamin Sisko of Deep Space Nine. Starts out as tightly wound and priggish as all the other Next Generation officers, but quickly evolves into a more fully rounded character who is willing to break Federation morality if it means the Federation's survival. Even going so far as to participate in the assassination of a major Romulan politician to do it. I didn't care for the "whisked away by energy beings" finale though, it didn't gel with such a "grounded" character for me.

As for Archer, I think the jury is still out on him and may never give a proper judgement. The show Enterprise had so much potential, but was hobbled by insider politics, and a studio unwilling to pull the trigger and take the "all out" approach that the show needed.

Thanks for the questions. If you have any more, feel free to ask.


  1. I was thinking only way Disney could make comic adaptations of their shows if they did it in some large magazine format. have short graphic stories interlaced in with other articles and etc.

    It was a typo I was trying to write hit not shit.

    So far all that Disney has done with marvel as what you said. Licensed properties. So far their went synergy and used Marvel artists for a special NBA edition of ESPN magazine (which they own).
    That Disney XD and Toon Disney shows reruns of old Spiderman toons and the new Avengers cartoon.

    Only thing that can really bring fresh blood into comics is:

    LOWER THE PRICE so some 9 year old with allowance money can afford.

    SCREW the AGING fanboys and their holy continuity and just START THE DAMN THING over. DC is trying it but it needs to be a total restart.
    Once those guys die off, the medium is going to die with it.

  2. I am starting to think that as a medium COMICs well the big monthly super hero books might be DOOMED.
    Like the US auto industry we have people in charge that are dependent on a aging customer base, let the younger market slip to foreign brands. They would need to drastically change their business plan and pretty much start over but are not willing to.
    Instead they whine for bailouts and new trade laws. Instead of changing their business practices that are stuck in the past.

    DC needs to CUT PRICES of their books. Get them sold in other places besides specialty stores and do a total FRESH RESTART the continuity. DC is doing a restart but it is a half-assed one that is still somewhat tied into their complicated 70 year continuity.

    If the DC and marvel monthlies due die out. Like when the dinosaurs died it opened up the world for mammals to leave their little rat holes and to evolve and take over.

    Maybe some small indie company can do what DC and MARVEL fail to do.

  3. Disney is releasing Tron and Muppet comics through Marvel.

  4. After writing to you then reading the reply, it got me thinking and I watched Space Seed and the Enterprise episodes that dealt with Khan and his superfolk. That's shown me rewriting the history of the Eugenics war would be easy.

    The first contact with the Botany Bay doesn't have to be Space Seed either. Since the history has changed, the first contact could be anything (I do not expect anything new or different that would be asking too much). But there are plenty of other Star Trek or other scifi stories they can tell.

    Don H
    Forks, WA