Tag Archives: The Avengers

A Look at Marvel Studios’ Phase 3 Movies

I’m a big fan of how Marvel Studios used the post-credit scenes in Iron Man, Thor and Captain America during Phase 1 of its movie releases to drum up enthusiasm for 2012’s The Avengers.  It didn’t disappoint, and now Phase 2 is barely underway and I’m already thinking about what lies ahead for Marvel Studios, particularly the films in discussion for Phase 3.

Phase 2 launched with the release of Iron Man 3, and continues to 2015 with Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy and ending with the eagerly anticipated Avengers 2.  I have to admit, I was surprised with their choice of Guardians of the Galaxy considering they’re less well known to the non-comic book reading movie audience (I was hoping for a team like The New Mutants).  Considering the level of excitement the studio has for Guardians there should be significant marketing for it, but I’m still skeptical it can draw a large audience.

But while the films of Marvel Phase 2 have me excited for their upcoming release, some of the characters Kevin Feige mentioned to Entertainment Weekly regarding Marvel Studio’s Phase 3 have me intrigued.

CONFIRMED:

Ant-Man

Ant-Man Cover

Release Date: November 2015

Director: Edgar Wright; Screenwriter: Joe Cornish

Ant-Man has been in development for awhile now, and is on the slate for a 2015 release with Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) attached to direct.  The choice of Ant-Man wasn’t as surprising as Guardians considering the character has been around since the 60’s and was a member of The Avengers, but one concern that I hear the most from comic book fans is if Ant-Man is able to hold his own in a feature film like Iron Man or Thor.  His powers aren’t the most exciting for a superhero: he can shrink to the size of an ant and yet retain his human strength, and his helmet allows him to communicate with ants.

When I think of Ant-Man, the first thing that comes to mind is the ribbing he received in this Saturday Night Live sketch back in the 70’s.

An Ant-Man cameo in 2012’s The Avengers would have been a good introduction prior to his feature debut, but Wright felt an appearance in The Avengers wouldn’t be conducive to his film.

STRONG POSSIBILITIES:

Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange Cover

Possible Release Date: 2016

Doctor Strange has always been on my wish list for the movie treatment.  At age six I stayed up late the night of September 6, 1978 to watch Peter Hooten play the title role in the CBS made-for-TV Doctor Strange movie, and I’ve been waiting for someone to get it right ever since.  Since his comic book introduction in 1963, Doctor Strange has been brought to life by such talent as Stan Lee, Steve Ditko,  Bill Everett, Marie Severin, Gene Colan and Frank Brunner, but it was the Roger Stern/Marshall Rogers/Paul Smith runs of the early 80’s that solidified my appreciation of the character.

The casting of Doctor Strange should be interesting.  Prior to seeing Iron Man, I had envisioned Robert Downey Jr. as Stephen Strange.  But now that he’s firmly entrenched in the role of  Tony Stark, that’s unlikely to happen.

The Incredible Hulk

The Incredible Hulk Cover

I wasn’t a fan of the last two Hulk films, and prior to The Avengers I wasn’t sure how the Hulk would be utilized.  I always saw him as more of a Defender than an Avenger.  Mark Ruffalo did a great job as Banner/Hulk and I’m hoping he gets another chance at a stand-alone film.

HOLDING OUT HOPE:

The Inhumans

The Inhumans Cover

I first heard of the possibility of an Inhumans film a couple of years back and they deserve their own feature film.  Normally I would say they should at least be introduced in a Fantastic Four film, but hopefully that won’t happen considering how Fox (in my humble opinion) wasn’t able to provide the Fantastic Four, Doctor Doom, the Silver Surfer or Galactus with feature film adaptations that were worthy of their stature in the Marvel Universe.

Daredevil

Daredevil Cover

Another personal favorite of mine that I hope gets done right on film sooner rather than later.  I got my hopes up when Joe Carnahan released this sizzle reel with elements from Taxi Driver and The Warriors, but it’s looking doubtful that The Man Without Fear is high enough on Marvel Studio’s priority list for a reboot any time soon.  The silver lining: at least it’s back with Marvel Studios (along with Ghost Rider, The Punisher and Blade).  As much as I would like to see Daredevil as a feature length film, I think it would work even better as a TV series. Hopefully Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D will take off and open the floodgates for more Marvel characters on TV.

MY PERSONAL WISH LIST:

The New Mutants
Alien Legion
Marvel Team Up
The Defenders
Black Panther
Power Man and Iron Fist

Hopefully the films of Marvel Studios’ Phase 3 will lead to a Phase 4 in the following decade.  Until then, there will be plenty of discussion as to which characters deserve the feature film treatment, but more importantly there will be plenty of Marvel films to tide fans over.  Excelsior!

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The Captain America Project #14: George Perez

The Captain America Project: 20 artists, 20 drawings of Captain America on one page.

#14: George Perez (The Avengers, The New Teen Titans, Crisis On Infinite Earths)

Next up in the Captain America project is this sketch by the great George Perez.  I obtained this sketch at Megacon in Orlando back in 2011.  George was raffling off sketches for donations to the Hero Initiative and I was fortunate enough to win this addition to my Captain America jam page.   I’ve been a fan of his since his work on The Avengers and he was on my “must have” list when I started The Captain America Project in 2010.  This sketch is a classic version of the Captain America I was introduced to back in the 70’s.

Captain America - George Perez

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Avengers Fans Assembled! Bring on the Comic Book Movies!

I’m blown away by the $207 million U.S. box office gross for The Avengers last weekend.  Sadly, I wasn’t able to be a part of the opening weekend but I’ll definitely check it out next week.

Some non-comic book fans may lament the number of comic themed films that will be coming out in the next few years (Avengers 2 without a doubt, Captain America 2, Thor 2, Wolverine 2, Man of Steel, etc.) but I can’t get enough of them.  My prime comic book reading years were the late 70’s to the mid 80’s, and with the exception of the Superman films it was slim pickin’s for comic book heroes on the big screen during that time.  I remember back around 1981 my brother mentioned an X-Men movie was in the works.  I have no proof of the accuracy of that statement, but it got my 9 year old mind racing to the possibilities of who would play Professor X, Cyclops, Phoenix, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Angel and Sprite.  And for years I waited…and waited…until 2000 when X-Men was released in theaters.  My brother drove down from Boston and we watched it in our hometown theater just like we did Superman: The Movie over 20 years earlier.

With The Avengers performing way above expectations, my mind is racing again to the possibility of even more comic book films.

Upcoming comic related films I’m looking forward to:

The Dark Knight Rises – Very high hopes for this one.  And I’ll have a surprise post the week of its release.

The Amazing Spider-Man – I was puzzled when they originally announced this reboot.  I didn’t think I would want to see another origin story, but the new trailer reminded me of what I didn’t like in the first Spider-Man movie, particularly Mary Jane’s role as Peter’s love interest instead of Gwen Stacy.

Man of Steel –  I’m not sure what to expect with this.  Superman Returns was a disappointment, mostly because it needlessly re-hashed plot points from Richard Donner’s Superman.  One of the main criticisms I’ve heard from fellow fans is that it’s time for Superman to fight a super villain like Doomsday.  I agree.

Dredd – After the 1995 debacle, I didn’t think Judge Dredd would ever get another shot at a feature film.  Dredd will be released in the U.S. this September with Karl Urban (Star Trek, The Bourne Supremacy) in the title role.

Here’s my wish list of comic book films.

In development:

Fantastic Four #242
Copyright Marvel Comics

Fantastic Four – I wasn’t impressed by the first two Fantastic Four films.  The super team that ushered in the Marvel Age of comics didn’t get the respect it deserved.  There’s a reboot in development (Fantastic Four Reborn) at Fox.  Fingers crossed.

Daredevil #230
Copyright Marvel Comics

Daredevil – I’m looking forward to this reboot based on the Born Again arc by Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli.  But the storyline I always hoped to see on film would be from the Frank Miller/Klaus Janson run.  Unfortunately the first movie took away the possibility of a Bullseye/Elektra story.

Holding out hope:

Doctor Strange #56
Copyright Marvel Comics

Doctor Strange – I remember watching the made for TV version of Doctor Strange in the late 70s.  I don’t remember too much of it, except the terrible plot, acting, costumes, and special effects.

Justice League of America #165
Copyright DC Comics

Justice League – George Miller (Mad Max, Happy Feet) was attached to direct this several years back.  Hopefully Warner Brothers will give their super team the big screen treatment.

Wonder Woman #253
Copyright DC Comics

Wonder Woman – One of the Golden Age characters that I would like to see set in the 1940’s.  Superheroes fighting in World War II is kind of a recurring theme on my wish list…

Black Panther
Copyright Marvel Comics

Black Panther – I’d love to see a Black Panther feature film set in both Africa and New York City.  He’s a very underrated character in the Marvel Universe.  At the very least he should make an appearance in an Avengers or Fantastic Four movie.

Luke Cage, Hero For Hire #1
Copyright Marvel Comics

Luke Cage – Nothing like Luke Cage, Hero For Hire, opening up a can of whoop ass.  If this film ever gets made, please set it in the 70s.

Giant Size Invaders #1
Copyright Marvel Comics

The Invaders – Captain America, The Sub-Mariner and The Human Torch fighting the Nazis in World War II.  Need I say more?

Awhile back I had asked a comic artist what he thought of the large number of comic book related movies that had been released over the last five years.  His response:  “We rule the world now!”

I couldn’t agree more!

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From My Collection: Finding a Don Heck Original

A few years back I attended one of Mike Carbonaro’s comic shows at the Hotel Pennsylvania in Manhattan.  I bought a couple of pages of original art by Don Perlin and Frank Springer, but my favorite haul that day was a page of unpublished artwork.

As I flipped through the vendor’s portfolio I saw what looked like a jam page but I couldn’t figure out the theme or the characters.  None of them were superheros.  Most were drawn in blue pencil, and a few were inked.

The vendor explained to me that it wasn’t a jam page, but a warmup page by legendary Silver Age artist Don Heck.

Don worked through the Golden, Silver, and Bronze Ages of comic books.  When I think of Don Heck’s art, The Avengers is the first comic book that I associate him with.  Unfortunately his name is not mentioned enough among the great artists of the Silver Age, making him in my opinion one of the more under appreciated artists of that era.

Once the vendor said Don Heck’s name, I recognized his style in the inked head sketches.  But what surprised me the most were the non-inked sketches.

You’ll see from the scans below that a couple of these resemble Hollywood style portraits more  than comic book art.

I look at this one head sketch and I see Ava Gardner.

These are drawn on DC Comics paper with “Wonder Woman 307” written on the top left corner of the page.  That issue has a cover date of September 1983, which would have made Don 54 years old when he drew these.

Drawings like this remind me that he was an artist before he was a comic book artist.  And an amazing one at that.

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