As the rumor mill is working over time speculating on future teams coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the Young Avengers, Thunderbolts, Dark Avengers, and the West Coast Avengers, That Hashtag Show alleges the Midnight Sons are in the works. While over the years a number of groups emerged to tackle the paranormal (the Defenders and the Secret Defenders to a degree, Legion of Monsters with Ghost Rider and Morbius, Avengers of the Supernatural with Dr. Strange, Ghost Rider, and Blade, and the Night Shift in a reverse manner), the Midnight Sons grew directly out of the popularity of Ghost Rider in the 1990s. Reinvented by Howard Mackie and Javier Saltares in 1990, Danny Ketch inherited the Ghost Rider mantle from Johnny Blaze of the 1970s and adopted a menacing spiked leather look wielding a chain and driving a flaming motorcycle with an armored design. Enhancing his rogues’ gallery with the likes of Lilith and the Lilin, Deathwatch, and Blackheart, Ghost Rider grew to have his own toyline and nearly was picked up as an animated series part of the X-Men, Iron Man, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, and Hulk cartoon universe of the 1990s. The group came together in the comics during the Rise of the Midnight Sons.
Who Are The West Coast Avengers? by Jerry Whitworth
With the emergence of White Vision in WandaVision and U.S. Agent in the Falcon and the Winter Soldier, speculation has arisen that the stage is being set for the West Coast Avengers. Introduced in 1984 in a miniseries of the same name, the West Coast Avengers was an extension of the Avengers lead by Hawkeye based out of Palos Verdes. Founded initially with Mockingbird, Wonder Man, Tigra, and Iron Man (James Rhodes), the group came to add Henry Pym, Moon Knight, Vision (who became White Vision around this time), Scarlet Witch, and U.S. Agent in the ensuing years (later becoming Force Works under Tony Stark). While Marvel’s characters typically sprung out of New York, in the 1970s a number of heroes started to appear in California including Werewolf by Night, Daredevil, Black Widow, Moon Knight, Black Goliath, Spider-Woman, and the Shroud as 1975 saw the formation of the Champions in Los Angeles lead by Black Widow with the Angel, Ghost Rider, Hercules, and Iceman. Lets take a look at what a West Coast Avengers could be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
With the introduction of Wyatt Russell as U.S. Agent in the season finale of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, speculation has arisen that in addition to the likely introduction of the Thunderbolts in the near future, the stage may be being set for the Dark Avengers as well. Introduced as part of the Dark Reign event, the Dark Avengers was the brainchild of Norman Osborn who, in the wake of Secret Invasion, was made the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. which he transitioned into the new organization H.A.M.M.E.R. Previously the head of the Thunderbolts, Osborn saw that group become a covert ops team while the Dark Avengers were founded as an extension of the Thunderbolts for H.A.M.M.E.R. with supervillains posing as the Avengers. The original team in the comics was composed of Moonstone in the role of Ms. Marvel, Venom/formerly Scorpion as Spider-Man, Bullseye as Hawkeye, and Daken as Wolverine with Ares as a stand-in for Thor and Osborn adopting a red, white, and blue version of the Iron Man armor as Iron Patriot. Heroes the Sentry and Noh-Varr as Captain Marvel rounded out the group. U.S. Agent was added to the team a number of years after. Lets take a look at what the Marvel Cinematic Universe version could entail.
Generation X: The Original Movie Mutants by Jerry Whitworth
In recent weeks, rumors have spread that Kevin Feige’s remark about ‘mutants’ in the Marvel Cinematic Universe at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 was meant to mean a change of branding from ‘X-Men’ to ‘mutants’ when its characters make the transition. While Marvel’s plethora of mutants began with the X-Men, in the decades since their inception, the likes of Alpha Flight, Soviet Super-Soldiers, New Mutants, Morlocks, Freedom Force, X-Factor, Excalibur, X-Terminators, X-Force, Team X, XSE: Xavier’s Security Enforcers, Six Pack, X-Ternals, Generation X, Big Hero 6, New X-Men, X-Statix, Exiles, Agency X, and the Young X-Men have sprung up from that well. Interestingly enough, Fox’s X-Men brand began with one of these later groups in Generation X.
Superman Lives: Tim Burton’s Man of Steel by Jerry Whitworth
With the announcement of Batman ’89 and Superman ’78, the memory of an entity that almost was can be stirred up. 1987’s Superman IV: The Quest for Peace effectively ended the life of Superman at the box office while Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) brought superheroes back into theaters. Warner Bros. sought to tap Burton to apply his magic touch to the Man of Steel with Superman Lives. However, three weeks before filming, the motion picture was abruptly canceled. For years, stories have been told about the doomed project with a snapshot of star Nicolas Cage dressed as Superman one of the few relics of this mysterious work. Filmmaker Jon Schnepp finally got to the heart of Superman Lives and revealed its secrets in his 2015 documentary The Death of “Superman Lives”: What Happened?
From Screen to Page: Superman ’78 by Jerry Whitworth
Recently it was announced DC Comics will be publishing Batman ’89 and Superman ’78, comic book miniseries based on the Tim Burton Batman and Richard Donner Superman film series, respectively. The latter will feature the work of Robert Venditti and Wilfredo Torres but few details have thus far been released about the plot. Torres has a long history of producing fan art of the Christopher Reeve Superman and scenes from Donner’s films of the character. An intriguing aspect regarding the Donner Superman movies is that the first two motion pictures of the series were filmed simultaneously with a reported 75% of the sequel completed before the first entry was finished. Donner, however, wouldn’t have the opportunity to finish the follow-up when disagreements led to his removal from the project. The world finally gained a better semblance of Donner’s vision for Superman II (1980) in 2006 with the release of the Donner Cut which tried to set a more serious tone with a greater focus on action. Donner had plans for a third and fourth Superman film before his removal which may inform what Superman ’78 could entail.
From Screen to Page: Batman ’89 by Jerry Whitworth
Recently it was announced DC Comics will be publishing Batman ’89 and Superman ’78, comic book miniseries based on the Tim Burton Batman and Richard Donner Superman film series, respectively. The former will feature Batman (1989) screenwriter Sam Hamm and artist Joe Quinones tackling story elements that didn’t make it into Batman Returns (1992). Following Batman ’66, which was based in the world of the 1966 Batman television series, and Wonder Woman ’77 based on The New Adventures of Wonder Woman, Joe Quinones and Kate Leth pitched a Batman ’89 series in 2015. Quinones revealed this series would have seen the return of Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman, Billy Dee Williams’ Harvey Dent transition to Two-Face, and Tim Burton-inspired versions of Robin, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy. This series was rejected but could indicate some of what’s to come especially with Quinones’ involvement in the upcoming title. Lets take a look at what Batman ’89 could entail.
I was talking with some friends last night, and the topic of Superman: Man of Tomorrow came up. I had been pretty excited about this one coming out, but with all the media I consume, I had lost track of the release schedule. The good news is that it came out yesterday, and my friends that had seen it thought it was sort of a “meh, it’s okay” kind of movie. Meh? For something that makes all the promises this one does? I mean, dude, have you seen the trailer?
Man of Tomorrow, at least on the surface feels like something incredibly interesting. A story that gives the Man of Steel a fresh modern coat of paint, around a more modern looking Metrolis backdrop. The look and feel of it is intentionally very now. Sort of. But this world of Superman and Metropolis does diverge from ours in some pretty big ways, and some of them are distracting.
Top 10: Young Avengers for the MCU by Jerry Whitworth
As the entertainment world is largely on hold in the wake of the global pandemic, fans are left to speculate about the future of their fandom. In terms of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, phase four with its delayed debut of Black Widow and The Eternals left in the lurch looks to be slowly coming together as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision appear to be on track to emerge on time taking the films’ place jump starting the new slate of content. It’s speculated that this coming phase will focus on key as yet blatantly identified fields in the multiverse, Thunderbolts, and Young Avengers. In terms of the latter, some groundwork has already been laid with Harley Keener (Ty Simpkins), Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Shuri (Letitia Wright), Cassie Lang (Emma Fuhrmann), and Morgan Stark (Katherine Langford) in the films as the coming Disney+ television series appear to be bringing Speed and Wiccan (WandaVision), Kate Bishop (Hawkeye), and Ms. Marvel into the mix. Lets take a look at some likely options to fill out the Young Avengers when they inevitably make their Marvel Cinematic Universe debut.
Top 10: New Guardians of the Galaxy by Jerry Whitworth
Recently, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 director James Gunn reaffirmed the upcoming film would likely be his last for the franchise as its lineup will also likely be retired. Initially, the intergalactic anti-hero group featured Chris Pratt as Star-Lord, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Bradley Cooper voicing Rocket, Dave Bautista as Drax, and Vin Diesel voicing Groot, but its roster grew to include Karen Gillan as Nebula, Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Michael Rooker as Yondu, and Chris Hemsworth as Thor. Little is known about the plot of the third film in the franchise (as the group is set to appear in the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder first) save that Gunn revealed the origin of Rocket will play heavily in the film’s story. This follows a theme that the second film focused on Star-Lord’s origins, 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War on Gamora, and Gunn has expressed a desire to do a spin-off movie with Drax and Mantis that likely would explore the Kylosian’s origins. Keeping in mind plot threads left involving the reformation of the original Ravagers (based on the original Guardians of the Galaxy in the comics), the creation of Adam by the Sovereign to seek vengeance against the Guardians, and the search for Gamora in the wake of the events of 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, some semblance of what the third film could entail begins to emerge. Lets take a look at some of the characters that could form the new version of the team in the wake of the end of its film trilogy.
Since at least the time of Marc Webb’s Spider-Man films, Sony Pictures has desperately wanted to produce a Sinister Six movie. Toward that end, the Gentleman (who organized the Sinister Six in Adam-Troy Castro’s Sinister Six trilogy) was introduced in Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) teasing Dr. Octopus, Vulture, and the Black Cat as the series featured the Lizard, Electro, Green Goblin, and the Rhino (subsequently, Webb confirmed the group would have included Kraven the Hunter and Mysterio). For the latest iteration of Spider-Man films, the likes of the Vulture, Shocker, Tinkerer, and Mysterio (whose elementals were based on the Sandman, Hydro-Man, Molten Man, and Cyclone) have been introduced as the civilian identities of the Scorpion, Prowler, Darter, and the Chameleon also emerged. While Venom 2 is filming featuring Carnage and Morbius is coming this summer, Kraven the Hunter is heavily rumored for the next Spider-Man film (as Norman Osborn is rumored to be in other Marvel Studios projects) leaving a wide breadth of Sinister Six candidates. Lets take a look at some of these characters.
Make It So: Green Lantern Corps the Movie by Jerry Whitworth
2010 was a transition period for DC Comics film adaptations. Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008) were massive box office hits and by 2010, Christopher Nolan was developing the final film for his Dark Knight trilogy. Alternatively, Superman Returns (2006), which was intended to be the Man of Steel’s big return to theaters, under performed and its sequel intended to be released in 2009 was scrapped. Development of a Wonder Woman movie was in limbo as Joss Whedon spent two years trying to get his picture made while in 2010 it looked like the Amazonian princess was going to become a television series from David E. Kelley that didn’t pan out. Writers Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, and Marc Guggenheim were tasked with bringing Green Lantern and the Flash to the big screen, the former for 2011 and latter soon after. But then, Green Lantern (2011) bombed at box office. Terribly rendered CGI (especially the Green Lantern’s uniform), a poorly written script that was overly goofy, and just an overall joyless viewing endeavor, the film was a financial and critical failure (though, Berlanti would later get to tackle the Flash, just on the small screen). The stink of the film remained for years, Ryan Reynolds trying to revive his poorly received portrayal of Deadpool in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine for a featured film only to carry another albatross around his neck while development of Man of Steel (2013), intended to create a DC Extended Universe similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, virtually abandoned all mention of Green Lantern for the burgeoning brand. It wouldn’t be until 2017 that the Green Lantern earned so much as a brief cameo and mention in the film Justice League that there existed any hope of its return. Recently, it was announced the DC Extended Universe will finally produce a new Green Lantern movie reportedly set to premier in 2020. Lets take a look at what such a film might entail.
Recently, Richard Rushfield of the entertainment newsletter The Ankler reported actor/director Jordan Peele approached Disney about producing a live action adaptation of its critically-acclaimed, cult classic animated series Gargoyles. The report went on to say, however, that given Peele’s momentum from his blockbuster hit Get Out (2017), the studio did not want to turn him down but was unwilling to greenlight the project and likely hopes Peele will take on another film and forget about the pitch. The news of the pitch though has spread like wildfire generating a lot of buzz online which could give Disney pause to genuinely consider the film (not unlike the impetus leading to 2016’s hit Deadpool). Gargoyles was a 1994 animated series created for the Disney Afternoon programming block to spotlight the company’s burgeoning animated television division. Created by Greg Weisman, known better today for Young Justice, Gargoyles ran for two seasons and featured a clan of magical guardian gargoyles in tenth century Scotland that were stone by day and flesh by night put to sleep in stone for a thousand years until awoken for a malevolent purpose by wealthy genius David Xanatos. Living in modern day Manhattan, the gargoyles combated Xanatos, rogue gargoyle Demona, unaging Scottish king Macbeth, mercenary band the Pack, ancient magician Archmage, and all manner of magical beings like Puck, Oberon, and the Weird Sisters of Shakespearean lore. The show failed to attain the level of massive ratings of competing series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Batman: The Animated Series, and X-Men leading to its cancellation. A second animated series created largely without input from Weisman emerged called Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles in 1996 but was so reviled, future printed installments of the franchise treated it as non-canonical. In 2006, Gargoyles found second life as a comic book series written by Weisman for Slave Labor Graphics and Creature Comics continuing the show’s narrative until 2009 when Disney raised its licensing fee and the publisher abandoned it. Joe Books, who currently has the license to produce many Disney properties, planned on releasing a cinestory based on the first five episodes of the television series in 2016 but lack of pre-orders led to its delay and eventual cancellation. If the the buzz surrounding Gargoyles‘ adaptation into a major motion picture pan out, lets take a look as to who could portray its characters.
Top 10: Favorite Articles at CAC by Jerry Whitworth
Hey Stranger Rangers, I told you I’d be back and here we are. As I said in my last post, ComicArtCommunity.com and I have parted ways and over my five year career with the site, a few of my 267 articles have stood out. Previously we covered the most popular articles on CAC where now we’ll examine my favorite. The criteria for my favorite articles largely encompass one prevalent component: hard work. While I tend to invest a lot of time and energy into many of the pieces I write, some I have really needed to pore over and research. As such, many of these projects I’ve needed to care a great deal about in order to bring to completion (as I assure you, not every article I begin crosses the finish line). Of course, some of the most popular articles were also my favorite (like “Destroy All Monsters! Tokusatsu in America”) but for the sake of this list, there will be no repeats. Without further ado, my favorite articles I’ve crafted for CAC.
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