Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Waiting for Wednesday, Volume 2, Issue 35

I just realized that today’s post marks the very first Waiting for Wednesday of Exfanding, Year Three. That’s pretty cool. And, appropriately enough, this week is a monster week for comics, with just an insane amount of stuff shipping to stores today. (It’s also a good week for new music which, in this iTunes dominated landscape, is pretty exciting, too.)

But before we get to the comics, let’s talk about comic book movies for a minute.

Specifically, I’d like to talk about Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, which has now officially, utterly, and irrevocably tanked at the box office. Not exactly Gigli in its bombing, but almost.

Despite a massively positive outpouring of fan love (eww) generated at Comic-Con, Pilgrim bombed, big time. Despite glowing reviews from fans and critics, Pilgrim died a quick, painful death in theaters.

So what happened?

Don’t ask me. I have no idea. Maybe it was the 1980s action dream team film, The Expendables, that did it in. Stallone, Arnold, John McLane, Drago, and Jet-Li kicked everyone’s butts these past two weekends, and maybe Scott Pilgrim was just in the way of a dark horse movie juggernaut, and an indie-feeling teen film was just not in the cards for big money.

But a quick look at the other movies that finished ahead of Pilgrim shines a much different light on the situation. In its first week, SP finished fifth. Last weekend, it finished 10th. Behind movies like Vampires Suck, Eat Pray Love, and something starring Jennifer Anniston.

Now, granted, if you were to combine those last three movies into one film, I’d go see it, no questions asked.

But as it stands, Pilgrim’s showing at the box office was pitiful, and quite frankly, depressing. We know there have been a plethora of comic book movies in the past decade or so, and with many more per-year in the past two or three years.

And, mostly, those films have done well. In some instances, they’ve done eye-popping numbers. Dark Knight, Iron Man, Iron Man II. Need I say more? Even for the modest performers, like Kick-Ass, DVD sales have been incredibly profitable. (Especially with Kick-Ass, which has found a brand new life on DVD, box office performance has been rendered negligible.)

So maybe that’ll be the case with Scott Pilgrim.

The DVD should be out in time for the holidays, so there’s a good chance it’ll perform nicely in that market.

But back to why it didn’t do well. I think--and again, this is my opinion--it failed so badly because it didn’t scream “comic book” in the promos. And it should have. People weren’t sure what, exactly, it was. Was it a romantic, awkward situation comedy starring the king of those type of things (Michael Cera)? Or was it a flashy action film with lots of fighting?

It was probably somewhere in between, and above, and beyond, but the ad campaign didn’t allow viewers/consumers unfamiliar with the original material to get a good grip on what they might be seeing if and when they plunked down their twelve bucks.

Which is not good.

And instead of saying things like, “based on the highly successful and beloved graphic novel series,” the commercials ignored the source material completely. When the trailers for Batman Begins and Dark Knight were making the rounds, you better believe we saw that big, honking DC logo at the beginning.

Even though everyone on the planet already knows who Batman is.

With Scott Pilgrim, that didn’t happen, and the movie tanked. Is that the only reason it tanked? Probably not. But it fits my MO, so I’ll go with it.

Speaking of comics...

Today, stores will be inundated with new product. Included in said inundation are the following books that Yours Truly will be buying.

First up, we have a book that--I’m ashamed to say--I know very little about. From creative force Mike Mignola, The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects ships today in a fancy hard cover from Dark Horse.

Based on what I've read in Previews and on the Dark Horse site, this is a book I'm very sorry I've missed. (There was even a film starring Paul Giamatti, David Hyde Pierce, and Patton Oswalt!) Here’s the solicitation information from Dark Horse:

Mike Mignola has deservedly become one of the biggest names in comics for his creation of Hellboy. But when Mignola needs a short break from the Hellboy universe, he turns to diversions such as The Amazing Screw--On Head, winner of the Eisner Award for Best Humor Publication!

When Emperor Zombie threatens the safety of all life on earth, President Lincoln enlists the aid of a mechanical head. With the help of associates Mr. Groin (a faithful manservant) and Mr. Dog (a dog), Screw-On Head must brave ancient tombs, a Victorian flying apparatus, and demons from a dimension inside a turnip.

This new collection of oddball Mignola creations also includes "The Magician and the Snake" from Dark Horse Maverick: Happy Endings, and nearly fifty pages of brand new material, all as weird and hilarious as the beloved Screw-On Head.

* The Amazing Screw-On Head won an Eisner Award for Best Humor Publication.

* "The Magician and the Snake" won an Eisner Award for Best Short Story.

* Amazing Screw-On Head was the source for the cult animated short starring Paul Giamatti, David Hyde Pierce, and Patton Oswalt.

Clearly, this is a book I should be reading. I mean, jeez, it sounds like it was written for me. So, hopefully my shop has a copy. if not, I'll probably order the book and the film from Amazon tomorrow.

As an added bonus, Screw-On Head is one of three Mignola books shipping today--the other two being issue three of the excellent Hellboy: The Storm and issue two of the equally excellent Baltimore: The Plague Ships.

Next up, we have my favorite ongoing series from Marvel; Brian Bendis' Scarlet, issue two.
After a stellar first issue, I am officially on board for this title, which features the stunning artwork of Alex Maleev. Here's the blurb from Marvel:

From the Eisner award-winning team that brought you Daredevil, Halo, and the Avengers comes another startling new chapter in their first ever creator owned series.

You've met Scarlet and now you know who she is and what she wants... the world is a corrupt broken place and she is going to fix it. But how far is she willing to go? She is talking revolution right here in the United States!! But where does one start such a thing?

Like I said, issue one was great--the series has an interesting premise, and it presents some new and intriguing ways to present graphic art. Bendis breaks down the fourth wall in issue one and has his main character tell the readers that they will be involved in the story somehow. Bendis manages to do so in a way that seems fresh and, quite frankly, really cool, and I'm looking forward to seeing how things play out.

This is the kind of comic book I wish Marvel and DC would focus more on--new characters, new techniques, new, new, new. I like it. You will, too.

Finally today, we have another Marvel book. From gritty crime writer Jason Aaron comes (another) relaunch of Marvel's most prevalent mutant, Wolverine. A new issue one hits stands today, and while they just re-started the series a few years back, it probably makes sense to do so again.
Aaron is a fantastic writer, and I personally love his take on Wolverine. Sure, there are, like, 10 variant covers to this issue, but that shouldn't concern you at all. Just buy one. And read it. Here's the blurb from the publisher:

Acclaimed author JASON AARON (ASTONISHING SPIDER-MAN AND WOLVERINE, WEAPON X) and superstar artist RENATO GUEDES (Action Comics, Adventures of Superman) launch an all-new ongoing Wolverine series as Wolverine goes to hell literally!

Someone's out to destroy Wolverine permanently and they may have succeeded. But if Wolverine's soul is in hell, how is his body terrorizing those closest to him?

Yep. Wolverine goes to hell. Without Jason Aaron attached to this book, there would be no way I'd buy it. But he's so good, and his Wolverine is so dead-on, that I'll be there, money in hand.

That is, if I ever get out of here today. Work, I mean. Work...right. I should get back to that. But before I go, what are you Waiting for?

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