Planet Buzz 06-05-02


He'll Say Are You Married, We'll Say NoMan.

Haven't heard of the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents? Some comics historians consider them the greatest supergroup that ever had crappy, crappy luck. Created by comics great Wally Wood and originally published by Tower Comics in the mid-sixties, they had a real shot at rivaling Marvel. But you'll notice that Tower isn't around anymore. For a variety of reasons, they folded after less than two years of publishing.

The Agents themselves had it all going for them. Funded by the government, the main team consisted of the super-strong Dynamo, super-intelligent Menthor, and the mysterious android NoMan. Eventually they were joined by superhero neophytes Lightning and Raven. As for superhero angst, they had plenty. The speedster Lightning, for example, cut into his lifespan every time he used his powers. Kind of like Spawn, only much, much better defined and written.

Various publishers have tried to revive T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents over the years, some with the rights and some without. But DC figures why start anew when the classic stuff is still best? On December 4, DC will release Volume 1 of the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents archives, collectiong the first four issues of the Tower title, 256 high-quality pages at the usual Archive price of $49.95.

DC must be counting on starting a huge revival, because they will also be releasing a Dynamo statue through DC Direct, the first in a planned series, on the same day as the Archives are released. Limited to a run of 1500, the statue will retail for $149.95.

Who has this much room on their shelves for this stuff?

Another Independent Gets A New Image…

Last week at the Comics 2002 Festival in Bristol, England (oh, for the day when the Fanboy Planet budget allows us to go to THAT…), Image announced that Paul Grist's Jack Staff will be moving to their company.

A black and white independent series featuring the adventures of British hero Jack Staff (and several other heroes, all veddy British in a fun way), the book had been self-published under the rubric of Grist's Dancing Elephant Press.

The Image version will launch in January, 2003, and will be in full color. I checked this book out last summer in the lazy days following Comic-Con, and found it to be pretty entertaining. Grist's artwork falls on the cartoony side (and no, not manga-influenced), which on the surface seems at odds with the relative seriousness of the story-lines. This is straight ahead action/adventure, with a sense of fun.

Hell Freezes Over…

DC has confirmed that they have all the pages to The Dark Knight Strikes Again #3. They plan to announce an actual, real live, no, really, we mean it, fooled you again ha ha ha release date later this week.

Because the Marvel Knights Version Was Just Too Tame…

Marvel announced this week that Garth Ennis will be taking The Punisher to the MAX line of comics. Re-teaming with Fury artist Darick Robertson, Ennis will lay out Frank Castle's experiences in Viet Nam in a story currently titled The War Where I Was Born.

Ennis also plans to return to the regular Marvel Knights Punisher title with issue #13 for a six issue run. Five issues will be drawn by Steve Dillon, and Robertson will step in for a sixth.

I have no solace to offer those fearing a return of The Russian.

Spider-Man Rebooted, Reborn, Renumbered. Take Your Pick.

Marvel has also confirmed that Peter Parker: Spider-Man will be cancelled with issue #50, after finishing up a 3-part Doctor Octopus story (gotta whip up his popularity into a frenzy of warmth and anticipation for Spider-Man 2).

Worry not for writer Paul Jenkins, as Marvel also announced that they will launch an all-new Spider-Man series for him to write, as a companion to Kevin Smith's run on Amazing Spider-Man and J. Michael Straczynski's Adjectiveless Spider-Man (boy, this is beginning to look a LOT like Marvel just before Image…except it's writers this time…). The new title will be called either Sensational Spider-Man or Spectacular Spider-Man (ironically, that's what Peter Parker: Spider-Man used to be called -- Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider-Man)

This adds a third layer of numbering to that Spider-book. Sensational Spider-Man #1 will carry a subheading of #149 and #51.


Works For Me

Time Magazine landed the first picture of Jennifer Garner as Elektra. While it's not the uniform we're all used to seeing on and off of the Greek Ninja, it appears, uh, functional and I think we can all deal.

'Nuff said.

Listen Up, America…Bernie Mac's An Angel

Variety reports this week that Bill Murray will not be returning as Bosley in McG's epic sequel Charlie's Angel 2: Halo. Long reported to have clashed with a certain actress seemingly more crucial to the franchise, Murray seemed to have wanted out of the first film if given a chance.

Replacing him as Charlie's go-between and overall helpmate will be comedian Bernie Mac. Early reports say that there Mac's character will be related in some way to Bosley, but that may be a holdover from rumors putting Jamie Foxx in the role as Bosley's son.

After Halo (related in no way to the Xbox game), McG is slated to move on to the new Superman film. (Superman Lives, Superman Reborn, Superman 5 or Superman Ignores That Whole Quest For Peace Crap.)

We've Got A Date…For Adventure!

After a lot of hemming, hawing and rumor-mongering, George Lucas has confirmed (presumably on behalf of Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford) that there will indeed be a fourth Indiana Jones film.

Currently untitled ( Indiana Jones And The Retirement Home Of Peril?), the film already has a release date: July 5, 2005, and a bought and paid for screenwriter, Frank Darabont.

This bodes well for the script, and even better for the film, as Darabont will have absolutely no say on what gets edited out. The man can write, but he can't, as William Faulkner once insisted must be done, kill his babies.

Lest you think I'm advocating actual baby-killing, that's a euphemism for editing one's own supposed brilliance.

This One's For The Kids...

We still don't know who's going to direct the third Harry Potter film. Though last week we reported that Warner Brothers was looking at Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron, they've also now added Callie Khouri (Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood) and Kenneth Branagh to the short list.

There would be some coolness to having Branagh direct the third one, ...and The Prisoner of Azkaban, as Branagh is currently serving as the Defense Against Dark Arts teacher, Gilderoy Lockhart, in The Chamber of Secrets. (As all Potter fans know, no such teacher lasts more than a year at Hogwart's.)

For everyone's fun and amusement, though, Warner Brothers has released the first teaser poster for The Chamber of Secrets, due in November. It features house-elf Dobbie, and appears to be a blow up of the picture run as a sneak peek in last week's Entertainment Weekly.


We Interrupt This Column To Mention That There's No Justice

Jennifer Lopez' production company announced this week that she has signed to star in a superhero film entitled Shrink, based on a pitch from Rob Liefeld, which in turn is based on his on-line comic strip of the same name.

This guy has more lives than The Family Guy. When will somebody drive a stake through the heart of his artistic aspirations and cut off his baseball cap?

Wait a minute, you say you didn't know Liefeld had an on-line comic strip? Well, sort of. Despite having begun back in October, he has managed to publish only four installments of what is a single-panel "gag" strip, purporting to be about a psychiatrist whose clientele consists only of superheroes.

In his pitch to Lopez' people, however, Liefeld expanded the idea to include that the psychiatrist is a former superhero herself, hiding her powers along with a deep shame over some dark secret in her past (like she dated Todd McFarlane or something).

Granted, it does sound like a fairly interesting idea. And as a service to our readers, here are the links to each strip, found at the otherwise high quality Spinner Rack site. The first deals with a flaming superhero, the second with a snowman (yes, a snowman), the third and the fourth beggar description.

Maybe it's just me. But seriously, if you find these strips funny, you simply have to write me and explain why. Even if you're Rob Liefeld.

Grain of salt time, though, for Jennifer Lopez. This is not the first high profile deal Liefeld has struck. Ask Tom Cruise or Will Smith about The Mark. Ask Steven Spielberg about Doom's IV. Like a lot of announced Hollywood deals, these all came to naught.

In the meantime, I'm polishing my screenplay and looking to get Liefeld's deal with Satan.



News To Make Chris Crotty and My Mother-in-law Perk Up

Excellent Swedish actress Lena Olin has been cast as Sydney's mysterious mother on the ABC series ALIAS. Olin, known to genre fans for her all-too-brief appearance in Mystery Men and as a frighteningly hot psychotic killer in Romeo Is Bleeding, has a commitment for at least sixteen episodes next season.

I've really got to start watching that show.

Derek McCaw


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