Posts with «cartoons & comics» label

A 'Scott Pilgrim' anime series is coming to Netflix

Scott Pilgrim appears ready for a comeback, and not just in video games. The Hollywood Reporter has learned Netflix and Universal's UCP (the unit behind The Umbrella Academy) are developing a Scott Pilgrim anime series. It's not clear how close this will hew to the original graphic novels, but creator Bryan Lee O'Malley and 2010 movie director Edgar Wright will be executive producers.

O'Malley will serve as a showrunner alongside Are You Afraid of the Dark? reviver BenDavid Grabinski. Science SARU is animating the project.

It won't be shocking if the series sticks to the core plot: Sex Bob-omb band leader Scott wants to win over Ramona Flowers, but can't date her until he defeats her seven evil exes. Both the graphic novels and the movie were nods to manga, indie rock, video games and turn-of-the-millennium Canadian culture.

This is a slightly unusual twist on a familiar formula. While Netflix hasn't been shy about its ambitious anime plans, it has typically focused on originals or adaptations of Japanese games and manga. Here, the streaming service is adapting a comic that was a Western tribute — and one that many might only know from the big screen. Netflix's strategy isn't clear, but it might see this as a way to expose its anime catalog to a larger audience.

Here's every Marvel show announced during Disney+ Day

Disney held its first-ever Disney+ Day on Friday, and wouldn’t you know it, new content from Marvel Studios dominated the slate, with the company announcing or providing updates on 12 different live-action and animated shows. You can see an early look at footage from some of the upcoming shows on the Disney+ website.   

X-Men`97

Let’s start with the news nearly everyone is excited about. Disney is bringing back X-Men: The Animated Series as part of a new project called X-Men ‘97. It will pick up where the original series ended following its five-year run between 1992 and 1997. X-Men ‘97 will debut in 2023.

Moon Knight

Disney

Following his excellent performance in Dune as Duke Leto Atreides, Oscar Issac will star as Marc Spector in Moon Knight. Much like in the comics, Spector has a dissociative identity disorder that sees believing that he’s the human incarnation of the Egyptian Khonshu. Moon Knight will also star Ethan Hawke. Moon Knight will debut next year, according to Disney.

She-Hulk

Disney

In She-Hulk, Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black, The Other Half) plays Jennifer Walters, a lawyer who inherits Hulk-like powers. If you love Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, worry not. Disney has already confirmed he’ll reprise his role. She-Hulk will hit Disney+ sometime in 2022.

Ms. Marvel

Disney

Since her solo debut in 2016, Kamala Khan has had an amazing run as Ms. Marvel. Not only have her comics been some of the best from Marvel in recent years, but she was one of the few highlights in the otherwise dismal Marvel’s Avengers video game from Square Enix. Now she’s about to get her own live-action series that will debut in the summer of 2022.

Echo

Disney

Hawkeye won’t debut until later this month, but Disney already has plans for a live-action spinoff starring Alaqua Cox’s character Maya Lopez. We’ll learn more about Lopez when Hawkeye starts streaming on November 24th.

Ironheart

Disney

Dominique Thorne will star in this live-action series that sees Riri Williams, aka Ironheart, create the most advanced suit of armor since Iron Man.

Agatha: House of Darkness

Disney

As expected, Kathryn Hahn’s WandaVision character Agatha Harkness will star in her own live-action spin-off series. Jac Schaefer will produce and write the series.

Secret Invasion

Disney

After guest appearances in nearly every Marvel film, Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury finally gets his own time in the spotlight courtesy of Secret Invasion. Ben Mendelsohn will star opposite Jackson as Skrull Talos in the live-action series.

What If…?

Disney

Whether you liked the first season of What If…? or felt, like we did, that it didn’t live up to its potential, Disney is moving forward with a second season. The Watcher will return to meet new heroes and explore more of the MCU multiverse, with AC Bradley set to return as head writer.

Spider-Man: Freshman Year

Disney

In another animated series, Marvel plans to tell the story of Peter Parker before he became the Spider-Man of the MCU. The studio says this one will celebrate the character’s early comic book roots.

I Am Groot

Disney

It’s time for Groot to shine. Everyone’s favorite Guardians of the Galaxy characters will star in his own animated series titled I Am Groot. Again, no release date on this one, but Kirsten Lepore — best known for short films like Sweet Dreams and Bottle — will direct the project.

Marvel Zombies

Disney

“You know what the MCU is missing? Zombies,” said no one ever, but that didn’t stop Disney from greenlighting an animated series that will pit some of your favorite heroes against an endless undead tide.

The Watcher takes center stage on this week’s 'What If…?'

This post contains spoilers for episode eight of Marvel's 'What If…?'

In physics there’s what’s known as the “observer effect,” wherein an object or system is changed merely by observing it. On Marvel’s What If…? each episode has been witnessed by an apparently omniscient narrator known as The Watcher, who seemingly believes himself to be above this simple rule. He’s seen the Avengers murdered, zombies overrun the galaxy and Steven Strange completely destroying his own universe, but the Watcher has always refrained from doing anything that would change the outcome — until now.

The twist in this episode is that in Age of Ultron, the titular villain managed to get control of the Vision body before it awakened as the hero we all know and love, taking it over and then, the world and even gaining the Infinity Stones. Somewhere in all this the Avengers are killed, with the exception of Natasha and Clint, finally giving us that Black Widow and Hawkeye adventure we should have had years ago. I haven’t been the biggest fan of either character, but here they’re a lot of fun despite the grim circumstances.

Marvel Studios

The real star here, however, is Jeffrey Wright’s Watcher character. We still know little about him, or the faction he serves. The Watchers, as a group, have only appeared in live-action during a brief scene in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. What If…? has been our first proper introduction to the concept and, after eight episodes, we’re still mostly in the dark about them.

But this week’s installment did shed some light, at least. We know that our Watcher has taken an oath to never interfere with the things he sees, though to whom we still don’t know, nor are we made aware of possible consequences of breaking that vow. And we now know he’s emotionally invested in the universes he observes, if only based on his reaction to Clint not finding the folder they need in the KGB archives (luckily, Natasha is there to save the day).

Marvel Studios

However, that observer effect comes into play regardless of the Watcher’s intentions, as his omniscient narration is overheard by the powered-up Ultron, who seeks him out and attacks. In the process Ultron becomes aware of the multiverse, which explains his sudden appearance at the end of last week’s episode. Previews for the finale hint at some sort of multiversal team-up, one involving Captain Carter, Party Thor and the other altered characters we’ve met over the first eight episodes.

While it’s certainly a fun concept — there’s an entire comic series called Exiles about a multi-reality team such as this — it raises questions about what, exactly, season two will be about. It’s already been confirmed, but Marvel has shown it’s not really interested in running What If…? as an anthology series like the comic it’s based on. The instance on making it part of the larger canon has led to the show having its own internal continuity, though it’s unlikely it will be needed to understand the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Marvel Studios

At least we hope it remains a side-story of the MCU: the power levels in the battle between The Watcher and Infinity Ultron puts even the massive conflicts shown in the last two Avengers films to shame. (Especially after Thanos is offed rather unceremoniously.) It’s a weird escalation in scale given that the teased villain of Phase IV, Kang the Conqueror, hasn’t even made a proper appearance yet.

Marvel Comics has a deep, expansive mythology and it’s nice to see the MCU finally explore some of those outer reaches. But right now the current approach to continuity feels a little cramped, and in danger of getting in its own way. Hopefully, next week’s finale will see the Watcher fully break free of his oath, and maybe help What If…? shed its remaining ties to its live-action counterparts to do something truly new.

Warner is making a documentary on DC Comics for HBO Max

A three-part documentary series on DC Comics is coming to HBO Max, according to Deadline. Warner Bros. Unscripted Television is producing the documentary, which will detail the influence and legacy of DC from the time it was established and the time Superman was born in the 1930s. The division is working with Leslie Iwerks (as co-director and executive producer) and Greg Berlanti (as executive producer) for the project. 

Iwerks is known for several other high-profile documentaries, including The Pixar Story that showed audiences what happens behind the scenes at the animation studio and The Imagineering Story, which gives viewers a look at how Disney develops rides and attractions for its parks. She will co-direct the documentary with Mark Catalena, who served as editor for The Imagineering Story. Meanwhile, Berlanti is a prolific writer, director and producer who'd previously worked on Doom Patrol, Supergirl, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Superman and Lois, The Flash and Black Lightning.

Jim Lee, DC's Publisher and Chief Creative Officer, said in a statement:

"DC has a rich legacy of over 80 years of iconic storytelling: from the introduction of the genre defining Super Hero Superman in 1938 to the amazing movies, TV shows, cartoons, games and comics which have been synonymous with superheroism for generations thereafter. We are so excited to dive into this history and bring fans along this amazing journey."

The docu series doesn't have a release date yet, but it will expand HBO Max's DC offerings further when it arrives. WarnerMedia started migrating all DC Universe content to HBO Max last year, making the former streaming platform a comics-only subscription service.

‘Star Wars: Visions’ breaks from canon while Marvel’s ‘What If…?’ refuses to

The following contains spoilers for episode three of 'Star Wars: Visions' and episode seven of 'What If...?'

Back in the days when DVD was king, I remember there was a trend of making animated tie-ins for live-action franchises. There were direct-to-video features for Chronicles of Riddick, Van Helsing and, the most famous project of them all, The Animatrix. Nearly 20 years later, streaming reigns supreme and services like Disney+ seem to be returning to the idea, but bigger and grander with shows like Marvel’s What If…? and Star Wars: Visions.

Visions, premiering this week, is probably the more ambitious of the two, enlisting talent from various Japanese anime studios to create short films about different aspects of the Star Wars universe. The list includes juggernauts like Trigger (Kill la Kill, Promare) Production I.G (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Haikyu!!) and Science SARU (Devilman Crybaby, Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!). Unlike The Animatrix, Lucasfilm was content to mostly hand over the reins to these studios, creating shorts that differ in tone, style and, most notably, continuity.

Robot Jedi? Sith twins? Intergalactic rock band whose members include a Hutt and a former Jedi padawan? It’s an intriguing array of concepts, but as a long-time Star Wars fan I couldn’t tell you how they fit into the timeline. If they fit in, at all. Visions is more about taking some base concepts — the Force, the Jedi, the Sith — and playing around with them in each studio’s unique style. It reminds me the most of Batman: Gotham Knight from 2008, a collection of shorts also by various anime studios, including Production I.G. The one thing that DC Entertainment has always had going for it is the variety of TV and movie adaptations it’s had going on independently of each other, where audiences just understood that these weren’t meant to be connected in any way.

Lucasfilm

However, even for DC things have been changing in that regard, especially after last year’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover. For years now, the TV “Berlanti-verse” has been flirting with continuity, not just in how The Flash was a spinoff of Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow was a spinoff of both, but even having the Flash and Supergirl meet up even though they were on different networks and in different universes.

DC

“Crisis” upped the ante by merging these separate worlds in the end, while also confirming almost every other DC-based TV show as part of the bigger multiverse. It was great for fans who obsessively watch every comic book program they can, but less so for people who would rather keep their viewing limited and compartmentalized.

On the other side, Marvel didn’t have the same deep catalog as DC did, with its live-action MCU franchise only taking off 13 years ago. Marvel Studios was perfectly happy to wipe the slate clean of everything that had come before, from the 1989 Punisher film to 2007’s Ghost Rider with Nicolas Cage. Since then everything live-action has tied into the universe somehow, including Netflix shows like Daredevil, Hulu shows like Runaways and the Freeform show Cloak & Dagger. This was great for someone committed to the franchise, but could be daunting to casual viewers.

It also presented some creative constraints. Everything Marvel now had to fit in with the larger MCU somehow, so once a character appeared another movie or show couldn’t present its own take on the same person (alas, poor Inhumans). They couldn’t have world-shaking events outside of, say, the Avengers films — at least, not without making some kind of excuse why Captain America or Thor couldn’t just come charging in. Everything had to be carefully planned out as the universe expanded and connected internally.

That’s partly why the show What If…? exists. Sure, it’s based on a pre-existing comic series, but what both show and comic do is allow creators free rein with the characters and events of the Marvel Universe, experimenting to see what would happen if you change one or two things. Though this week’s is hardly a “slight” difference.

Marvel Studios

The point of divergence here is that Odin doesn’t adopt Loki as his son, leaving Thor to become an arrogant, spoiled child who prefers to party rather than take his duties as the would-be king of Asgard seriously. How is he still worthy of Mjolnir? We have no idea and the episode isn’t interested in telling us. Instead we’re shown how Thor likes to take the Warriors Three on long benders across the galaxy, with his next destination being the “backwater” of Earth. And everyone’s invited — Drax, Rocket, Howard the Duck, the Grandmaster and even Loki and the other ice giants who somehow, are friends with Thor anyway in this reality. When you consider why and how these characters got involved in the “main” timeline in the first place, it really doesn’t add up.

Marvel Studios

You could just try to enjoy it at face value, as just a silly story with no larger bearing on continuity. However, the point has been made repeatedly that this show is technically, in continuity, and not just in the sense that the Marvel Universe consists of many realities and everything is valid somewhere. While other comics and shows can be given an official universe “number” like 616 or 1,999,999 and just written off as a huge divergence from what we know, the concept of What If…? is that it shows us incremental changes from the MCU in particular. But the divergences shown in this week’s episode are far more than incremental, with an offbeat, cartoonish tone to match. It’s the least What If-like What If…? installment so far.

Unfortunately, like most of the episodes so far, it still ends on a downbeat, one that’s sort of rushed in and not explained. I can’t even imagine how we ended up with a Vision-Ultron hybrid in possession of the Infinity Stones and, unless this episode gets a sequel, it doesn’t really matter. The ending is just a non sequitur to affirm, as every episode does, that the regular MCU sequence of events is the “correct one.” It’s tacked on, and makes what was already a messy adventure even worse.

Lucasfilm

This is where the strength of Star Wars: Visions lies. There’s no attempt to tie the episodes to each other or the larger Star Wars universe. It lets each installment stand on its own as an homage to the larger “ideas” of Star Wars, while also showcasing the idiosyncrasies of each studio. The third episode, “The Twins,” is a great example of this in action. There’s a lightsaber fight on the hull of a Star Destroyer! No one is wearing environmental suits! They’re yelling at each other despite a lack of air! People’s clothes explode off their bodies! It doesn’t make a damn lick of sense, but it doesn’t have to, because it’s not meant to be more than a bit of fun.

The Marvel Unlimited comics app just got a major overhaul

Marvel is rolling out a brand new version of its Marvel Unlimited comics subscription app. Among the updates are exclusive Infinity Comics, which are high-res vertical comics designed for phones and tablets. At the outset, 27 Infinity Comics are available, and you should have access to more than 100 by the end of the year. The comics include series such as X-Men Unlimited, Captain America, Black Widow, Deadpool, Shang-Chi and Venom/Carnage.

Experience an All-New, All-Different @MarvelUnlimited. The app with everything you need to read Marvel comics! Here are some updated features to help you dive into the Marvel Universe ⬇️ (1/6) pic.twitter.com/KLuAIhZV1S

— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) September 9, 2021

The app, which was redesigned from the ground up with the help of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, now offers unlimited downloads for offline reading and a way to share content elsewhere. Marvel's promising a streamlined design, more stability, "best-in-class speed and search tools" and personalized reading guides based on your preferences. Marvel Insider members will receive rewards for using the app too.

Also new is an annual plus subscription option, which costs $99/year. That grants access to all the perks of a monthly or regular annual plan, as well as a membership kit, invites to in-person events and a discount at Disney's digital store. The monthly plan costs $10/month, while the standard annual subscription is $69/year.

Marvel

Marvel Unlimited hosts more than 29,000 comic issues, with more added each week. However, there's at least a three-month gap between titles hitting shelves and Marvel bringing them to the app.

This is a welcome update for an app that was perhaps overdue for a refresh. So, you've been watching Marvel's What If...? series on Disney+ (or anything else from the Marvel Cinematic Universe) and are curious about checking out the comics as well, it seems as good a time as any to try Marvel Unlimited.

Marvel’s ‘What If…?’ turns grim in its third episode with mixed results

This post contains major spoilers for episode three of What If…?

After two fun, zippy stories that focused on the idea of swapping one character for another, What If…? pivots to a darker outcome in its third installment. This time, the entire Avengers slate is wiped clean, with Nick Fury left to sort out the mess. It’s a nod to the animated series’ comic inspiration, plus a sign that the show isn’t willing to settle into a routine.

The original comic book, also called What If?, often see-sawed between silly and serious scenarios, like what would happen if Spider-Man had joined the Fantastic Four, Gwen Stacy had lived or if Dazzler became Galactus’ herald. With no need to follow continuity, the creative teams of each issue in the anthology were free to take the story wherever they wanted, often in dark turns that ultimately illustrated why the original timeline was the best.

Marvel Studios

However, the What If…?Disney+ series has taken the opposite tack, showcasing one scenario where things are largely the same level of good and bad (for Captain Carter) and another where events went decidedly better (unless you’re Peter Quill). It’s likely the creators didn’t want to immediately scare away casual viewers with anything too grim, keeping the stories as light and breezy as their cinematic inspirations.

The third episode doesn’t just change this course by featuring a more pessimistic scenario, however, it also steps away from telling us upfront why things are like this. The first two episodes had Uatu explicitly pointing out the moment of divergence. This time around, we know something is different — the prospective Avengers are being murdered — but exactly how and why is a mystery.

Marvel Studios

It actually makes for a more interesting show because rather than playing a half-hour game of “spot the difference,” we become engaged in speculation about why this is happening. We know things would be vastly altered if Tony Stark or Bruce Banner dies, but now we get to play detective, plumbing our knowledge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for suspects and motives. Instead of a straight-up adventure tale, this episode was a murder mystery.

Whether it’s a successful mystery, I’m not entirely sure. Hank Pym is not someone I had considered as a suspect, even with his distaste for SHIELD and the Starks in the main timeline. The point of divergence turns out to be Hope Pym joining SHIELD and being killed on a mission, which leaves Hank alone and bitter. Why he chooses to kill five uninvolved strangers in an attempt to hurt Nick Fury is murky at best. I’d originally pegged the murder of the Avengers as a Hydra plot, which would have actually help shore up the retcon from Captain America and the Winter Soldier of SHIELD being taken over by Hydra — it’s rarely explored why Hydra let the Avengers get as far as they did in the main timeline, rather than strangling that potential opposition in its cradle.

Ultimately, the point of the episode is to set the viewer up for even darker stories to come — at least one future story is focused on zombies, a nod to the rather successful line of “Marvel Zombies” comics from over a decade ago. It also does some tidying up for the main continuity as well, reminding the viewers that three of the early MCU films took place in the same week, and that Loki is stilla jerk. It may not be essential viewing, but What If…? is certainly a useful footnote.

'Star Wars: Visions' anime trailer is packed with gorgeous visuals

One of the more exciting Star Wars projects in the immediate pipeline is Star Wars: Visions, the anime anthology series that's coming to Disney+ on September 22nd. Disney previously offered a behind-the-scenes look at the show, and now it has revealed the first trailer. You can watch the clip below in either the original Japanese with subtitles or an English dub.

The trailer is stunning, no matter the language in which you opt to watch it. The two-minute video full of Star Wars staples like lightsabers, Star Destroyers, Stormtroopers and droids, albeit with completely distinct visuals from other animated series like The Bad Batch.

Each of the nine Star Wars: Visions episodes has a unique style and an original story. Seven studios crafted the installments: Kamikaze Douga, Geno Studio (Twin Engine), Studio Colorido (Twin Engine), Trigger, Kinema Citrus, Science Saru and Production I.G. Trigger and Science Saru each made two episodes.

“Their stories showcase the full spectrum of bold storytelling found across Japanese animation; each told with a freshness and voice that expands our understanding of what a Star Wars story can be, and celebrates a galaxy that has been such an inspiration to so many visionary storytellers," James Waugh, executive producer and Lucasfilm vice president of franchise content and strategy, said.

Disney also announced the main Japanese and English voice casts for the series. Along with returning actors such as Temuera Morrison (Boba Fett), there are a host of well-known performers involved in the English dubs, including Lucy Liu, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Neil Patrick Harris, Alison Brie, Simu Liu (star of the upcoming Marvel blockbuster Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) and George Takei.

Given that George Lucas took inspiration from the films of Akira Kurosawa and Japanese culture when creating A New Hope, Visions will sort of take Star Wars back to its roots. In any case, the episodes should offer completely fresh perspectives on the Star Wars universe.

Substack signs a slate of big-name comics creators

After jumping into comics earlier this year, Substack is entering in a bigger way by signing several major creators to its platform, the New York Times has reported. The new slate of writers includes Saladin Ahmed, Jonathan Hickman, Molly Ostertag, Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV, with other writers and artists to be announced at a later date. 

As with other Substack writers, comics creators will send their work out in a newsletter format and charge subscribers directly for their work. During the first year, they'll be paid by Substack which will take most of the subscription revenue, and after that, the platform will take a 10 percent cut. Creators will retain ownership of all their materials.

Tynion IV, who recently won the Eisner award for his work on DC's Batman and other titles, said he'll work on Substack exclusively. "This wasn’t an easy decision," he told the NY Times. "In order to invest my time in new material, I needed to choose. I could not do both."

DC had presented me with a three-year renewal of my exclusive contract, with the intent of me working on Batman for the bulk of that time. I was grateful of the offer, but I couldn’t help but look at the success of my original, creator owned titles and wonder if it was the right choice.

Substack first got into comics back in June when it signed Marvel's Amazing Spider-Man writer Nick Spencer. Spencer reportedly spearheaded the idea and was the liaison between Substack and newly signed creators. On top of comic book stories, they'll publish, essays, how-to guides and other content on the platform.

Until recently, Substack has mostly focused on newsletters covering politics, technology and more. Comics, meanwhile, have been around forever on the web, but have largely been funded by ads and merchandise sales. By joining with Substack, creators will be able to engage directly with readers in a model that more closely resembles comic book sales. 

In his Substack launch post, Tynion said that he effectively turned down a three-year renewal of his DC Batman contract when Substack signed him "to create a new slate of original comic book properties directly on their platform, that my co-creators and I would own completely," he wrote. "I’m going to dedicate my whole brain to building a bunch of really cool stuff on my own terms, without having to get permission from any publisher to make it."

Omaze is giving away four-day passes to San Diego Comic-Con 2022

Those who religiously attend their local comic conventions now have the chance to go the biggest one of them all thanks to a new Omaze giveaway. The company's latest sweepstakes gives you the chance to win 4-day badges to San Diego Comic-Con 2022, with access to a special preview night. In addition to the badges, you're also getting reserved seating in Hall H for the entire convention, a personal concierge, a private tour of the Comic-Con Museum, dinner in Balboa Park and tickets to the "Night at the Comic-Con Museum" special event. The winner will also have travel to the convention and lodgings covered.

Enter to win at Omaze

The 2022 Comic-Con will mark the return of the in-person event in San Diego as the 2021 convention was postponed. Instead, the organization held the online Comic-Con Home from July 23-25 this year, and its hoping to have a smaller, supplemental "Comic-Con Special Edition" event in November, if conditions allow. You have until December 8 to enter this giveaway and the winner will be announced before the end of 2021.

Like other Omaze giveaways, you don't have to spend money to enter — and anyone can use the code AFF20 at checkout to get 20 bonus entries. But if you do buy entries, you'll increase your chances of winning. All funds raised in sweepstakes like this go to charity, and this one in particular benefits the San Diego Comic Convention, which is a nonprofit public benefit corporation devoted to increasing public awareness and appreciation for comics and similar art forms.

If you're unfamiliar with Omaze, it's a site that raises money for charities through giveaways and experiences. You can read more about how the allocation of funds works by reading the "Fundraising Transparency" section at the bottom of the giveaway page.

Pricing and availability is subject to change. No donation or payment necessary to enter or win this sweepstakes.See official rules on Omaze.