Confessions of a Comic Book Guy is a weekly column by Steve Bennett of Super-Fly Comics and Games in Yellow Springs, Ohio. This week, Bennett talks about movies, digital comics, and TV music.
Race to Witch Mountain was the #1 movie in America last weekend so obviously most of the country didn't have the problem I had with the one-liner appearing in the TV commercials promoting it. It may sound like a non sequitur but for those who haven't seen it there is in fact a character named Jack who in spite of his better judgment does enter a fridge. I get that it's supposed to be funny but it hardly raised a chuckle the first time and seeing the same spot in heavy rotation for six weeks hasn't made it any funnier.
What's worse is the power of repetition seems to have turned it into a catch phrase -- Google (I originally mistyped that as "Googile", and given how often I use Google in a day if I had to give my religious affiliation that would probably do) it and see what you find. I suppose I should be grateful someone at Disney finally realized the phrase might not belong in advertising for a movie geared towards tweens. Now there are a couple, one where the line goes "Don't go into the creepy fridge, Jack" and another where it becomes the important safety tip "Don't go into the fridge." The last thing the movie needs is a kid imitating the movie and getting trapped inside a fridge.
I told you that so I could tell you this: Dwayne Johnson, star of the movie, is poised to portray Race Bannon in a live action movie version of The Adventures of Jonny Quest, with Zac Efron set as a much older Jonny. Apparently enough time has passed since last summer's Speed Racer so producers can pitch a big budget remake of a cartoon series without getting laughed at. And Speed Racer's lack of success has obviously led producers to believe the best way to make a Jonny Quest movie a success is to make it as little like the original source material is possible.
Now I'm a huge fan of the show and ten years ago this scenario might have driven me insane but the producers are probably right; as much as I'd like to see the early 1960s meticulously recreated onscreen a thorough update is no doubt the way to go. So instead of an Aryan Race calling indigenous people a bunch of "heathen monkeys" he'll be multi-racial and maybe this time they'll figure out what exactly Hadji's background is supposed to be (his turban clearly identifies him as a Sikh yet his name is a variation on "Hadj", the fifth pillar of Islam, meaning a Muslim's pilgrimage to Mecca).
Getting back to last week's subject of "What's Next?" there was an article in Hollywood Reporter by Georg Szalai titled Marvel Hopes to Climb to No. 2 in Licensing which interviews Marvel Entertainment's Vice Chairman Peter Cuneo. There was the usual stuff about how Marvel is ready to move on up behind Disney when it comes to the licensing their characters. But it also contained this interesting line: "He also mentioned that Marvel's biggest digital opportunity may be digital downloads of comic books to cell phones."
It's a simple, unambiguous sentence yet I have questions. For instance, who exactly does Mr. Cuneo see downloading these Marvel Comics? If it's a new audience I'd like to know how he plans to attract it and with what (the only current Marvel titles I can think of that wouldn't be entirely impenetrable to a civilian audience are Thor, Daredevil and Spider-Man). And if he's expecting the current print readership or even their Digital Comics Unlimited subscribers to start downloading I think he's in for something of a surprise.
If they'd undercut the suggested retail price of a print comic I'm sure some of Super-Fly's younger customers (i.e. anyone who Twitters) might be tempted to try downloads but of course reading comics is only part of the overall experience. It's also about having, bagging, boarding, sorting, storing and endlessly rereading them, so the real question (I think, anyway) is what value the owner of a download would give to it if it couldn't be treated the same way as a print comic.
This I Do Not Know
I knew that the television writer/producer Chuck Lorre (Two and a Half Men, Big Bang Theroy) had written for animation in his early days, but in #243 of the vanity cards that appear very, very briefly at the end of his shows he reveals: "Co-write theme song for new animated series called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The show is a massive international success. The music publisher tells my partner and I that we will not be paid music royalties for the millions of video games and video cassettes being sold. The reason we are given is that they'd rather not pay us."
The opinions expressed in this Talk Back column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.
Column by Steve Bennett
March 18 2009 @ 12:00 am CT
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