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Alan Moore: 'League of Extraordinary Gentlemen' show is 'dustbin' hunting

There have been 33 feature films based on DC Comics since 1951, yet the Hollywood history of DC has been largely limited to a trio of characters too vivid to exist in the real world: Batman, Superman, and Alan Moore.

The first two everyone knows. The third is a British writer who, while not technically a fictional character, is absolutely a character of the highest order. But in what way does he rank with the caped legends? Four of Moore’s brilliant comic book epics have been adapted by Hollywood: Watchmen, V for Vendetta, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and From Hell. A fifth film, Constantine, was based on a character he created, and a sixth, Return of the Swamp Thing, was propelled by his landmark three-year work on bog monster’s series.

Those individual movies range from underrated and okay (Watchmen, Constantine) to overcooked and odious (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). But collectively, they put Moore’s bookshelf not far behind Gotham City lore (nine Batman movies plus the stray spinoff Catwoman) and Metropolis mythology (the seventh Superman film is now in theaters, plus Supergirl and Steel, which were as bizarro-stupid as they sound.)

Moore lives in Northampton,  England, the same place he was born 59 years ago. Since then, he’s covered a lot of territory, and not just in this dimension. Moore’s interesting look — a bushy prophet beard, a menacing sorcerer’s glare, and metallic talons on his fingers — fit a guy who identified himself as an anarchist and (with a wink) a worshiper of Glycon, the 2nd Century snake god. But even with all that, it was only after Moore refused to cash his Hollywood paychecks that his industry peers began to wonder about his grip.

Moore is no forest hermit despite some past press portrayals, but he does live off the grid if your definition of “basic shelter” includes wi-fi coverage. “I have very few connections with the 21st century, actually,” Moore said last week over the most modern of connections: a landline telephone with a curly cord stretching all the way to the 20th century.

The line was busy the first couple times I dialed, but Moore picked up on my third try and I found (just like the first time I interviewed him, back in 2008) that there was far more mischief in his voice than malice, even when he took shots at DC Comics and Hollywood, which he sees as factories that grind art (and artists) into pulp that can be sold, recycled, and then sold again in new shapes.

The topic is timely: Moore’s name was in Hollywood headlines last week when reports surfaced that Fox has ordered up a League of Extraordinary Gentleman television pilot with hopes that a savvy small-screen take on the material could right the many wrongs made by director Stephen Norrington’s 2003 film (which notoriously drove star Sean Connery into retirement). [Read Owen Gleiberman's review here.]

That same television do-over approach worked for Fox with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but that series had the character’s creator, Joss Whedon, on board to show the way. Moore laughed when asked if he or League artist and co-creator Kevin O’Neill would be involved in any way with the broadcast venture.

NEXT: “It seems they are recycling things that have already proven not to work.”

Comic-Con: Wolverine + bunny cuteness? Some wounds don't heal

“You had to be there.” A droll expression in most settings but not at Comic-Con International  where good things (namely “exclusives,” the one-time-only collectibles sold at the pop culture expo) come to those who wait in lines that seem to stretch to the Orange County line. Here’s a first look at some of this year’s San Diego exclusives…

Why look it’s…um, it’s a Wolverine…bunny-like…item?

READ FULL STORY

'Inhuman': EW Exclusive! Check out Joe Madureira's cover for Marvel's radical new comic book

Yesterday, EW exclusively revealed the gamechanging Marvel event “Inhumanity,” wherein the mystical power-granting substance known as the Terrigen Mists is released around the world, creating a massive number of newly-superpowered individuals. Today, we’re excited to share the cover for Inhuman, the new regular comic book which launches at the end of 2013 written by Matt Fraction (Hawkeye) and drawn by Joe Madureira, currently working on Savage Wolverine and known for a legendary ’90s run on Uncanny X-Men. READ FULL STORY

Comic-Con: Kanye West's art director delivers 'Head Smash' to comics

There’s a long history of comic book artists treading into the neighboring world of album cover art especially when psychedelia, counter-culture, fantasy or heavy metal bridged the distance between the art table and the turn table. Usually it’s an art table star — like R. Crumb, Berni Wrightson, Barry Windsor-Smith or Paul Pope to just a few — playing the tourist in turntable territory but the exact opposite is the case with the cover for Head Smash.

The haunting image is the handiwork of Joe Perez, the designer and art director best known for his work with Kanye West and Donda. Perez’s portfolio includes the Cruel Summer album cover in 2012, for example, but never a comic book. That changes with the brutal dystopian visions of Head Smash , which features interior art by Dwayne Harris and the original cover by Tim Bradstreet. The world is the creation of Vlad Yudin of The Vladar Company and was co-written with Erik Hendrix of Arcana and premieres down at Comic-Con International. We caught up with Perez to get in tune with his mixed media. See the art below.

READ FULL STORY

This Week's Cover: Superman at 75

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Time really does fly.

For three-quarters of a century, Superman has been fighting the good fight, keeping Earth and its inhabitants safe from all manner of villainy and disaster. As the DC Comics character turns 75, he’s also getting a major big-screen relaunch in director Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, opening Friday.

So for this week’s cover, Entertainment Weekly is taking a look back at all the critical moments in Superman’s evolution from dimestore hero to American pop-culture icon. We start with his first appearance in 1938’s Action Comics #1, and track him along every major step (and occasional misstep) up through his reemergence in the form of Man of Steel‘s angry, passionate, lost Superman, as played by Henry Cavill.

Here’s what you can find in EW’s obsessive history of the man in the red cape:

READ FULL STORY

'Fast & Furious 6' star Michelle Rodriguez wishes there were better female superheroes

Hollywood has a go-to tough girl, and her name is Michelle Rodriguez. Ever since her breakout role in Girlfight, the 2000 indie where she played a troubled teen who finds her identity through boxing, Rodriguez has dominated the market on roles that call for a tough, no-nonsense beauty who can throw a punch without breaking her withering glare. Not only is she the alpha-female in the Fast and the Furious franchise, but she piloted a space chopper in Avatar, played a vengeful ex-cop on Lost, and scrapped with aliens in Battle: Los Angeles.

EW caught up with Rodriguez at the Los Angeles premiere of Fast & Furious 6, to talk about Machete Robert Rodriguez, her love of DC comics, and her frustration with female comic-book characters. READ FULL STORY

Peter Parker with a bong? Joe Casey springs 'The Bounce' -- FIRST LOOK

When readers first met young Peter Parker, back in 1962 on the opening page of Amazing Fantasy No. 15, he’s wearing spectacles, carrying schoolbooks and listening too hard to the latest insult.

It’s a little different when readers are greeted by young Jasper Jenkins — the title character of Joe Casey’s The Bounce — in our exclusive preview of the first issue. Instead of eyeglasses, he’s got glassy eyes and the object in his hand looks suspiciously like a three-foot bong. He’s also ignoring the latest lecture. “With great power comes great responsibility” still applies — but in the case of this 21st century slacker soul, it may also be accompanied by metahuman munchies.

NOTE: The preview pages below contain R-rated language and drug use. READ FULL STORY

FIRST LOOK: Neil Gaiman's avenging Angela will make Marvel history

Angela

Her name is Angela and she’s a bounty hunter on a mission from God — and heaven help any Marvel character who’s not on the side of the angels.

The image above, by fan-favorite artist Joe Quesada (who “moonlights” as Marvel Chief Creative Officer) is the first look at the scantily clad celestial agent who will make her Marvel debut in the 10th and final issue of Age of Ultron – but many longtime comics fans already know the name (and that barely-there outfit) from her past life beyond the Marvel multiverse. READ FULL STORY

This Week's Cover: Behind the soulful new 'Man of Steel'

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The makers of Man of Steel had to start thinking like a cadre of supervillains: how do you get under Superman’s invincible skin and really make him hurt?

This week’s cover story reveals how the new film (out June 14) attempts to humanize the superhuman by finding new flaws and vulnerabilities. The most common one, however, was off the table: “I’ll be honest with you, there’s no Kryptonite in the movie,” says director Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) Those glowing green space rocks – Superman’s only crippling weakness – have turned up so often as a plot point in movies, the only fresh option was not to use it. Anyway, if you want to make an audience relate to a character, a galactic allergy isn’t the way to do it.

Henry Cavill (Immortals), the latest star to wear the red cape, instead plays a Superman who isn’t fully comfortable with that god-like title. This film reveals that even on Krypton, young Kal-El was a special child, whose birth was cause for alarm on his home planet. (More on that in the magazine) And once on Earth, his adoptive parents, Ma and Pa Kent (Kevin Costner and Diane Lane), urge him not to use his immense strength – even in dire emergencies — warning that not every human would be as accepting of him as they are. So Clark Kent grows up feeling isolated, longing for a connection to others, and constantly hiding who he is. As a result, Man of Steel presents the frustrated Superman, the angry Superman, the lost Superman. “Although he is not susceptible to the frailties of mankind, he is definitely susceptible to the emotional frailties,” Cavill says.

That’s just the set-up. Once the Kryptonian villain General Zod (Boardwalk Empire’s Michael Shannon) arrives to threaten the Earth, eventually the passionate Superman steps forward, too. It helps that he has a reason to care about the home he’s defending, and we can all thank Amy Adams’ Lois Lane for that. “I think she’s very transient. She’s ready to pick up and go at a moment’s notice,” Adams says of the hard-bitten journalist. “I think that definitely could be part of what she sees in Superman — not really laying down roots, not developing trust.”

Based on footage EW has seen, the film (which was directed by Zack Snyder and shepherded by Christopher Nolan) has plenty of building-smashing, train-slinging, heat-vision-blasting battles to cut through the emotional heaviness. “You want to give the audience great spectacle. You want them to go to the movie, be eating their popcorn and be like, ‘Wow!’” says Man of Steel producer Charles Roven, who also worked on The Dark Knight trilogy. “But it’s just not good enough to give them the ‘Wow.’ You want them to be emotionally engaged. Because if you just have the ‘wow,’ ultimately you get bludgeoned by that and you stop caring.”

Those who’ve long felt the super-confident, super-controlled Superman has gotten super dull may be glad to see him finally challenged in ways that go beyond bullets bouncing off of his chest.

inthisissue0410For more on Man of Steel and 108 other summer movies — including Johnny Depp’s views on playing The Lone Ranger‘s Tonto (“He’s damaged. He’s just looking to get back on track”), Jennifer Aniston’s prep work for the comedy We’re the Millers (“This fabulous dance instructor just pulled the inner stripper out of me,”), and Sandra Bullock’s first impressions of working with Melissa McCarthy and director Paul Feig on The Heat (“The first week I was like, ‘What the hell is going on here?'”)  — pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands April 12th.

Wonder Woman: 10 super sexist moments from her vintage comics

Wonder Woman arrived on newsstands in December 1941 with a secret mission from her creator, William Moulton Marston: represent “psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world,” as Marston himself put it.

Marston believed women to be inherently superior to men and his Amazon creation lived up to that view — but not for very long. Marston moved on and his creation quickly became a symbol for numbing sexism in a puerile forum — a woman in hot pants written and drawn by men for a medium aimed at boys.

The contradictions of the character are at the core of Wonder Women! The Untold Stories of American Superheroines, which is airing this week on PBS. EW talked recently with one of the filmmakers behind the documentary, Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, and with her help, we went back through vintage Wonder Woman comics and found 10 jaw-dropping moments of surreal sexism. Here’s how we would describe each of them if we were caught in the golden loops of Wonder Woman’s lasso of truth.

All-Star Comics No. 12, 1942: The mighty Wonder Woman is invited to join the Justice Society… as the club secretary. She accepts, and Hawkman, Dr. Mid-Nite and the guys serenade her with “For she’s a jolly good fellow…” How thoughtful. Later the mightiest Amazon dutifully waits behind while the men go off to fight. Those men include Al Pratt, a.k.a. the Atom, a 5-foot-1 tough guy who has no superpowers and wears a weightlifting belt as part of his costume. READ FULL STORY

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