“New 52” Batman
6 Inch Scale
2013 may be Superman’s big year with Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel coming out this summer but as usual Big Blue may be overshadowed a certain Dark Knight Detective. Currently, Batman is dominating nearly all forms of mass media, with a new animated series set to debut this spring, animated films chronicling his adventures with the JLA and solo, the video games Arkham Asylum and Arkham City still heating up game consoles, and several appearances in Mattel toylines (biggest news there being the classic 1966 TV show finally getting the action figure treatment this fall), with the newest offering and the subject of this review being in the 6” scale range from the successor to DC Universe Classics, DC Unlimited. So without further ado…nanananananananana….BATMAN!
As a young boy, Bruce Wayne saw his parents fall victim to a senseless crime. His focused purpose became to avenge their deaths by fighting Gotham City’s criminal elements a Batman. The people of Gotham City see Batman as an almost mythical figure, able to tame any adversary, no matter how powerful. To thwart crime, he relies on his awesome deductive powers, sheer physical speed, and an assortment of high-tech weaponry and unique crime-fighting aids.
When DC announced it was rebooting its entire universe in 2011, dubbing it “the new 52”, much of the company’s near eighty year history was wiped, with the exception of Batman; aside from the erasing of previous Batgirl Stephanie Brown from the timeline, much of Batman’s previous history remained intact. Also unlike most of the DC Universe, Batman has fared better with his current storylines. “Night of the Owls” and “Death of the Family” have both garnered much acclaim, with the core Batman titles getting its best reviews in years.
2011 also marked the end of DC Universe Classics at retail (Wave 20 being released a year later), to be replaced at first by the rarely seen All-Stars line, and now the Unlimited imprint that is both a replacement for DCUC as well as last year’s Batman Legacy line. Keeping that in mind, the focus of Unlimited is to present characters from the DC Universe as they appear currently, while Batman Unlimited features different facets of the Batman mythos from the years; wave 1 also includes Batgirl appears in her new-52 costume while the Penguin is in colors reminiscent of his Super Powers figure. Wave 2, already hitting stores, is slated to include Batman from Frank Miller’s game changing “The Dark Knight Returns” and another Bats called Planet X Batman (pulled from an obscure Silver Age tale and given a much darker turn in Grant Morrison’s hands during the “Batman R.I.P.” storyline), while yet another is intended to appear in an outfit from the upcoming Injustice: Gods Among Us video game.
Again, for 2013 being Superman’s big year, there’s an awful lot of Batman going around.
So I’ve been watching A&E’s new Bates Motel TV show and I thought I’d share some thoughts on it. The show seems to be getting some popular buzz and if we’re good at anything here at Infinite Hollywood, it’s trying to capitalize on something for our own benefit. Truth be told, I’ve been a bit of a Psycho kick recently, digging out my Big Lots bargain DVD set of the three original Psycho sequels and watching them in the past few weeks. I had planned to review them here, but general laziness supercedes all.
Anyway, coming into A&E’s new take on the old tale of Norman Bates, there’s a lot to compare it to. Frankly, the few other reviews I’ve taken a look at disgust me, because they act as if there was only ever one Psycho film. Look, Hitchcock’s Psycho is a timeless classic, but it’s an absolute disservice to everyone to pretend like that’s the only exposure we ever got to Norman Bates. The following three Psycho sequels are all fine films in their own right and throughout there are some incredible moments (some dumb ones too) but Anthony Perkins was able to craft Norman Bates into a really interesting and misunderstood character, turning in downright fantastic performances in each film.
And that’s probably the biggest problem with Bates Motel, there is no Anthony Perkins. No, I don’t mean the actor (although it’s certainly sad Perkins is no longer with us, I would have loved a Psycho 5) but rather there’s no one who can command the screen quite like him. Perkins’ magic, was that he could make you very interested in what he was doing, even if the movie he was in wasn’t all that great. Nobody does steely eyed lunatic, quite like Perkins did.
Freddy Highmore shouldn’t necessarily be compared to Perkins, despite the obvious reasons to want to, but Highmore has problems of his own to worry about beyond comparisons. In the first episode, Highmore exposes his British accent two or three times. Seriously, how did A&E let that slip? He’s also a tad too babyfaced and generally likeable. I suppose that could work if he eventually does become a ruthless killer, but with a show of this nature you risk turning the audience off by making him suddenly turn on a dime. There does seem to be a bit of a darkside hiding behind those eyes, so maybe he can make it work.
This of course leads us to another problem with the show overall and that’s turning Bates into a hero or a good guy. This is something that plagued the later Psycho sequels, although sometimes it was used to great effect in that Bates couldn’t change his stripes even when he tried. This show doesn’t have that working for them, however, as we’re seeing Norman before he’s a “psycho” and again it starts to put the whole premise into dangerous territory.
It’s an idea so simple, I’m surprised it hasn’t been done already. Alice Cooper has teamed up with Tom Sheppard (Guy behind Annoying Orange) and a litany of talented comic book artists and writers to come up with a horror anthology comic book series in the same vein as the old E.C. Tales From The Crypt (and it’s numerous spinoffs and clones) called Uncle Alice Presents… They’ve decided to head to Kickstarter to get it done and are currently looking to raise around $200,000 for the first 12 issues.
As a Kickstarter project, that’s first, an ambitious goal, but it’s also an admirable one because it will see the production of a total of 12 comics. Alice Cooper is no stranger to comics, he even managed to have a Marvel comic back in the day. Cooper has always been very intelligent about parlaying his stardom into a constant pop culture presence. He spent enough time with Vincent Price to really have the horror chops as well and of course, if you’ve ever heard his nighttime radio talkshow, you know he can be very engaging on a wide variety of topics.
However, Tom and Alice make no bones about it, they really want to turn this into a TV show. Personally, I think that would be incredible. There’s a hilarious little video accompanying their Kickstarter Page that sort of gives you an idea of how Alice would work as a host.
It’s a brilliant concept and the TV show is definitely more enticing than the comic. Alice’s personality is just such a natural fit for a show like this and as Cooper gets older, he certainly really starts to look the part of a creepy horror host even more. However, it all has to come one step at a time. The Kickstarter does have stretch goals of filming a pilot (but it’s around $750,000) to pitch to networks. Personally I think if they can get the comic going, then there’s potential to pitch it a network without fans having to fund the filming of the show. Either way, I love Alice Cooper, so I couldn’t not plug this project in hopes that someday this gets made.
Check out the Official Uncle Alice Presents Kickstarter, watch the video, join the cause and then tell them Infinite Hollywood sent ya!
7 Inch Scale
By Diamond/Marvel Select
Hello and salutations true believers! Batced here, as one of Infinite Hollywood’s newest contributors. I’ve been a long time reader of the site and have been an even longer fan of all things pertaining to pop culture, even previously maintaining a blog covering such subjects. Kicking things off, we’ll take a look at the newest product from Marvel Select: the man they call VENOM.
The vigilante known as Venom is actually a symbiotic being consisting of the human reporter Eddie Brock and a fluid, intelligent organism from outer space who feeds on his adrenaline, granting him all the powers of Spider-Man. When they first found each other, both held grudges against the hero, wreaking havoc in his life but Venom later became a hero on his own, protecting the innocent and helping to stop several other symbiotic beings that had split off from himself. At one point, Venom bonded with a second symbiote, causing him to grow additional arms and heads, as well as driving him mad. Both Brock and the symbiote have since bonded with other partners.
The bio from the back of the package is pretty clear from the get-go as to who this is supposed to be. It is not the Anti-Venom, or Ultimate Venom. Nor is it Flash Thompson or Mac Gargan, but good old Eddie Brock in all of his goopy glory.
Now, I didn’t start reading comics seriously until I was in middle school – and before then I was mostly into the stable at DC Comics – but even then I knew that Marvel put out some of the better cartoons of the day (with the obvious exception of Batman: The Animated Series) and the best by leaps and bounds was the Spider-Man animated series. Although storylines were changed and altered for the timeframe of the cartoon, it proved itself – like relative series’ based on the X-Men, Hulk, and Iron Man – to be just as literary as its source material.
As such, while the show did a version of the ‘Secret Wars’ mini-series from the 80s that saw Peter first gain the symbiotic costume (issue #8 for those playing the home game,) within the timeline of the show, Peter and the viewers were first introduced to the alien costume in the episodes of the same name much earlier and under different circumstances. This didn’t change the eventual outcome, which saw Brock ruined by Peter Parker and swearing revenge in a church only to be bonded to the symbiote after Peter shed it from his body. I do believe that Sam Raimi used this origin begrudgingly in Spider-Man 3 as well, although I also do believe not a lot of people want to be reminded of that particular entry in the Raimi series.