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RZA To Direct Adaptation Of Grant Morrison’s Happy!

With his directorial debut, The Man With the Iron Fists, less than a month away, RZA is continuing his push into directing.

The former hip-hip producer and frontman for the Wu-Tang Clan is teaming up with comic book author Grant Morrison and producer Reginald Hudlin to adapt Morrison’s latest comic, Happy!, for the big screen.

RZA is attached to direct and would produce with Hudlin, a producer on Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. Morrison will write the script.

Hollywood Reporter: NY Comic-Con: RZA Teaming Up With Grant Morrison for ‘Happy!’ (Exclusive)

(via Wolven)

Batman: Plutocrat

Bruce Wayne

Steven Padnick does a much better job expressing why I’m uncomfortable with the traditional version of the Batman/Bruce Wayne mythos, leading me to create my own alternative version, than I could:

Just look at who he fights. Superman (for example) fights intergalactic dictators, evil monopolists, angry generals, and dark gods, i.e. symbols of abusive authority. Batman fights psychotics, anarchists, mob bosses, the mentally ill, and environmentalists, i.e. those who would overthrow the status quo. Superman fights those who would impose their version of order on the world. Batman fights those who would unbalance the order Batman himself imposes on Gotham. […]

Of course, Batman doesn’t like the upper class he belongs to, either! Shallow, petty, boring, and vain, they know nothing of the pain and suffering he sees every night when he hunts killers through the slums of Gotham, every day when he closes his eyes. But does he dislike his wealthy peers because they don’t appreciate how wealthy they are? Or is it because they aren’t wealthy enough to appreciate how much responsibility he has?

But even if he thinks they’re upper class twits, he really doesn’t do anything about it. He leaves them in place, protects them from harm, flirts with and beds them. They’re not the bad guys, after all. It’s all those poor evil people. The one’s who keep crashing the gate, the ones who happened to be hurt in the hunt for profits. If it comes to a clash between the twit and the poor schlub they screwed over and disfigured, Batman tends to side with the twit. (To his disgust, yes, but he’ll do it.)

Tor: Batman: Plutocrat

The Christopher Nolan version does its best to skirt around this by making the Waynes progressive elites who help the poor and develop alternative energy systems and by making the threats to the status quo (mob bosses, the Joker, Bane) legitimately worse than the status quo. Note, for example, that Batman/Bruce Wayne are aware of John Daggett’s shady dealings in Africa, yet Daggett only becomes a concern when he steals Bruce Wayne’s finger prints and begins meddling with the Gotham Stock Exchange.

Early Issues of Heavy Metal Reassessed

Heavy Metal issue one cover

Sean Witzke reviews the first two issues of Heavy Metal magazine:

The first issue of Heavy Metal is shakily put together by the offices of National Lampoon. Equal parts translated reprints from Metal Hurlant, American underground comics, and new work, which is how the book would eventually move forward throughout the years. The first issue isn’t quite sure of the tone it wants to set or the kind of material they’d be interested in publishing. Metal Hurlant had a very vague definition of “science fiction”, one that the uncredited introductory editorial at the start of the issue pokes fun at. Heavy Metal is just a name for the book, and the material inside may have an emphasis on science fiction it is by no means a collection of science fiction or fantasy. Instead it a showcase of the kind of talent and the kinds of comics that would become the magazine’s standard – here in the first issue are Moebius, Druillet, Corben, Mezieres, and Vaughn Bode. All make their first appearances to herald a defining run on the series where for YEARS in every issue, at least one story was made by an absolute genius of the medium, even if it was a two page gag strip.

Full Story: supervillain: Time builds itself painlessly around them

(via Ian)

See also:

Heavy Metal Fan Page

Ian’s Moebius site

Prometheus (the Movie) Deconstructed

I thought Prometheus was an awful movie, but I loved writer Adrian Bott’s analysis of its mythological underpinnings:

Prometheus contains such a huge amount of mythic resonance that it effectively obscures a more conventional plot. I’d like to draw your attention to the use of motifs and callbacks in the film that not only enrich it, but offer possible hints as to what was going on in otherwise confusing scenes.

Let’s begin with the eponymous titan himself, Prometheus. He was a wise and benevolent entity who created mankind in the first place, forming the first humans from clay. The Gods were more or less okay with that, until Prometheus gave them fire. This was a big no-no, as fire was supposed to be the exclusive property of the Gods. As punishment, Prometheus was chained to a rock and condemned to have his liver ripped out and eaten every day by an eagle. (His liver magically grew back, in case you were wondering.)

Fix that image in your mind, please: the giver of life, with his abdomen torn open. We’ll be coming back to it many times in the course of this article.

The ethos of the titan Prometheus is one of willing and necessary sacrifice for life’s sake. That’s a pattern we see replicated throughout the ancient world. J G Frazer wrote his lengthy anthropological study, The Golden Bough, around the idea of the Dying God – a lifegiver who voluntarily dies for the sake of the people. It was incumbent upon the King to die at the right and proper time, because that was what heaven demanded, and fertility would not ensue if he did not do his royal duty of dying.

Now, consider the opening sequence of Prometheus. We fly over a spectacular vista, which may or may not be primordial Earth. According to Ridley Scott, it doesn’t matter. A lone Engineer at the top of a waterfall goes through a strange ritual, drinking from a cup of black goo that causes his body to disintegrate into the building blocks of life. We see the fragments of his body falling into the river, twirling and spiralling into DNA helices.

Ridley Scott has this to say about the scene: ‘That could be a planet anywhere. All he’s doing is acting as a gardener in space. And the plant life, in fact, is the disintegration of himself. If you parallel that idea with other sacrificial elements in history – which are clearly illustrated with the Mayans and the Incas – he would live for one year as a prince, and at the end of that year, he would be taken and donated to the gods in hopes of improving what might happen next year, be it with crops or weather, etcetera.’

Can we find a God in human history who creates plant life through his own death, and who is associated with a river? It’s not difficult to find several, but the most obvious candidate is Osiris, the epitome of all the Frazerian ‘Dying Gods’.

And we wouldn’t be amiss in seeing the first of the movie’s many Christian allegories in this scene, either. The Engineer removes his cloak before the ceremony, and hesitates before drinking the cupful of genetic solvent; he may well have been thinking ‘If it be Thy will, let this cup pass from me.’

So, we know something about the Engineers, a founding principle laid down in the very first scene: acceptance of death, up to and including self-sacrifice, is right and proper in the creation of life. Prometheus, Osiris, John Barleycorn, and of course the Jesus of Christianity are all supposed to embody this same principle. It is held up as one of the most enduring human concepts of what it means to be ‘good’.

Seen in this light, the perplexing obscurity of the rest of the film yields to an examination of the interwoven themes of sacrifice, creation, and preservation of life. We also discover, through hints, exactly what the nature of the clash between the Engineers and humanity entailed.

Full Story: Cavalorn: Prometheus Unbound: What The Movie Was Actually About

I still think the movie was terrible (see also: Prometheus in 15 Minutes), but Bott’s analysis shows how much more interesting it could have been. (Ridley Scott, if you’re reading this, it seems you could do a lot worse than Bott as a screenwriter for the sequel.)

And speaking of the Alien franchise, see also: James Cameron’s responses to Aliens critics

Ad·ver·sary: We Demand Better

From I Die You Die:

We were contacted a few days before leaving for Kinetik by Jairus Khan from Ad·ver·sary. He told us that he was planning a visual presentation for his set at the festival which he anticipated would attract a lot of attention, and wanted to speak to us about it. The presentation related to themes and imagery in the work of two other artists on the opening night Kinetik bill, specifically Combichrist and Nachtmahr. The presentation, which can be viewed here, or at the bottom of this post, openly critiques what Jairus perceives as the use of misogynist and racist tropes in those band’s music and publicity materials. We spoke to Jairus after seeing an early version of the video.

Full Story: Interview with Jairus Khan from Ad·ver·sary

See also:

Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is

3 New Dossiers: Process Church of the Final Judgement, Amber Case, David Cronenberg

Three new dossiers are up:

The Process Church of The Final Judgement, the 60s cult.

Amber Case, the cyborg anthropologist.

David Cronenberg, the body horror film director.

Instruments for Operating on Mutant Women

The Criterion collection has a bunch of David Cronenberg memorabilia on display, including a photo gallery of these props from Dead Ringers: the so called “Instruments for Operating on Mutant Women.”

Also check out this feedback card from a test screening for Videodrome.

(via Justin)

See also: David Cronenberg on Gender

How a Team of Outsiders Created Doctor Who

Doctor Who

i09 has some interesting back history of Doctor Who and how difficult it was to get the show made:

Also, at the panel, Hussein and William Russell talked about how the first Doctor, William Hartnell, wasn’t just a cantankerous old man — he was also a very traditional Englishman, who wasn’t used to the idea of women working outside the home. And he didn’t know what to make of Hussein, “an East Indian who spoke posh English,” said Hussein. Thus, Hartnell took a lot of convincing that an East Asian man and a young woman were going to be up to their jobs. The first lunch Hussein and Lambert had with Hartnell, he seemed reluctant to take on the role, and they almost gave up. In the end, they decided to have a second lunch with Hartnell, at which it became clear that the actor wanted them to prove their qualifications.

i09: The creators of Doctor Who were a scandal

Dune/Star Wars Parallels

Justine Shaw, Star Wars and Dune comparison

Probably obvious to those who have read the book and seen the movies, but interesting in light of the Skywalker Paradigm, which holds, for example, that Jabba is nobility and not a gangster (he’s referred to as “Lord,” Luke must approach him diplomatically) and that the Jedi do not have supernatural powers, but are just master manipulators and hypnotists (sort of like male Bene Gesserit).

The page includes details on many of the influences on Dune as well, such as General Semantics.

Star Wars Origins: Dune

See also:

Sacrifice and Submission: Game of Thrones and the Aesthetics of Fascism

Jodorowsky’s Dune

New Online Comic: The Yankee by Jason Leivian and Ian MacEwan

The Yankee (probably not safe for work) is a new serialized online comic by former Arthur Magazine comics editor and Floating World Comics owner Jason Leivian and artist Ian MacEwan (aka Popjellyfish).

“The Yankee is a dumb American. He’s Cosmo Vitelli. He’s Prince Rogers Nelson. He’s a Richard Pryor monologue. Psychedel-economic fiction set in the Nation States of America.”

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