Hellboy Returns (Sort of…)

This is an image of Ron Perlman as Hellboy from Guillermo Del Toro’s 2008 movie, Hellboy II: The Golden Army.

If anyone could be said to be destined to play a character it’s Perlman, who’s Hellboy looked like he was pulled from the pages of Mike Mignola’s comic.

Flash forward to 2017 when the third film (Del Toro always intended to make a trilogy featuring Hellboy) was for a time considered, then abandoned.

For awhile it appeared that that was the end of Hellboy movies for the foreseeable future, till we learned that there would indeed be another, though without the participation of either Del Toro or Perlman.

This time around Hellboy will be directed by Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, The Descent, Doomsday) and played by David Harbour (Stranger Things).

And I admit that it bothered me.  Guillermo Del Toro is for my money one of the most visually interesting directors working today and to have someone else do what would have been the final chapter in his penultimate Hellboy story somehow felt…wrong.

And to be sure, the way Del Toro either abandoned projects or had them fall apart for one reason or another didn’t exactly assuage my unease.

I mention all the above because today an image was released of David Harbour as Hellboy and it looks…pretty damn good!

He’s certainly more vascular than Perlman’s version of the character.  And for me he visually gives off a very Conan-vibe, circa 2011 and Jason Momoa.

I also like the moodier way he appears to be photographed.  With Guillermo Del Toro I felt that he made sure that you were aware that you were watching a comic writ large, which was his intention.

Neil Marshall may be taking an entirely different route in that the producers are working with a hard-R, as opposed to a PG-13 rating–thanks Deadpool though Blade should get the real credit–so a more visceral, physical feel is likely what the new producers are looking to achieve.

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Del Toro’s Fantastic Voyage

Guillermo Del Toro ranks among my favorite directors, though what I have seen–which is exclusively the trailer–of The Shape of Water left me underwhelmed.

Color palette-wise it feels a lot like Blade II, while story-wise and visually it feels like The Further Adventures of Abe Sapien (though part of me hopes the movie is a backdoor way for Del Toro to delve deeper into the worlds of H.P Lovecraft).

In other words, despite never having seen the movie, I feel like I have, which is never a good thing.

Now, Del Toro directing a remake of 1966’s Fantastic Voyage?  Now that I’m interested in!

By the way, this is how you do remakes!  Most people don’t even remember the original–though there also was a cartoon based on it two years later, never mind the novel–so it’s going to be new to most, which should give the producers room to veer from the source material if necessary.

Though there’s a fly in the soup, namely David Goyer, who’s writing (though to be fair Goyer also wrote Blade II and Del Toro was apparently able to reign in his hackier tendencies, so hope springs eternal).

By the way, Guru!?  Notice how everyone on the team has an actual name, while the Indian character doesn’t (A guru is ‘a religious teacher and spiritual guide in Hinduism…’).

That’s like naming someone ‘teacher’ or ‘bar keep.’  And I won’t even start on the ‘master of mysterious powers’ malarkey.

Raising Hell(boy)

When I read yesterday that the kibosh had been put on Hellboy III by none other than Guillermo Del Toro himself, I have to admit that I was a bit put out.

And what his account lacks in detail, it more than made up for in finality. 

As I said, I was a bit bothered, till I gave it some thought. The first Hellboy premiered in 2004, and like most projects Del Toro tackled, the love he felt for the subject matter saturated every frame.

The sequel, Hellboy II: The Golden Army came four years later, and managed to build on what was introduced in the first movie, while at the same time expanding on the world of the  B.P.R.D (the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense).

And as usual, it was a beautiful movie.  Del Toro was one of the first directors I can recall who used color to saturate a scene and I am confident in saying no one does so with more  assurance than he (the Underworld movies attempted a similar technique, but appeared heavy-handed compared to Del Toro’s use of the technique). 

So would I like to see another Hellboy movie?  Sure, especially since they managed to be unlike anything else produced at the time though as far as I am concerned, Del Toro (in movies) was Hellboy’s heart and soul and if he’s ready to turn the last page of this particular comic, then I am too.   

The Man Who Murdered Time – Pt. 1

The Shadow was created by Walter B. Gibson, and long before he appeared in movies and television, he was a staple of radio.  HIs first appearance was in the 1930’s, and he’s had a huge influence on heroes (and villains) to follow.

For instance, the origin of Marvel Comics’ Iron Fist and Doctor Strange are remarkably similar to the Shadow’s, as is the that of Batman (from the Christopher Nolan movies) though the way he’s often depicted in the comics is very much in line with the Shadow as well.

The Shadow was Lamont Cranston (and Ken Allard, depending upon whether we’re talking about radio, television or novels.  This idea of identities within identities  is very similar to how Marvel’s Moon Knight has been portrayed), young wealthy man about town though having spend time in mysterious Asia gained the ability to cloud men’s minds.

Yet, can even the Shadow and all his mysterious powers stop a man with the ability to control Time?

X-Men: Apocalypse – Trailer 1

Screenshot 2015-12-10 22.51.01I have just watched the latest trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse, and it’s…okay.

It teases Apocalypse, his Four Horsemen, his origins and so forth but there’s a problem:  As far as superhero movies go, we’re in a time of wonders.

From the Avengers to Superman, some of the greatest in comics have, or will soon, pop up on either television or movies.

So this trailer had to up the ante somehow, to ensure that it’s sticks out from the pack–something the X-Men films never had to contend with.

Captain America: Civil War did it by the introduction of characters that fans haven’t seen before (The Black Panther) in a scenario from a renown storyline.

Superman v Batman: Dawn of Justice did it by showing two iconic characters in combat (credit it loses by seemingly giving away the entire movie).

X-Men: Apocalypse had to ‘Wow’ us to get noticed in such a crowded space, and it’s first trailer didn’t quite do it this time around.

The Future Of Online Comics?

As the owner of an iPad 2, when I want something to read, I often search the iBookstore (Apple), Amazon (Kindle app), Barnes & Noble (Nook app) or Kobo (Kobo app) though if I want to read some comics, I tend to look elsewhere.

For instance, I have the Marvel and Dark Horse Comics apps, where I can download digital comics, though they don’t, visually speaking, take advantage of the iPad’s graphic capabilities.

TIll now.  There’s a company called Madefire, that features digital comics by well-known artists and writers like Liam Sharpe (a co-creator of the company), Gary Erskine, and Dave Gibbons.

The comics covers similar ground current ones do–both digital and traditional–do, though they add a 3D element (and occasionally music) that needs to be seen to be appreciated.

The initial run consists of six titles: “Engine,” “Treatment,” “Treatment: Tokyo,” “Captain Stone Is Missing,” “Mono,” and “The Irons.”

They all vary in terms of art and subject matter, though when their stable of creators and books grow, I suspect that Madefire is going to get very popular, very fast.

Though for some reason, I keep calling them ‘Mediafire,’ as opposed to ‘Madefire.’

Ron Perlman: A Class Act

image courtesy of Chud.com

Actors are often portrayed as a vain, selfish lot; an impression they don’t always attempt to undermine.

So, imagine my surprise to hear that Ron Perlman endured four hours in the makeup chair to once again become Hellboy, not to film a sequel to Hellboy II: The Golden Army, but to make a wish come true.

The wish Perlman worked to realize was that of a little boy named Zachary, who’s undergoing treatment for leukemia.

His desire was to meet and become Hellboy.

It was facilitated by the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Spectral Motion, the special effects house that worked on both Hellboy films, among many others.

This is why Ron Perlman is a class act, whom I can’t wait to see in Hellboy III, a class act all the way.

And in reference to that Hellboy sequel, it could happen.  It earned $165 million on an $85 million budget, so as long as Perlman and Guillermo Del Toro want it to happen, it probably would.