Sunday, September 14, 2014

At the Cinema, A Deadly Serious Problem For DC Comics

By Tim Beyers

So if the rumor mill is to be believed, Warner Bros. wants DC movies to stay serious. Bad idea. Really bad idea.

Forget for a moment that this is the company that brought us Bat-Mite and Ambush Bug. Forget, too, that Warner has hired Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to play a key role in the Shazam movie, based on a character whose secret identity is that of a teen boy. Or that some of the best properties based on DC characters have a lightness to them, even when they're handling dark subjects, as the writers of Arrow do here:



In "going dark," DC would be fighting to change audience perceptions that don't need changing. Comedy doesn't detract from character in colorful action films. If anything, the occasional quip or tease can make a dramatic scene even more so, as Richard Donner shows us in 1978's Superman.
 
Of course there's a chance that DC isn't "going dark" at all, and that, as Forbes' Mark Hughes argues, Warner merely wants is to develop a more serious tone that's distinct from Marvel Studios fare. Maybe, but a legitimate worry remains.

Marvel Studios didn't change its brand when it started making movies. Rather, it took some of the action-packed silliness that exists in its comics and adapted it for the screen. DC has done the same with its TV shows and animated fare. Here's another favorite, this time courtesy of Justice League Unlimited:



For those wondering, the scene is cut from "Patriot Act," an episode that deals with unchecked superhero power, and how far a government might go to remedy the imbalance. You'd have a difficult time picking a more serious topic. And yet, as the scene shows, Green Arrow and Speedy have a complicated history. Humor brings that out without corrupting the action.

Losing this dynamic in live action DC films -- "going dark," as it were -- would violate the brand promise established elsewhere, and could unfairly (and unnecessarily!) keep a lid on their potential.

Picks of the week
Other things you should be reading:
You can also find new stories at my Scoop.it feed, "The Business of Comics."

Paying the bills
Publishers like it when you read and comment on my work. Here's a couple of my most recent:
The best comic I'm reading right now is ...
Thief of Thieves. Andy Diggle is a terrific writer handling a complex character in the master thief Redmond. Add in equal doses of action and dysfunction and you've a delicious, heart-pumping elixir. Pick up a copy at your local comics shop.

And that's The Full Bleed for this week. Have a comment or a story idea? Leave it below or find me on Twitter and Facebook.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Between the Panels on the Business of Comics and Pop Culture

By Tim Beyers

Hi, and welcome to The Full Bleed! This is where you'll find me when I'm not writing about innovation and pop culture for major outlets such as The Motley Fool and DailyFinance. (Please visit those sites often -- I promise you'll learn how to do more with your money!)

Why have a blog covering the business when I'm already writing about comics and pop culture elsewhere? Simple. There are times when I want to offer more than an analyst's perspective. Sometimes, I just want to be a fan. The Full Bleed lets me do that.

Here, I'll be going between the panels to offer insights on news and rumors about TV shows, films, and most of all, comics. (I've been reading and collecting comics since the late '70s.)

There's also a need. Too many pro journalists are botching pop culture stories by leaning on worn cultural stereotypes that have long since been debunked by data. Where are the fans covering the business of comics and pop culture? Here, for starters. But I'm also not the only one. At the end you'll find links to friends whose commentary I think is worth your time.

Click the video for more regarding what you can expect at The Full Bleed, including a surprising tidbit relating to two of genre television's most popular properties:



Interesting, right? The search I'm referring to in the video is for raw terms. Google doesn't have enough data to score volume for Constantine and Gotham. Here's what the data looks like if you're only interested in news and social posts relating to the DC and Marvel shows for which Google does have data:


For more news, reviews, and coverage of the business comics and pop culture, please visit my content partners at Sci-Fi Talk and Geek Legacy. Each month, Tony Tellado, Justin Cavender, and I team up in a podcast called Everything Geek that you'll want to tune into.

My other favorites include Heidi MacDonald and her team at The Beat, Rob Salkowitz's columns at ICv2, John Siuntres' Word Balloon podcast, The Nerdist Comics Panel podcast, the Comic Corner podcast, and The Flash Podcast. I hope you enjoy them all, and that you'll come back and check out what I'm doing here at The Full Bleed. I promise, most of my posts won't be this long.

Questions? Comments? Leave them in the space below, and thanks again for being here!