Sunday, September 14, 2014

At the Cinema, A Deadly Serious Problem For DC Comics
Plus, SDCC Interviews With Lincoln and Riggs of "The Walking Dead"

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.