Saturday, March 5, 2011

In Derek Johnson’s article Will the Real Wolverine Please Stand Up, he discusses the rebranding of graphic novel characters. He mentions how Comic-Con is no longer primarily focused on comics as it now encompasses all other mediums surrounding these novels (Johnson 64). Through his case study of Wolverine he explains how Marvel rebranded this character with the release of the X-Men films. In our adaptation of Birds of Prey this approach could be useful or harmful in our adaptation. The Birds are familiar as they have been adapted to a TV show and have made appearances in Batman comics. So there is a slight fan base that we would need to stay faithful to. However as the TV series of this film did not make it past one season it is important to try and rebrand these characters to make them appealing to people who may be familiar with the show. In Johnson’s article he explores the way in which Wolverine’s appearance changed from the iconic blue and yellow to the black leather in later issues of the comic, in hopes of having some continuity between the Wolverine on the big screen with that of graphic novel (Johnson 79).
If we were to use the same model Marvel did with Wolverine with the Birds of Prey, there is a greater chance our franchise could be as successful. Along with a possible tweaking of the characters modifying the storyline could also help to interest more people in our franchise. Johnson mentions the increased sexual tension between Jean and Wolverine suggesting it was meant for an older audience (Johnson 80). As part of the possible rebranding of the Birds we plan to play up the tension between Oracle and Huntress as they both had a relationship with Nightwing. This change allows for a deeper look into the character psychology of both Oracle and Huntress.

Johnson, Derek. “Will the real Wolverine please stand up? Marvel’s mutation from monthlies to movies.” (Ian Gordon, Mark Jancovich, and Matthew P. McAllister, eds.) Film and Comic Books. Jackson : University Press of Mississippi, 2007. P. 64-85

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Alternative Media

This week we are moving away from the conventions of and the how to of the superhero genre and are shifting towards the business side of it. Denison’s article talked about the ways in which Smallville was created and the business strategies that made it successful. He talked about the tweaking of the Superman character to fit within more than just the superhero genre as well as a link to the origin of the character. He also talks about added features online as well as on the DVD the box sets and how that helped the draw in a range of different demographics. When thinking about our adaptation of Birds of Prey into a film or a TV series there are things that we can incorporate into that from this article.
One idea that out adaptation could greatly benefit from would be the concept of the hybrid genre. Denison talks about the mix of mystery, melodrama, soap opera superhero feel that Smallville casts between the spinoff of the Chloe Chronicles and an in-depth look behind the scenes at the characters and those who play them. Although Birds of Prey would generally fall under the superhero genre, playing up certain aspects in the book could help to classify it in a different genre. For starters Birds of Prey is not the average comic where the hero is trying to save the world. These heroes fight on a smaller scale trying to being about justice for individuals. Also they don’t have superpowers. They are trained in various martial arts. Already this sounds less like a superhero films and more like a melodrama. Throw in the dirty politician and this is starting to sound like a crime or detective genre. And something that our group wants to shed more light on than they do in the novel is the love triangle with Oracle Huntress and Nightwing that is a bit of a drama chick flick. If a trailer was drawn up using all of these points it would already start to appeal to a larger demographic.
Something else that was mentioned in the article was having things online for viewers to engage with. There is a scene in the novel where Black Canary is having a flashback to when her mother was Black Canary. She’s going through files she left behind. If something like this was online that let viewers feel like they were part of the action by getting to read some of the other “classified” files it would help to draw in viewers who enjoyed mystery. 

Denison, Rayna. “It’s A Bird! It’s A Plane! No, It’s DVD! Superman, Smallville, and the production (of) melodrama.” (Ian Gordon, Mark Jancovich, and Matthew P. McAllister, eds.) Film and Comic Books. Jackson : University Press of Mississippi, 2007. P. 160-179

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Revamping the Superhero

Like anything else in life, we have to keep modifying it to keep it appealing to the newest generation. Comics and their superheroes are no exception. Wandtke point out that comics have been around since the days of our grandparents and probably even before. Now let’s use fashion as an example, it’s highly unlikely that people nowadays are going to be wearing what their grandparents wore, so why should we read about their superheroes? That’s one reason that Wandtke points out as to why superheroes are put under the microscope and go under a revisionist process to keep drawing in readers (Wandtke 5). This idea of the revisionist can be taken from an individual superhero and applied to the entire genre.
In film there are four periods to any genre Primitive, Classical, Revisionist and Parodic. Kick-Ass falls under both the revisionist and the parodic. It finds parody in its self-reflexive nature. As Dave becomes Kick-Ass he acknowledges he survived the entire ordeal, he doesn’t have any supernatural powers and doesn’t have his mother’s death to avenge. He’s just a regular guy trying to do something decent. However the other superheroes in the film make it seem more like a revisionist film. A father teaching his 13 year old daughter how to fight crime, buying Gatling guns and shooting her so she knows what to expect when she is shot...all elements that are not apparent in primitive or classical superhero films.
There are many genres that have recently gone though this phase such as dance films, romantic comedies and the latest vampire craze. Dance Flick came out in 2009. It’s a parody of the latest dance movies such as Step Up, Stomp the Yard, Save the Last Dance and many more. Date Movie this is a parody of the exhausted romantic comedy genre including movies likeBridgette Jones’ Diary, Meet the Parents, Meet the Fockers and others. As far as the vampire craze in concerned in 2010 the film Vampires Suck came out and was mainly a parody of the Twilight saga but it also pokes fun at how obsessed the newest generation is with vampires with the creation of things of Vampire Diaries.

Wandtke, Terrence. “Introduction: Once upon a time again.” The amazing transforming superhero! : essays on the revision of characters in comic books, film and television. Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., 2007. P. 5-32

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Superhero Genre

This week the topic of discussion is genre, more specifically the superhero genre. Genre is defined as a category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterized by a particular form, style or content ( As simple as this definition is there are many issues that go along with the idea of genre. Often times it is difficult to place certain artistic, musical and/or literary works in specific genres as some of the conventions and or iconographies overlap. In Peter Coogan’s The Definition of the Superhero he addresses this issue. He opens his article stating aspects that make up the superhero genre such as a mission, powers and identity. He also mentions costumes although he doesn’t place too much weight on that aspect. Throughout the rest of the article he uses many known superheroes of the past to support this mission/powers/identity definition of the superhero. Towards the end of the article he uses certain known characters to demonstrate how often the line that defines the superhero genres from other is easily blurred. He uses the example of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy does have a mission to protect the world from vampires out to destroy humanity, she has the fighting skills equivalent to those of Batman and she is known as a Slayer. It would seem that the sum of all those attributes would equal Buffy as a superhero but because the show does not identify itself within the genre of superheroes makes it not part of the superhero genre. The film that accompanied this reading was Dick Tracy.
           At first glance, one would think that this is not a superhero film, based on Coogan’s definition. The protagonist Dick Tracy is on a mission to clean up the city by getting all of the mobsters off of the streets. He is known throughout the city as this rebel cop who has a slightly an unorthodox way of cleaning up crime. But when it comes to having super powers he’s just another cop. But when watching the film it does have the feel of a superhero film. Tracy just like Batman, Spiderman has problems maintaining relationships with people, more specifically women. The soundtrack which accompanies the film also helps to promote this film as a superhero film. Buffy and Dick Tracy are two examples of how difficult it can be to define genre and place different works within those genres.

 Coogan, Pete. “The Definition of the Superhero.” (Jeet Heer and Kent Worcester, eds.). A Comics Studies Reader. Jackson : University Press of Mississippi. P. 77-93

Beatty, W. (Director). (1990). Dick Tracy [Motion Picture].