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That was a comic? No way.
by The Alpha Craig

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Who but Lori Petty could fill this role better?

Who but Lori Petty could fill this role better?
There is one thing I noticed about Hollywood; comic books (while certain movies and actors/actresses say otherwise) still have the overweight, balding loser stigma firmly attached. This seems evident to me by the fact that certain movies based on comic books make little or no effort to inform the audience of their roots. Sure there are the obvious ones that can't avoid acknowledging their roots (i.e. SUPERMAN RETURNS, BATMAN BEGINS, X-MEN, SPIDERMAN, FANTASTIC FOUR, etc.) Part of me likes to think that the producers realize that a lot of them will tank at the box offices so, in an effort to not pull the respective comic book series down with the movies, distance themselves to save the publisher's/writer's/artist's reputations. Here are just some of the movies that originated or were inspired by those good old funny books.

1.BLADE
Yes Blade was indeed around years before Wesley Snipes donned the leather suit and ridiculous hairdo. He first appeared in Tomb of Dracula #10 in July 1973 as a supporting character. He went on to guest star in Ghost Rider and became most known for his multiple cameos in Spiderman. He eventually got his own series and was taken more seriously as a main character in Blade: Vampire Hunter. The movie basically got his origins correct with the omission of his mother working at a brothel. It is a minor detail which doesn't add much so most fans considered the movie to be a good adaptation and it has since had two sequels and a TV series. All in all the franchise has gained a cult following and done right by its creators.

2.TANK GIRL
This is a movie that you either loved or loathed. It was a mix of live action and animation (which was admitted by comic book artist Jamie Hewlett as a way of picking up certain segments in the movie that didn't get filmed in time) with some of the goofiest looking animal/people characters ever featuring Ice Tea as some kind of kangaroo man. Well the comic book was a bit more surreal than that. It was a British comic with loads of British humor. There were a lot of Grange Hill and Benny Hill jokes which many Americans didn't get. It was artistically inspired by the punk scene in Britain circa 1988. It
Eat your heart out Shaq!

Eat your heart out Shaq!
has a cult following as well as the movie which did poorly at the box offices. Fans didn't care so there are still small theatres throughout Britain (and here too I would imagine) that show screenings of this movie.

3.THE MASK
Long before Jim Carry put on the zoot-suit and green-faced skull cap there was a comic book series of the same name. It was rather disturbing and violent as a matter of fact. One of the major differences between the movie and comic was that the Mask wearer was not limited to just the character Stanley Ipkiss. There were many different wearers and they almost always met with the same fate before the mask was passed on, death. While wearing the mask, whoever donned it and made use of its powers was more than willing to kill whoever wronged them. In the movie it is basically the mask in control of Ipkiss, but in the comic it is the person wearing the mask with absolutely no moral barrier in place allowing their id to take over and do whatever it wished. The issue fans have with the movie is that it simply uses a hollowed out version of the premise behind the comic and turned it into a Tex Avery cartoon with a musical number. This was just another chance for Jim Carrey to be overly slapsticky and the fans hated him and the movie for sullying its good name.

4.STEEL
This was just a mistake from the start. Originally the movie was to be a tie in with a "Death of Superman" movie that never came to fruition. As a result they distanced the movie from the Superman franchise, wiping out any reference to the man in red, yellow and blue and going as far as changing the character of The Oracle/Barbara "Babs" Gordon to some woman named Susan Sparks (The Oracle is a character from the Batman and Justice League comics.) In the movie John Henry Irons (played terribly by Shaquille O'Neal) is simply a man who invents non-lethal weapons. He sees his inventions used for the wrong reasons and creates a suit of armor to fight an arms dealer played by Jud Nelson. In the comic, Superman had just died in a fight with Doomsday and the world felt the loss of the greatest hero of all time. Irons was hit very hard and felt he needed to help fill the vacuum
Stop calling me Donald, I'm Howard!!!!!

Stop calling me Donald, I'm Howard!!!!!
left by old Supes. He created a steel suit of armor with the symbolic "S" (which was omitted from the movie for obvious reasons) on its chest and took up the good fight. This movie was about as close to the comic as Alice in Wonderland was to Through the Looking Glass. Fans hated it and Shaq for dirtying a great character who is now finding respect again after the hit story arc "52" in DC comics.

5.HOWARD THE DUCK
Back before he ever made out with Lea Thomson, Howard was a foul-mouthed (no pun intended), perverted Donald Duck look alike who broke the forth wall numerous times and was quite aware that he was in fact a comic book character (similar to Deadpool.) He started out in Adventure into Fear as a secondary character in that comic's Man-Thing feature in 1973. He wasn't given a series until much later which failed at first. In the comic Howard was abducted from his planet by a warlord named Thog the Overmaster. He teamed up with Beverly Switzler a nude model. In the movie he is accidentally taken for his planet by an unlucky scientist by the name of Walter Jennings who also abducts one of the Dark Overlords of the Universe and Switzler's character was changed to a rock musician (which angered Howard loyalists who wanted to see a nude Lea Thomson.) This, much like mask and other comic book adapted movies, takes the character and a brief overview of the origins and then totally turns away from the comic and the history set up around it. Fans of the comic hate this movie with a passion because it took a good PG-13/R rated character and put him into a quasi-Disney movie (which is ironic because Disney sued creators Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik for Howard's similarity to Donald Duck.)

Now there are other movies that follow suit with this theme, but they are for another time. Basically if you ever have seen, or plan on seeing, any of these movie I recommend you take a trip to your local comic book store and check the titles out there as well. You might be surprised at how much better they are. If you do ladies, do the poor shlub at the register a solid and smile at him. You just might make his day (I know from experience.) Thanks for reading and Excelsior!

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Other Columns
Other columns by The Alpha Craig:

The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Friend

When I'm Good, I 'm Bad.......

Hey Bub, I'm Not Through With You

With Friends Like These....

She Works For Fudge!

All Columns


The Alpha Craig
I am the first and the last, maybe not. I'm 31 years old and still spend my disposable income on comic books. Might as well put it to good use.


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If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to The Alpha Craig by clicking here.


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