Jan. 10, 2015 | 5:00 a.m.

‘Ghost in the Shell’: Scarlett Johansson casting called ‘whitewashing’

On Monday it was confirmed that Scarlett Johansson has signed on to star in DreamWorks’ live-action adaptation of “Ghost in the Shell,” but not all fans are embracing the news that the studio is opting for a non-Asian actress to play the lead role. While some fans of the franchise were excited to hear the project is moving further along in development, others lamented or even satirized the decision. “Ghost in the Shell,” based on Masamune Shirow’s manga series of the same name, is set in a fictional Japanese city and follows protagonist Major Motoko Kusanagi and members of a covert task force within the Japanese National Public Safety Commission. The task force, known as Public Security Section 9, takes on various cybercriminals in a future where the line between technology and biology is blurred. The manga series spurred Mamoru […]
Dec. 08, 2013 | 5:00 a.m.

‘Marvels & Monsters’ exhibit explores comics’ portrayal of Asians

With his slit-like eyes, spiky nails and Fu Manchu mustache, this Chinese mastermind’s appearance was about as subtle as his name — the Yellow Claw. Evil, exotic and bent on ruling the world, he made his debut in 1956, looming ominously on an Atlas Comics cover as a headline gasped, “Who … or what … is he??!” The Claw belongs to a “rogues’ gallery” of characters featured in an exhibition looking at Asians and Asian Americans in almost half a century of American comic books. The show, drawn from the collection of sci-fi writer William F. Wu, is visiting the Japanese American National Museum through Feb. 9. “Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986” examines eight main archetypes: the Alien, the Brain, the Brute, the Guru, the Kamikaze, the Lotus Blossom, the Manipulator and the Temptress. “The […]
Oct. 11, 2013 | 12:56 p.m.

‘March’: Congressman reaches out to youth with civil rights comic

Congressman John Lewis’ wrists were restrained behind his back and he was escorted into a police car Tuesday, having been arrested during an immigration rally on Capitol Hill. (He was later released without charges after paying a $50 fine.) It was Lewis’ fifth arrest since he took office as a Democratic representative from Georgia in 1987 — twice at the South African Embassy protesting apartheid and twice in front of the Sudanese Embassy protesting genocide in Darfur. Yet none of it is unfamiliar to Lewis, one of the last living leaders of the civil rights era, who was arrested more than 40 times during the historical period. His first arrest was in Nashville on Feb. 27, 1960. He was arrested as part of sit-ins protesting segregation at a Woolworth’s lunch counter, an experience Lewis described as transformative in his new […]
Sept. 05, 2013 | 4:05 p.m.

‘RoboCop’ first look: José Padilha tackles drone politics in reboot

The first trailer for the upcoming “RoboCop” reboot is out, featuring plenty of action and a sleek new suit that pays homage to Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 sci-fi action film. Hero Complex readers get an exclusive first look at some images from the upcoming film (check them out in the gallery above), as well as some perspective from the director, José Padilha. The Brazilian director made a name for himself on the festival circuit for his documentary filmmaking before writing and directing “Elite Squad” and its sequel “Elite Squad: The Enemy Within” — crime thrillers that became critical darlings. Padilha’s first big-budget Hollywood action flick is a remake of Verhoeven’s “RoboCop,” which involves a part-man, part-robot police officer tasked with cleaning up a crime-ridden, dystopian Detroit. Verhoeven’s satiric film, which earned two Oscar nominations, was underscored by political commentary and made […]
Aug. 08, 2013 | 4:44 p.m.

Mark Millar’s rape comments, ‘Superheroes’ TCA panel: The comics world responds

PERSPECTIVE It’s been a rough week for women in comics. First, Wonder Woman was (once again) relegated to the back burner, while a TV series for the Flash is being fast-tracked in her place. Then, during Wednesday’s Television Critics Assn. press tour panel for the new PBS docu-series  “Superheroes: The Never-Ending Battle,” several comics creators said of the dearth of women and people of color in their pages, that readers are “not interested” in those characters. Today comes a New Republic story that quotes “Kick-Ass” creator Mark Millar defending his comic book depictions of rape and sexual violence, saying “I don’t really think it matters.” Comics creators, journalists and others of the comics community took to Twitter to respond to what they saw as blatant sexism, both in the TCA panel and in Millar’s comments. Millar, the boundary-pushing comics writer […]
July 12, 2013 | 2:07 p.m.

‘Ender’s Game’: To deflate boycott, Lionsgate shuns Orson Scott Card

Trying to impede a boycott of its “Ender’s Game” movie sparked by anti-gay-marriage remarks made by the book’s author, Lionsgate has issued a statement distancing itself from novelist Orson Scott Card. The studio also said it will host an “Ender’s Game” benefit for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community. Set for release Nov. 1, the sci-fi story adapts Card’s 1985 novel, set in a near future in which an alien race known as the Formics have attacked Earth. The movie stars Asa Butterfield as Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, a bright boy recruited to help humanity face future threats, and is directed by Gavin Hood (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”). Although the novel is revered by many, Card’s political views have stirred great controversy. The writer has a history of making comments opposed to same-sex marriage, and his recent remarks about the Supreme Court’s ruling […]
March 05, 2013 | 6:21 p.m.

Orson Scott Card’s ‘Superman’ comic delayed after artist exits

Orson Scott Card’s contribution to “Adventures of Superman” will be delayed after the story’s illustrator, Chris Sprouse, bowed out of the project. DC Comics has been under fire since announcing Card would contribute a story to the first collected issue of the comic, due out May 29. Card’s involvement drew the ire of gay advocates, who called for boycotts of the comic and petitioned DC to drop the “Ender’s Game” author due to his anti-gay rhetoric. Card is an outspoken opponent of homosexuality and a board member of the National Organization for Marriage, which seeks to ban same-sex marriage. Sprouse — the Eisner-winning comic artist whose work includes such titles as “Tom Strong,” “X-Men” and “Justice League America” — cited the controversy in his decision to step down as the illustrator of the story by Card and Aaron Johnston. MORE: […]
Feb. 06, 2013 | 9:29 a.m.

Bruce Willis: First it’s gun laws, then all your rights are gone

Bruce Willis has a new action hero role: defender of the 2nd Amendment. Willis told the Associated Press that he opposes new gun control laws and said he fears that such tinkering will lead to an erosion of citizen rights. “I think that you can’t start to pick apart anything out of the Bill of Rights without thinking that it’s all going to become undone,” Willis told the Associated Press as part of the promotional tour for his new film, “A Good Day to Die Hard.” PHOTOS: Beyonce as Wonder Woman? “If you take one out or change one law, then why wouldn’t they take all your rights away from you?” he told the news service. Willis’ decision to speak openly on such a controversial topic is unusual. Celebrities don’t usually wade into politically charged commentary, especially when they’re promoting […]
Jan. 12, 2013 | 7:30 a.m.

‘Star Wars’: Obama White House says no to Death Star petition

Whether you voted for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, it’s good to know the president isn’t a Sith Lord. After more than 34,000 people petitioned the White House to “secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016,” the White House released an official statement cleverly titled “This Isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking For,” rejecting Darth Vader’s weapon of choice. “The Administration does not support blowing up planets,” wrote Paul Shawcross, chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget. “Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?” PHOTOS: ‘Star Wars’ at the box office The response also rebuffs the petitioners’ notion that a Death Star would be a smart economic move; any […]
July 26, 2012 | 12:32 p.m.

Aiming higher? A video-game designer ponders history of violence

“Sons of Anarchy” creator Kurt Sutter read the headlines from Colorado on Friday and tweeted from the gut: “woke up to the news about shooting. this kinda thing always makes me question my liberal use of violence in storytelling.” Violence has been part of storytelling since humans began telling stories. Grotesque violence fills our video game screens — but it’s also hanging in frames at the world’s greatest museums and antiquity collections. Does the depiction of violence inspire aggressive behavior — or does it just give us something to do with Twitter and talk shows? We put the question to Chris Hecker, a game developer who has worked for Electronic Arts Inc. and is now working independently on his own game, called “SpyParty.” HC: What role does violence play in entertainment? How powerful a tool is it in the telling of the story or the game mechanics? CH: Violence […]
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