Aug. 06, 2014 | 3:00 p.m.
Two years ago, at the age of 16, Jillian Kirby began a campaign designed to honor the legacy of her late grandfather, Jack Kirby, the comics legend who created or co-created a host of iconic Marvel characters — Captain America, the Fantastic Four, X-Men, the Avengers and Thor, among them. Titled Kirby4Heroes, the charitable venture was launched to generate donations for the Hero Initiative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping comic book creators in need, offering assistance to artists and writers. Once again, this year Kirby is hoping to raise money while celebrating the wide-ranging influence of the artistry of her grandfather, who dreamed up many of his heroes in the basement of his Long Island home. (Jillian’s father, Neal Kirby, wrote a first-person account of his childhood in the house for Hero Complex in 2012.) On Aug. 28 — what would have […]
Oct. 05, 2013 | 10:00 a.m.
In 1963, President John F. Kennedy proposed a joint U.S.-Russia mission to the moon, the Rolling Stones had their first tour (opening for Bo Diddley and the Everly Brothers) and the United States performed dozens of nuclear tests in Nevada. If historians had been taking note, they might have seen how (er, whether?) these events helped lead Stan Lee and Jack Kirby to create the Avengers that year. There are other reasons — chief among them a desire to compete against rival DC Comics’ team book Justice League of America — but the team’s creation was groundbreaking (to comics fans). September marked the 50th anniversary of both the X-Men and Earth’s mightiest heroes, the Avengers, whose core members usually are Captain America, Iron Man and Thor. The Avengers’ lineup varies wildly, with a roster of dozens of reserve members as […]
Sept. 19, 2013 | 1:23 p.m.
PERSPECTIVE In 1961, Stan Lee was overseeing a middling line of titles for Timely Comics while across town, longtime industry titan DC was experiencing a huge bump in sales. DC’s success had a lot to do with “Justice League of America,” a book that combined all of the company’s biggest heroes — Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and the Flash, among others — into one super-crime-fighting team. Lee wanted to compete with DC, but Timely had no superheroes to speak of, and no characters as well-loved and recognizable as Superman. So Lee and his top artist, Jack Kirby, created their own super-team: the Fantastic Four. What they came up with wasn’t anything like the JLA. Lee and Kirby took an aloof genius, the genius’ timid girlfriend, the girlfriend’s cocky teenage brother and a gruff, street-smart test pilot and bound […]
Aug. 29, 2013 | 9:15 a.m.
James Spader will play the titular villain Ultron in “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” Joss Whedon’s upcoming sequel to 2012’s “The Avengers,” Marvel announced Thursday. The film is set for release May 1, 2015. Spader joins the “Avengers” franchise as a respected, Emmy-winning actor (“The Practice, “Boston Legal”) with an extensive filmography that includes projects directed by the likes of Steven Spielberg, David Cronenberg and Steven Soderbergh, among others. He’s returning to television next month as the star of a new NBC series “The Blacklist,” playing an international criminal. Whedon is to film his highly anticipated sequel to “The Avengers” at Britain’s venerable Pinewood-Shepperton facility, the same soundstages that played host to Marvel’s upcoming “Thor: The Dark World,” set for release later this year. PHOTOS: Marvel’s Comic-Con announcements It’s unclear how closely the film will tie to the recently finished “Age […]
Aug. 14, 2013 | 6:00 a.m.
In the three years since he first slipped into green Lycra to portray Kick-Ass — an awkward teen turned wannabe superhero — much has changed for English actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson. He jumped from British TV heartthrob to American movie stardom, became a father and began to pop up in casting conversations about one of Hollywood’s juiciest roles: Christian Grey in the adaptation of E.L. James’ erotic bestseller “Fifty Shades of Grey” (which, not incidentally, will be directed by his wife, Sam Taylor-Wood). When “Kick-Ass” was released in 2010, Taylor-Johnson was more indie film darling than caped crusader, having starred in the romantic drama “The Greatest” and “Nowhere Boy,” a John Lennon biopic, both of which played at Sundance. “Kick-Ass” initially didn’t look like a breakthrough role; the movie took in a fair $96 million worldwide on a $30-million production budget. […]
July 22, 2013 | 7:00 a.m.
SAN DIEGO — Batman and Superman joined forces, Wolverine reunited with an entire team of X-Men, and “Avengers” villain Loki commanded the 6,500 audience members assembled in the San Diego Convention Center’s Hall H to worship him as a god as the rapturous crowd cheered wildly — just business as usual at the pop culture expo known as Comic-Con International. Word of a sequel to the summer’s Zack Snyder-directed Superman movie “Man of Steel,” which is set for release in 2015 and will feature Batman among its cast of characters, was perhaps the biggest news to emerge from the four-day celebration of film, television, video games and comic books that attracts about 130,000 visitors to the city’s downtown — many clad in colorful costumes. One of the most powerful draws for those fans is the opportunity to see exclusive trailers […]
July 21, 2013 | 9:39 p.m.
English actor Tom Hiddleston blew the Hall H audience away Saturday at San Diego’s Comic-Con International when he took the stage at the Marvel panel as his character Loki, who not only has a prominent part to play in the upcoming “Thor: The Dark World” but also earned his title as the god of mischief in Kenneth Branagh’s “Thor” and Joss Whedon’s “The Avengers.” On Sunday, just before a signing event with his “Thor: The Dark World” director Alan Taylor, Hiddleston, clad in a crisp white dress shirt and without his wig, sat down with Hero Complex to reveal just how he managed to pull off one of the most exciting surprise appearances at Comic-Con 2013. HC: How much fun was that? TH: It was fun. It was absolutely amazing. It’s only my second time in Hall H. The last […]
July 16, 2013 | 8:00 a.m.
Joss Whedon’s “The Avengers 2″ won’t reach theaters until 2015, but fans looking for more from the heroes that made box office history in 2012 can catch the group — plus one new member — in animated form in Disney XD’s series “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble.” The new show, which premiered July 7, isn’t the first animated series to feature the crime-fighting team, but it is the first to use virtually the same roster of characters that appeared in Whedon’s film, the $1-billion-plus hit that inspired critics like The Times’ Kenneth Turan, who described the movie as “smartly thought out and executed with verve and precision.” The character Falcon joins the Whedon lineup for the new show. It’s one of the very few changes made by the creative team, and it plays into what’s happening in the Marvel cinematic universe without […]
June 20, 2013 | 11:24 a.m.
Robert Downey Jr. has signed a deal to reprise his role as billionaire genius/playboy/inventor Tony Stark in two “Avengers” films. Marvel.com posted news this morning that the actor has signed a two-picture agreement to climb back into the Iron Man armor for “The Avengers 2″ and “The Avengers 3.” The first “Avengers” sequel will be written and directed by Joss Whedon and is set to begin production in England’s venerable Pinewood-Shepperton facility in March. The film is set for release May 1, 2015. “We fit each other pretty snug, and I feel like when I’m him I know what to do,” Downey told Hero Complex earlier this year of his relationship to Tony Stark. “At the same time, I don’t know why I know what to do. I just know that I do. There’s still just a sense of wonder […]
June 08, 2013 | 6:00 a.m.
It comes as no surprise that Joss Whedon, who created one of fandom’s most beloved superheroines in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” thinks Hollywood should make more movies about female superheroes. Whedon is credited with writing strong women in genres where female characters often fall victim to cliched, two-dimensional portrayals. With so many comic book heroes dominating the multiplex, “The Avengers” director is upset at the scarcity of women in leading roles. “Toymakers will tell you they won’t sell enough, and movie people will point to the two terrible superheroine movies that were made and say, ‘You see? It can’t be done,’ Whedon told the Daily Beast this week. “It’s stupid, and I’m hoping ‘The Hunger Games’ will lead to a paradigm shift. It’s frustrating to me that I don’t see anybody developing one of these movies. … My daughter watched […]