The latest edition of Everyday Hero, your handpicked headlines from the fanboy universe…
Who is this Joker? Next year marks the 60th anniversary of Batman, one of the most potent pop-culture creations from the world of comics, having spawned seven live-action films, a prime-time television show, scores of cartoons, novels, movie serials, radio shows and enough toys and t-shirts to fill the Grand Canyon. But, apparently, Turkish politician Huseyin Kalkan never heard of the Caped Crusader until now and he wants a cut of the action. Ali Jaafar has the story, which I’m hoping is a gag: "Batman has a new adversary: Batman. The mayor of an oil- producing city in southeastern Turkey, which has the same name as the Caped Crusader, is suing helmer Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros. for royalties from mega-grosser ‘The Dark Knight.’ Huseyin Kalkan, the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party mayor of Batman, has accused ‘The Dark Knight’ producers of using the city’s name without permission. ‘There is only one Batman in the world,’ Kalkan said. ‘The American producers used the name of our city without informing us.’ Undoubtedly the fact that ‘Dark Knight’ is about to pass the $1 billion mark at the B.O. played a part in stirring the ire of the Turkish hamlet. The mayor is prepping a series of charges against Nolan and Warner Bros., which owns the right to the Batman character, including placing the blame for a number of unsolved murders and a high female suicide rate on the psychological impact that the film’s success has had on the city’s inhabitants." No word yet whether the Bolivian village of Harrypotter will also be pursuing legal action against Warners. [Daily Variety]
An Enterprising filmmaker: Jeff Jensen has a first-look photo of the new starship Enterprise (and it looks great) and short story that goes with it that reveals director J.J Abrams’ favorite thing about Robert Wise’s 1979 film "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" (and no, it wasn’t the bald lady): "Abrams wasn’t a huge fan of the original "Star Trek" TV series as a kid, but he does have one unabashed gee-whiz Star Trek memory: watching the first feature film and marveling over the big reveal of the Enterprise during a long sequence in which James T. Kirk takes a slow-boat tour around the iconic starship. ‘The coolest thing about it — maybe the coolest thing in the movie — was when you flew around the ship, you could see all the different panels that made up the ship,’ says the director of the forthcoming Trek reboot, slated for a May 8, 2009, release. ‘It was the first time I had ever seen that level of attention, that love of detail, given to the tangible, practical reality of the ship.’" [Entertainment Weekly]
A "Quantum" leap falls short: Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan was left cold by the icy new James Bond film, "Quantum of Solace," which opens Friday: "Outside of its title, ‘Quantum of Solace’ offers little solace for fans of the venerable James Bond franchise. All dressed up with no particular place to go, this 22nd Bond film tries hard but ends up an underachiever. … Bond’s superior, the redoubtable M (Judi Dench), is worried about the consequences of Bond being blinded by inconsolable rage. ‘If you could avoid killing every possible lead,’ she grouses at one point as only Dench can, ‘it would be appreciated.’ It’s not only M who should be worried about Bond, it’s audiences as well. For the vengeful secret agent is dangerously close to an automaton, a creature of such icy single-mindedness that even an actor of Craig’s great ability has trouble making him recognizably human. That tendency toward detachment is enhanced by the change of directors. ‘Casino Royale’s’ Martin Campell, an expert at this kind of glossy adventure filmmaking, has been replaced by Marc Forster, a cooler director who likes intense emotions (‘Monster’s Ball’) but had trouble warming up even a natural heart-tugger like ‘The Kite Runner.’ ‘Quantum of Solace’s’ script also seems rather tired and uninviting, and while its true not even critics go to a Bond film for the emotional moments, the story has to involve us for the elaborate action sequences to resonate the way they should." [Los Angeles Times]
Chip Kidd in town: Graphic designer and author Chip Kidd will be at Meltdown Comics and Collectibles (7522 Sunset Blvd.) tonight at 7 p.m. to talk about his book "Bat-Manga: The Secret History of Batman in Japan." There’s been a dust-up in the comics community in recent weeks over the suggestion that Kidd’s book, which collects up some 1960s work of manga writer and artist Jiro Kuwata, doesn’t give Kuwata as much prominent credit on the project as he is due. It’ll be interesting to see how Kidd handles that tonight. [Meltdown]
Bet on the Dark Horse: No comic-book company has had more success developing films out of new characters the way Dark Horse Comics has over the past 25 years with "The Mask," the "Hellboy" films, "300" and "Sin City." The biggest Marvel films are based on characters created in the 1960s, and DC’s key box-office properties date back even further. So what’s next from the Oregon publisher? Patrick Lee has this update from publisher Mike Richardson: "The most immediate is "R.I.P.D." … David Dobkin [‘Wedding Crashers’] is directing. We’re doing it over at Universal Studios. We have a great script by [Matt] Manfredi and [Phil] Hay. R.I.P.D. stands for Rest in Peace Department. It’s based on a graphic novel by Peter Lenkov. It’s about dead cops that died in the line of duty that are sent back, basically, to get people who don’t want to come peacefully, people who stayed behind. It’s a lot of fun. … It has a few of the elements of something like a ‘Men in Black,’ except this one has real scares in it. It’s not sort of cartoon scares. A lot of humor, but real scary stuff going on.’ Dark Horse is also developing several other films: ‘Emily Strange,’ based on the character created by Rob Reger and his company, Cosmic Debris Etc. ‘I will say we’ll have a good announcement coming up very shortly,’ Richardson said. ‘I’m working with Rob. Yes, we’ve set it up with a studio, … but there’ll be an official announcement coming up soon. … [There’s a] very interesting story that we’ve come up with, too. It’ll add background to Emily.’ And ‘Freaks of the Heartland,’ based on the graphic novel by Steve Niles (‘30 Days of Night’). ‘We just set up ‘Freaks of the Heartland’ over at Overture, with David Gordon Green [‘Pineapple Express’] directing. And the writers just started working on that.’ [Sci Fi]
– Geoff Boucher
"The Dark Knight" photo courtesy of Warner Bros., photo of Daniel Craig in "Quantum of Solace" courtesy of Columbia Pictures. "Bat-Manga" image courtesy of Pantheon Books.