Welcome to Everyday Hero, your roundup of handpicked headliens from across the fanboy universe…
"GRAVEYARD" WINS NEWBERY: Congrats are in order for Neil Gaiman, whose latest work has been awarded the Newbery Medal. Here’s the announcement: "The 2009 Newbery Medal winner is ‘The Graveyard Book’ by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Dave McKean, and published by HarperCollins Children’s Books. A delicious mix of murder, fantasy, humor and human longing, the tale of Nobody Owens is told in magical, haunting prose. A child marked for death by an ancient league of assassins escapes into an abandoned graveyard, where he is reared and protected by its spirit denizens. ‘A child named Nobody, an assassin, a graveyard and the dead are the perfect combination in this deliciously creepy tale, which is sometimes humorous, sometimes haunting and sometimes surprising,’ said Newbery Committee Chair Rose V. Treviño." Over at his online journal, Gaiman has a fun account of how he got the big news: "I was not yet sure what was going on or who was trying to do what. It was 5:45 in the morning. No-one had died, though, I was fairly certain of that. My cell-phone rang. ‘Hello. This is Rose Trevino. I’m chair of the ALA Newbery Committee…’ Oh. Newbery. Right. Cool. I may be an honors book or something. That would be nice, ‘and I have the voting members of the Newbery Committee here, and we want to tell you that your book…’ ‘THE GRAVEYARD BOOK,’ said fourteen loud voices, and I thought, I may be still asleep right now, but they probably don’t do this, probably don’t call people and sound so amazingly excited, for Honors books….’…just won…’ ‘THE NEWBERY MEDAL’ they chorused. They sounded really happy. I checked the hotel room because it seemed very likely that I was still fast asleep. It all looked reassuringly solid. You are on a speakerphone with at least 14 teachers and librarians and suchlike great, wise and good people, I thought. Do not start swearing like you did when you got the Hugo. This was a wise thing to think because otherwise huge, mighty and fourletter swears were gathering. I mean, that’s what they’re for." VIDEO EXTRA: Want to see a trailer for "The Graveyard Book" and hear Gaiman reading from "Graveyard"? Go to the end of this post….
JEEZ, THIS GUY AGAIN?: OK, it was cool when there was a graphic novel biography of Barack Obama (especially since it was very well done) and it was fun when Alex Ross drew that picture of Obama in superhero mode. It was also kinda endearing to find out that the 44th president is a Conan the Barbarian fan and everybody certainly got excited when the new president showed up in the pages of Spider-Man but, well, can we just tone down at this presidential fanboy stuff for awhile? Apparently not. There’s a fourth printing of the comic book issue featuring the meeting between Savage Dragon and Obama, which I believe was the first comic-book appearance by a politico in a nationally distributed comic book. Matthew Brady at Newsarama has the scoop on it. Considering that Spider-Man issue also flew off of shelves in multiple printings, I’m guessing we haven’t seen the last comic book cover featuring the new leader of the free world. I’m hoping for an Obama team-up with Herbie the Fat Fury. UPDATE: Wow, so Eric Larsen, the creator of Savage Dragon, is more than a little miffed at Marvel and says they stole his approach, some of his ideas and a lot of his thunder when Spidey met Obama. You can read his rant here and a Marvel editor’s rebuttal here. What’s my take? Well I pretty much loathe all gimmicky superheroes-meet-contemporary-famous-people issues because they always read like those old wretched Radio Shack comics with Superman. So I’ll just sit this one out…
A "HORNET’S" NEST: I had lunch with some of the Industrial Light & Magic folks at a great place called Magnolia over on Sunset Boulevard and while we were talking about Jim Cameron’s "Avatar" we heard a distinctive laugh at the next table — we knew it was Seth Rogen before we even looked over. I debated the idea of going over before his food arrived and asking a question or two about "The Green Hornet" but I opted not to because, well, who wants to bug a guy while he’s relaxing at lunch? Anyway, there’s been much discussion of "Hornet" after the strange doings with Stephen Chow who was brought in as Kato, then helped steer the all-action film into a comedy project, signed on as director and then quit that job over creative differences — but differences that weren’t intense enough for him to abandon the Kato role. Got all that? Rogen is the co-writer of the film and the title character and while the project helped him get in trim shape, it’s not yet clear what else he is accomplishing with it. (I also heard a random rumor about the ‘Hornet’ film: Two different people in the industry told me that Adam Sandler has a brief but key role in the movie as a certain surprise superhero…I heard which one, too, but I don’t want to ruin it. Sandler and Rogen have another project together as well.) With all the fits and starts it’s no wonder we keep reading things like this dispatch from Drew McWeeny: "It looks like ‘The Green Hornet’ is about to collapse again, and if this particular configuration doesn’t happen, then I suspect it never will. Ever since Stephen Chow started to waffle about his participation in the film, I’ve been hearing rumors that there were major hesitations at Sony. Then at Sundance, I heard several people say that the film was off completely. I spoke this afternoon with a source close to the film, and while they didn’t call it completely dead, they did say it is ‘highly unlikely’ that the film will shoot in 2009 at all." [Hit Fix]
LEAPING LIZARDS, IT’S "V": Last month we brought you an in-depth look at the past and future of the classic TV sci-fi epic "V" and here’s an update via a blurb in one of the trades: "ABC is flashing the ‘V’ sign.The network has given a pilot order to a reimagining of the 1980s miniseries about an alien invasion. Written on spec by ‘4400’ co-creator/exec producer Scott Peters, the new ‘V’ will center on a female Homeland Security agent. Peters is exec producing the pilot with HDFilms principal Jason Hall. Two ABC pilots picked up so far this pilot season are presold titles based on 1980s properties, ‘The Witches of Eastwick’ and ‘V.’" [Hollywood Reporter]
RANDOM PLUG: I covered the Screen Actors Guild Awards last night and had a great time backstage. You can read the story here if you like that kind of stuff.
THIS JUST IN…SUPERMAN EXISTS AND HE’S AMERICAN: Here’s yet another "Watchmen" video for your enjoyment. Considering all the ancillary videos that have been cooked up for the movie (and, of course, "The Black Freighter" featurette) I’m predicting now that the "Watchmen" Blu-ray will be a pretty staggering package…
ON THIS DATE: Comic book artist Silvio "Sal" Buscema is celebrating his 72nd birthday today. Sal got his start in the 1960s as inker for his brother, John Buscema, and Sal came into his own with long runs of work on "The Incredible Hulk," "Captain America," "Spectacular Spider-Man" and one of my faves, "The Defenders." Sal was a utility player in the Marvel bullpen often doing emergency fill-in issues and inking others between doing his own pencil and ink work and while he is considered more steady than spectacular by fans, his style really evolved through the years and his knack for clear storytelling was a key part of the Marvel glory years.
Here is the trailer for the "The Graveyard Book"
Here is some video of Neil Gaiman reading from "The Graveyard Book."
There are some really nicely polished readings of every single chapter at Neil’s website, right here.
ALSO: Check out my three-part interview with Gaiman.
CREDITS: Neil Gaiman photographed by Jennifer S. Altman for the Los Angeles Times. "V" image from the Los Angeles Times archives. Seth Rogen photographed by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.