Thor’s cartoon, Stan Lee’s medal and Dick Tracy’s fate all in Everyday Hero headlines

Nov. 17, 2008 | 10:44 p.m.

The Nov. 17, 2008, edition of Everyday Hero, your one-stop spot for handpicked headlines from the fanboy universe…

Thor_by_simonsonAsgard, animated: This is turning out to be a unprecedented boom era for superhero animation projects, between all of the straight-to-DVD productions and a flurry of announcements about television projects for Marvel and DC characters. The latest is a certain Norse god, according to a Borys Kit story in the trades today: “Marvel Animation is developing and self-producing a 26 half-hour-episode series based on its long-running comic book, with the series targeted to launch in fall 2010, following Marvel’s live-action feature ‘Thor.” … The animated series will follow Thor, the Norse god of thunder, as he defends his mythical home of Asgard against fantastical villains, fiendish hordes, winged creatures and angry giants. The show will take place in various worlds — from mountainous landscapes to places of icy mists and fiery voids — and will include many of the comic’s supporting cast, including Balder the Brave, the Warriors Three and Thor’s evil adopted brother, Loki. Marvel president of animation Eric Rollman said the series is part of the company’s plan to follow each live-action movie with an animated series and ‘offer a continued awareness in the marketplace.'” [Hollywood Reporter] Can you remember the names of the Warriors Three? Find the answer below, by clicking on to the second page…

Stan_lee_2006_photo_by_robyn_beck_a Stan Lee, national hero?: It’s amazing how far you can go working in funny books. President Bush today awarded the 2008 National Medal of Arts and, along with Olivia de Havilland, Hank Jones and the Sherman Brothers, one went to Marvel Comics icon Stan Lee. I’m sure this news went over real well with the heirs of Jack Kirby. The official announcement: “President George W. Bush today announced the recipients of the 2008 National Medals of Arts. Nine medals were presented by the President and Mrs. Laura Bush in an East Room ceremony at the White House. The National Medal of Arts is a White House initiative managed by the National Endowment for the Arts. The NEA organizes and oversees the National Medal of Arts nomination process and notifies the artists of their selection to receive a medal, the nation’s highest honor for artistic excellence. ‘These individuals and organizations represent the variety and scope of great American art, from the traditional fine arts to popular culture,’ said NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. ‘This lifetime honor recognizes their exceptional contributions to our national culture.’ [NEA news release]

Dick_tracy_profile_2 Dick Tracy, still on the job: Last month marked the 77th anniversary of the very first “Dick Tracy” comic strip and, yes, the police detective with the square jaw is still on the job and in print (although not in nearly as many newspapers as he was in his heyday). There was a stir of concern recently among some fans of the venerable strip that it would be canceled after some retirement hints dropped by 79-year-old Dick Locher, the artist since 1983 and its writer since 2006 (as well as a former assistant to the strip’s creator, Chester Gould, way back in the 1950s and 1960s). Alan Gardner, who writes about cartooning, got in touch with Mary Elson of Tribune Media Services to get the lowdown: “From Mary, I received an email with the official statement from TMS regarding this rumor: ‘TMS has no plans to discontinue the Dick Tracy comic strip; nor is the company seeking a new creator for the strip.'” Whew. [The Daily Cartoonist]

Aaron_eckhartFace-time for Eckhart: Weeks before “The Dark Knight” came out, director Christopher Nolan told me that the title of the film wasn’t solely a reference to Batman, that it was also a nod to the fallen “white knight” of Gotham, Harvey Dent. The director said that story of Dent was “the heart” of the film and that he was very happy to have an actor such as Aaron Eckhart in the key role. I’m sure Eckhart is happy too: There’s a story in the trades today about his upcoming leading-man role in an action film: “Eckhart is attached to star in ‘Battle: Los Angeles,’ a sci-fi actioner that Jonathan Liebesman is directing for Columbia. Neal Moritz and his Original Film are producing. The deal puts the actor front and center on an action movie for the first time. Eckhart had made his name working on less mainstream films, among others starring in ‘In the Company of Men’ and ‘Thank You for Smoking’ … The story, written by Chris Bertolini, revolves around a Marine platoon’s encounter in the battle on the streets of Los Angeles against an alien invasion. Eckhart will play the platoon leader in the film, which has yet to set a start date.” [Hollywood Reporter] UPDATE: Reader Mike Honcho points out that Eckhart was in “The Core,” which would certainly qualify as an action film, contradicting the Hollywood Reporter statement that this would be his first starring role in that sort of film.

Robotech_2 “Robotech,” Smallville-style: The team of Alfred Gough and Miles Millar co-created “Smallville” and stayed on as executive producers until earlier this year. Now they’ve been signed on to write a feature-film screenplay of “Robotech” for Warner Bros., according to an announcement in the trades: “Akiva Goldsman and Chuck Roven are producing with Tobey Maguire and Drew Crevello. ‘Robotech’ was a 1980s cartoon series from Harmony Gold USA and Tatsunoko Prods. It was re-edited and re-dialogued to combine three Japanese anime series to give the producers enough episodes to air as a daily syndicated series. A sprawling sci-fi epic, “Robotech” takes place at a time when Earth has developed giant robots from the technology on an alien spacecraft that crashed on a South Pacific isle. Mankind is forced to use the technology to fend off an alien invasion, with the fate of the human race ending up in the hands of two young pilots.” [Hollywood Reporter]

– Geoff Boucher

Photos: (top) Thor image drawn by Walt Simonson. Credit: Courtesy of Marvel Comics. (second from top) A 2006 photo of Stan Lee and friends. Credit: Robin Cook / Getty Images. (second from bottom) A 2008 photo of Aaron Eckhart. Credit: Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

Fandral, Hogun and Volstagg are the Warriors Three.

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