Alan Aldridge's Psychedelic Iron Man

Legendary graphic designer, Alan Aldridge, has created a cover for the Marvel Comics Avengers book, which will go on sale June 23. I found this news at the Los Angeles Times website, which gives a little background on the artwork,
The image here depicts Iron Man in the classic psychedelic style that Aldridge has been known for since the 1960's. I thought this was a wonderful contrast to Adi Granov's ultra-realistic take on Iron Man that I described in my previous post.
I included another of Aldridge's works for comparison. A concise biography and short video of Aldridge can be found at the Thames and Hudson Publishers website. Do you have any personal favorites from Aldridge's long career? If so, I'd love to hear it.

Adi Granov's Iron Man

Adi Granov
Okay, I'll admit it right up front. I love Adi Granov and I'm not ashamed to say it. Of course, I'm talking about a totally non-weird, completely understandable fanboy infatuation with his astounding art. In case you haven't been to a comic book store lately, Granov is considered one of the most innovative artists in comics and has had a huge impact on the look of Iron Man in recent years. 

Born in Bosnia and currently living in England, Granov, 33, is known for his highly detailed and realistic portrayals of Marvel Comics superheroes. His art has been described as "style meets function" because his illustrations of superheroes retain the classic look of the costumes, but give them a modern, realistic quality.

Granov's ability to give characters a "real world" edge is especially true in his Iron Man work. One look at the images here and you can see why Granov became a fan favorite when he began working on the Iron Man book in 2005. His art was so influential and highly regarded, he was hired by Marvel Studios as a consultant on the Iron Man (2008) movie.

In a 2007 interview with Newsarama, Granov explained his involvement on the first Iron Man film:

It was for a variety of characters and suits as well as general visualization of the film and it’s many action scenes. Jon Favreau and the producers seem to really like the visual feel of the “Extremis” book and the designs and overall art direction in it and they asked me to help them translate that into the movie. It started out in limited capacity, but as things moved forward it became a full time job which culminated in actually art directing the building of 3D models at Stan Winston Studios.

Here's how Granov's official website describes his involvement with the Iron Man films:

His most notable works include the Iron Man: Extremis series, written by Warren Ellis, and his role as a conceptual designer and illustrator on the Iron Man films. He worked on the key characters including Iron Man, Iron Monger and War Machine, as well as creating keyframe illustrations for the action sequences.

In an April 2010 interview on the pop culture website, Granov summed up why Iron Man was such an appealing character:

I think Iron Man and I have served each other pretty well over the years so I am always very happy to take part in his universe. I think the appeal for me is that, probably more so than any other major comic character, Iron Man/Tony Stark combine my interests in science fiction and machinery, with (the potential for) drama and realism.

As of this writing (May 25, 2010) there's no word from Marvel Studios on Granov's involvement with future films such as Avengers (2012). Given the success of the Iron Man franchise and Granov's contributions to it, it's hard to imagine him not having some role in other Marvel movie projects. Have you read about Granov's future film work or can provide links to articles in which he mentions other Marvel movies? If so, I'd love to hear about it.


Iron Man 2: Box Office Gold

Iron Man 2 - Marvel Studios
As testament to the seemingly unstoppable superhero movie genre, Iron Man 2 had the 5th highest grossing opening weekend in history. According to movie industry experts like Laurent Kelly at Obsessed With Film, Jon Favreau's sequel to 2008's Iron Man exceeded expectations with nearly $130 million in ticket sales. As of May 13, the second chapter in the tale of genius industrialist Tony Stark and his invincible suit of armor has taken in about $327 million in worldwide sales. We'll have to see if the word of mouth on IM 2 was good enough to retain its top spot at the box office in the second weekend. Its only real competition is Ridley Scott's Robin Hood, starring Russell Crowe, which has been getting a rough critical reception.

Howard the Duck

Tagline: "You will believe that a duck can talk."

No, actually that's just one of the things people can't believe about this disaster of a movie. Despite its overall crappiness,I think fans that are into comic-inspired or science fiction movies should see this flick. If for no other reason, just because of its historical value as a legendary Hollywood fail. As a matter of fact, HtD was on one of the cable channels recently and I tried to my best to sit through it, but God help me, it was painful.

Loosely based on the Marvel comic book of the same name, HtD was released in 1986, and by most accounts ranks as one of the biggest box office bombs in Hollywood history. It cost $37 million to make, which at the time was one of the biggest budgets ever. To give you some idea of how expensive that was- the first three Star Wars movies combined cost about the same amount. Despite having none other than George Lucas as producer and starring the promising young actors Lea Thompson and Tim Robbins, it made only $10 million in the U.S.

As many others have pointed out, one of the main problems with the movie revolves around the completely unconvincing special effects used to portray Howard himself. Lucas' effects company, Industrial Light and Magic built complex animatronic suits and puppets, but reportedly knew they had major problems from the first day of shooting. Even after the effects people spent months trying to perfect a live-action, talking duck, Howard just comes across looking like nothing more than a little person wearing a cheap duck costume. 

HtD does have something of a cult following out there.  One enterprising soul has even amassed a sizable collection of pop culture HtD references that might surprise you.  

For some trivia about Howard that you might find interesting, visit The '80s Movies Rewind.

Rachel Weisz: Superhero

Photo Credit: Bob Carlos Clarke 

I found this pic of actress, Rachel Weisz, while perusing a wonderful blog called Grantbridge Street and other misadventures and just thought it had a superheroish quality to it. I couldn't find any info on when it was taken or for what purpose. A quick scan of her IMBD profile didn't indicate this was a promotional shot for a past film. Anyway, it's a cool pic and I think the outfit and pose are definitely inspired by the comic book "look". Anyone have a clue as to where this pic originated? Would love to hear it.

Updated June 27, 2012
A reader has informed me that the photo credit should go to Bob Carlos Clarke

Winter Soldier Movie Appearance?

Winter Soldier #1 - Marvel Comics 
Warning: The following post contains spoiler material for those unfamiliar with the last few years of Captain America continuity.

Could the Winter Soldier make an appearance in a Captain America movie sequel? That's the rumor breaking today (May 3) as reported by CHUD - and although it's unconfirmed, it seems to make perfect sense. As you may know, Bucky Barnes, Captain America's WWII sidekick was presumed dead and buried until writer, Ed Brubaker, resurrected him in 2005 (Captain America #1). In this version, Bucky was no longer the smiling, patriotic kid warrior- he was instead, a grim, ruthless Soviet-trained assassin enhanced with a bionic arm and codenamed the Winter Soldier.
Captain America Comics #59 - Atlas Publishing 

I think introducing the Winter Soldier into the Marvel film universe would be a smart move. It would add several new plot possibilities and could even set the stage for a spin-off franchise. The screenwriters could have a field day weaving a tale involving Steve Rogers/Captain America confronting his former partner, now programmed to eliminate America's living symbol of freedom and strength. Imagine all the twists and turns a plot like that could take. For good measure, throw in the gorgeous Russian spy, Black Widow, as both heroes' love interest and you might have the makings of a classic superhero movie.

Of course, we'll have to wait a while to see if this rumor actually materializes, but until then I'm just gonna enjoy contemplating what might be developing in  Marvel land. What do you think of seeing the Winter Soldier in a future Captain America flick? Would it be a great plot twist or would mainstream audiences be confused by the storyline?
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