Wednesday, December 31, 2008

THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS SNUBS HOWARD THE DUCK

ITEM! Every year the Library of Congress and the National Film Registry select several movies to be preserved in their air-tight archives for all eternity. The criteria is that a film be "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." This year, several genre films were added, including James Cameron’s The Terminator, James Whales’ classic 1933 version of The Invisible Man, and even the Ray Harryhausen tour-de-force The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.

Unbelievably though, there’s still no love for the very first Marvel Movie ever — Howard the Duck. Although the movie tanked at the box office when first released, it’s gone on to become a cult classic. And you don’t get much more “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” than a movie about the love between a wayfaring water fowl and Lea Thompson! What can you, the very model of a Modern Merry Marvelite, do to address this grave injustice you ask? Your Fearless Leader is here to help! Just go directly to the National Film Registry’s website and nominate the Master of Quack Fu for inclusion in the archives for 2009! What’s that you say? Some of the more culturally deprived among you have never even seen the Howard the Duck movie? Well say no more, oh lost and lonely pilgrim of the cinematic wastelands! I'm here for you! You can watch the entire movie right here at the ol’ Soapbox! Who says this isn’t the Marvel Age of instant gratification?


Excelsior!
Smiley

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

SLING US A WEB, YOU'RE THE SPIDER-MAN

ITEM! As some Fearless Front Facers may recall, there was a bit of a controversy surrounding the scoring of the Spider-Man 2 movie. Daring Danny Elfman turned in his sizzling score and the producers were (for some bizarre reason) dissatisfied with parts of it and brought in Christopher Young and John Debney to re-score select scenes... much to the chagrin of the Elfman. What you may NOT know is that Misters Young and Debney were not the only alternative musical artists solicited to submit work for the new score.

Many thanks to faithful MMMS member-in-good-standing Wild Bill Gladman over at ComicRelated.com for sending this tidbit in to the ol’ Soapbox! Submitted for your approval is Weird Al Yankovic’s ultimately rejected opening theme for Spider-Man 2. According to Bill, it’s kinda like what you’d get if Billy Joel was bitten by a radioactive accordion. Enjoy! 


Excelsior!
Smiley

Monday, December 29, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

ITEM! I know... I know. It may seem a tad bit immodest of your ol’ Uncle Stan to be wishing himself a happy birthday, but what the hey! One of the great things about getting to be my age is you can pretty much do as you please and no one says boo to you about it! The Spider-Phone was practically ringing off the wall yesterday with birthday well-wishers. Well technically, it was ringing off my belt clip, but you get the idea. As I said to Madcap Mark Evanier, “When 86 years old you reach, look as good you will not!” Late last night Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada even called to wish me a happy-happy. Man-alive! I guess it’s time to get my number changed again.

Excelsior!
Smiley

Monday, December 15, 2008

MARVEL/DC: THE MOVIE!

ITEM! As discerning Marvelites already know, we here in Soapboxland regularly feature videos from YouToober ItsJustSomeRandomGuy... and today is no exception! This new Marvel/DC “After Hours” series of his has really got it all. It’s got pathos, it’s got plot, it’s got Yours Truly in a dual cameo playing both myself and a Life Model Decoy copy of the Smilin’ One. I gotta get Marvel Studios brand spankin’ new COO Tim Conners to hire this guy! These videos could serve as the animatics of the next great Merry Marvel Movie franchise... which frankly would really cut down on the cost of hiring a bunch of high-salaried, high-maintenance screenwriters. Hoo-hah! In the meantime, enjoy!



Excelsior!
Smiley

Monday, December 8, 2008

MIGHTY MARVEL MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY

ITEM! Yup, there’s nothing like surprising your employees first thing Monday morning with a few motivational posters strategically placed about the office space. And nothing bucks up morale like posters featuring your Fearless Leader’s smiling face! These motivational monographs aren’t just for the entertainment lawyers and media agents working with me here at POW! Entertainment, by-the-by. Feel free to print ‘em out and post ‘em around your own workspace. WARNING: Uncle Stan’s Marvelous Motivational Posters have been shown to cause dizziness, nausea, and brain tumors in laboratory mice, and may not be safe for children under 12, if pregnant, or if you have a history of middling-to-good taste. Blog visits over four hours are not normal, and you should consult a physician if refreshes persist. Enjoy! 




Excelsior!
Smiley

Friday, December 5, 2008

CRY COMICS — CRY HAVOC!

ITEM! It seems that the comics industry is in peril, and every Wednesday is turning into “Black Wednesday” as the sales figures continue to slowly decline. For a comprehensive compendium of this week’s frantic fallout, go see this story over at Heidi MacDonald’s The Beat blog. Things look dire indeed. One might be inclined to ask at this point, whither comic books?

Don’t you believe it, Fearless Ones! Take it from my octogenarian outlook. The comics industry has struggled before and folks have been predicting its imminent demise starting all the way back in the early 50s (thank you, Dr. Fredric “Rabble Rouser” Wertham). The only difference between then and now are the miles on the odometer, baby.

Are there fundamental problems in creative content and distribution channels that need addressing? Absolutely! Has the game changed almost entirely with the introduction of new technologies and new digital media? You bet’cha! But is it really the end of serialized graphic storytelling as we know it? Not on your life, pilgrim! The comics industry isn’t any different from the auto industry, the banking system or the housing market. The comics have just got to get with the times and figure out how to best take advantage of the new media opportunities and stop trying to fight an Information Age battle with last century’s editorial tanks and planes. 

You know, it’s times like these that I really miss Jolly Jack Kirby. He had a prescient practice of prophesying these portents and omens way before the rest of us caught up to the future. For example, Jack foretold the coming of graphic novels and their sale in chain bookstores decades before the practice became commonplace. If he was here with us now, he’d probably just rattle off the entire solution to the industry’s current problems over a turkey and gravy sandwich at lunch! Still, there’s a solution out there. All we have to do as an industry is find it. So keep the home fires burning, True Believers. And until Joe Quesada reveals that Aunt May is secretly a Skrull agent, keep Making Yours Marvel! 

Excelsior!
Smiley

Thursday, December 4, 2008

MEET GENE COLAN LIVE AND IN-PERSON!

ITEM! That’s right, Frantic Ones! This is your chance to meet one of the artful architects of the Marvel Age of Comics live and in-person! Where-oh-where can one be granted an audience with Gentleman Gene Colan you ask? Why, at Lee’s Comics in Mountain View, Californ-i-ay on Saturday, December 6 from 2:00-4:00 p.m... that’s where! And if you’ve never ever set foot inside this proud winner of the first-ever Excelsior Award for Comic Shop Excellence, then this is your chance to correct the mistake of a lifetime! For details and up-to-the-minute information, just go to Lee’s Comics website and enjoy web-browsing at the website of a comic shop so hip, slick and cool that only Alex Ross could have designed their logo! I kid you not. So what are you waiting for? Latverian New Year? Gas up the car or buy a plane ticket and get thee to this earnest event! You’ll be glad you did!

Excelsior!
Smiley

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

FACE IT BLOCKHEAD, YOU JUST HIT THE JACKPOT!

ITEM! Good grief! Just when you thought it was safe to fly a kite past the kite-eating trees — here comes Boisterous Brit artist JDH with his manic mash-ups of the Peanuts gang and ol’ Merry Marvel! Believe me when I tell you gang, it’s worth clicking on this link just to see Snoopy going down in flames atop his doghouse screaming, “Curse you, Baron Zemo!” Submitted herein for your approval is a mere smattering of the Peanuts-covered goodness that awaits you here. Get you appetite whetted here, then go and check out the funniest toons this side of Doc Doom’s doodle pad! Tell ‘em your Uncle Stanley sent yah!




Excelsior!
Smiley

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

THOR #600 WRITTEN BY YOU-KNOW-WHO!

ITEM! Here it is — the big news you’ve been waiting on. You see, a few months back Marvel approached me about scripting the special anniversary ish of Thor #600. The only problem with that is the monolithic pile of other writing projects I have sitting on my now creaking desk. I had a similar problem back in the late 50s and early 60s trying to single-handedly write 10-12 issues per month for Mighty Marvel. Of course, the eventual solution to this problem resulted in the invention of the famous “Marvel Method,” by which process I would merely type up a short synopsis or have a brief phone confab with the artist, let ‘em rip out around 24 pages of serialized graphic continuity, and then go in and dialogue and caption the pencilled art. And the results, as they say, spoke for themselves! Manic Marvel Magic!

These days between studio first-look projects and other obligations, I don’t even begin to have the time for even that participate process. Well as William Shakespeare once said, “Needs must as the devil drives.” And so, without further ado, your ol’ Uncle Stanley introduces you to his latest, greatest writing method: the “Marvel Marvel Method!” For Thor #600, Yours Truly had a quick phone conference with regular Thor scripter Michael J. Straczynski, and voila! Mr. Babylon-5 did all the rest of the literary heavy lifting together with award-winning artist Olivier Colpel and David Aja. You can read all about the project right here!

If this works out, I may try to refine the process even further, eventually reducing my own workload to just signing my name to the comic. Grandma Leiber always said, “Do what you do best.” I say thee Yay!

Excelsior!
Smiley

Monday, December 1, 2008

I'M A MARVEL... AND I'M A DC: PARENTAL ADVICE EDITION

ITEM! Hey there, heroes! For those still getting over a bad case of PTSD (Post Turkey Stress Disorder), here's another installment of YouToober ItsJustSomeRandomGuy's I'm a Marvel... and I'm a DC series. Everyone here in Soapboxland, from Yours Truly to bouncing baby Irving Forbush IV, just love this guy's cavortin' comedic clips. In this episode, Spidey and Stupes get some unexpected parental advice from beyond the grave. 'Nuff Said!


Excelsior!
Smiley

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A BRIEF NON-HISTORY OF THE NO-PRIZE

ITEM! As a rigorous reader recently pointed out, even an eagle-eyed editor such as Yours Truly has committed many a typographic misfire to the printed page. I called Bruce Banner “Bob” in so many early ishes of Marvel Comics we eventually just up and officially changed the poor man’s name to Robert Bruce Banner! And of course, there was the time I had Doc Ock call Spider-Man “Super-Man.” (The Amazing Spider-Man #3, July 1963). Say what you will, that hyphen probably saved us a lawsuit!

Ever intelligent and insightful, our readers were always quick to point out our editorial mishaps and continuity gaffes. Thus was invented the legendary No-Prize! First announced in Fantastic Four #26 (May 1964) and awarded for the first time ever in FF #31 (Oct. 1964), these essentially empty envelopes eventually became so popular that we had to tighten the requirements for receiving one! Just finding one of my memory-impaired mistakes (which let’s face it, is like shooting dish in a barrel) was no longer enough to qualify. One had to demonstrate or perform “Meritorious Service to the Cause of Marveldom!” Many were called, but only the lucky few were served!

So there you have it. The proud No-Prize tradition continued off-and-on after your Uncle Stan went out West, and even continues today in digital form via Marvel Editor Tom Brevoort. Is it just me, or does Tom’s name sound just like it came straight from a Tales to Astonish monster story? “I Challenged Brevoort, the Editor from Outer Space!” But I digress. If you want to learn more, Honest Irv has embedded one a’ those YouToobs deals below with more info on No-Prizes than you can shake a Groot at! Enjoy!


Excelsior!
Smiley

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

STAN'S SOAPBOX: THE COLLECTION!

ITEM! Just in case you’ve been hiding in a cave in Outer Latveria (you know, a really plush cave with electricity and broadband access), I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that The Hero Initiative’s latest book, Stan’s Soapbox: The Collection, is now at your local comic book shop. A cavortin’ collection of every single Stan’s Soapbox written by Yours Truly from 1967-1980, this book contains over 14 years and 46,000 words of literary excellence that you can read, rhapsodize with, and regurgitate to your friends. And all profits from sales of this book benefit the fine work done on behalf of comic creators by The Hero Initiative. I’ll even let you in on a little secret. The book doesn’t actually reprint every single Stan’s Soapbox written by Yours Truly.

You see, there was one Soapbox that only appeared in bi-monthly mags printed in 1968 that someone must’ve missed — or given it's content — decided to intentionally omit. Either way, in order for you to truly complete your Stan's Soapbox collection, the Smilin’ One presents for your review and probable derision, the long lost Stan’s Soapbox. Enjoy it, gang!


Excelsior!
Smiley

Monday, November 24, 2008

ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEDALS

ITEM! Good news, gang! Your ol’ Uncle Stanley is back from his recent trip to our nation’s capital. I know I’ve been a little out-of-pocket lately, and for that I apologize. I’ve just been busy (as Bachman-Turner Overdrive once said) taking care of business. And Yours Truly wasn’t actually so much busy preparing to receive the 2008 National Medal of Arts from President George W. Bush last week, as I was busy trying to get the ceremony postponed just another eight or nine weeks. Even though I set my brainiest bunch of barristers on the task, it just didn’t work out. Not that I mind getting such a prestigious award from the outgoing President. Heck, if anyone can appreciate someone desperately trying to rehabilitate their legacy after some unfortunate management decisions, it’s mois. It’s just that ever since I saw that picture of Barrack Obama posing in front of the Metropolis, Illinois Superman statue, I’ve wanted to see if I couldn’t entice him into a photo-op with Iron Man or the Incredible Hulk. Though now that I think about it, a billionaire munitions industrialist or a rogue military scientist may not be the best fit for a post-inauguration picture taking session. Maybe Aunt May would go over best with Middle America. I'll have to get to work on that, and on posting more peerless pronouncements and pearls of prefabricated wisdom than you can click a refresh button on! The best is yet to come, pilgrims!

Excelsior!
Smiley

Thursday, November 6, 2008

THE BRIDE OF ELECTION DAZE

ITEM! Now that we’ve made history by electing the first African-American president, it’s time for all us Frantic Ones to get back to work getting this country and the economy back on track again. No shirker of duty, your Uncle Stanley is already hard at work doing his part. That’s right, I’m currently putting together the sequel to my best-selling political humor book Election Daze. If you somehow some-way missed this one you can still order your copy right here. Since my two great humor-loves are placing comedic captions on pictures of political figures and Universal movie monsters, I’ve decided to combine the two for the genre-bending sequel: The Bride of Election Daze! No wistful word on a publication date from the publisher as yet, but here are a few frankly fabulous fragments I’ve been kicking around getting myself all warmed up. Enjoy ‘em, oh Keepers of the Faith! 



Excelsior!
Smiley

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

SPIDER-BABY: ILLEGITIMATE CHILD OF MARVEL CONTINUITY?

ITEM! Apparently the younger May Parker, daughter of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson (and future Spider-Girl), is not as dead as Marvel continuity would have us believe. As this recent paparazzi picture reveals, Spidey has at least regained some visitation rights to bouncing baby May. It also looks like Petey's put on a few pounds. Better lay off the wheatcakes for awhile, Parker! What’s left unanswered is the child’s legal status in light of Mephisto reworking the Marvel Universe timeline so that Peter and Mary Jane were never married in the first place. Guess it’s a good thing Baby May’s not a boy!

Last time your Uncle Stanley was paying attention, Baby May was either killed off or in the custody of Alison Mongraine and the Green Goblin back around The Amazing Spider-Man #434 or so. However, the aforementioned paparazzi pic was shot recently in the same apartment building that Tom DeFalco lives in, so maybe he ended up with custody, which all things considered, could actually be for the best. Hey! I just came up with a great new idea for a Merry Marvel sitcom: Baby May growing up with only comic book creators Tom Defalco and Ron Frenz to raise her. We could call it “My Two Spider-Dads”! Better get a call into my attorneys and copyright this idea quick before Queseda gets wind of it and has it cancelled too! Face Front, True Believers!

Excelsior!
Smiley

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

GET DOWN, AMERICA! GO VOTE!

ITEM! And speaking of history — today’s the day we Americans make some! Be sure and go out and vote today, pilgrims! Your Uncle Stanley would even tell yah who to go vote for, but unfortunately my name is not on the ballot. Marvel hasn't had a candidate on the ballot since Howard the Duck in '76 (see video below). Yours Truly would’ve made a great candidate too — I’m older than John McCain and my head’s bigger than Barrack Obama’s! Still, either way the election turns out, we’re all going to make history today, and you don’t wanna get left out of that, do yah? After all, you have to vote to maintain your right to complain and to sell books with humorous word balloons drawn over photographs of political figures later, right? So, to quote Howard the Duck, “Get down, America! Go Vote!”


Excelsior!
Smiley

OWN THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT

ITEM! Hey there, Marvelites! If you’ve got an extra $1.2 million laying around burning a hole in your hot little pockets, then you can buy the house that Jack Kirby built! No, no... not Marvel Comics — the other house that Jack built. It seems that Jolly Jack’s former residence in Thousand Oaks, CA is now up for sale. You can check out the listing here, or see a satellite picture of it here. According to the listing it’s got four bedrooms, three baths and an in-ground pool. No word in the listing if there’s a lower-level entrance to Subterranea or if the house is Negative Zone accessible. Either way, let’s face it, pilgrims. This place should be on the National Register of Historic Sites. Maybe the new owners will arrange for that, and if you’re in the market for a daringly dramatic domicile located in Southern California, that person could be you! 

Excelsior!
Smiley

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO STURDY STEVE DITKO

ITEM! It hardly seems possible that Steve Ditko, the man many consider the co-creator of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, turned 81-years-young on November 2 — and this is my favorite time of year because of it! This is the time of year when for a month-and-a-half I’m only four years older than Steverino! Good ol' Steve. Even though we’ve been on the outs since my 1999 letter acknowledging his contributions to Spidey’s legend, we here in Soapboxland still wish that Randiest of Randians the happiest of birthdays. May the All-Seeing Eye of Agamotto shine brightly on you, may the Fabulous Flames of Faltine light your way, and may all your birthday presents come wrapped in the Crimson Bands of Cytorrak! ‘Nuff Said!

Excelsior!
Smiley

Friday, October 31, 2008

HAPPY HALLOWEEN, PILGRIMS!

ITEM! Happy Halloween from all of us here in Soapboxland to all you True Believers, Fearless Face-Fronters, Merry Marvelites, and even the odd Brand Eccher. Be safe, double-check you candy before eating it, and remember to watch out for the occasional rogue super-villain. And be sure to check out Adamant Adam Koford's website for more of his whimsical artwork (like the Galactus cartoon above)! Have a good one, Tigers!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

HALLOWEEN HAVOC 2008: STAN LEE READS "THE RAVEN"

ITEM! It seems that both Yours Truly and my bestest biddy-buddy Kevin Smith both have a fondness for the classics, and you don’t get any classier than The Raven! And I don't mean the Red Raven from Rawhide Kid #38 (Feb. 1964 — Studious Stan). No I mean another literary classic, namely Edgar Alan Poe's The Raven (Jan. 1845 — Still Studious and sometimes even Scholarly Stan). Recently, Kevin asked me to tape a reading of The Raven for his QuickStop Entertainment website and I was more than happy to oblige. Be sure and go over there at quickstopentertainment.com and check out all of the other Halloween goodies, not the least of which are some wacky webisodes from his new movie Zack & Miri Make a Porno. Warning: you have to be 18 or over (which thankfully I am, give-or-take-five-or-six-decades) to watch the Zack & Miri webisodes! Meanwhile, enjoy the following daringly dramatic reading (in two parts)... if you dare! Bwhuahahaha!



Excelsior!
Smiley

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR #51 OUT AT LAST!

ITEM! Hey there, Heroes! My favorite tabloid-sized doesn’t-fit-in-a-long-box-or-on-any-shelf-in-my-house comics magazine, John “There’s Always To” Morrow’s Jack Kirby Collector #51, finally came out this week. It features on the cover, oddly enough, one of the many character designs that probably would’ve shown up in the Fantastic Four one day if Uncle Marty hadn’t broken so many promises to Jolly Jack back in the day. You’ll note that Jack even left a whole kaboodle of white space above his name so that Yours Truly could sign his name to it, as I was prone to do. But I digress...

Besides the usual assortment of artful articles and articulate art, including Madcap Mark Evanier’s always insightful Jack F.A.Q.s column (all you ever wanted to know and more about Kirby’s falling out with Brand Ecch Editor Jack Schiff over the Sky Masters syndicated strip), JCK has the best letters column this side of the New York Times. This month Kirby correspondent Angel Gabriele (what a great name for a super heroine... I might have to use that some day) writes in to point out that the house ad that ran in Tales To Astonish #59 (Sept. 1964) probably resulted in the destruction of the original cover art for Hulk #1 (May 1962), and sends in a pic of the original house ad art to show what happened (see below). You can easily tell where the figure of Bruce Banner and most of the Hulk’s clothes were whited-out or pasted-over. Yup, True Believers, now you know one of the reasons why so much of Jack’s original art from those days is no longer around. I know what you’re thinking — the original art to the cover of Hulk #1 would be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars today. Or make a wonderful anonymous donation to the Library of Congress. But sadly, we just didn’t assign any value to the original art back then once the film had been shot for the individual books.

So, for this and zillions of other Kirby insights and in-fights, go get yourself a copy of the Jack Kirby Collector #51 before your local comic book shop runs out, or you can order both print and digital versions directly from Tomorrows Publishing! Tell ‘em your Uncle Stanley sent yah!

Excelsior!
Smiley

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

HEROES IN RATINGS SLUMP: ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY SUGGESTS SOME FIXES

ITEM! It seems that my favorite TV show this side of Who Wants To Be a Superhero is experiencing a ratings slump of late, and Entertainment Weekly has suggested some solutions in it's cover story Heroes: Five Ways to Fix a Series In Crisis. Everyone’s entitled to their opposing opinion I suppose, but who are we kidding? Monday morning quarterbacking from Entertainment Weekly? I wonder how People Magazine or Tiger Beat would fix the series?Your Uncle Stanley used to go through this same dynamic with my publisher/uncle-in-law Martin Goodman. You know why Uncle Marty never wrote comics? For the same reason the writers of EW aren’t producing quality network TV shows — because they can’t. You know the old saying, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t become Hollywood flacks.” 

Personally, Yours Truly still enjoys Heroes as must-see-Monday-night-TV. If the Smilin’ One was going to offer up any constructive criticism to show runner Tim Kring — from one sense-shattering serial scripter to another — it would just be to do some more stunt-casting cross-overs with A-list television and movie stars, like... I dunno... say the creator of the Marvel Universe and the elder statesman of all things hip, slick and cool?A certain bus-driving guest star from season one, episode 16 comes to mind. He could be revealed to actually be Grandfather Petrelli, the long-lost patriarch of the clan who has the ability of rapid ratings regeneration! He would need to have a couple of really hot, super-powered younger girlfriends, though, as back-up. Hey! I think I'm onto something here! I’ll have my people call your people! We’ll do lunch, okay?

Excelsior!
Smiley

Monday, October 27, 2008

MARVEL TEAM-UP: SPIDER-MAN AND PLANNED PARENTHOOD

ITEM! Ah, the 70s. For an era that was supposed to be the “Me Generation” was there ever a delirious decade when more folks strived to be as socially-relevant as humanly possible? Most well-read Marvelites already know about the time when the Nixon administration’s Department of Health, Education and Welfare asked me to do a comic featuring the pitfalls of drug addiction — resulting in a series of Spidey stories that caused the Comics Code Authority to be reformed. But didja know that in 1976 we were approached by the Planned Parenthood organization to produce a comic for inclusion in their information packets to teenagers? Yup, and we did it too! And now that li’l 5” x 6.5” mini-comic has become a much sought-after collectors item of its own! Featuring a script by Ann Robinson and art by then-Spidey artist, the late-great Ross Andru, this essentially earnest effort may read a little bit corny today, but it was jam-packed with info that kids in the swingin’ 70s needed to know, like “Dreams, thoughts and wishes about sex are natural. Masturbation won’t make you insane or harm you in any way...”

Here are a few pages from this immemorial intercourse on... well, intercourse, straight from the Disco Era to you! Or, you can grab your own copy fresh off the ebays here! Enjoy! 

Excelsior!
Smiley

Friday, October 24, 2008

MADCAP MARK EVANIER TALKS KIRBY AT GOOGLE

ITEM! In case you didn’t already catch this one on the Intrawebs, pilgrims, MMMS member-in-good-standing Madcap Mark Evanier recently gave his Jack Kirby talk for the famous Authors@Google series! If you’ve never been able to attend one of the Comi-Cons at which Mark often speaks, then this is your chance to hear him wax eloquently for over 45 minutes about the King of Comics. Your Uncle Stanley always enjoys his Kirby keynotes because they help kick-start my memory-impaired medulla oblongata on what just did happen back in Ye Olden Days. After watching this vid, my only critical comment to the Madcap One is a desperate plea — please give me a call as soon as possible, Mark. I can tell yah exactly who to go see about the perilously un-plentiful pelage! Trust me on this one, Tiger. I know whereof I speak!


Excelsior!
Smiley

Thursday, October 23, 2008

GALACTUS — DOWN AND OUT ON PLANET EARTH

ITEM! More troubling news and a further update on the sad state of affairs with everyone’s favorite consumer of after-dinner breath mints, Galactus. It seems that Hollywood wags have spotted the Big G coming and going from auditions to join next season’s cast of Dr, Drew’s Celebrity Rehab. We here in Soapboxland wish the World Devourer well with his recovery from addiction to the Power Cosmic and Coors Light. It’s been a long, strange trip from those heady hey-days in the mid-60s when ol’ Purple Boots first showed up in our Merry Marvel books. 

Reports recently reached me that not only was the G-Man fired from the cast of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (replaced by a CGI-animated cloud), but he’s run out of money and is flat broke as well. Apparently Galactus signed the standard Marvel work-for-hire contract that all free-lancers were required to sign back in the day, and thus he receives absolutely no royalties from the pulse-pounding plethora of Galactus-themed merchandise Marvel licenses — like this nifty Galactus coffee mug (ideal for sipping your morning cup o’ elemental energy) or this cute li’l Galactus Teddy (see pics). Let’s all do our part pilgrims, and keep the World Devourer in our thoughts! ‘Nuff Said!

Excelsior!
Smiley

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

THE INCREDIBLE HULK - CAPTAIN AMERICA CAMEO, PART DEAUX

ITEM! Some confused cameo-seeking critics have been pelting the ol’ Sock It To Stan email box with requests for further instructions on how to find the don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-it Captain America cameo in the alternate opening to The Incredible Hulk movie (now out on DVD and Blu-Rays). Did Hulk director Louis Leterrier lie to us about this earnest easter egg in earlier interviews? Is Cap really in there? Don’t fret, Frantic One. For those without a 102” plasma TV (like we have at Stately Lee Manor) or an able AV assistant like Irving Forbush III, your Uncle Stanley is here to help yah. Good thing for you Tigers and Tigrettes I am as magnanimous as I am munificent!

First, play the alternate opening (only included on the special 3-DVD set or the Blu-Rays) and watch it all the way to the very end. At about 2:23 or so in, as the ice shelf collapses into the frozen seabed, watch the lower left-hand of frame and get ready to hit the pause button. There’s Cap lying prone with his shield flying past camera embedded in a giant chunk of ice (see pic), all ready and set to float oceanward so he can be be found later by the military, SHIELD, and your local cineplex in 2011! Honest Irv has even concocted a video tutorial for you to help yah out (see below)! 

And before someone asks the quizzical question “how did Cap’s shield get on Tony Stark’s lab bench in the Iron Man movie, if Cap’s got it with him frozen in the arctic ice shelf?"... Cap has his original shield from his WWII days. As dedicated Marvelites everywhere already know, Tony Stark made Cap a new shield stuffed with gizmos and electronics along about Avengers #6 (June 1964, or as we call ‘em, ye olden days). Now go out and get this DVD and see what all the fuss is about for yourself, oh Cameotic One!


Excelsior!
Smiley

I'M A MARVEL... AND I'M A DC

ITEM! Who says that Barack Obama and John McCain get to have all the fun? Not infamous YouToober ItsJustSomeRandomGuy! We’ve featured his “I’m a Marvel... I’m a DC” take-offs on the famous Apple commercials here in Soapboxland before, but in this campaign season and what with all of the summer superhero movies coming out on DVD, it seemed like a good time to show yah some more! Lest anyone accuse Yours Truly of negative Not-Brand-Ecch advertising, let me remind you that these days there’s nothing more American than accusing your opponent of vague, unprovable and ill-defined character defects! So, until Sarah Palin explains to the American public exactly why she shot Bullwinkle J. Moose... enjoy!




Excelsior!
Smiley

Monday, October 13, 2008

HOW TO FIND THE CAPTAIN AMERICA EASTER EGG IN THE INCREDIBLE HULK DVD

ITEM! Yours Truly here with the goods, as per usual, oh Frantic Ones. No need to resort to hair-pulling, purple pants-ripping, or belting yourself with gamma rays to see the excised Captain America cameo in The Incredible Hulk movie (out Oct. 21 on both DVD and Blu-Rays at a retailer near you). Just follow these simple instructions: play the alternate arctic opening to the flick and get ready to hit your pause button at about 2:25 in... and voila! There’s the First Avenger buried in the frozen firma along with his swinging shield, just like your Uncle Stanley told yah he’d be, lo these many moons ago! No fuss, no muss... just some daft decision-making by Marvel Studio Head Isaac Perlmutter when he more-or-less forced director Louis Leterrier to cut this original opening for being too dark for a Merry Marvel Movie. Hey, how can our heroes shine in the light without leaping through a little darkness first, right Faithful Ones? That’s the way Jack and I used to do it, that’s the way Marvel did it, and it’s worked out pretty well so far. Enjoy!

Excelsior!
Smiley

"HEROES" COMIC CREATOR CAMEO CONTEST

ITEM! Hey there Heroes! Speaking of cameos, it's time for a new contest. The name of this one is the “Let’s All Write Tim Kring and Petition Him To Bring Back Yours Truly In Another Acclaimed Cameo Role Contest!” 

Here’s the pitch: whatever happened to that mysterious Greyhound Bus driver in the Season One episode “Unexpected”? Is he secretly Nathan, Peter and Sylar’s grandfather? What’s his power? Is it to transport people via teleportation or diesel-engined mass public transportation? Maybe I could even have Mark Evanier along as my ever-faithful trusty side-kick? Enquiring True Believers want to know! Also my bank account could use the extra boost. It’s gonna be awhile between now and the next Merry Marvel Movie cameo, if you know what I mean. What do you win if you write in? Why you win the ever-lasting joy of seeing your Uncle Stanley giving another Emmy Award-winning performance on the hottest show on network television, natch! So what are you waiting on? A personal invite from Future Hiro?

To enter the contest, send your credible cards and liltin’ letters to:

Endeavor Agency
9601 Wilshire Blvd. 3rd Floor
Beverly Hills, CA 90212

Excelsior!
Smiley

Thursday, October 9, 2008

THE LOST CAPTAIN AMERICA CAMEO

ITEM! And speaking of “lost cameos,” guess who’s finally getting ready to make his first earnest easter-egg appearance in the DVD version of The Incredible Hulk movie? That’s right... the often-mentioned but scoffed and contentioned Captain America cameo will be appearing in the restored original opening to the movie. See your Uncle Stan’s original blog on the subject for where and when to look. Need more? Go here and read what Hulk VF/X supervisor Kurt Williams has to say about the arctic prologue scene being restored to the very beginning of the flick! Sure, ol’ Kurt plays it pretty coy with the Sci-Fi Channel, but read between the dialogue balloons, Frantic Ones. Remember, it all goes down on October 21! Reserve your copy today!

Excelsior!
Smiley

THE LOST IRON MAN CAMEO

ITEM! Hey there, Heroes! It’s my assumption that all of you True Believers out there in Marveldom Assembled have purchased your copy of the Iron Man movie on either DVD or the Blu-Rays by this time (one week after it's release). I base that assumption on Technocrati’s report that the Blu-Rays version has already sold out, making it the best-selling Blu-Rays disc in 2008! Wa-hoo!

But if you haven’t yet picked up your very own copy, then let your Uncle Stanley provide you with a little extra incentive. Besides the usual array of electrifying extras and insightful interviews with director Jon "Fan Fave" Favreau, this one includes my full cameo appearance in the movie that sadly ended up on the cutting room floor. Yes, it’s true. Yours Truly had actual lines and some actually acting that were cut for time in the final print. Now you can own your very own copy of my Lawrence Oliver-style performance along with more making-of bonus goodies than you can shake a repulser ray at! Thanks to Irving Forbush III, there’s a small sampling YouToobed below, just to whet your discerning appetites. So if you don’t already own this movie, go get it now! Tell ‘em that “Hef” sent yah!


Excelsior!
Smiley

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

DEVOURER OF WORLDS HITS HARD TIMES — STARTS DOING THE CONVENTION CIRCUIT

ITEM! Hard times — it happens to the best of us. Just ask Nick Nolte or my bestest biddy-buddy Robert Downey Jr.. Looks like the Devourer of Worlds and everyone’s least favorite all-you-can-eat buffet companion has finally hit rock bottom! News reached me just this weekend that Galactus was seen signing autographs at Mid-Ohio Con in Columbus, Ohio. It just breaks my heart to see the scourge of the Skrull Empire and sentients across the universe squeaking by like this on convention appearance money. Bet they put him up at the local Motel 6, too.

Apparently the Big G’s long-tall fall started back when he was replaced by a CGI cloud in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Director Tim Story later claimed that it was an artistic decision to replace ol’ Purple Boots with computer effects, but the tabloids all reported that it was really because he was constantly showing up late on the set or without his lines memorized. Next thing anyone knew the Big Guy was seen hanging out at Britney Spears’ compound. She’s like what? 1/576,000,000th his age? Even now, with a Silver Surfer movie in pre-production, the studio won’t take his calls. How the mighty have fallen! Gimme a call, G. Maybe it's not too late to get you into Secret Invasion.

Excelsior!
Smiley

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

SPORE - SO EASY EVEN AN 85-YEAR-OLD CAN PLAY IT!

ITEM! It’s not often that a computer game comes along that really catches my fancy. Let’s face it — I'm old. As a teenager back in Depression-era New York, the closest thing we had to computer games was a quick pick-up of "kick the soup-kitchen bum." But I gotta tell yah this Spore game by Maxis has me glued to my Dell computer, creating comical creatures and conquering cosmic civilizations when I should be writing scripts for the seven zillion projects I’m signed up to produce. Who says you need any artistic sensibilities to create great characters? Not Yours Truly — not after playing around with Spore. Honest Irv has even embedded one of those YooToobs below so you can see my very own sizzling Spore creation, the Mystical Mister Multi-Limb!


And it’s not just your Uncle Stanley who’s caught up in the Spore craze! Celebs ranging from my main-man Richard Branson to Heroes’ Masi Oka to Ozland's  Flight of the Conchords have created Spore creatures for your electronic edification! I kid you not! So what are you waiting for? Latverain New Year? Go get this game! Where else do you get to play a character that starts as a humble microbe who eventually works his way up to starship captain? The only thing missing from this game? One word — Galactus! Ah well, maybe in Spore II... 

Excelsior!
Smiley

SCI-FI INTERVIEWS YOURS TRULY

ITEM! As regular readers of this bellicose blog already know, no one gives more fabulous face-time than your Fearless Leader. To wit: the Sci-Fi Channel just posted a recent interview with Yours Truly in which I wax elegantly on the recent explosion of super-hero movies! 

One of the many money-quotes from my one-on-one monologue: “You do your best. You have a character, you know the character, the story works and it’s a great one. But then you have to do another story. That’s the problem.” It may have temporarily slipped my memory-impaired mind to mention that the solution to said dilemma is usually finding a fantastic visual storyteller like Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko to collaborate with... but what the hey! That’s what I have this blog for, right pilgrims? To meritoriously mete out credit-where-credit it due! You read it here first! To read the whole blamed interview, go here and, as always, enjoy! 

Excelsior!
Smiley

Monday, October 6, 2008

CAP MOVIE TO BE SET IN WORLD WAR II

ITEM! Good news, everyone! Oh my, yes. Actually, the general idea of The First Avenger: Captain America movie (May, 2011) being mostly set in WWII has been public news for some time... but it’s sure nice to see some confirmation. According to Production Weekly magazine, here is the official plot synopsis:

"Born during the Great Depression, Steve Rogers grew up a frail youth in a poor family. Horrified by the newsreel footage of the Nazis in Europe, Rogers was inspired to enlist in the army. However, because of his frailty and sickness, he was rejected. Overhearing the boy's earnest plea, General Chester Phillips offered Rogers the opportunity to take part in a special experiment… Operation: Rebirth. After weeks of tests, Rogers was at last administered the 'Super-Soldier Serum' and bombarded by 'vita-rays.' Steve Rogers emerged from the treatment with a body as perfect as a body can be and still be human. Rogers was then put through an intensive physical and tactical training program. Three months later, he was given his first assignment as Captain America. Armed with his indestructible shield and and battle savvy, Captain America has continued his war against evil both as a sentinel of liberty and leader of the Avengers."

Nice, right? Mom, apple pie, and the Red Skull are also believed to be included in the script. Hopefully this is legit, though some blogsters have their doubts. Still, it always bodes well when the studio (even Marvel Studios in this particular case) expresses a genuine desire to stick closely to the comic’s creative concepts. Believe me when I tell yah no one wants another frantic franchise-killer like Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer on their hands again! According to my sources (feeble though they may be) no director or lead actor have been attached as yet. About the only thing your Uncle Stanley can say with certainty is that Cap won’t be played by Will Smith or Nicholas Cage. And Nicky, you can quit calling my offices. You already had your shot at Merry Marvel Franchise-Building in Ghost Rider, oh Elvis-like One!

Excelsior!
Smiley

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

SO WHY DID JACK QUIT MARVEL?

ITEM! Here’s another question your Uncle Stanley gets asked just about every time I show my fabulous fawning face in public: Why did Jack Kirby quit Marvel in 1970 and jump ship to the Doubtful Competition? In fact, I was recently asked this very question while visiting Google for one of their Authors@Google Series. And just how did Yours Truly answer that insightful inquiry? Well, it’s Honest Irving Forbush III to the rescue with one of those embedded YooTube dealies so that you, the discriminating Marvel Reader, can see exactly how I responded to this quintessential question! 


Excelsior!
Smiley

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

MISQUOTE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD ESTATE

ITEM! You ever notice how the media can take almost any quote out of context and turn it into an inveracious Internet rumor disguised as actual journalism? Sometimes it even tickles me right down to my size ten tootsies. Take this for example: Moviefone does an interview with Yours Truly in which I’m asked about the rumored casting of Will Smith as Captain America. My response, as accurately reported was:

“I would love us to do something with Will Smith, but I don't know that he's Captain America. That would be a long shot. It would be a real leap to make Captain America black ... then again, I don't know. It might be a really smart thing. If Barack Obama becomes President who knows... suddenly a lot of our characters will be black!”

Simple enough, right? Just your ol’ Uncle Stanley glibly answering away in as non-commital a fashion as humanly possible. But then someone at ContactMusic.com gets ahold of this quote and pulls a portion of it way-the-heck outta proportion and we end up with this headline:

“Stan Lee — Stan Lee Wants to Make Will Smith a Black Captain America”

It’s actually pretty humorous when you think about it. The next headline will probably be “Stan Lee Says He’d Cast Barack Obama As Cap!” But seriously... as regular readers of this boisterous blog already know, Marvel Studios is in full charge of casting for our Merry Marvel Movies and half the time they won’t even take my calls, my-as-less solicit my advice on casting decisions. That’s not my job anyway. My job is to smile and say great things about whatever they’ve already decided to do in exchange for my cameo role and an executive producer credit! Heck, if they let me cast the Captain America movie, I can’t think of a better guy than the Smilin’ One to play Cap! Those CGI effects guys can give me muscles and blonde hair in post-production, right? I can see it all now... the excitement! The drama! The empty seats in theaters across the country...

Excelsior!
Smiley